Everything about Heartland, eh?

Link: Steady hand: Dean Bennett reflects on 10 years of directing Heartland

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: Steady hand: Dean Bennett reflects on 10 years of directing Heartland
“I was so interested (in) the quiet, man-of-few-words people who came along. When we did the pilot it was something that Shaun and I talked about. He created a character who really is the rock and the anchor of the Heartland series.” Continue reading. 

 

 

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Comments and queries for the week of September 22

I am really looking forward to finding out the baby’s name and more of Amy and Ty’s relationship and romance since we did not see much of that last season [on Heartland] and to see how they cope as new parents. —Brooke

I knew Season 11 was going to be special, but you have laid out a season that goes far beyond special, it’s incredible. Ty and Amy as new parents … I can’t wait; Georgie’s role has really expanded which it should, she is very talented can’t wait to see her tackling this new role. Jack and Ty’s relationship should grow and Ty has matured and can’t wait to see him tackling fatherhood. Tim has always been a challenge to deal with but I love his character. You all have done a fantastic job and I know Season 11 hasn’t started yet, but I sure hope it leads to Season 12. Heartland is No. 1 in all our hearts. —James

Heartland has a real man at its centre: Jack. Someone who has such integrity, he didn’t just provide for his own family but sacrificed to silently take care of another for decades, asking for no credit or applause in return. A constant rock that is always there when the ones he loves need him—his backstory makes it clear he knew he had to be accountable and present, fair when he married Lyndy and they had a child. Trying to claim a guy bailing on his pregnant wife on a whim, putting himself in serious danger and actually losing significant income (without even getting into how he once behaved over Amy possibly having outside Heartland aspirations), is a “romantic hero” is bad PR spin at best, especially on a family show, where sadly too often lately family matters less and less. —Lauren

Thank you, Heather Conkie and Greg David for this insightful preview of what we can expect during the upcoming season of Heartland. There’s absolutely nothing else like it on television and it truly gets better every year. Every announcement that it has been renewed is a magnificent blessing for the fans who have been with the program since Day 1. —Nicholas

Reading this is very interesting, but just makes it more difficult to wait to see it in the U.S. As I have said before, all the production pictures, and talk about Season 11 on social media, this is going to be a very good and exciting season. I certainly hope that what goes on in Season 11 will draw a huge audience and lead to another season of the best TV show ever, at least for me. —Tony

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

 

 

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Heartland’s Heather Conkie teases Season 11 ahead of Sunday’s return

To borrow a horse saying—appropriate in this case—we’ve been champing at the bit for Season 11 of Heartland to return to CBC. This Sunday can’t come quickly enough thanks to last season’s final episodes. For those who need a refresher, Ty (Graham Wardle) returned from Mongolia in time to meet his new baby after Amy (Amber Marshall) gave birth. Mitch (Kevin McGarry) and Lou (Michelle Morgan) were on the outs after he saw her holding hands with Peter (Gabriel Hogan) and Georgie (Alisha Newton) and Adam (Kataem O’Connor) were rebuilding their friendship. Throw in Caleb (Kerry James) and Cassandra (Kaitlyn Leeb) tying the knot … let’s just say there is a lot of follow up on starting this Sunday.

Thankfully, Heather Conkie, Heartland‘s showrunner, was available to talk about last season and give us a sneak peek into a Season 11 that will see a refresh of the series and some new additions.

Before we get into some Season 11 tidbits, let’s do a post-mortem on Season 10. Perhaps the biggest story was Amy and Ty welcoming a baby into the world. That was the natural next step for this young couple but were you nervous or excited about adding a baby into the mix?
Heather Conkie: I think it was a mixture of both. We knew we might be painting ourselves into a corner, but it was the absolute natural next step. It felt right and we wanted their marriage to have other things to explore, so parenthood is a big theme this season. It also was connected with a little bit of experience. My own daughter was pregnant and I was going through that with her, so writing Amy’s pregnancy was very much a reflection of what I was going through in my own life. That helped us and continues to because my grandson is now a year old and I’m seeing what she’s going through as a mother. It’s really helped that perspective. We’re filming Episode 11 and 12 and the one wonderful thing about the pregnancy being over is that Amy can ride! We really missed writing that for her last year. Most riders ride into their pregnancy but we didn’t want to invite controversy because there are so many people who believe that it is dangerous. We had to go a whole year without being able to do the things that Amy does. This year is so great because we can have the Amy as we know her back. She can ride and she’s building her client base back up; her reputation as the miracle girl was missing in action.

