TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 20
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Bell introduces CraveTV streaming service

bell_media

From a media release:

Premium television, for $4/month. At a press conference this morning, Kevin Crull, President, Bell Media introduced Canada to CraveTV™, the company’s next-generation subscription on-demand video streaming service launching Thursday, Dec. 11. Costing about as much as a latte, CraveTV brings simplicity, ubiquity, accessibility, and premium content to Canadian TV lovers at an unbeatable value.

With a singular focus on delivering the best TV content of yesterday and today, CraveTV is designed to complement Canada’s current TV offerings as an additive service featuring exclusive, premium programming, all at an affordable price.

CraveTV Hallmarks:

Premium Content
With content from all key Hollywood major and independent studios, CraveTV features thousands of hours of programming not found anywhere else. At launch, nearly 65% of the entire CraveTV catalogue is exclusive to the service, with more exclusive titles to be added regularly.

CraveTV provides subscribers with the largest collection of premium content in one place. The programming catalogue falls into three categories – exclusive past-season content, featuring back seasons of television biggest programs currently on air; an extensive and exclusive library, featuring complete catalogues of some of the best TV series that have ever aired; and original series never before seen in Canada. In its first year, CraveTV will feature more than 10,000 hours of premium, non-kids, TV content, representing more than 600 unique titles, including:

· the entire off-air library of HBO’s iconic programming catalogue, including THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE, and SEX AND THE CITY;
· an unmatchable comedy slate headlined by SEINFELD and including THE BIG BANG THEORY, CHEERS, FRASIER, and CORNER GAS;
· an exclusive catalogue featuring every single episode of MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS;
· exclusive CraveTV originals: programming that will launch first in Canada on CraveTV, including MANHATTAN, BOSCH, and DEADBEAT;
· a Superhero collection headlined by some of the most-watched television programs currently on air including ARROW and, later in 2015, THE FLASH;
· a Sci-Fi & Fantasy collection led by genre blockbusters ORPHAN BLACK and DOCTOR WHO, and featuring all six series comprising the complete STAR TREK TV collection;
· an iconic Music Collection – TV programming expressly dedicated to music and its legends, including FOO FIGHTERS: SONIC HIGHWAYS, and CLASSIC ALBUMS;
· additional premium drama programming from Hollywood and the U.K. including MASTERS OF SEX, NURSE JACKIE, PERSON OF INTEREST, HOMELAND, THE FOLLOWING, GRACELAND, THE FALL, DALLAS, THE LAST SHIP, and UTOPIA;
· and the most-watched and most-acclaimed original Canadian primetime scripted programming, featuring SAVING HOPE, MOTIVE, 19-2, FLASHPOINT, and DEGRASSI.

Value
Truly complementary, CraveTV does not attempt to duplicate existing services, and as a result is able to deliver best-in-class, premium TV programming at an incredible value. CraveTV delivers more to subscribers by allowing them to marathon-watch best-in-class programming for just $4/month.

Accessibility
CraveTV delivers to subscribers access to the service on the platform of their choice, including on their traditional on-demand service via their set-top box. In addition, CraveTV will be available at launch on iOS, including Airplay, as well as Android handsets and tablets via the CraveTV app, and online at CraveTV.ca. And early next year CraveTV will be available on the Xbox gaming consoles, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Samsung Smart TVs, and Chromecast.

Ubiquity
With an objective of getting CraveTV into as many Canadian homes as possible, Bell Media has offered the service to all TV providers. Previously, Bell Media announced distribution partnerships for CraveTV with TELUS Optik TV, Bell Fibe TV, Bell Aliant FibreOP TV, and Bell Satellite TV at launch. Today, Bell Media confirmed that Eastlink is the latest distribution partner for CraveTV and will make the service available at launch, while Northwestel and other Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA) members will also provide the service soon.

Link: In praise of Doyle (the fictional one)

From John Doyle:

‘We’re going to make a movie … so stay tuned.” That’s what Allan Hawco, who plays Jake Doyle, said recently. So there – good news about Republic of Doyle. (CBC, Wednesday, 9 p.m.) Oh yeah.

Tonight’s episode takes place almost entirely inside a series of small rooms. There’s an awful lot of talk. Just talk. The tires on Jake Doyle’s GTO are not screechin’. There are no varmints being chased thither and yon around the sun-filled streets of St. John’s. There isn’t even a dame to get Jake going all “Hello, darlin’…” Continue reading.

Charlie’s befuddled season on Saving Hope

Saving Hope’s Michael Shanks is quick to laugh when asked about the rough go his character Charlie has been having on the show this season—having just been dumped by his ex-wife, recent rebound and potential baby momma after only just losing the love of his life when yet another marriage proposal went awry.

“I don’t think any season’s been particularly kind to Charlie, come to think of it,” he says. “Erica [Durance] and I make jokes all the time that it’s kind of a sport for our writers to put them through the blender and see what comes out the other side. I think if the characters were happy we wouldn’t have any drama left in the show, but this season has been another run through the grist mill for old Chuck, and he’s a little confused at the moment.”

