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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Link: Strange Empire creator and star on CBC’s Q

From CBC:

Strange Empire: Darker CBC show shoots holes in Wild West genre
CBC TV’s edgy new series Strange Empire has been getting rave reviews for its strong writing, stellar acting and woman-centric twist on the Wild West genre. Set in 1869 Alberta, the show focuses on three women — a Metis cowgirl, a madame and a doctor — who are all dealing with tragedy while fighting for independence, justice and survival. Guest host Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with show creator Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik as well as Canadian actress Cara Gee, who plays a strong-willed Kat Loving. Continue reading and listen here.

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TV eh B Cs podcast – Eric Johnson the dark and stormy

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Edmonton-born and raised Eric Johnson is most familiar to audiences for his roles in Global TV’s ROOKIE BLUE, CW’s SMALLVILLE and the SYFY series FLASH GORDON. With recent performances in both ORPHAN BLACK and CRIMINAL MINDS, Eric is currently starring alongside Clive Owen in Steven Soderbergh’s THE KNICK for HBO/CINEMAX as Dr. Everett Gallinger. The show is already picked up for a second season to commence shooting in early 2015.

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Links: Republic of Doyle’s Mark O’Brien

From Samantha Sobolewski of the TV Junkies:

Q&A with Republic of Doyle’s Mark O’Brien
We caught up with the star a few months back in a phone interview before the show wrapped to talk saying goodbye to the series, his favourite ROD episodes, directing an episode in the new season and continuing to work in Newfoundland when Doyle and Doyle closes up for good. Continue reading.

From Adnan M. of The Arts Guild:

Mark O’Brien Discusses ‘Republic of Doyle’ Season 6 & Future Endeavors
Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Mark O’Brien has spent a good chunk of his career perfecting his craft, juggling various different roles including director, writer and actor. Starting off in the world of theatre, he soon found his way into screen work, starring in a variety of critically acclaimed performances. Notable productions include Grown Up Movie Star, opposite Tatiana Maslany, and of course his iconic character on Republic of Doyle, Des Courtney. His directorial efforts can be seen in Republic of Doyle, as well as a number of shortfilms, recent of which is Sweetieface starring Katie Boland and himself. Beyond his work, O’Brien enjoys reading and playing hockey. Continue reading.

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Republic of Doyle leaves a legacy for Newfoundland

Allan Hawco says he had a panic attack at the CBC upfronts when announcing this coming season would be the last for Republic of Doyle. “That day was the hardest for me, because once you say it out loud it’s real,” he said in an interview at yesterday’s Vancouver media and fan event with some of the cast from the show.

He and co-creator Perry Chafe had started to worry they would run out of fresh stories and were happy to get a final season of 10 episodes to wrap things up on their own terms. Hawco points out a sixth season wasn’t a sure thing, nor was it a given that CBC would allow them to bow out after that.

He’s been filming The Book of Negroes and Hyena Road, but Caught was recently announced as the next project where he’ll produce and write — though that news going public caught him unprepared. “It’s still a ways away,” he says. “The announcement came out that I was starring in a new series and I was thinking, ‘Wait, I haven’t written it yet.'” Based on a book by Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore, the series is another collaboration with CBC.

Doyle costar Sean McGinley — who is not from Newfoundland himself — was the one who’d pushed Hawco to read Moore’s writing, and who points out that Republic of Doyle has now left the province with more of the “infrastructure and body of experience to tell their stories to the world.”

Born and raised Newfoundlander Marthe Bernard agrees, adding that there has always been a strong voice and strong arts community there, which has been shown to the world in a big way in recent years.

“As soon as a cab driver picks up someone from the airport, they want to go to The Duke,” laughs Lynda Boyd.

“I should’ve bought shares in that bar,” Hawco interjects.

The final season of Republic of Doyle begins tonight on CBC. 

Bell Media signs content deal with Highway Entertainment and Mark Burnett

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From a media release:

Bell Media, Canada’s premier multimedia company, announced today from MIPCOM a multi-faceted partnership with United Artists Media Group (a newly formed joint venture among MGM, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, and Hearst Entertainment) and Omnicom Canada Corp.’s Highway Entertainment to create new television formats for Canadian and international audiences. As a result of the partnership, pilots for several new formats are currently in development and pre-production at Bell Media, parent company of conventional broadcaster CTV, the leading adapter of formats for the Canadian market. Terms of the deal were not released.

“We are thrilled to partner with Mark Burnett, a pioneer in format television, and United Artists Media Group, along with Canada’s Highway Entertainment,” said Phil King, President – CTV, Sports, and Entertainment Programming, Bell Media. “With enormous pedigree and an incredible track record for hit format creation, we look forward to not only developing content for our own market, but internationally as well.”

“CTV and Omnicom are important strategic partners for United Artists Media Group. CTV’s desire to produce more original content and Highway Entertainment’s ability to come in with funding is something we are really excited about,” said C. Scot Cru, Executive Vice President, International Strategy and Business Development, United Artists Media Group. “Phil and his team are the great collaborators, we’re looking forward to bringing these new shows not only to Canada but distributing them worldwide through our partnership with MGM.”

“Highway Entertainment is in the business of funding great programming,” said Adam Ivers, President and CEO, Highway Entertainment. “Doing so with creative forces like Mark Burnett and Bell Media reinforces the strength of our model and the true spirit of partnership at a time when our industry is looking to innovate.”

CTV has developed and broadcast some of the most successful format adaptations in Canadian history, including THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, the most-watched Canadian television program on record, as well as MASTERCHEF CANADA, the #1 new competition series in 2014, and CANADIAN IDOL, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA, and WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, among others.