I never realized how much the pregnancy would affect the storylines.
Usually the episodes centre around her and a horse story. We transferred a lot of that over to Georgie and had Amy working with horses because she could still do that. We had some wonderful scenes of Amy doing liberty work with horses. We also used dreams a lot and riding in dreams! [Laughs.]

The benefit of not being able to have Amy work with horses was that you were able to expand Georgie’s story a lot last season.
It really did allow us to explore trick riding more and all of the things Georgie came up to the plate to do.

Now, you didn’t make it easy on Amy and Ty. First, Ty was away in Mongolia for much of the season and then when he did come back, he was very sick. Were you surprised by the negative feedback you got having Ty gone for so long?
[Laughs.] We do like to put people through the wringer a little bit. No, we knew there would be a pushback but it also gave us the opportunity to go outside the box as well. The Mongolia footage and his storyline gave him an aura of a more romantic hero. When he came back he was grown up; it changed the character. And, quite honestly, when you have actors on a show for 10 seasons they need a break. Graham really wanted a break and we weren’t about to do anything drastic with the character. We love Graham Wardle and so do the fans, so it was a compromise to go a little outside the box a little bit and give him a break in the most creative way we could without getting rid of the character, which I never want to do. This is a family people have grown up with and losing a member of the family would be as harsh as if it was really happening to a member of someone’s family. People do need change and the character needed change. As a result of that, we’re writing a much more grown-up Ty.

We’re facing challenges most shows don’t get to. It requires a freshness and even if Graham had said he wanted to do all 18 episodes last year it still needed a freshness and we would have done something. In fact, this year, people are saying that the show feels completely fresh. I’m so pleased to hear that because we’re so close to it. There is a wonderful atmosphere on set. Everybody is thrilled to be back and because of the parenthood theme, it’s changed the dynamic, which is great.

When we pick up this Sunday, where are we at with Ty, Amy and the baby?
It’s fun because they’re in the loft right off the bat and are really squashed in there. [Laughs.] Ty is very protective and it’s a totally different side to him. He’s almost protective to a fault. It’s funny, actually.

Speaking of protective, we can’t forget Lou, who is never afraid to share her opinions about anything. 
She does. It’s a very good family dynamic. The twins that play the baby are adorable and it’s added a flavour before that we had with Katie as an infant. I had kind of forgotten the neat stuff that you can do.

Do we have a baby name yet?
We reveal it in the first five minutes of the first episode. We had a contest to name the baby and it’s incredible that the winner was the name I’ve been toying with for a long time.


There is a wonderful atmosphere on set. Everybody is thrilled to be back and because of the parenthood theme, it’s changed the dynamic, which is great.


Let’s talk about a rocky relationship: the trio of Lou, Mitch and Peter. What can you say about these three in Season 11?
Last season, Mitch read the wrong signal and up and left when he saw Lou holding hands with her ex. So, this year … let’s just say it’s reignited but it’s something that’s going to go on for a long time. It’s timing with these two. Anyone who has been through this knows it’s all about the timing between the ex and the new person. Plus, she’s got this crazy offshoot of Maggie’s in New York … they are in two separate worlds. There is a definite chemisty between the characters.

Peter plays a big role this year. Episode 2 is quite astounding. Gabriel Hogan gives a performance that I’ve never seen before because a ghost from Georgie’s past comes back and he has to help her deal with it. It’s just the most moving episode I’ve ever seen. And Alisha is incredible. She astounded everyone.

