TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 5
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Tonight: X Company, Hockey Wives

X Company, CBC – “In Enemy Hands”
A sabotage mission leaves Harry critically injured and the team trapped in a safe house, desperate to escape a town swarming with Nazis. In the midst of the crisis, Neil learns that killing the enemy isn’t so easy when you get to know them first…

Hockey Wives, W Network
As the hockey season kicks into high gear, some wives are adjusting to being on their own while others are dealing with retired husbands who are now around all the time. Transitions are hard, and no one’s making it through this one unscathed.

Discovery debuts home reno competition Blood, Sweat & Tools

From a media release:

Tool belts fastened, hard hats on, and home improvement wannabees ready to nail it! From the producers of MASTERCHEF CANADA and CANADA’S WORST DRIVER comes the new series BLOOD, SWEAT & TOOLS, featuring a lively battle among five of Canada’s most inept home renovating couples competing for a life-changing $50,000 cash prize. Airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning April 13 on Discovery, the hilarious nine-episode season is filled with chaos that tests domestic bliss.

Set in the iconic cottage country of Northern Ontario, BLOOD, SWEAT & TOOLS features five duos of hapless handypersons performing all manner of home renovation challenges, from installing toilets and outdoor showers, to building gazebos and repairing roofs. The teams work to impress three experts – Rob Koci of Canadian Contractor magazine, fourth-generation tradesman and carpenter, Helder Brum, and power tool expert Hillary Manion – with successful Do It Yourself (DIY) home repair projects in a bid to be named “Most Improved.” The couples must perform these DIY tasks quickly and to exacting specifications. Then, following eight episodes of hammering it out to stay alive in the competition, the final decision is left up to Canada with viewers determining the winning couple LIVE during the season finale episode. Votes will be cast throughout the finale broadcast via text and social media. Complete voting details will soon be announced.

Meet the BLOOD, SWEAT & TOOLS competitors:

Tyler and Danielle, Woodstock, Ont.
When it comes to handiwork, Danielle is referred to as “The Tasmanian Devil” by her husband Tyler. They’re recently married and Tyler worries about this one-woman demolition diva wreaking havoc in their new dream house in Woodstock, Ont. And with good reason! Her favourite tool is a sledgehammer which she uses liberally, no matter the job.

Nicole and Jake, Mission, B.C.
Jake is a handyman wannabe. He’s got the belt, the safety glasses, the tools…just not the skills. His wife Nicole says he’s delusional. He actually thinks he’s top notch, boasting about his half-finished projects and saying “he’ll get back to them eventually.” He moves from project to project, leaving wanton destruction in his wake.

Fabian and Luayn, Teeterville, Ont.
Improvisation is a good thing in comedy. But handiwork? Not so much according to Luayn, who’s sick and tired of her husband Fabian’s jimmied, makeshift, and sloppy home repair efforts. Fabian argues that he likes to wing it, and that his work is “fine” or “good enough.” Of course this sends Luayn into a tailspin (it doesn’t help that she’s a Virgo). Fabian has to learn that cutting corners just doesn’t cut it when it comes to home repairs.

Steve and Richelene, Winnipeg
Richelene lives with Steve…a MacGyver-like character who’s made their home a monument to bad renovations. Steve has enthusiasm to burn, tackling every project with gusto and imagination. But his self-described flair for originality has gotten the better of him countless times. For example, he repaired a bathroom leak using plastic sheeting and duct tape.

Jesse and Holly, Penetanguishene, Ont.
Jesse and Holly could probably complete most of the unfinished projects in their home if they only learned to work together. But with one being a control freak and the other a micromanager, their home is in utter chaos. Jesse insists on doing projects his way, whether he has the skills or not. And Holly’s the backseat driver, barking orders at every step – whether SHE has the skills or not.

Interview: Naomi Snieckus is doing it on CBC

On the small screen, Naomi Sniekus can currently be seen playing Bobbi Galka, one of the offbeat teachers at Xavier Academy on CBC’s Mr. D.

Bobbi’s secret relationship with vice-principal Robert Cheeley (Jonathan Torrens) just went public in awkward fashion: she ran up and kissed him full on the mouth near the front office. It’s a relationship that has been simmering all season long, but while Robert wanted their sexual dalliances to evolve into relationship mode, she didn’t. And why would she? Bobbi found him gross to look at but incredible in the sack.

Turns out Snieckus is doing double duty for the CBC, starring alongside her husband and comedy partner, Matt Baram, in Doing It! With Brian & Darla, an online comedy series they co-wrote with Gavin Crawford for CBC Punchline that spoofs life hacks. Brian and Darla peer self-consciously into the camera as they offer helpful hints like placing a kiddie pool of warm, soapy water under your dining room table to put dirty dishes in, or creating a tunnel in a weiner to pump in mustard for a cleaner hot dog.

First of all, did you meet Roberto Alomar when he was on the set of Mr. D this season?
Naomi Snieckus: I didn’t. How do I put this? I like baseball and I enjoy live sports but I’m not like, ‘Oh my God! It’s Roberto Alomar!’ I’m no Gerry Dee. He was crying because he was so happy.

I feel like Mr. D is just an opportunity for Gerry to meet his favourite athletes.
NS: I don’t think you’re far off.

Is it tough when all of your are in the staff room filming scenes for staff meetings?
NS: It is hard to keep it together when we’re in those scenes. And it’s hard for the director to handle it but it adds to the energy of the scene, so it’s worthwhile to have those jokes. You want to be ready so that you’re not warming up after they call ‘Action.’ They always give us a little room to play, but the writing is so strong that we don’t need to. It’s all there. You might discover something in the moment and that’s always welcome.

