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Bell Media announces first wave of 2018/19 original Canadian entertainment productions with 42 new and returning series and specials

From a media release:

− New original comedy JANN and Season 3 of THE BEAVERTONjoin CTV’s winning schedule, as acclaimed event series CARDINAL is renewed for Season 4 in advance of Season 3 premiere −
CANADA’S WALK OF FAME AWARDS returns to CTV –
− Bell Media Studios renewals include ETALK, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, THE SOCIAL, and YOUR MORNING –
− Three new titles join Discovery’s 10 returning original series for 2018/19 −
− New six-pack of LETTERKENNY slated for Crave TV –
− The Comedy Network renews CORNER GAS ANIMATED for Season 2 and returns to Montréal for new Just For Laughs projects –
−MASTERCHEF CANADA winner and celebrity chef Mary Berg stars in new lifestyle series MARY MAKES IT EASY for Gusto –
− Animated shorts series LITTLEKENNY joins interactive stand-up series JOKEOFF on Snackable TV −

In advance of today’s #CTVUpfront, Bell Media confirmed today its first wave of new and returning, English-language, original entertainment programming for 2018/19. A total of 13 new and 29 returning original series and specials are confirmed to- date, produced in partnership with independent producers and international content companies, as well as Bell Media Studios, the company’s in-house production arm.

Bell Media once again plans to spend nearly $900 million overall on French and English programming in 2018/19, all promoted by the Bell Media megaphone, including Canada’s most-watched television network, CTV.

More Canadians make Bell Media’s original programs their choice for homegrown viewing than any other media company. As Canada’s most-watched network in primetime for 17 years in a row, CTV is home to:

  • THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, the most-watched Canadian series for the 5th year in a row
  • CARDINAL, the #1 Canadian drama for A18-49 and A25-54 on broadcast television Bell Media Studio’s THE SOCIAL and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, the most-watched Canadian daytime programs in daytime
  • ETALK, the top-rated Canadian entertainment news program
    Further, Bell Media has three of the Top 5 Canadian series on entertainment specialty television among viewers A25-54 with Discovery’s HIGHWAY THRU HELL, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER, and HEAVY RESCUE: 401. Through the last broadcast year, 12 of Bell Media’s specialty channels increased their rank among all Canadian specialty channels.

NEW Bell Media Original Series and Specials for 2018/19 (by channel):

CTV

JANN
JANN is an original comedy series starring Jann Arden. Arden plays a fictionalized version of herself: a singer-songwriter of a “certain age”; dealing with the harsh reality that her former music career is now on a slow, relentless slide into obscurity. But it’s not just Jann’s career that’s on life support – she’s newly single, her sister may disown her, and her mother is clearly suffering from the early stages of dementia. Although Jann’s personal life is in shambles, she’s convinced that the cure-all is to rebrand her image in order to reclaim her celebrity status, so she embarks on a quest to return to greatness but gets tangled in the pressures of her ‘real’ life. Jann is at the crossroads between who she was, and who she wants to be, if she can just figure out what’s really important. (Project 10 Productions; 6 x :30)

CANADA’S WALK OF FAME AWARDS
CTV announced this morning a multi-year partnership with Canada’s Walk of Fame to become the official and exclusive broadcaster of the CANADA’S WALK OF FAME AWARDS in time for the awards’ 20th anniversary this December. CTV’s broadcast of THE 2018 CANADA’S WALK OF FAME AWARDS is a celebration of Canadians who have excelled on the national and international stage in their respective fields, including music, sports, film and television, literary, visual and performing arts, science, innovation, philanthropy, and social justice. The star-studded 2018 CANADA’S WALK OF FAME AWARDS broadcast will feature must-see performances and inspiring stories from previous and new inductees. (Insight Productions)

The Comedy Network

Just For Laughs
The Comedy Network returns to Montréal for the Just for Laughs Festival this summer, shooting a new stand-up series and specials for the 2018-19 broadcast year. (Just For Laughs Television)
CraveTV