In fact, the word Shanks keeps bringing up to describe his character’s current state is “befuddled,” especially after having things go suddenly and spectacularly south with Alex (Durance), and he expects that emotion will carry into finding out Alex has picked things up with her old flame, Joel (Daniel Gillies), again. As he says, “Given the fact he’s aware what happened between them before and aware of how Alex felt about it, to see her go down that road again is going to be a little perplexing to him.”

Added to that is his ex-wife’s series of baby bombshells, yet again teasing the possibility of Charlie becoming a dad. Shanks admits to having some misgivings when Season 1 brought up the possibility of Alex being pregnant while it wasn’t clear if Charlie would ever wake up (he jokingly suggests the thee kids he has to Charlie’s zero might be an influence), but says the writers are certain the character wants to be a dad. Just maybe not with Dawn.

Behind the scenes, Shanks is also stepping up. Season 3’s fourth episode, “Stand By Me,” marked his first time directing for the series—he previously directed an episode of Stargate SG-1 and some of Saving Hope’s webisodes last season.

“You have new people to prove yourself to, and prove your interest and prove your expertise, so I worked my way up to the point where they were going to trust me to direct one and I think it worked out well. I enjoy the artistic stance in terms of [having] a larger part of the control of the storytelling process. It’s something I want to continue to do, but we’ll take it step by step.”

Though he’s less certain whether he’d want to take up writing for the show the way he did on Stargate.

“There’s very much a structured hierarchy when it comes to writing—more than the other departments in the television world,” he explains. “There’s a protocol that goes up the food chain when you’re starting off writing, and a lot of things that come out the other end are not always yours even though they have your name attached to it. So it can be a little bit frustrating to be writing for television. I can empathize with a lot of the writers, especially the ones that are further down the trough.”

Still, he goes on, “That being said, if I do get the time over the hiatus, I wouldn’t mind taking a crack at writing a story.”

Saving Hope airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Review: Blackstone’s brutal truths

“I don’t need anyone!” Gail’s petulant scream to Greg and Leona during “Truth or Dare” marked the troubled woman at her lowest. Despite promising Leona (and why does Leona continue to believe her??) she could watch Wendy, Gail relapsed into a drug and booze-induced haze. Exactly at the wrong time: when Harold came by to check on Wendy. Finding the girl playing alone while food burned on the stove and Gail passed out, he took Wendy into custody in front of a wildly slurring Gail, highly peeved Greg and horribly betrayed Leona.

If Leona does get Wendy back–and that is a big if–I wouldn’t suggest she leave her alone with Gail anymore. The responsibility is just too much for Gail to handle. Michelle Thrush was once again great in her portrayal, but she was upstaged by co-star Carmen Moore in Damon Vignale’s script.

When Moore’s Leona wasn’t running around trying to get Wendy back she was delving deep into the situation concerning Trisha, Marnie and getting them safely returned to Blackstone. The key to her success ran straight through Alex and she showed grit, determination (and balls) by giving him an ultimatum: contact the girls or get the hell out of Blackstone. Once Platt and Stu had the two safely in custody, Leona pleaded with Marnie for the location of the warehouse. Platt and Stu descended, and while the place was empty, at least the investigation is moving forward.

Almost on the back burner was another fine performance by Eric Schweig. Andy was more successful during his second meeting with Dr. Crowshoe. Her questions about what he views as love–he equates it with providing a home for his family–caused him to drop his tough-guy façade ever so briefly and revealed a man confused and hurt. That revelation was indeed brief: in his next scene he was beating the crap out of Darrien in the prison yard, a move orchestrated by the latter so that he’d be put into the infirmary where he no doubt plans to escape from.

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on APTN.

DHX Media to acquire Nerd Corps

unnamed

From a media release:

DHX Media Ltd. (“DHX” or the “Company”) (TSX: DHX.A, DHX.B), a key player internationally in the creation of content for families and children, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Nerd Corps Entertainment Inc. and its subsidiaries (“Nerd Corps”). The purchase price will be up to $57 million, inclusive of excess cash in Nerd Corps at closing, to be determined as a post-closing adjustment. The price is payable as to up to $32.7 million from cash and the remainder through the issuance of 2,963,748 DHX shares. DHX expects the transaction to be accretive to net earnings per share for fiscal 2015. Nerd Corps recorded unaudited fiscal 2013 revenues of approximately $20.0 million, and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $10.6 million. Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions including the receipt of bank and Toronto Stock Exchange consent, and is anticipated to close by December 24, 2014.

The acquisition increases DHX’s operating leverage, adding Nerd Corps’ animation studio in Vancouver, BC, which features five lines of production, as well as Nerd Corps’ interactive apps, gaming expertise, and licensing opportunities with Nerd Corps’ brands. The transaction brings more than 200 half hours of proprietary children’s content to DHX’s library, including the hit comedy adventure series, Slugterra, which has been broadcast in more than 150 countries and is one of the most popular titles on Disney XD in both Canada and the US.

Nerd Corps co-founder Asaph “Ace” Fipke will be joining the DHX Content team in the role of Chief Content Officer, Kids & Family, reporting to DHX President and Chief Operating Officer, Steven DeNure; and Nerd Corps President, Ken Faier, will come on board at DHX Content as Senior VP and General Manager, Kids & Family.