What’s it like filming in Halifax? Everyone is there, so does it feel a little bit like summer camp?
NS: Total summer camp! We’re all so excited to get there and then on the last day we’re like, ‘I’ll write every day…’ If we shot in Toronto we would have busy lives outside of the show. We love it because we’re all in the same hotel, I bring my dog. It’s lovely.

How many sweat suits do you have in wardrobe?
NS: I have two pairs of track pants and I rotate tops. We have three changes in a day and I’m done my change and having bonbons at the craft table before everybody else. It’s great. And the rest of the girls say, ‘Oh, my shoes are hurting,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, my running shoes are really uncomfortable!’ It’s a joke now that once a season I get to curl my hair and put on a skirt.


Let’s talk about Doing It! With Brian & Darla. How did it come about and how did it get on as part of CBC’s Punchline?
NS: We have this company, The National Theatre of the World, and we’re creating and developing more and more sketch. We started developing these characters and the CBC gave us a call and asked if we had anything we could turn into a web series. We always have 10 things in our pockets that we can pitch or work on. We had this idea and it was originally called How To with Naomi & Matt, but it was us as ourselves rather than characters. We pitched it and then we thought it would be a lot more fun to be characters. We re-vamped the pitch and took it back to them and they still liked it. They gave us a little bit of money and we shot it in three days in our house.

That really is your house.
NS: Every room of our house was used. There were holes in the walls and spaghetti splattered on the walls but every shot looked great.

Matt, can you talk about Punchline? This is yet another outlet for comedy teams like yourselves to get stuff out there that isn’t on YouTube.
Matt Baram: It’s a really great entry-level opportunity for somebody with a great idea that doesn’t cost a lot of money to make. I think CBC is coming around to the concept of getting folks online and then driving them to the TV. Most major networks in Canada are doing this; they can develop new talent. I think we were the first original content on there and I think people are seeing the possibilities. I think they’d love for something on Punchline to translate to something on the network.

If CBC came to you, could you turn Doing It! into a TV series?
MB: We didn’t go into this without the idea of having a half-hour pitch. Brian and Darla would be one aspect of what that show would be.

This sounds like it has the possibility of being something like Smith & Smith.
MB: Yeah, absolutely. I don’t know if we’d have an original duo song at the end of it, but yeah. Brian and Darla would fit perfectly into something like that. I would love to do a variety show in front of a live audience and have that live feel and also the sketches. That would be a dream.

Did you base Brian on anyone?
MB: Naomi and I have an imaginary friend named Brian that we blame all of out life missteps on. If someone didn’t take out the garbage, for instance, Naomi will go, ‘Ugh, Brian!’ There is a lot of weigh on his shoulders. He’s kind of there so that other people can blame him.

It must be pretty fun to skewer these life hack sites.
MB: As you satirize these people you realize there is a lot of self-satirization going on. How much time does it save you to blow the centre out of a hot dog weiner? And most of these things in attempting them was detracting minutes from our day.

I feel like this is a natural for a coffee table book.
MB: That’s a great idea. The books would be, How to Do Lovemaking, How to Do Cooking With Brian & Darla … a bunch of garbage ideas to make your life more complicated.

Mr. D airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC; Doing It! With Brian & Darla can be found on CBC Punchline.

TVO and DHX Media team for series based on Stephen Hawking book series

From a media release:

TVO announced today that it has partnered with DHX Media on the development of a new children’s animated series based on the ‘George Greenby’ books by world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter, author Lucy Hawking.

The new series is geared towards school-aged kids and explores various aspects of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), including space exploration and physics. Each episode will turn big science concepts into bite-sized information for kids, with a whimsical take on how the universe works. DHX Media will produce the series, with Pure Grass Films as executive producers, co-financers and distributors for several territories outside of Canada.

The series will tell the story of 11-year-olds George Greenby and Annie Bellis. When George and Annie say their science tutor is out of this world, they really mean it. That’s because their tutor is Cosmos, an astounding artificial intelligence app that can instantly transport them anywhere in the universe!


Cosmos was built by Annie’s father, Eric Bellis, a member of the top-secret Order of Science, as a way to teach Annie about any scientific topic. But he built Cosmos a little too well…during one fateful physics lesson, Cosmos figures out a way to open a wormhole right in Annie’s living room!


Now Annie and George can explore anywhere in time and space and learn all kinds of cool stuff! Like what does a space smell like? And do stars live forever? It also means they can secretly help Eric with the discoveries and missions he and his fellow super-scientists at the Order are working on back on Earth…just as long as the trio makes it back before Eric realizes they’re missing!

Throughout the series, episodes will explore the wonders of physics, breaking down questions of cosmic proportions, and also looking at earthly phenomena, all while remaining grounded in the facts of cutting-edge science and their relevance to our lives.

The series is slated to have 39 half-hour episodes and will also include a robust interactive component for mobile and web. More news to follow.

Link: Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow join Dragons’ Den, Vikram Vij leaving

From Cheryl Brown of CBC News:

Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow join Dragons’ Den, Vikram Vij leaving
Major changes are underway at CBC’s Dragons’ Den as the broadcaster revealed the addition of two young female entrepreneurs to its roster of venture capitalists, and announced the departure of Vikram Vij.

Calgary-born distillery and brewery owner Manjit Minhas and Toronto-born co-founder Michele Romanow are joining the hit reality TV show in season 10, the broadcaster announced Wednesday.

Vij, the celebrated Vancouver chef and restaurant magnate, has said he is leaving the den after only one season to spend more time building his own businesses, including his frozen food line. Continue reading.

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