NEW EDEN
CraveTV’s latest original production is NEW EDEN. Going into production this fall, the darkly funny mockumentary is a “true crime” anthology from two of Canada’s hottest comedic voices, Evany Rosen (PICNICFACE, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW) and Kayla Lorette (THE BEAVERTON, SPACE RIDERS). (Peacock Alley Entertainment; 8 x :30)

Discovery

VINTAGE TECH HUNTERS
VINTAGE TECH HUNTERS follows a fascinating journey across North America in search of amazing pop culture and tech memorabilia. (Crooked Horse Productions/Boat Rocker Studios; 14 x :30)

DISASTERS AT SEA
New docudrama series DISASTERS AT SEA highlights the most mysterious and unexpected marine disasters in recent history. (Exploration Production Inc.)

ALBERTA FLOODS: ROGUE EARTH
Marking the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic “flood of floods,” ALBERTA FLOODS: ROGUE EARTH joins Discovery’s ROGUE EARTH documentary series. (Pixcom Productions; :60)

Gusto

MARY MAKES IT EASY
Mary Berg has a gift for making irresistibly delicious food. Her signature style is beautiful, but approachable; impressive, but never pretentious. For Mary, cooking is about fun and family and a strategic lack of fuss. When it comes to cooking science, Mary is an unapologetic food nerd who loves to demystify the process and break down techniques. Whether it’s an elegant party or an everyday dinner, Mary shows viewers how to dial down their stress with time-saving tips and easy-to-follow advice. (Proper Television; 30 x :30)

SnackableTV

LITTLEKENNY
There are 500 kids at Letterkenny Central School, and these are their problems. Based on CraveTV’s smash-hit LETTERKENNY, LITTLEKENNY is a series of animated, short-form extensions of the award-winning Canadian comedy program, and marks SnackableTV’s first foray into original content. Written and created by Jared Keeso, LITTLEKENNY includes the Hick’s origin story: how standing up for each other on the schoolyard resulted in their friendship. (New Metric Media/ DHX Media/ Playfun Games; Animation services provided by Little Blackstone Inc.; 6 episodes)

JOKEOFF
SnackableTV has commissioned its first interactive content. JOKEOFF is a new series that pits some of the world’s top comedians against each other in the ultimate stand-up competition. The short-form, bracket-style elimination series features a renowned mix of incredible comedic talent – from Kevin Hart, Joan Rivers, and Debra DiGiovanni, to Gilbert Gottfried, Jay Pharaoh, and Kevin James – as they go head-to-head in daily match-ups with some of their best material curated from the unparalleled Just For Laughs stand-up archives. The audience votes on the best jokes from each matchup and the winner from each round moves forward. The JokeOffs continue until there’s just on comedian standing! (Just For Laughs; 32 match-ups)

2018/19 Original Bell Media Studios Productions

Producing some of Canada’s most-watched daily programs, Bell Media Studios continues to offer a robust and unrivaled lineup of flagship series and national specials, along with factual and lifestyle series, including:

  • YOUR MORNING (CTV) kicking off CTV’s leading original daytime lineup
  • The country’s #1 and #2 Canadian daytime series, THE SOCIAL (CTV) and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW (CTV)
  • Canada’s most-watched entertainment news program, ETALK (CTV)
    The 2018 IHEARTRADIO MMVAs (CTV/Much)
  • WE DAY 2018 (CTV/MTV)
  • THE SANTA CLAUS PARADE (CTV)
  • ETALK AT THE OSCARS (CTV)
  • Joining DISASTERS AT SEA for Discovery, the fan-favourite MIGHTY TRAINS (Discovery) hits the rails for a second season while MIGHTY CRUISE SHIPS (Discovery) sets sail for Season 3 (Exploration Production Inc.)
  • Half-hour docu-series WHERE TO I DO? (Gusto) – starring Canadian property and design expert Tommy Smythe and currently the most-watched new series on Gusto – is back for a second season of wedding venue hunts (Bell Media Studios/Motion Content Group)
  • Half-hour docu-series DOG TALES RESCUE (Gusto), following the day-to-day operation of a dog rescue and horse sanctuary, returns for a second season (Bell Media Studios/Motion Content Group)