Speaking of performances, Shaun Johnston continues to knock it out of the park as Jack. There were some killer performances from him in Season 10.
Everybody forgets that he’s one of the characters who really is acting. He’s not that age, he doesn’t walk like that, he doesn’t talk like that … you just sink into the character and totally forget that it’s Shaun. He has some incredible scenes with Ty this year. Jack is a big father figure for Ty and has been. Last year, the scene between Jack and Ty before he went away to Mongolia … it was one of the most beautiful scenes ever because he was acting like Ty was going off to war. It was just beautiful and Shaun had a hand in writing some of the lines as well because he has such insight into the character.

Where are we at with Georgie and Adam’s relationship this year?
It’s a very strong friendship between them. He is still with Olivia. She’ll be 17 in storyland so she’s going through some complicated relationships this year. There is a fellow named Wyatt [Dempsey Bryk] who was only in one episode last season and he plays a larger part throughout the entire season. And we throw a new face into the mix halfway through, so lots going on in a very complicated love life! Georgie grows up a lot, and most of it is due to Episode 2.

Wow, a lot happening in the first two episodes!
Yeah, the first two episodes are key. Last season, Tim offered Caleb the job at the rodeo so he’s a partner. Caleb and Cass are very much involved this year as godparents.

What else can you say about this season?
There is a very wealthy family that becomes part of Georgie’s world. We’re taking her back to her roots as well as with Amy. Georgie gets a chance to be very involved with this very high-end show jumping horse right off the top in Episode 1, which has Olympic dreams. That’s the road we’re taking Georgie down, the equestrian show jumping world. She wanted to do it, and it’s such an interesting world. Georgie is on social media, and there are hate sites devoted to taking down people in this very competitive world and she becomes involved in that and dealing with people making up stories. We found this beautiful area that just begged us to use it, so we’re using it for this family. It’s a nice contrast to life at Heartland.

What about the new family? I know Kate Drummond is guest-starring this season; is she part of the family?
The family has their own private, cross-country jumping course. We do cross-country jumping and a fox hunt this season. This family has it all, including a very good-looking nephew who takes an interest in Georgie. Kate Drummond plays the mom and she appears in Episode 8.

Anything else you can tease about Season 11?
It’s a huge season for Tim. He starts looking to the future, some uncertainty and regrets of the past. He goes on quite the journey this year. I don’t want to say too much, but he’s doing an incredible job. We’ve given him a lot to do this year because he’s just so good. You’ll see a different side to Tim for sure.

Are you looking forward to Amy and Ty as parents? What are you hoping to see in Season 11? Let me know in the comments below!

Heartland returns Sunday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. on CBC.

 

 

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CBC announces its 2017-18 primetime schedule

From a media release:

CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster and the number-one media brand in Canada,* today announced broadcast premiere dates for its fall 2017 television season, featuring a uniquely Canadian lineup of new and returning series including Canada’s most-watched homegrown drama and comedy series, MURDOCH MYSTERIES and KIM’S CONVENIENCE.**

New original series launching on CBC this fall include the highly anticipated miniseries ALIAS GRACE (6×60) premiering Mon.Sept. 25, written and produced by Sarah Polley, directed by Mary Harron and starring Sarah Gadon, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood; THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (8×60), the homemade version of the popular British competition bringing together 10 amateur bakers from across Canada hosted by Dan Levy and Julia Chan, premiering Wed. Nov. 1; FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES (11×60) from the producers of Murdoch Mysteries, following Toronto’s only female private detective in the 1920s, premiering Mon. Nov. 6; and THE STATS OF LIFE (4×30); a factual series that humanizes a range of population statistics to reveal the surprising truths about how Canadians live today, premiering Fri. Nov. 24.

CBC will also offer the exclusive Canadian broadcast of Jane Campion’s acclaimed drama TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL (7×60) premiering on Wed. Oct. 25, starring Elizabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman. The BAFTA-nominated British series THE DURRELLS (6×60) will also premiere on Wed. Sept. 13.

