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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

CBC announces fall broadcast dates for new and returning series

From a media release:

CBC today announced premiere dates for its fall 2016 television season, featuring a diverse and uniquely Canadian slate of six new and 18 returning series including premium drama and comedy, cutting-edge news and investigative content, original documentaries and engaging factual, arts, kids, daytime and sports programming.

New primetime series include THIS IS HIGH SCHOOL (6×60), premiering Sun. Oct 2, which will offer unprecedented and unfiltered access to real life at a Canadian high school; comedy KIM’S CONVENIENCE (13×30), the funny, heartfelt story of a Korean-Canadian family running a convenience store in Toronto, premiering Tues. Oct. 4; and political thriller SHOOT THE MESSENGER (8×60), premiering Mon. Oct. 10, which centres on the complex relationships between crime reporters and the police.

CBC’s daytime programming welcomes the highly anticipated one-hour weekday program THE GOODS on Mon. Oct 3, hosted by Steven Sabados, Jessi Cruickshank, Shahir Massoud and Andrea Bain, who will offer playful inspiration and information on home, style, food and wellness; while new Kids’ CBC original series include the Tues. Sept 6 world premiere of animated adventure DOT. (52×11), based on the children’s book by entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg, and photography competition series SNAPSHOTS (6×30), premiering Sat. Sept. 10.

Returning for new seasons are CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON (season 3); DRAGONS’ DEN (season 11); EXHIBITIONISTS (season 2); HEARTLAND (season 10); HELLO GOODBYE (season 2); MR. D (season 6); MURDOCH MYSTERIES (season 10); RICK MERCER REPORT (season 14); THE ROMEO SECTION (season 2); THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (season 24); and THIS LIFE (season 2). Also returning are acclaimed news and investigative programs MARKETPLACE (season 44) and the fifth estate (season 42); thought-provoking documentary series FIRSTHAND (season 2); David Suzuki’s THE NATURE OF THINGS (season 56); and weekly CBC Sports series ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES.  THE MOBLEES (season 2) and BIG BLOCK SINGSONG (season 3) return for new seasons on Kids’ CBC.

The complete CBC fall premiere schedule is as follows:

7:45 a.m. (8:15 NT) — The Moblees

8 a.m. (8:30 NT) — Dot. *NEW SERIES*

8:23 a.m. (8:53 NT) — Big Block Singsong

9 a.m. (9:30 NT) — Snapshots *NEW SERIES*

4:30 p.m. (5:00 NT) – Exhibitionists

7 p.m. (7:30 NT) — Heartland

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — This is High School *NEW SERIES*

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — This Life

2 p.m. (2:30 NT) — The Goods *NEW SERIES*

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Rick Mercer Report

8:30 p.m. (9 NT) — This Hour Has 22 Minutes

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — Kim’s Convenience *NEW SERIES*

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Dragons’ Den

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — The Romeo Section

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — The Nature of Things: “Pompeii’s People”

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — Firsthand: “Road to Mercy”

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Murdoch Mysteries

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — Shoot the Messenger *NEW SERIES*

9:30 p.m. (10 NT) — Mr. D

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Marketplace

8:30 p.m. (9 NT) — Hello Goodbye

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — the fifth estate

4 p.m. ET (1 pm PT) — Road to the Olympic Games

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Canada’s Smartest Person


YTV prepares for more mischief and mayhem with two new Bruno & Boots TV movies from Gordon Korman’s Macdonald Hall series

From a media release:

YTV gets ready for more pranks from the infamous troublemakers at Macdonald Hall Boys’ School with the start of production on two new original television movies –  Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall and Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War. Based on the much-loved Macdonald Hall series by best-selling young adult author Gordon Korman, the movies are produced by Aircraft Pictures and filmed in Hamilton, Ontario. Reprising their starring roles from Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool are Jonny Gray (Max & Shred, Ride) and Callan Potter (The Other Kingdom), Peter Keleghan (18 To Life, Murdoch Mysteries) and Caroline Rhea (Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Phineas and Ferb).

In This Can’t be Happing at Macdonald Hall, Headmaster Sturgeon has had enough. In an attempt to put an end to Bruno and Boots’ high jinks, he declares that they are to be separated; no shared classes and, most certainly, no shared dorm room. This punishment is worse than anything the boys could have imagined. However, if Bruno and Boots can alienate every boy in Dormitory 3, Sturgeon will be forced to re-unite them. The plot almost succeeds, but one misstep forces the girls from the Scrimmage Academy for Education and Awakening to move into Macdonald Hall, leaving Bruno and Boots back where they started.

In The Wizzle War, the Boards of Directors launch an experimental educational program, introducing authoritarian Assistant Headmaster Mr. Wizzle to the boys of Macdonald Hall and the miserable Assistant Headmistress Ms. Peabody to whip the girls of the Scrimmage Academy into shape. With new dress codes, psychological testing, and early-morning wake-up calls with track laps as punishment, the boys and girls decide Wizzle and Peabody have to go. But how? As they pull out all the stops, they ultimately turn to the theory that “love conquers all” to oust the pair once and for all.

Returning cast also includes Hannah Vandenbygaart (Make it Pop), Kiana Madeira (Really Me, My Babysitter’s a Vampire), Joshua Kilimnik (Backstage, Odd Squad), Drew Haytaoglu (Anne of Green Gables), Isiah Lea (The Stanley Dynamic), Jayne Eastwood (Little Mosque On The Prairie) and Scott Thompson (Kids In The Hall).  Joining the cast for the first time in Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War are Kathleen Phillips (Mr. D, Sunnyside) as Ms. Peabody and Matt Baram (Make It Pop, Seed) as Mr. Wizzle.