Returning Bell Media Original Series Confirmed to Date for 2018/19 (by genre):

Drama

  • Ahead of its Season 3 premiere on CTV, internationally successful, critically acclaimed, and award-winning drama CARDINAL (CTV) has been renewed for Season 4 with stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse. (eOne/Sienna Films)
  • Season 3 of international dramatic adventure series FRONTIER (Discovery), starring Jason Momoa, returns to the schedule this winter. (Take the Shot Productions/ASAP Entertainment)
    Comedy
  • New to CTV in midseason, the half-hour satirical news sensation THE BEAVERTON has been greenlit for Season 3. (Pier 21 Films)
  • The Comedy Network’s most-watched series debut of all-time CORNER GAS ANIMATED returns for Season 2. (Prairie Pantoons/335 Productions/Moving Mountoons/Vérité Films/Smiley Guy Studios)
  • Smash hit comedy LETTERKENNY (CraveTV) begins production on a new Season 4 six-pack in Sudbury this July. (New Metric Media/DHX Media/Playfun Games)

Sci-Fi

  • The most-watched original series in Space’s history, sci-fi adventure series KILLJOYS has been renewed for a fifth season ahead of its Season 4 premiere on July 20 at 10 p.m. ET. (Temple Street)

Reality

  • Original series and international format THE LAUNCH (CTV) returns for a second season, showcasing a new group of aspiring artists vying for a shot at stardom. Featuring world-renowned record executive Scott Borchetta, internationally acclaimed music industry legends will once again join the series as mentors. (Bell Media Studios/Big Machine Label Group/Eureka/ Insight Productions; 6 x :60)

Factual

  • Entertaining and educational hit series HIGHWAY THRU HELL (Discovery) returns for Season 7. (Great Pacific Media)
    Discovery’s most-watched original series of all time, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER (Discovery) enters its 14th (Proper Television)
    The road angels of hit series HEAVY RESCUE: 401 (Discovery) returns for Season 3. (Great Pacific Media)
  • 2018 Canadian Screen Award winner for Best Factual Series, MAYDAY (Discovery) returns for Season 19. (Cineflix Productions)
  • The Bunce family is back for more mining adventures for the Season 5 return of JADE FEVER (Discovery). (Omnifilm Entertainment)
  • Labrador’s rag-tag team of “MacGyver”-like mechanics returns for the second season of LAST STOP GARAGE (Discovery). (Proper Television)
  • The resilient crews of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Ontario Northland Railway keep Canada’s critical freight and passenger trains rolling in Season 2 of ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD (Discovery). (Cineflix Productions)

Lifestyle

  • Italian cooking series BONACINI’S ITALY (Gusto), starring MASTERCHEF CANADA’S Michael Bonacini, returns for a second season. (Gusto Worldwide Media)
  • Season 2 of SPENCER’S BIG 30 (Gusto) showcases healthy, hearty meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes. (Gusto Worldwide Media)
  • Host Jessica McGovern returns to share her love of baking in Season 2 of FLOUR POWER (Gusto). (Gusto Worldwide Media)
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A (Corner) Gas of a time on MasterChef Canada

Tuesday’s “Cooking with (Corner) Gas” episode of MasterChef Canada was full of challenges for the Top 7 home cooks. They had to compete in a Mystery Box Challenge and, FINALLY, a classic MasterChef Canada Tag Team Challenge. But just hold on and let me tell it in order.

