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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

The Amazing Race Canada sets up its season finale

This episode could easily have been called, “Meltdown in the Maritimes,” as all four teams were on the brink of emotional breakdowns at least once during Tuesday’s Leg of The Amazing Race Canada. It makes sense, though. It’s been a long Race full of drama and frayed nerves, and to be so close to the finale must be stressful.

Once again, the devil was in the details for teams, especially Jillian and Emmett and Frankie and Amy, who failed to understand they needed to learn just the English names of 15 plants at Kingsbrae Garden and not the Latin too. I certainly don’t blame Ashley for convincing Frankie they needed to know both; it’s the Leg before the last one and all bets are off. Still, I felt badly watching the mother-daughter team slouch back to the garden as Joel completed the task in his 10th try. That Road Block was a very interesting one and revealed something Lowell lives with every day. Being blindfolded caused every team member with their eyes covered to freak out, realizing they’d have to trust their senses of touch and smell to guide them to victory. I wonder if Lowell would have aced that challenge if he’d made it that far and chosen to try it?


I’ve only ever driven through New Brunswick on my way to and from Prince Edward Island, but thanks to The Amazing Race Canada, I’d love to visit. Touring the Moosehead Brewery and dropping by Crosby Molasses would be two items on my To Do list, as well as chowing down on some seafood. Speaking of molasses, I was convinced Frankie and Amy’s miscue of dumping four cups of vinegar instead of four tablespoons into their taffy would ruin the recipe. It threw off the cooking time but the pair weren’t far behind the other teams. And, despite losing the golf challenge, they were still in it when they arrived at the garden Road Block.

Steph and Kristen landed at the Pit Stop in first place, scoring a spot in the Final Four and a trip for two to Australia in the process. The girls have battled Jillian and Emmett for tops almost every week and have shown a lot of love and respect for each other. They’re the ones to beat. Joel and Ashley placed second and might be the dark horse of the competition. Joel is sneaky good at several things and, paired with a certain amount of luck and cool-headedness, he and his daughter could certainly run away with the title.

Jillian and Emmett, who completed the plant challenge ahead of Frankie and Amy, could certainly win too, thanks to smart racing and physical skills. As long as Jillian keeps a cool head, they could pocket the grand prize.

Alas, this Leg was the last for Frankie and Amy, and I felt awful when Amy was frustrated and trying her best, knowing it was the end of the road. Still, they made it a lot further than I expected and proved to be worthy adversaries. If it hadn’t been for Ashley’s head games, they might very well be in the finale rather than Jillian and Emmett.

Who do you think will win Season 4 of The Amazing Race Canada in Montreal? Comment below or @tv_eh.

Here’s how the teams finished this leg of the Race:

  1. Steph and Kristen (trip for two to Sydney)
  2. Joel and Ashley
  3. Jillian and Emmett
  4. Frankie and Amy (eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada season finale airs next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.


Link: It’s about time: We’ve put up with Mansbridge and his pompous ilk for too long

From John Doyle of The Globe and Mail:

Link: It’s about time: We’ve put up with Mansbridge and his pompous ilk for too long
In the matter of Peter Mansbridge stepping down from CBC’s The National, this might seem ungracious and harsh, but it’s about bloody time.

Mansbridge has spent 28 years as anchor and chief correspondent for CBC Television’s flagship newscast and that’s a very, very long time for anyone to be in a position of on-air authority in the TV business, a business that has changed so much. The traditional anchor position, which Mansbridge embodies in every scintilla in his on-air persona, is outdated and, essentially, redundant. Continue reading.


Production underway on The Comedy Network’s The Beaverton

From a media release:

The Comedy Network announced today that production is underway on THE BEAVERTON, Canada’s hardest-hitting satire series covering the topics you didn’t know needed covering. As revealed last night in a first-look promo during the COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST OF ROB LOWE, THE BEAVERTON is set to premiere November on Comedy. Produced by Pier 21 Films in association with The Comedy Network, 13 episodes of the half-hour series are set to be filmed in front of a live studio audience in Toronto beginning Saturday, Sept. 24, with field production already in progress in Toronto and Hamilton. For those who would like to be a part of the live audience tapings, tickets are available at

The first-look promo clip of THE BEAVERTON, introduces co-anchors Emma Hunter and Miguel Rivas as they prepare to helm the program that puts stories about news, on television. A so-called televised adaptation of the immensely popular online satirical site, THE BEAVERTON files fake news stories of the utmost importance, informed by real events, the cultural zeitgeist, and national news media.

With nearly 6 million views in 2016 and averaging more than half a million unique visitors a month, has become a go-to source for Canadian satire. Already known for its shareable content online, has broken some of the decade’s most viral “news stories” including “Most Canadians can’t name all nine provinces”  and “PK Subban fined for swearing only in English”. Beginning today, the newly revamped website fuels a consistently refreshed digital experience featuring exclusive digital-only content in the form of podcasts, articles and for the first time ever, original video.

