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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Link: Andrew Younghusband of Don’t Drive Here

From Amber Dowling of The TV Junkies:

Don’t Drive Here host is Canada’s Louis C.K.
Andrew Younghusband is to Canadian reality TV what Louis C.K.–who infamously oversees every department on his award-winning series Louie–is to comedy on FX. The Newfoundland native not only stars in two series as the host, but he also produces, writes and edits them as well, leaving him very little time for anything else. So for those wondering why the sophomore season of Discovery’s Don’t Drive Here is only six episodes long, consider the health of the guy putting the show together. Continue reading.

Link: CTV’s W5 cuts positions and episodes

From the Canadian Press:

CTV axes seven W5 producers, reduces number of episodes
CTV has made deep cuts to its flagship newsmagazine show W5, blaming falling advertising revenues and changing viewer habits. Bell Media, which runs CTV, said Friday that seven contract positions on the production team at W5 were not renewed. As a result, the network is trimming the number of episodes it will air this season to 14 from the usual 23. Continue reading.

Canadian scores lead in Saved by the Bell TV-movie

saved

From a media release:

– Buzzworthy film gives fans a closer look at the alleged drama behind-the-scenes of the classic teen sitcom –

– Canadian and former DEGRASSI star Dylan Everett portrays SAVED BY THE BELL lead Mark-Paul Gosselaar –

– Leading into the film’s premiere, fans can catch up on their favourite episodes of SAVED BY THE BELL with the five-hour M3 Labour Day marathon, THE BEST OF THE BELL –

The year was 1989. Slater’s acid-washed jeans were a fashion must-have, everyone wanted Zack’s over-sized brick phone, and Jessie’s momentary caffeine pill addiction was the talk of the water cooler. SAVED BY THE BELL, a pillar of 90s pop culture, was required watching for those growing up in that decade, and continues to be referenced today. Now, to mark the series’ 25th anniversary, M3 delivers all the behind-the-scenes drama of the teen sitcom with the exclusive premiere of THE UNAUTHORIZED SAVED BY THE BELL STORY, Monday, Sept. 1 at 9 p.m. ET. With U.S. Casting by Robin Lippin, the original casting director of SAVED BY THE BELL, the film stars Dylan Everett (DEGRASSI) as Mark-Paul Gosselaar, a.k.a. “Zack”, Sam Kindseth (SHAMELESS) as Dustin Diamond, a.k.a. “Screech”, Julian Works (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) as Mario Lopez, a.k.a. “Slater”, Tiera Skovbye (SUPERNATURAL) as Elizabeth Berkley, a.k.a. “Jessie”, Taylor Russell McKenzie (Blink) as Lark Voorhies, a.k.a. “Lisa”, and newcomer Alyssa Lynch as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, a.k.a. “Kelly”.

The film tracks the unauthorized story of the off-camera lives of SAVED BY THE BELL’s stars, exploring the challenges and long-rumoured rifts cast members faced, as they juggled trying to maintain a wholesome image with growing up in front of the camera. THE UNAUTHORIZED SAVED BY THE BELL STORY dramatizes the alleged behind-the-scenes troubles that took place during the show’s initial run between 1989 and 1993. From promiscuity, to fights and drug use, no topic is off limits in the two-hour TV event.

Preceding THE UNAUTHORIZED SAVED BY THE BELL STORY, M3 gives viewers a chance to catch up on classic episodes of SAVED BY THE BELL in a five-hour marathon, THE BEST OF THE BELL, Monday, Sept. 1 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The mega-marathon features fan favourite episodes including “No Hope with Dope” about the gang’s first exposure to drugs, “Last Dance” when Kelly begins to fall for her boss, and “Rockumentary”, when Zack Attack, the gang’s band, gets a push from Casey Kasem.

Listener

The Listener cast says goodbye

It’s the end of the road for Toby Logan and The Listener gang. After five seasons on the air, the drama–about crime-solving telepath Toby (Craig Olejnik)–signs off this Monday night. The situation is bittersweet for a cast that includes Lauren Lee Smith, Ennis Esmer and Rainbow Sun Francks; after all, the show is closing down after delivering consistently impressive ratings of over a million viewers each week. Still, the cast realize television is a volatile business and though they’d have loved to see the show go on, they’re not dwelling on it.