Returning drama, comedy, factual and arts series include CORONATION STREET (Sept. 18), with six new episodes per week this fall including back-to-back episodes on Mondays; DRAGONS’ DEN (Sept. 28), featuring Arlene Dickinson’s return to the Den as the sixth Dragon; arts series EXHIBITIONISTS (Sept. 22); weekday daytime series THE GOODS (Sept. 18); HEARTLAND (Sept. 24); Emmy-nominated political arts series INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM (Oct. 13); KIM’S CONVENIENCE (Sept. 26); MR. D (Sept. 26); MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Sept. 25); RICK MERCER REPORT (Sept. 26); and THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Sept. 26).

On Mon. Nov. 6, flagship news program THE NATIONAL launches with a new format hosted by Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton, Andrew Chang and Ian Hanomansing. CBC News’ investigative series MARKETPLACE, THE FIFTH ESTATE and THE INVESTIGATORS WITH DIANA SWAIN also return with new seasons on Fri. Sept. 15.

CBC’s award-winning documentary programming moves to Sundays starting Sept. 24 including David Suzuki’s THE NATURE OF THINGS, which will launch its new season with THE WILD CANADIAN YEAR (5×60), showcasing Canada’s extraordinary wildlife; and CBC DOCS POV (formerly FIRSTHAND), which launches with Bee Nation, a charming documentary following students as they prepare for the first-ever First Nations Provincial Spelling Bee in Canada.

Also this fall, CBC SPORTS will provide compelling coverage and storytelling leading up to the OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES PYEONGCHANG 2018 and connect Canadians with high-performance athletes each weekend with ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES, which launches its fall season on Sat. Oct. 21 with coverage of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating from Moscow, Russia.

CBC’s fall 2017 broadcast premiere dates and times are as follows –
All series will also be available to stream on the CBC TV app and at cbc.ca/watch (all times local with the exception of Newfoundland, please add half an hour to all times)

MONDAYS

  • 2 p.m. The Goods (Season 2 premieres Sept. 18)
  • 7 p.m. Coronation Street (fall premiere Sept. 18)
  • 8 p.m. Murdoch Mysteries (Season 11 premieres Sept. 25)
  • 9 p.m. Alias Grace (Miniseries premieres Sept. 25)
    [Frankie Drake Mysteries series premieres Nov. 6]
  • 10 p.m. The National (launches Nov. 6)

TUESDAYS

  • 8 p.m. Rick Mercer Report (Season 15 premieres Sept. 26)
  • 8:30 p.m. This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Season 25 premieres Sept. 26)
  • 9 p.m. Kim’s Convenience (Season 2 premieres Sept. 26)
  • 9:30 p.m. Mr. D (Season 7 premieres Sept. 26)

WEDNESDAYS

  • 8 p.m. The Great British Baking Show Season 7 premieres Aug. 23
    [The Great Canadian Baking Show premieres Nov. 1]

THURSDAYS

  • 8 p.m. Dragons’ Den (Season 12 premieres Sept. 28 with a two-hour special)

FRIDAYS

  • 8 p.m. Marketplace (Season 45 premieres Sept .15)
  • 8:30 p.m. The Investigators with Diana Swain (premieres Sept. 15)
    [Interrupt This Program Season 3 premieres Oct.13]
    [The Stats of Life series premieres Nov. 24]
  • 9 p.m. The Fifth Estate (Season 43 premieres Sept. 15)
  • 12:30 a.m. Exhibitionists (Season 3 premieres Sept. 22)

SATURDAYS

  • 6:30 p.m. ET Hockey Night in Canada

SUNDAYS

  • 7 p.m. Heartland (Season 11 premieres Sept. 24)
  • 8 p.m. The Nature of Things (Season 57 premieres Sept. 24)
  • 9 p.m. CBC Docs POV (Season 4 premieres Sept. 24)

 

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Link: Alberta-shot Heartland, Wynonna Earp and others up for Rosies nominations

From Eric Volmers of Postmedia:

Link: Alberta-shot Heartland, Wynonna Earp and others up for Rosies nominations
Alberta may have trouble competing with British Columbia and other jurisdictions when it comes to attracting higher-budget TV and film projects, but a roundup of nominees for this year’s film and television awards shows that our homegrown industry continues to soldier on, especially in Calgary. Continue reading.

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