THE BEAVERTON is the brainchild of co-creators Luke Gordon Field and Jeff Detsky (CALL ME FITZ, SEED) of, as well as website senior editors Jacob Duarte Spiel and Alexander Saxton. Directors are Henry Sarwer-Foner (THE RICK MERCER REPORT) and Shelagh O’Brien (JUST FOR LAUGHS GALAS). Pier 21 Film’s Laszlo Barna and Melissa Williamson serve as Executive Producers.

THE BEAVERTON is produced by Pier 21 Films in association with The Comedy Network, with the participation of Canadian Media Fund, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.


Kevin Newman named host and managing editor of W5

From a media release:

Canada’s pre-eminent investigative series, W5, launches its 51st season with new Host and Managing Editor Kevin Newman at the helm on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, the CTV GO app, and The series returns with two investigative stories delving into the murky online world of swatting – an Internet prank with deadly consequences, along with an investigation into furnace sales schemes that have sprung up across Canada, victimizing unsuspecting homeowners.

One of Canada’s most respected journalists, Newman takes the reins of W5, North America’s longest-running investigative series, which he joined in September 2012 as a Correspondent. A household name to viewers as a news anchor in Canada and the U.S. for the past 35 years, this new role marks the latest chapter in a career that has taken Newman to every major hotspot around the world. He has reported from every community, territory, and province in Canada, garnering the industry’s highest honours, including Emmy® Awards, Gemini Awards, and a Peabody Award.

Newman succeeds former W5 Host and Chief Correspondent Lloyd Robertson, one of North America’s most accomplished journalists, who took the role in 2011 after stepping down after 35 years as Chief Anchor and Senior Editor of Canada’s most-watched newscast, CTV NATIONAL NEWS. A trailblazer and television icon, Robertson will continue to appear on W5 and elsewhere across CTV News properties and platforms in his new role as CTV News Special Correspondent.

Airing Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, the CTV GO app, and, W5 50th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL celebrates 50 years of investigative journalism since its debut on Sept. 11, 1966. Lead by Robertson, the one-hour special delivers a powerful journey through key moments from the thousands of topical, relevant, and investigative stories in the program’s archives that have powered W5’s enduring role as a vital Canadian whistleblower and storyteller.

W5 50th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL opens with Robertson at Toronto’s City Hall, the location of W5’s first-ever story about how easy it was to buy a gun and potentially wreak havoc in a public place. Though 50 years old and shot on black and white film, the story’s images are hauntingly familiar in today’s atmosphere of increasing gun violence across North America. From that point on W5 never looked back, boldly turning the lens on controversial topics and forging its reputation for raising important issues never before explored on national television.

W5 50th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL adds context to 50 years of stories with comment from those who reported and produced some of those stories. From thousands of stories in the archives, the special program highlights the issues and people who made a difference. What was it like in the 1960s when repressive laws forced homosexuals to live in a culture of secrecy and fear? Why did Margaret Trudeau choose W5 to tell the nation about her mental health back in 1974? What was it about W5’s 1993 report on New Zealand that prompted Canadian politicians to finally tackle the problem of government debt? W5’s look back demonstrates the program’s longstanding mission to tackle the hottest issues, investigate schemes and scandal, meet the game-changers, and confront those who try to hide behind a wall of secrecy.

Launched in 1966 with a mission to deliver tough, relevant stories guided by the journalistic principles and practices of truth, accuracy, fairness, and accountability – and the five W’s that embody its very name: Who, What, When, Where, Why – W5was a forerunner and direct inspiration for CBS’ acclaimed 60 MINUTES.

Since its inception, W5 has delivered stories by prominent journalists who have hosted the program, including the program’s first host Peter Reilly, along with Ken Cavanaugh, Eric Malling, W5’s first female reporter Trina McQueen, Carole Taylor, Dennis McIntosh, Susan Ormiston, and up to today’s unparalleled team featuring Robertson and Newman, along with Victor Malarek, Sandie Rinaldo, and CTV News’ Chief Anchor and Senior Editor, Lisa LaFlamme. Behind the camera over the past five decades have been teams of the best producers, researchers, camera operators, editors, and sound recordists in journalism.

Canada’s top-rated and longest-running documentary program, W5 closed out its 50th season (2015/16) as the #1 non-sports program in its timeslot among total viewers and adults (A18+ and A25-54), reaching 2.4 million unique viewers in Canada on average for each episode. W5’s MR. PRIME MINISTER, an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, just days after he led the Liberal Party to an historic majority win in Canada’s 2015 Federal Election, attracted an average audience of 1.1 million viewers (2+), making it the most-watched episode of the season.

Among the countless prestigious awards and accolades received by W5, the program was awarded the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. Traditionally honouring the work of individuals, it was the first time the Gordon Sinclair Award was given to a television series. This past June, W5 was also awarded the RTDNA Trina McQueen Award as Best News Information Program.


Link: Neck deep in skinny basic folly

From Greg O’Brien at Cartt:

Link: Neck deep in skinny basic folly
Last month I spent almost an hour on the phone with the CBC’s Maritime Noon telling callers that no, the cable and telecom companies aren’t ripping you off by pulling channels like Sportsnet and CTV News Channel out of basic. The carriers want to offer that in a basic package and the Commission forced them to take those out. Continue reading.