As the seven remaining home cooks entered the kitchen they saw a MASSIVE Mystery Box. What could be in it? Or perhaps, who could be in it? Tonight’s challenge was elevated diner food and the contestants got a little bit of help from the cast of the hit series Corner Gas Animated, including Brent Butt, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Lorne Cardinal and Nancy Robertson. For me, it was a good opportunity to add one more great Canadian series to my watch list. For the cooks, winning would give them a huge advantage in the upcoming Elimination Challenge.

All of the cooks rushed to the pantry and got baskets full of delicious products. And then there was Beccy, who had just a couple of grapefruits, eggs and butter. I was looking forward to seeing what she had in her creative mind and what the judges would get in the end. The atmosphere in the kitchen was easy and fun. The Top 7 cooks were cooking passionately and had so many great ideas, like chicken and waffles from Eugene, a Japanese play on steak and eggs from Kaegan and a tuna melt from Marissa. But chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael made their choice and decided to try three dishes out of the seven; the lucky ones were Nadia, Andy and Beccy. Nadia made a stuffed French toast with smoked applewood brie and spicy berry fig sauce and the judges loved her brie! Beccy cooked an elevated diner pie with grapefruit and basil with Italian meringue and crumble; the presentation was extraordinary. Andy prepared a Thai Burger with vegetable tempura.

Chef Alvin was very impressed by Andy’s dish … and he was the home cook who won the challenge. Which dish would you like to try?

The Elimination Tag Team Challenge was a replication of an Asian box with five different dishes. It contained perfectly crafted Chinese bao with pork belly, cucumber and Asian pear, jellyfish salad and Banh Mi sandwich, and Takoyaki. And for the dessert? Fried banana in coconut batter. The home cooks had 70 minutes to master the box. Andy was safe from elimination but as well had a power to make teams for the Tag Team Challenge. He made Eugene and Beccy a team, Michael G. and Kaegan the second team and Nadia and Marissa the third. The heat was on. The teams were rushing to finish. The normally quiet Beccy was very vocal, urging Eugene to work faster. The judges started to sample the dishes. The first team to get all of their items in their box were Kaegan and Michael G. The Banh Mi was great, the takoyaki and the bun were good, but the bananas were burnt. Beccy and Eugene missed a couple of details but still made a great box. Nadia and Marissa, unfortunately, disappointed judges and Marissa left MasterChef Canada.

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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TV Eh B Cs podcast 81 — Wine and McDonald’s with Corner Gas Animated’s Tara Spencer-Nairn

Note: Unfortunately, something weird happened in the downloading of the files for Tara and my conversation. The result is some crosstalk that is, at times, super annoying. I sincerely apologize to my listeners and Tara for this. 

Tara Spencer-Nairn returns as the deadpan police officer Karen Pelly in Corner Gas: Animated—airing Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The Comedy Network—a role she played in the Gemini-winning, No. 1 rated CTV sitcom Corner Gas, earning a Gemini Award for Best Ensemble Performance in 2007 and two Gemini nominations in 2004 and 2006.

A graduate of the Vancouver Film School, her big breakthrough came in 1999 when she was cast in the highly acclaimed New Waterford Girl. The film screened at the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival and received seven Genie Award nominations including Best Picture.

Spencer-Nairn appeared in the recurring role of Sandy in CTV’s hit drama The Listener. She has appeared in numerous other television productions including The Outer Limits, The Strain, Murdoch Mysteries, Waking Up Wally: The Walter Gretzky Story, Flashpoint Saving Hope and Degrassi. Most recently she could seen in the third season of Syfy/Space hit series Killjoys as a recurring guest star.

Spencer-Nairn was born in Montreal, raised in Vancouver and now calls Toronto home. The youngest of three siblings, the actor spent 12 years as a competitive gymnast. She is married and the mother of two young sons.

Listen or download below, or subscribe via iTunes or any other podcast catcher with the TV, eh? podcast feed.