As part of Corus Entertainment’s commitment to creating premium kids content, Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall and Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War join more than 350 hours of new and returning original programming airing across Corus’ suite of leading Kids networks in 2017. The movies are also produced with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund and Shaw Rocket Fund.

Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall and Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War are produced by Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen of Aircraft Pictures (Raising ExpectationsTodd and the Book of Pure Evil) and directed by Vivieno Caldinelli (Bruno & Boots: Go Jump In The PoolThis Hour has 22 Minutes). The screenplay forThis Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall was written by Adam Barken and Mike McPhaden and the screenplay for The Wizzle War was written by Mike McPhaden.


Ira Parker’s “magical realism” comes to CBC’s Four in the Morning

Ira Parker’s budding writing career couldn’t be more different. Last year saw him writing and co-producing the DirecTV drama Rogue. This year? He’s not only part of the writing and producing team of The Last Ship, Michael Bay’s explosive end-of-the-world adventure headed into a fourth season, but his own project, Four in the Morning.

But where the characters on The Last Ship are larger than life, those in Four in the Morning are totally relatable. Debuting Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC, the eight half-hour instalments catch up with a quartet of twentysomething friends who discuss life through the alcoholic haze of early-morning, where answers are simple, succinct and brilliant. Because alcohol. Starring Michelle Mylett as Jamie, Daniel Maslany as Bondurant, Lola Tash as Mitzi and Mazin Elsadig as William, Four in the Morning fits perfectly in CBC’s primetime lineup, an unconventional comedy with twists of the absurd, something Parker calls “magical realism.”

Four in the Morning couldn’t be any more different from The Last Ship.
Ira Parker: It’s true. I always thought that my first show coming out of grad school would be a comedy. And then I got on to Rogue, which is maybe the least comedic series in the history of the world. All of a sudden, this drama thing started taking off. Then I got a call from Serendipity Point Films, saying CBC loved the show and we were going to make a first season. I was like, ‘Cool, I guess we’re going back to this.’ I wrote the pilot script for Four in the Morning, like, four or five years ago. I wrote that in grad school and it was great to sit down and dig back into that world.

It must have been interesting to go back and revisit those days, days when your mindset was in a very different place.
It was different. I think, certainly, having some space away from it gave me some perspective and informed the writing going forward. But I had a season mapped out in my mind a long time ago. I knew I was in good hands with the producers, who were on board with this odd little feature. Writing on The Last Ship is very navy intensive and requires a lot of reading and research; with Four in the Morning I get to just sit down and write what naturally comes out of me.

I’ve watched the first two episodes of the series and I really liked it. A friend of mine described it as Woody Allen-esque whereas I thought it presented very much like a play. Was that what you were going for?
It’s funny that you say that the first episode was like a play, because that was the goal of the pilot episode, to make it feel like a play. We started with 15 pages in the diner, and then a long walk and talk. Episode 2, to me at least, feels almost like our most standard episode, but we do have a long intro that is heavy on dialogue in the diner.

(l-r) Michelle Mylett, Mazin Elsadig, Daniel Maslany, Lola Tash

Were you in your 20s when you wrote the initial pilot?
I wrote this when I was in my mid-20s. In Episode 2, we talk about life and death, the existential crises that we all get into arguments about at that time of the morning. In Episode 1, we talk about jealousy and letting that fester until it comes out later on. Each episode is really about that rather than specific moments and things that happened to me over many, many long nights at four o’clock in the morning.

Let’s talk about the writing process. Did you do it all on your own and what were the challenges of bringing to life four very different voices?
Yes, I penned all the episodes on my own, but I also had Daniel Goldfarb—who is a playwright in New York City, worked on Rogue and is a dear friend of mine—who came in and we spent a week together. Once we got picked up, we were on this incredible timeline, so we spent a week together breaking the stories for the whole season. That was very, very helpful to me.

Delving into the characters … each one of them is based a little bit on me or friends I have. Putting it all together came out of moments and situations that we put them in.

What do you want viewers to come away with when they tune in to Four in the Morning?
Twenty-two minutes of entertainment. There’s nothing else that I’m going for here. Everything that needs to be said about people in the 20s has been said very well by a lot of TV shows. Creating something that is entertaining to people is the ultimate goal of this.

Four in the Morning airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on CBC.


Alakazam! YTV conjures up magical mind-bending pranks in new original series Tricked

From a media release:

YTV is making magic this fall with the debut of the new Canadian original series, Tricked (20 x 30). Produced for YTV by Force Four Entertainment, and hosted by veteran magician Eric Leclerc, Tricked baffles unsuspecting people with magic, sleight-of-hand, and super sneaky pranks. The series premieres on Monday, September 5 at 7:30 pm ET/PT and will air Monday to Thursday on YTV.

In each episode of Tricked, Eric goes undercover to pull well-crafted pranks on unsuspecting people, all caught on tape by hidden cameras. Well-known from his popular YouTube videos, which have garnered more than 10 million views worldwide, Eric performs illusions, misdirection and mind-reading tricks that will leave viewers in awe and disbelief day after day.

More magical content will be uploaded on and YTVGo featuring tricks of the trade and tutorials on how to prank family and friends with magic that can be done at home. Also available online are videos revealing secrets from Tricked’s “Magic Camp,” where Eric and the magic team taught kids tricks using household items, which they then performed on camera.

Tricked is based on the highly successful ITV Studios UK show, of the same name. The YTV series results from a deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, the international distributor of the format. It has been adapted by Force Four for Corus Entertainment’s YTV.