Everything about Letterkenny, eh?

Reaction to CRTC’s Policy framework for Certified Independent Production Funds

By Anonymous 

UPDATE: If the intent is to attract “top talent” that will make all these new “American” Canadian shows more viable, the CRTC should probably know that even some of the most successful Canadians in L.A., like the showrunner/creator of Bones, isn’t impressed.



Canadian Television is about to become slightly less full of Canadians, thanks to a major CRTC decision released quietly yesterday.

The CRTC is allowing the independent production funds (including the Shaw Rocket Fund, Rogers Fund, Cogeco Program Development Fund, Telefilm Canada, and the Harold Greenberg Fund) to reduce their “point system” for what determines Canadian-ness of a project from 8 to 6. The general effect of this will be to allow for the hiring of non-Canadians in key creation and starring roles (ie: Americans will be able to create and star in “Canadian” TV series).

This, in fact, by the CRTC’s own admission, was one of the points of the decision:

“The current criterion requiring eight out of 10 Canadian content certification points to qualify for CIPF funding is restrictive and excludes many productions that could otherwise be of high quality and qualify as Canadian. Moreover, a reduced requirement could help smaller and perhaps more innovative projects to qualify for funding. A reduced requirement of at least six points could also facilitate the hiring by production companies of non-Canadian actors or creators, who may increase a project’s attractiveness and visibility in international markets.”

Reaction from the Canadian creative community was swift, and critical.






What’s particularly unusual about this decision is that something with far-reaching implications was done as a “paper hearing,” ie: the CRTC did not hold any public consultations.

The last time something like this was proposed, the Writers Guild of Canada brought a group of screenwriters to Hull to appear before the commission. They made a convincing case as to why this “flexibility” wouldn’t lead to better quality Canadian programming. It seems that current chairman J.P. Blais was determined to not repeat this exercise.

Of concern to fans of actual Canadian TV shows, of course, is the fact that once again in no way was the audience consulted. The CRTC didn’t bother to seek out or try to understand the feelings of fans who celebrate unique Canadian points-of-view and creative directions on display in Canadian-created shows such as Orphan Black, Flashpoint, X Company, Letterkenny, Wynonna Earp, Lost Girl, Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, Motive, or many more.

As Peter Mitchell, executive producer and showrunner of Murdoch Mysteries explained on Facebook, even the premise of the CRTC’s decision is faulty:


The problem with the CRTC’s decision is that it really doesn’t advance any new idea. Many Canadian producers have been doing their level best to copy “American-style” shows for years, watering down the Canadian creative role as much as possible. They never seem to do as well as the original work such as Orphan Black or Murdoch Mysteries. That’s why you’re not seeing Season 4 of the forgettable XIII, and why Houdini & Doyle, which debuted to so much fanfare, died a quiet death.

The idea that Canadian producers will be able to attract top American talent is dubious at best. Because if you’re American, and you’re working in the American industry where there’s more money, and more prestige, why would you take a massive pay cut to work in Canada? Instead of top American talent, you’re likelier to get the people who can’t get hired anymore, who might have had credits in the 1980s or 1990s. And now the CRTC has blessed the idea that these marginal players are more valuable than the top homegrown talent who are responsible for the industry’s top successes.



There are other ways to approach the idea of creating hits, rather than this failed road. But the CRTC seems to be enamored with the fantasy that “flexibility” fixes all, rather than actually supporting talent.


And the best part? A government that ran at least partially on a platform of promoting culture is signalling to the next generation of storytellers not to bother—that it’s time to leave:



So there’s nothing good here if you’re a Canadian writer or actor hoping to star in or create a Canadian show. Or if you’re someone who likes the unique point of view you see from Canadian TV shows. But the producer’s association loves it. I’m sure you’ll be getting something great from that writer who did one episode of Simon & Simon any day now.





Great news, isn’t it?


Link: Letterkenny’s love affair with Sudbury

From Jim Moodie of The Sudbury Star:

Link: Letterkenny’s love affair with Sudbury
“Blocking, quiet please,” says Megan Banning, first AD.

She’s standing at the open door of a barn near Hanmer, where Letterkenny, a cheeky bumpkin comedy airing on CraveTV, is shooting a scene for its second season.

Actors Jared Keeso, Nate Dales and K. Trevor Wilson are seated inside the barn on lawn chairs, rehearsing lines, with bottles of Puppers Premium Lager (7.2% alcohol) close at hand. Continue reading. 


