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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

TV Eh B Cs podcast 77 — Elize Morgan vs. Alpaca vs. Llama

Elize Morgan is a writer of TV, games and digital series. She worked on Assassin’s Creed: Origins, was part of the Season 1 team for girls action animation series Mysticons, and is currently pitching for her co-created series Alpaca vs. Llama for the Independent Production Fund.

She created and produced two digital comedy series, Pretty In Geek and The Gate. She was also the editor of How to Make a Web Series (free on iBooks).

Elize wrote for the CSA-winning convergent project Grojband: The Show Must Go On and has been nominated for a WGC Award for her script “Heart of Gold” for the girls action series Mysticons.

Elize has worked on animated and live action properties for kids, including CBC’s Ollie: The Boy Who Became What He Ate, Rusty Rivets and Bagel & Becky. Elize has an MA in Popular Culture and is a graduate of the CFC’s Prime Time Television Writing Program.

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MasterChef Canada Season 5 finalists revealed in advance of April 3 premiere on CTV

From a media release:

CTV unveiled today the Top 21 MASTERCHEF CANADA finalists competing for a chance to capture the life-changing title of Canada’s next MasterChef. In a MASTERCHEF CANADA first, this season the esteemed judges pay a surprise personal visit to 21 of the best home cooks across the country, who in turn set off to the MASTERCHEF CANADA Kitchen in Toronto to prepare a dish for the judges. The networks hit series fires up Season 5 on Tuesday, April 3 at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. MT on CTV and CTV GO.

Distinguished Canadian judges Michael Bonacini (O&B restaurant empire), Alvin Leung (Bo Innovation in Hong Kong), and Claudio Aprile (Copetin Restaurant & Bar) mark their joyous return to the MASTERCHEF CANADA Kitchen anticipating tastes of the tantalizing dishes prepared by the Top 21. The home cooks set out to wow the judges in a chance to prove they have the culinary chops to earn a coveted white apron, and a chance to compete for the MASTERCHEF CANADA title and $100,000 cash prize.

Season 5’s Top 21 home cooks vying for the MASTERCHEF CANADA title are:

  • Reem Ahmed, Biomedical Engineer from Toronto, Ont.
  • Oyakhire Airende, Operations Analyst from Calgary, Alta.
  • Eugene Cheng, Financial Advisor and Rowing Coach from Vancouver, B.C.
  • Kaegan Donnelly, Software Sales from Vancouver, B.C.
  • Claudia Escudero, Customer Service Representative from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Qué.
  • Felix Fudge, Sanitization Specialist from Halifax, N.S.
  • Michael Griffiths, Mathematician from Richmond Hill, Ont.
  • Andy Hay, Small Business Owner from Dartmouth, N.S.
  • Jen Jenkins, Stay-at-Home Mom from Dawson Creek, B.C.
  • Nikita Kaisar, Human Resources Management Graduate from Toronto, Ont.
  • Layla Kelly, Musician from Halifax, N.S.
  • Marissa Leon-John, Tech Support Manager from DollarddesOrmeaux, Qué.
  • Peter Maltais, Truck Driver from Kitchener, Ont.
  • Dawn O’Hara, Stay-at-Home Mom from Calgary, Alta.
  • Sienna Potter, Customer Service Representative from Yarmouth, N.S.
  • Jonathan Rahim, Real Estate Agent from Winnipeg, Man.
  • Nadia Rehman, Account Executive from Markham, Ont.
  • Mike Schroeder, Autism Support Worker from Kentville, N.S.
  • Melissa Skowron, Facilities Coordinator from Calgary, Alta.
  • Beccy Stables, Tile Setter Assistant from Sherwood Park, Alta.
  • Michael Varga, Firefighter from Vancouver, B.C.

In each episode, the home cooks are pushed to the limit in a series of Mystery Box Challenges, Team Challenges, and Pressure Tests, with the three judges providing direction and feedback throughout the process. Each task is designed to test and hone the home cooks’ skill, knowledge, passion, and creativity. At the conclusion of each episode at least one person is eliminated until there are only two home cooks left vying for the life-changing MASTERCHEF CANADA title.

Fans are invited to visit throughout the season for exclusive content, including background on this season’s finalists and the MASTERCHEF CANADA judges, as well as interviews, recipes, and more. also offers viewers behind-the-scenes glimpses of this season’s challenges, culinary creations, triumphs, and upsets.

Leading up to the Season 5 premiere, viewers across the country can satisfy their MASTERCHEF CANADA cravings by tuning to the series’ previous seasons, now streaming on CraveTV™.

Following the finale of Season 5 on CTV, the current season of MASTERCHEF CANADA will be available in its entirety on CraveTV, and is also slated to air on Gusto this summer (check local listings).

The MASTERCHEF format and finished programmes are represented internationally by Endemol Shine Group, and is based on a format originally created by Franc Roddam.

MASTERCHEF CANADA is produced by Proper Television in association with CTV. Proper’s Co-President Cathie James is the Executive Producer and Showrunner and Co-President Lesia Capone is Executive Producer.




Brojects: Built for the Weekend creates epic items for cottage owners

I’m not a very handy guy. Yeah, I can drill a hole in a wall to hang a picture, re-screen a porch door, patch small-ish holes and paint a room, but that’s pretty much it. So it’s been a ton of fun to watch and marvel at Kevin and Andrew Buckles as they create wild items for their cottage.

