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History greenlights Proper Television’s Brett & Cliff Go to Hell

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From a media release:

After a successful pilot, HISTORY has greenlit six, one-hour episodes of Brett & Cliff Go to Hell with production starting in Roatan Island, Honduras.

The series follows adventurers Brett Rogers and Cliff Quinn as they re-live actual historical worst-case scenarios in six locations around the world. Filming the entire journey themselves, each one-hour episode will chronicle Brett and Cliff’s treacherous voyage as they pit themselves against history’s toughest men. Broadcast details will be announced at a later date.

The six episodes will be shot over six months, with each expedition being shot over seven days. Production began on Roatan Island, travelling back in time to 1723, with Brett and Cliff on the run from pirates. Dressed in authentic period clothing, with period tools and little food, they must survive a full seven days amongst the hordes of jungle insects, alligator-like caimans, and venomous coral snakes.  Brett and Cliff will also travel to Arizona, Louisiana, Manitoba and Newfoundland.

The pilotwhich was filmed last year and premiered in December on HISTORY, captured Brett and Cliff as they put themselves in a worst-case scenario from 1885 – as two gold prospectors who stayed deep in the Yukon wilderness late into the season, only to have their camp burn along with most of their belongings. Using only authentic clothing and tools, their goal was to make a punishing trek to the safety of the Yukon River in seven days, while staying one step ahead of hunger, plunging temperatures and sheer exhaustion.

Lynn Crawford and Noah Cappe team for Food’s Great Canadian Cookbook

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From a media release:

Two of Shaw Media’s most dynamic hosts are heading across the nation and into Canadians’ homes and communities on a revolutionary mission to define, document and celebrate Canadian Cuisine. Shaw Media is proud to announce that celebrity chef Lynn Crawford (Chopped Canada) and funny man Noah Cappe (Carnival Eats) have been named the faces of the colossal multi-phase project, Food Network Canada’s Great Canadian Cookbook. The multi-platform venture launches later this year with the ultimate online experience for food fans. The website launch will be followed by an explosive four-part docu-series, which starts production today in association with Alibi Entertainment.

The highly entertaining four-part television series sees Crawford and Cappe travel the country stopping along the way to meet and eat with Canadian food lovers and makers. With a richness in diverse cultures, an abundance of deliciously home-grown ingredients and multi-generations of beloved family recipes to draw from, each episode of Food Network Canada’s Great Canadian Cookbook takes a look at Canada’s cultural food mosaic by capturing kitchen conversations and chronicling culinary quests with everyday Canadians.

Food Network Canada’s Great Canadian Cookbook four-part television series is an original production produced by Alibi Entertainment for Shaw Media and Food Network Canada. The digital component is designed and produced by Toronto-based agency Digital Howard in collaboration with Alibi Entertainment,Shaw Media and Food Network Canada.

RTR Media rolls on HGTV’s Open House Overhaul

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From a media release:

RTR Media is excited to announce the start of production on the new HGTV Canada series OPEN HOUSE OVERHAUL with designer/writer Samantha Pynn (Pure DesignSummer Home).

In Open House Overhaul, Sam and her crew overhaul houses on the real estate market in order to sell them fast and make top dollar. Production on the new 14×30’ series has started in Toronto and will premiere on HGTV Canada this spring. The program will be distributed by Distribution360, making it their first RTR Media property to represent after the recently announced first-look deal.

Samantha Pynn is a writer, decorator, stylist and TV host.  She’s the Contributing Design Editor for Chatelaine magazine and a columnist for the National Post.  Samantha Pynn’s first series with RTR Media was the HGTV Canada hit Summer Home.

Open House Overhaul is produced by RTR Media in association with Shaw Media, HGTV and with the assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit Program.

CanCon 101

When the Canadian Screen Awards are announced each year (and before that the Geminis), there are always some people who wonder why their favourite Canadian show wasn’t nominated. Sometimes, well, it just didn’t make the cut, but some of those shows aren’t actually Canadian.   So here’s a primer on what makes a show Canadian both for funding and CRTC regulation and for the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (not actually completely the same thing).

Government-related or CRTC-mandated funding (e.g. Canada Media Fund, Independent Production Fund) and provincial or federal tax credits all rely on the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (“CAVCO”) to determine eligibility. CAVCO has a set of rules that can be summed up generally as Canadian-owned, Canadian-controlled, 75% of the budget spent on Canadians and a minimum of 6 out of 10 key crew. Those key crew are director, writer (one of them must be Canadian), top two lead actors (one has to be Canadian), composer, editor and production designer. Director and writer are 2 points each so it adds up to 10 points.

[To complicate matters a little bit more, the CRTC has its own certification process for programs that will qualify as Canadian for CRTC-purposes when broadcast. All CAVCO programs are Canadian for the CRTC but not all CRTC-certified programs are necessarily Canadian for CAVCO. Trust me – you don’t want me to go there.]

However, different funds have additional rules so a show could be minimally Canadian but not qualify for funding. For example, among other additional rules, the Independent Production Fund requires 8 out of 10 points and the Canada Media Fund requires 10 out of 10 points. These additional rules are to ensure that Canadian taxpayers and cable subscribers are funding truly Canadian shows.

People get confused when they see shows like “Supernatural” and the “Arrow” and they know that they’re shot in Canada so think they are Canadian. What about “Beauty and the Beast” and “Haven”? There is a difference between the two types of shows. “Supernatural” and “Arrow” are American-owned and controlled and hire very few Canadians in key creative positions. They are known as ‘service’ productions because often a Canadian production company is hired to provide the service of producing the show for the American studio.

“Beauty and the Beast” and “Haven” however fall in a middle ground often called Industrial Canadian. They are owned by Canadian production companies and qualify as minimum Canadian productions. They can earn the Canadian production tax credit and count as Canadian for a broadcaster but are not eligible for CMF or other such funds.  While both kinds of shows hire a lot of Canadians in crew positions and often in smaller performing roles, generally only the Industrial Canadian show will hire Canadians in any of the key creative roles.

In the past the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television only required that a television show qualify as minimally Canadian under CAVCO or the CRTC in order to be eligible for consideration for awards. However, the result was that minority co-productions with minimal Canadian involvement, such as “The Borgias” and “The Tudors”, were being held up as examples of the best of Canadian television. Frequently that involvement would be post-production and a few actors and possibly a director.  While the treaty co-production system is based on Canada equally being the minority partner as it is the majority partner and both kinds of programs qualifying as Canadian, some people did not think it was right that a minority co-production should compete in the best program categories and lobbied the Academy to change the rules.

So now these international co-productions can only compete in the “Best Drama” or “Best Mini-Series” categories if at least 50% of the episodes were both written and directed by Canadians. If a minority co-production has less than 50% of its episodes both written and directed by Canadians then it is eligible under Best International Drama. Any Canadian who has worked on the International drama will still be eligible in their craft category.   That explains why “The Great Martian War” and “The Vikings” are competing for Best International Drama and not Best Drama or Best Mini-Series but crew from “The Vikings” are nominated for Best Director, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects and “The Great Martian War” has a Best Production Design nomination.

So that’s why service productions like “Supernatural” are never nominated for Canadian Screen Awards (they aren’t Canadian) and why “The Vikings” is Canadian but is sitting in the International Drama category.

Lone Eagle and Just for Laughs team for comedy projects

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From a media release:

Lone Eagle Entertainment and Just for Laughs are pleased to announce a new creative partnership to co-develop and produce comedic non-scripted programming.

The two companies will leverage their collective experience in working with comedic talent, concepts and contacts in the network landscape to bring forward a number of high concept projects in the coming months for the North American television market.