Monday’s “In Our Midst” sees Toby, Michelle and Dev investigating possible dirty dealings between Becker and disgraced former cop Curtis Maynard (Noam Jenkins). And while the cast were mum on the details, they were more than willing to reveal their thoughts on The Listener, their message to the loyal fans and hinting as to what’s next for each of them.

Lauren Lee Smith (Michelle McCluskey)
Thoughts on playing Michelle

“Michelle has grown so much. Every season there have been these crazy changes and the show has really sort of re-invented itself, which as an actor is really fun to play.”

Message to the fans
“The fans are the reason we’ve had any success. The fans are the reason that we make this show. A giant thank you from the bottom of my heart for watching us week to week for the past five seasons. It’s been an incredible journey with them and without them we wouldn’t have had five seasons of a Canadian show.”

What’s next?
“I’m in Montreal doing a show called Ascension [for Syfy and CBC] where I have a five-episode arc as a really dark, dark, dark character. I have a movie coming out called If I Stay and then Ennis and I are doing a movie called How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town. The title alone gives you an impression of what that’s all about!”

Rainbow Sun Francks (Dev Clark)
Thoughts on playing Dev
“Dev is one of those characters that could just go and do his job and be a robot. It was a new skill set for me to play a techie guy, so it took me awhile to get his story and bring out his humanity. It was all about the writing and finding those little moments in myself and having the writers see that and give me some more. It was a really interesting journey with this guy. He turned out to be a really likeable, fun character.”

The importance of Twitter and connecting with fans
“I love connecting with my Twitter friends. It’s so quick. The thing about the 140 characters is limiting but a great thing because it doesn’t allow you to be too long-winded. One we did the live tweeting, or ‘twatching’ as we called it, it really changed the effect of the show.”

What’s next?
“I’m having a viewing party on Monday at my [Toronto] bar, Ravage & Rumble and I encourage anyone to come down. It’s not a giant entertainment space, but it’s a quaint little space on Queen Street West and I’m going to set up a big TV and a projector and we’ll have a last ‘twitch’ together and have a really, really good time.”

Ennis Esmer (Oz Bey)
Thoughts on playing Oz
“This is the first time I’ve been a regular character on a series and it’s made my career, basically. That’s something that I’ve always appreciated. We had great people on the set all the time that kept you honest and reminded you that it was a team effort. I will miss everyone.”

Message to the fans
“I have come to fall in love with every fan of The Listener over the last five years. The FanExpo session that we did last year really made me realize what the show meant to people. I got this email from a girl in Slovenia who emailed me to say she was a huge fan of the show and watching you guys got me through some tough times and you were always good for a laugh. I really appreciated that. Even people who come up to me on the street and say, ‘Wow, you look thinner on the show!’ it’s all appreciated.”

What’s next?
“I’m looking forward to the Oz spinoff that we’re working on right now. It’s called Look Who’s Listening Now. Oz moves to Seattle … well, rural Washington … and he starts up a phone-in therapy chat show. Aaron Abrams is playing the studio manager is a real rough and tumble guy sort of producer who clashes with my dainty, refined sensibilities as an on-air therapist. I’m looking forward to it, and we’re breaking scripts next week.” [Editor's note: he's kidding.]

Craig Olejnik (Toby Logan)
Thoughts on playing Toby
“I’ve held on to Toby Logan since the pilot and it ebbs and flows and changes. It is still slowly trickling out of me. I said to my girlfriend, ‘I think Toby Logan is dead!’ It’s like I was possessed of something. [Laughs.]”

Message to the fans
“A deep thanks. Thanks for sticking with us and supporting us and watching us loyally every week and for bumping into us and showing joy for the show. It’s been incredibly rewarding. We do these things in closed sets and environments and to have people come out in your day-to-day life in the grocery store or whatever and tell you that they love the show really makes it all worthwhile.”

What’s next?
“I’m down in California laying my roots here to move on to the next level. Once you’ve been the lead on a show in Canada, the next thing is you gotta come down here to go a little higher and then you can reach another threshold in Canada. We’re lucky to be Canadian and have access to the Canadian and American market. I don’t want to really produce or write or direct or anything like that. I just want to be a for-hire actor.

The Listener series finale airs Monday, Aug. 18, at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

Do you have a message for the cast of The Listener? Let them know via their Twitter feed! Follow Greg on Twitter.