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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Discovery unveils fall schedule; Highway Thru Hell & Worst Driver return dates

From a media release:

On the heels of a tremendous broadcast year that saw Discovery reclaim its position as the #1 entertainment specialty channel among total viewers while maintaining its lead among key demos in primetime*, the network today unveiled its Fall 2015 lineup. Featuring the return of fan-favourite hits mixed with several newly acquired titles, Discovery’s fall season kicks off with an early start for perenial favourite MYTHBUSTERS airing Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT beginning Aug. 23. The premieres ramp up with the Season 21 premiere of Discovery’s flagship daily science magazine program DAILY PLANET on Monday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, followed by the season premiere of EDGE OF ALASKA at 9 p.m. ET/PT and new series TREASURE QUEST: SNAKE ISLAND at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Then, following the Labour Day long weekend, Discovery’s massive Tuesday night lineup launches when Jamie Davis and his heavy vehicle rescue company return for a thrilling new season of the homegrown hit HIGHWAY THRU HELL beginning Sept. 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT,immediately following the debut of highly anticipated new series PACIFIC WARRIORS (9 p.m. ET/PT). But first, Tuesday nights get started with a new season of another Canadian favourite, FOOL’S GOLD (8 p.m. ET).

The premieres continue throughout September and into October with another new title appearing on Discovery – CUBAN CHROME airing Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 3. New titles will also debut across the Discovery suite of channels through September and October (highlights below).

Discovery’s Fall 2015 Premiere Dates:

Sunday, Aug. 23

7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT


So exactly how hard is it to find a needle in a haystack, anyway? And can water dripping on your forehead really drive you insane? These are the kinds of questions, myths, and urban legends put to the test in this humorous series.

Monday, Aug. 31

7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT


Co-hosts Dan Riskin and Ziya Tong serve up another season of wonderful, weird, and watercooler-worthy stories from around the world. Feeding the need for speed with race cars and rocket ships, and inspired by the newest generation of inventors and adventurers,DAILY PLANET provides an all-access pass to the gadgets, gizmos, and tech toys that are shaping the future.

9 p.m. ET/PT


Hidden deep in the wilderness of eastern Alaska is the toughest town in America: McCarthy. Once considered the state’s very own “Sin City”, McCarthy is now an isolated town surrounded by extreme wilderness – a refuge for people who don’t want to be found. While some believe in continuing the town’s frontier way of life, others feel the future of McCarthy hinges on it pushing forward into the modern age.

10 p.m. ET/PT


In 1524, a horde of Incan gold – known as the “Treasure of the Trinity” – was stolen. For 500 years, Jesuit priests and privateers such as Thomas Cavendish and mathematician Paul Thiry have searched for this legendary bounty. Now a new theory has emerged about the treasure’s possible location – a remote locale home to thousands of deadly vipers. The series features a team of the world’s top explorers as they set out on a two-month journey to find the priceless treasure.

Thursday, Sept. 3

8 p.m. ET/PT

HOW IT’S MADE: DREAM CARS (New Season – World Premiere)

HOW IT’S MADE: DREAM CARS lifts the hood to reveal how luxury cars are made, learning about their inner workings and showcasing their gorgeous interiors. For each “dream car” featured, distinguishing features are brought into focus and celebrated during exhilarating test drives on private courses.

10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT


Through “A Lo Cubano” Car Club, a passionate group of car enthusiasts, restorers, mechanics, and apprentices, the series explores the challenges and joys of life in Cuba, presenting an authentic look into the club’s culture of passion, grit, determination, and ingenuity.

Tuesday, Sept. 8

8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT

FOOL’S GOLD (New Season – World Premiere)

The Shotgun Exploration crew is back at Straw Lake in their hunt for gold. Armed with greater knowledge, new equipment, and hopefully better luck to help them avoid going broke, the crew hopes to strike it rich.

9 p.m. ET/PT


This new series follows the only commercial fishermen haul their catch from a kayak…alone. With only a paddle, these brave Hawaiian men and women venture out to catch some of the most desirable fish in the sea, relying on brute strength to pull in 500-pound Marlin, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Ono.

10 p.m. ET/PT

HIGHWAY THRU HELL (New Season – World Premiere)
It’s man versus Mother Nature and the toughest men in the towing business being pushed to their breaking point. The stakes are high – lives, the economy, and thousands of jobs depend on the highways staying open. Building on last season’s risky gamble to expand his heavy recovery operation from the B.C. mountains into the frozen Alberta north, Jamie Davis is tackling new highways this year and facing bigger wrecks than ever before.

Wednesday, Sept. 9

10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT


Pilots pursue aircraft across the country slated for repossession.

Thursdays, Sept. 10

9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

FAST N’ LOUD (New Season)

FAST N’ LOUD follows Rawlings and Kaufmann as they return derelict rides to their former glory and get them back on the road – but not without putting their own hot-rod spin on them first.