After two seasons of the original series Brojects—which saw the siblings making things like a combined dock/bowling alley—and then a season inside with Brojects: In the House as they souped up a former Masonic Lodge, the boys are back making outlandish items for their cottage neighbours.

Bowing Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life—the specialty channel is available in a free previewBrojects: Built for the Weekend hits the road for six instalments as the Buckles’ meet up with cottage owners, assess their needs and then build something cool. The challenge? To complete a project within a week … the time between visits by the property owners.

“We had definitely built as much stuff as we could at our family cottage,” Kevin says on the line from Nova Scotia. “But we had talked about it from the very beginning, being able to get out on the road and see cottages.” A Facebook post asked folks to audition their properties for consideration; Andrew says they picked interesting stories and locations that wouldn’t be too challenging for filming. It’s one thing to be in a large city with easy access to power, supplies and facilities. It’s another to be situated on a small lake, relying on generators, a shortage of electrical plugs and weather to contend with.

Rain and wind threatened to wreak havoc in Thursday’s debut as Kevin and Andrew worked to rebuild and trick out a family’s dilapidated deck. Not content to just update what was there, the Buckles’ formulate a unique way for everyone to swim without the threat of leeches, an easier way to load into a canoe, a place to create art and a fishing station. As fascinating as the projects are, what makes Brojects: Built for the Weekend (and their past series) such an entertaining program is the back and forth between Kevin and Andrew. Verbal jabs are the norm, making for a light-hearted and fun franchise. Kevin says the idea for Brojects came about with them sitting around at their own cottage, fixing and improving the endless things that go with it. A partnership with Blue Ant Media soon followed.

“I think the timing was perfect,” Andrew recalls. “I think Blue Ant Media was looking for some Canadian content for Cottage Life and we came on the scene doing DIY projects at our cottage.”

Upcoming episodes of Brojects: Built for the Weekend include a double-decker party raft, a micro A-frame glamping cabin, a floating playground and a boat-themed outdoor kitchen.

“The ideas just kind of evolve,” Kevin says of their inspiration. “I don’t look at something and say, ‘That’s going to have a fishing station on it.’ We did interviews with the families beforehand and asked them what they wanted. That was our guideline, but it just all comes together as it comes together.”

Brojects: Built for the Weekend airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Images courtesy of Blue Ant Media.




Link: Carmilla’s young, queer-positive audience sends a message to Canadian TV industry

From Victoria Ahearn of the Canadian Press:

Link: Carmilla’s young, queer-positive audience sends a message to Canadian TV industry
Of all the nominees for the Fan Choice trophy at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards — a list that included prominent TV stars Yannick Bisson and Hélène Joy of CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries, and Daniel Levy of Schitt’s Creek — it was a web star who took the title for the second year in a row. Continue reading.


Creative comedy Earthling House Huntress lands real estate on CBC Comedy

Last year around this same time, I spoke to the creators of three potential series—Earthling House Huntress, Hit on Me and Free Space—looking for help from the Independent Production Fund. And though the folks behind Earthling House Huntress didn’t get the funding they’d hoped for, that didn’t stop them from going ahead with a first season of the series anyway, available on CBC.

Created by Ivy Johnson and Jordan Himelfarb, Earthling House Huntress takes place in a world where space travel is simple and aliens are coming to the Greater Toronto Area in search of real estate with curb appeal and a great price. Enter Liz Klein (Tess Degenstein), who specializes in helping ETs find a forever home.

Inspired both by Johnson’s real-life experience as a real estate agent’s assistant and the pair’s observations while buying their own home in Toronto—a good real estate agent spends a lot of time with people and has to be able to make friends with anybody—Johnson and Himelfarb thought Liz Klein would be the perfect ambassador to Earth, able to really be super-charming with the most bizarrely imaginable creatures. The bubbly introduction by Liz sets EHH‘s wacky tone.

“Do you fear an encroaching black hole?” Liz asks. “Want to take a dip in an ocean that isn’t boiling? If you’re an alien with access to high-speed intergalactic space transit and are looking to relocate, I can find your terrestrial forever home.” Nothing stops the ever-positive, endlessly energetic Liz from finding an alien a home. That’s evidenced in Episode 1 when she shows three properties to a bearded, wrinkle-faced laser gun-toting alien named Gorm (Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll) who hates bright, open spaces (his enemies could attack him at any moment) and accuses a collection of twigs in a vase of mocking him.

Part of the fun of EHH are the reactions the aliens have to things we’re used to. A platter of cookies is a potential threat, using remote car door locks are a challenge and a bathtub could be a bed. I may be looking too deeply into it, but I felt like EHH is, through the eyes of these otherworldly beings, shining a light on what new Canadians feel when they come to this country. They feel out of place and out of sorts, needing a Liz Klein to help them feel at home.

Future “Aliens of the Week” on EHH include Anders Yates and Nelu Handa (pictured above alongside Degenstein), as well as puppetry from Brad Cook and voice work from Tyler Murree. The series is directed by Simone Stock.

All four Season 1 episodes of Earthling House Huntress can be streamed on CBC now.

Image courtesy of CBC.