Letterkenny season two begins production

From a media release:

Darts Out, Tarps Off! Production Begins on Season 2 of CraveTV’s Smash Hit Series LETTERKENNY

  • Season 1 of LETTERKENNY currently streaming on CraveTV™ –

CraveTV announced today that production has begun on Season 2 of smash hit original series LETTERKENNY. CraveTV’s first ever original series, the six-part, half-hour small town comedy is produced by New Metric Media in partnership with DHX Media, and shoots on location in and around Sudbury, ON.

Created by Jared Keeso of Bravo’s hit Canadian Screen Award-winning original drama 19-2, Season 1 of LETTERKENNY had the biggest debut of any series on CraveTV since the premium TV streaming service launched in 2014, with more CraveTV users watching LETTERKENNY than any other series or title on CraveTV.

Season 2 of LETTERKENNY sees the return of The Hicks: Wayne (Keeso) and his best bud Daryl (Nathan Dales), “Squirrely” Dan (K Trevor Wilson), and Wayne’s sister Katy (Michelle Mylett), and their epic rivals The Skids starring Tyler Johnston as “lead skid” Stewart, and Alexander De Jordy as side-skid Devon. Also back for another season of chirping and checking, Dylan Playfair and Andrew Herr lace up as The Hockey Players, Reilly and Jonesy.

Modeans may be tinder but bartender Gail (Lisa Codrington) is still around to lust after Wayne and executive producer, director, and co-writer Jacob Tierney brings back creepy Preacher Glen. Season 2 also introduces new cast members including Melanie Scrofano (WYNONNA EARP) as the no-BS Mrs. McMurray, along with Alex Spencer (THE EXPANSE) and Stephen Huszar (SHADOWHUNTERS) as Senior Hockey Players Barts and Yorkie.

“Foulmouthed, madcap, but very familiar, LETTERKENNY is one of the most authentic comedies to come out of Canada in many years,” said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. “We’re honoured that we can continue to expand upon this offbeat and hilarious world with Jared, Jacob, and our outstanding production partners, New Metric Media.”

“LETTERKENNY consists of Hicks, Skids, Hockey Players, and the best team in the league,” said creator and star Jared Keeso. “The cast, the crew, and our friends at Bell Media are First Team All-Stars. Look at the hustle. Love the hustle.”

“Went to the Jays game with the LETTERKENNY gang to celebrate a great Season 1 and toss a few down the hatch,” said Mark Montefiore, New Metric Media. “Then I got a venison hot dog but ain’t no goddam way that was venison. My point is: Season 2. Get after it!”

LETTERKENNY is based on the Internet sensation Letterkenny Problems, a series of shorts which have raked in more than 14 million views. Since the series announcement last November, views for all of the new digital content released on both the CraveTV and LETTERKENNY YouTube pages have totalled more than 5 million. Created by Jared Keeso, LETTERKENNY is executive produced, directed, and co-written by Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky). Still not sure what all the fuss is about? Season 1 is currently streaming on CraveTV.

LETTERKENNY is produced by New Metric Media (What Would Sal Do?), in partnership with DHX Media in association with Bell Media, with the participation of Canadian Media Fund, OMDC Tax Credits and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund. Jacob Tierney is executive producer, director, and co-writer. Patrick O’Sullivan and Mark Montefiore (Cas & Dylan) are executive producers for New Metric Media. Sarah Fowlie is Director, Independent Production, Comedy, Bell Media. Executives for Bell Media are Bill Lundy and Chris Kelley. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. Tracey Pearce is Senior Vice-President, Specialty and Pay, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Entertainment Production and Broadcasting, Bell Media.


Letterkenny’s huge launch on CraveTV fuels second season order

From a media release:

As announced moments ago on Twitter, CraveTV together with The Comedy Network, has ordered a second season of LETTERKENNY, CraveTV’s first ever original series which debuted on February 7. Produced by New Metric Media in partnership with DHX Media in association with Bell Media, a second season of the smash hit comedy series is set to shoot this spring in Sudbury. The announcement was confirmed by Mike Cosentino, Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks and CraveTV, at today’s Banff World Media Festival’s Content Industry Connectduring Canadian Screen Week. Today’s announcement comes ahead of LETTERKENNY arriving on The Comedy Network schedule later this year.