Sunday, Sept. 13

9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

YUKON MEN (New Season)

Tanana, Alaska on the Yukon River, a frozen village of 200 people, is at the junction of two powerful rivers at the edge of civilization. With no roads in or out, wolves howl through the frigid night air, reminding residents just how isolated they really are.

10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT


Each week, a new pair of complete and total strangers – one man and one woman – find themselves stranded in and, quite literally, exposed to some of the world’s most extreme weather environments. The duos are left high and dry with no food, no water…or clothing!

Monday, Sept. 14

8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT

HOW IT’S MADE (New Season – World Premiere)

A closer look at how everyday things are manufactured. Each episode features three to four products, with the mix consisting of everyday items including jeans, aluminum foil, and cereal, as well as less common products like wax figurines, braille typewriters, and pinball machines.

Monday, Oct. 26

10 p.m. ET/PT


Viewers follow eight drivers, each nominated by a friend or family member, as they are put through the paces in a controlled driving environment and evaluated by a panel of experts. Each episode features tried-and-tested challenges designed to push the drivers to their limits. Each driver must first master basic training and then more advanced techniques in order to graduate. If they don’t, they could be crowned “Canada’s Worst Driver”.

Interview: Spun Out’s Paul Campbell on Season 2 and beyond

Paul Campbell hates feeling like the lazy dude among his friends. That’s why the Vancouver native, while chatting about Season 2 of Spun Out last November, had several other projects on the go. (One of those projects, Beyond Repair, came to fruition.) At the time we spoke, Campbell was in the middle of shooting Spun Out and reflected on the changes behind the scenes at CTV’s original comedy, including dropping the live audience.

What was your initial reaction when you found out Season 2 would be shot without a live audience?
Paul Campbell: Initially, I was super bummed. I didn’t really know what it would mean for the show. The Friday night live shows were such a unique experience. The reason I thought we were doing multi-cam was to get to that live show. But a friend of mine [Cobie Smulders] was on How I Met Your Mother for years and that’s how they shot that. I did go and hang out on set and saw how they did it, so in the back of my mind I thought, ‘Well, other shows do this, so there must be a reason.’

To be honest, I prefer shooting without the audience. There is much more freedom in the sense that we have the opportunity to really hone each joke. With the audience, I always felt like we couldn’t explore the laughs because they’d already heard the joke a few times. Now we can do a sixth or seventh pass on them. In that sense, the exploration is a bigger part of it than it was.

Let’s talk about Beckett. There was an on-again, off-again with Stephanie. Does that evolve in Season 2?
Absolutely. The relationship has always been fairly one-sided and there was a conversation early in Season 1 where Beckett copped to having some kind of feeling for her, but she established that she didn’t do work relationships, so that was it. In the final episode of the season he almost acted on his feelings.

For Season 2 that flame hasn’t gone away and over the course of the season they’re both dating different people but Stephanie begins to realize she can’t ignore the feelings she has for him and that comes to a head. What’s so fun is that you have this incredibly loaded relationship that has so much subtext. And that’s fun for the audience.

What was it like working with Russell Peters, when he played Nelson’s brother?
He brought his Russell Peters swagger to the set. He knows his comedy very well and brought something very different to the DLPR world. It’s great to have people come on to the show that know comedy and can bring their own character or enhance the character that was written.

Have you got some projects on the go that you’ll be writing and producing?
I’ve got several projects on the go right now and I’m hoping to be pitching them in the next few weeks. Things that could be on the air in Canada or the U.S. The development process is such a long process that to start now for something four years down the road makes complete sense. I’m so inspired by the creative community in Toronto, and when you see your friends doing their own stuff it’s really inspiring. You feel like the slacker if you’re not doing that.

Spun Out airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Super Channel original Slasher begins production; casting announced

From a media release:

Super Channel and Shaftesbury today announced casting and start of production for Slasher, an eight episode, one-hour psychological thriller series (also airing on Chiller in the U.S.). Katie McGrath (Jurassic WorldDraculaMerlin) stars as Sarah Bennett, a young woman who returns to the small town where she was born, only to find herself the centerpiece in a series of horrifying copycat murders based on the widely known, grisly killings of her parents. As the murders escalate, long-buried secrets are revealed, making everyone around her a suspect…or a victim. Sarah finds herself questioning everything and everyone around her, including her husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren, GracelandThe Killing), her grandmother Brenda Merritt (Wendy Crewson, Saving HopeRevenge), family friend Cam Henry (Steve Byers, The Man in the High Castle) and the town’s police chief, Iain Vaughn (Dean McDermott, Ecstasy, CSI).

Slasher will be filmed in Sudbury, Parry Sound and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario until October 2015. The series will premiere in 2016.

Additional cast include Mary Walsh (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Enuka Okuma (Rookie Blue),Erin Karpluk (Being Erica), Patrick Garrow (HannibalBitten), Christopher Jacot (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Mayko Nguyen (DefianceCracked), Rob Stewart (KilljoysSuits), Hannah Endicott-Douglas (Casino Jack), Shawn Ahmed (MsLabelled, Paranormal Investigators), Jessica Sipos (Dark Matter), Jefferson Brown (Rookie BlueDegrassi: The Next Generation), Mark Ghanimé (Helix), Dylan Taylor (The Lizzie Borden ChroniclesCovert Affairs), Booth Savage (Mr. D.), Victoria Snow (Cra$h & Burn), Sabrina Grdevich (Skins) and Rainbow Sun Francks (The Listener).