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Corner Gas Animated becomes the most-watched series premiere in the history of The Comedy Network

From a media release:

In advance of its second episode airing tonight, The Comedy Network confirmed today that the series premiere of CORNER GAS ANIMATED has become the highest-rated debut in The Comedy Network’s history. With just four days of preliminary playback data for the premiere, Numeris data confirms that 360,300 viewers so far have watched the April 2 debut episode “Bone Dry”.

With final playback data still to come, the premiere episode of CORNER GAS ANIMATED surpasses the series premiere of ANGER MANAGEMENT, which was previously the top-rated series debut on Comedy, dating back to 2012. In addition to setting a record for Comedy, CORNER GAS ANIMATED was the #1 entertainment specialty program on Monday, April 2 among all key demos (A18-34, A18-49, and A25-54).

In the all-new episode “Squatch Your Language,” (Monday, April 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT), Wanda (Nancy Robertson), Hank (Fred Ewanuick), and Lacey (Gabrielle Miller) attempt to trick Brent (Brent Butt) with a Sasquatch hoax. Davis (Lorne Cardinal) and Emma’s (Corrine Koslo)  obsession with the fantasy TV show THRONE STRIFE forces Karen (Tara Spencer-Nairn) and Oscar (Eric Peterson) to spend time together.

Viewers can catch up on past episodes of CORNER GAS ANIMATED on demand through Comedy GO and TheComedyNetwork.ca. All 107 episodes of the original six-season series CORNER GAS, as well as the feature film, CORNER GAS: THE MOVIE, are streaming now on CraveTV.

CORNER GAS ANIMATED is an inter-provincial co-production produced by Prairie Pantoons (BC), comprised of Brent Butt and David Storey from 335 Productions; and Moving Mountoons (ON), comprised of Virginia Thompson and Robert de Lint from Vérité Films, in association with Bell Media, Canada Media Fund, Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit, Film Incentive BC Tax Credit, Digital Animation, Visual Effects and Post Production Tax Credit, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. Animation is produced by Prairie Pantoons, Moving Mountoons, and Smiley Guy Studios.

 

 

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Comments and queries for the week of April 6

Glad to hear [Burden of Truth] has been renewed. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I just heard it would return. What about Caught??? That was excellent! Please tell me it’s coming back too. —Sara

No word on Caught yet, but we’ll let you know if it does!

Hopefully, Season 2 won’t be a rehash of Season 1. Is Joanna going to stay in this small town? Can there be another big case to work on? Will she and Billy (hate that name!) partner in more ways than just the law? I just don’t know where this show can go from here. —Matthew


I love watching Murdoch Mysteries and I love the character George Crabtree because he is the smartest and the sexiest on the show and I reckon William Murdoch is the most boring person and the dumbest character on the show. From the No. 1 Murdoch Mysteries fan in Australia. —Suzanne

Leave Julia and William alone. They challenge each other which makes their relationship interesting. But I really do hope George and Nina find a way to be together for good. —Marianne

Every time the end of the season approaches, I find myself unable to breathe when I look for the news whether this show will be renewed. I’m thrilled that Season 12 will exist. I honestly wish this show lasts for as long as I live. It fills the hole left by Agatha Christie, A.C. Doyle, Castle, Murder She Wrote … It’s my favourite show. Congratulations to all the cast, crew, and everyone else responsible for this show. I love you all! —Mili


Just saw the premiere [of Corner Gas Animated] and enjoyed it very much. I was wary when I saw the designs, thinking it would go more Family Guy but the two cutaways of Mad Max and kissing the badger worked. Particularly liked how the plots started random but overlapped fairly well into Brent/Lacey/Oscar/Emma and Karen/Davis/Wanda/Hank pods that still had some general overlap too. Was this the first time we’ve seen the owner of the market? The soundtrack and everything still fit. I can tell it’s a new Emma but it still sounds close enough to the original. How many episodes are there going to be? Are Brent and Lacey still together following the movie? Little questions. —DanAmazing

 

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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