As part of today’s announcement, CraveTV revealed that LETTERKENNY had the biggest debut of any series on CraveTV since the premium TV streaming service launched in 2014, with more CraveTV users watching LETTERKENNYthan any other series or title on CraveTV. LETTERKENNY is based on the Internet sensation Letterkenny Problems, a series of shorts which have raked in more than 14 million views. Created by Jared Keeso of Bravo’s hit Canadian Screen Award-nominated original drama 19-2, LETTERKENNY is executive produced, directed, and co-written by Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky), who returns for Season 2.

Supported by a massive cross-platform promotional and publicity campaign, all six episodes of Season 1 of LETTERKENNY debuted on CraveTV Super Bowl Sunday (February 7) where the series became an instant hit. It finished the day #1 amongst all titles with more views per episode than any other series. The series has been #1 ever since, making LETTERKENNY the most successful title to ever launch on CraveTV. To date, already nearly one in three CraveTV users have watched LETTERKENNY.


Less Than Kind’s Tyler Johnston goes goth for Letterkenny

The last Canadian television show I saw Tyler Johnston in was the excellent, poignant Less Than Kind. There he played Danny, nutty best friend to Jesse Camacho’s Sheldon in the City-HBO Canada series. Now Johnston is back, portraying an equally crazy dude in Letterkenny, Jared Keeso’s creation about the hicks, hockey players and skids living in a town of 5,000.

As Stewart, head of the skids, Johnston’s real hair is hidden under a stringy black wig, his body obscured under layers of black clothing and dark makeup smudged around his eyes. He’s almost unrecognizable, especially when Stewart launches into frantic, falsetto speeches or juddering around to thumping dance music on building stoops, surrounded by his fellow skids.

We spoke to Johnston about his character, the show, working in Canada and the short film, Conception, that sent him to Brooklyn.

Talk to me about this character.
There is this group of skids and Stewart has coined himself the leader. It’s very evident by the way that he treats his fellow skids that that is the case. Jared called me when I first booked it and said, ‘Hey buddy, here’s the deal. You’re coming to Sudbury and we’re going to put a long, black wig on you.’ I was pumped about it. I look like a vampire. I’ve had to introduce myself to crew members four or five times.

The skids are another group of people growing up in Letterkenny. It’s like a family. Some people in families don’t get along with each other, but they still love each other. I can pick on my sister all I want, but the second you pick on my little sister we’re going to have an issue. The hockey boys probably bullied my guys growing up, so there is some resentment between those two factions. The skids are also the drug dealers in town, so they get themselves into issues that they probably shouldn’t. We’re comic book nerds and talk about video games … a group of loners who found each other and formed this group.

How many skids are in the group?
There are five of us. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the finale the groups sort of meet, and we were very outnumbered. We weren’t prepared.


How did you land the role for Stewart? Did you audition, or did Jared call you and say he had something in mind?
Jared and I have been friends for a few years. We did Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story together, and he’s a Vancouver boy. I knew about the project and I was so excited for him as an outsider that it got to happen. We had always talked about working together again. I did have to throw something together on tape and tried my best. I was actually in L.A. at the time and threw something on tape and then went to play kickball with a group of people I play with every Sunday. What I put on tape didn’t feel right, so I went home after kickball and re-did it. I knew they were going to watch it and I didn’t want to give Jared and the crew a sub-par tape.

I sent it off and didn’t hear anything for about a month, so I assumed that they went with someone else. Because he and I are friends, I didn’t want to text Jared and ask anything. I didn’t want to be that guy. Meanwhile, I’m wanting to chirp him because I’m a Vancouver Canucks fan and he’s a Calgary Flames fan, but I decided to hold off on that until the decision was made.

You mentioned being in L.A. Is that because you’re looking for the next step?
Yeah, it’s sort of the next step. I’ve been fortunate to have a nice career in Canada and it’s the natural next step. I’ve got my working visa, I’ve got management there. It’s unfortunate that I feel compelled to go there. I love working in Canada, the crews and the talent and the writers.

Is the next natural stepping stone for you creating your own characters, writing and producing your own stuff?
I haven’t dove into writing so much, but my friends and I do a lot of shorts back home. I contribute thoughts and ideas but I haven’t necessarily sat down with a pen and a pad and written a storyline or a skeleton of an idea. I’m not against the idea, but it just hasn’t happened yet. We do the 24 Hour Film Race every year, and last year we were fortunate enough to get into the Top 24 in the world. So, myself and some buddies flew to Brooklyn to represent the film. In Vancouver we have a lot of movies of the week going on, which pays the bills and are awesome. We’ve thrown some webisode ideas around, so I don’t see that being too far off in the future.

Season 1 of Letterkenny is currently streaming on CraveTV.

Check out Conception