Developed and produced by Shaftesbury in association with Super Channel and Chiller, Slasher is written and created by Aaron Martin (KilljoysBeing Erica) and directed by Craig David Wallace (Todd and the Book of Pure Evil). Aaron Martin, Christina Jennings and Scott Garvieare executive producers. Casting by Stephanie Gorin. Content Media Corporation is the distributor. Slasher is funded with the participation of the COGECO Program Development Fund.


Preview: Six pictures teasing Wednesday’s Rookie Blue finale

This is it, Rookie Blue fans, but will McNally get to the church on time to say her vows to Sam? And who’s staying—or leaving—15 Division?

Here’s the official episode description for Wednesday’s Season 6 finale, “74 Epiphanies”:

“With the 15 Division restructuring looming, Andy and Sam’s wedding comes just in time for the gang to celebrate one last hurrah. But when Andy is taken off-course by a hitchhiker and then stranded on the side of a dead-end road with a dying man, she finds herself with no way to get help – or let Sam know she hasn’t bailed. Will she save the man’s life? Will she make it to her wedding?”

Here’s a handful of images to get you primed!


Rookie Blue‘s season finale airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

He Said/She Said: Does the CBC need fixing?

Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week, we comment on the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications’ report on how the CBC can succeed, titled “Time for Change: The CBC/Radio-Canada in the Twenty-first Century.”

He Said:

First of all, I’d suggest everyone read Kelly Lynne Ashton’s Wonk Report, explaining some of the document’s more interesting points. I totally agree with Kelly Lynne’s assertion that the report “seems mired in the Nineteenth Century,” or at the very least from before the CBC held its upfront presentation earlier this year.

If the members of the senate had been paying attention (or had been invited to that event) they would have seen and heard executive vice-president Heather Conway announce that, because of massive cuts internally and losing the NHL broadcast rights, they were already on the road to addressing challenges.

The senate report urges the public broadcaster to “emphasize Canadian artists and cultural events such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra … and the Orchestra symphony de Montreal.” Already on the books for the 2015-16 season in that category? Past CBC programming in The Canadian Country Music Association Awards, The CBC Massey Lectures, The Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canadian Screen Awards. The network’s newest CBC Arts strand will spotlight homegrown artists and musicians through series like Crash Gallery and Exhibitionists. The senate urges the CBC to air more “Interuniversity women’s and men’s sports, minor league sports, etc.” Do the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games fall under the “etc.” in the report? If so, they have that covered too.

I’m not saying the CBC is already doing all it needs to, but they’re clearly already a bit ahead of what the senate is proposing.

Recommendation 18 suggests “CBC/Radio-Canada focus on showing high-quality programs that are unlikely to be offered by commercial broadcasters,” and that was a bit of a head-scratcher. Does high-quality mean “done with a bigger budget,” using the separate “super-fund” proposed in another section of the report, or does it mean the arts programming already mentioned? I’d love to sit the members of the group down to hear what shows they’d like to see on the CBC. What would their network pitches be for possible comedy and drama projects that are different from what CTV, Global and City broadcast?

Does the CBC need fixing? Absolutely. But with the current programming lineup they have, and the new stuff planned for 2015-16, I think they’re on the right track. Do you?

She Said:

I look forward to the CBC’s upcoming report “Time for Change: The Senate in the Twenty-first Century — and I hope it’s one blank page.  

The Senate weighing in on the minutia of how our public broadcaster should adapt is possibly funnier than anything on CBC right now. And Still Standing is pretty darn funny.

The highlights of that Senate report in addition to Art Eggleton’s minority report issued shortly afterwards could be compiled into a volume called “Everything That’s Ever Been Said About How to Fix the CBC Since the Dawn of Time. ” So, not super helpful at charting a new course, Senate. 

And as Greg points out, some of the recommendations are already included in CBC’s five year strategic plan released this year: “Everyone. Every way.”  Which reminds me of the feeling I have any time I hear people’s grand plans to save the CBC: it can’t be everything to everyone, but it has to be everything to everyone.

I have my own plan to fix the CBC, but unlike the Senate I don’t think I know enough about the broadcast industry to believe I can offer detailed instructions. My report would be short: give the CBC all the money. Fund it up the wazoo with my tax money or a license fee like the BBC. Quit dragging the private networks kicking and screaming to the CanCon trough, make them pay into something like the Canadian Media Fund — or don’t, but then don’t provide them any sort of industry protection — and use all the money for CBC programming. I don’t care about the details. Just fund the CBC at least to the average level of other Western nations’ public broadcasters.

And don’t put any money toward a Senate that writes irrelevant reports and recommends Reach for the Top as the saviour of public broadcasting. Give that funding to the CBC, too.