Tag Archives: The Next Step

Spooky web series Spiral connects college pals to past lives and murder

College is the place people tend to begin friendships that last a lifetime. But what if those friends you made turned out to be buddies from a past life? That’s the gist of Spiral, a new seven-part web series debuting Sept. 6.

Kailey Spear, Cody Kearsley, Corteon Moore, Louriza Tronco, Angela Palmer, Brennan Clost, Alexandra Beaton and Enuka Okuma topline the project about college students who realize they’ve been connected over multiple lifetimes … and the murder of a classmate threatens them all. For co-creator and executive producer Andrew Williamson, who has worked in reality television with projects like Gastown Gamble and Emergency Room: Life and Death at VGH, Spiral has been a long time coming.

Spiral is an idea that I’ve had for a really long time,” Williamson says over the phone from Vancouver. “This idea that friends could be joined by something that had happened in the past. It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in.” He adds that writing isn’t his strong suit, so he contacted Karen McClellan—currently co-showrunner at The Next Step—to flesh out the idea. After securing development money from Creative BC, the pair set up a writing room in Toronto with McClellan, Daegan Fryklind, Ian Carpenter and Felicia Brooker with Jocelyn Cornforth as story consultant and story editor. Then Telus stepped into the picture with web series funding and filming began in and around Victoria, B.C.

“They’re the only people commissioning original digital content in this way,” Williamson says. “This project was inherently meant to be for a digital audience.” Spiral is aimed at the 13-21 demographic, the same group Williamson says Facebook is targeting with their online videos. He hopes the unconventional storyline Spiral offers allows for a deeper connection with the online audience and encourages discussion about whether or not past lives are a reality, if dreams can be portents and if someone you’ve met for the very first time and connect with means you’ve known them before.

The first episode of seven introduces Emma (Beaton), Clark (Clost), Alex (Palmer), Sophie (Spear), Grace (Tronco), Davis (Moore) and Josh (Kearsley), students at Victoria’s King’s College who build friendships and make quick connections. By episode end, one of them is dead, and the dreams the group members have been experiencing are explored to unlock the mystery.

“One night over a few bottles of wine, they discover they have all had this dream in common from different points of view and the suggestion is it could be a past life they’ve all shared,” McClellan says from Toronto. “What they discover is that they’ve shared many lives together and that they’re a soul cluster: souls who have travelled through time.” Each eight-minute episode brings the viewer deeper into the mystery; McClellan tackled writing a web project the same way she does a traditional television series, breaking it down into acts and posing a cliffhanger at the end of each act.

“It’s looking for that hook,” she says. “What’s going to drive your viewer to click to the next episode? And by the end of the 70 minutes, you feel satisfied … but you also want more. TV is still my first love, and always will be, but being able to tell a serialized story through a web series and test the concept is very exciting and the closest we have in Canada to shooting a pilot.”

Spiral‘s seven-episode first season will be available online beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Images courtesy of Off Island Media.

 

 

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Season 5 of The Next Step set for May 26 on Family

From a media release:

Get ready for a season filled with friendly rivalries and fierce competition with the return of Family Channel’s hit series The Next Step. Debuting Friday, May 26 at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT, season five represents a new chapter for the studio as the dancers are divided into two separate teams, led by fan-favourites Victoria Baldesarra (Michelle) and Alexandra Beaton (Emily). Fans who can’t wait for the new season to begin, can check out the new short series The Next Step: The Off Season, on The Family Channel App, to find out what A-Troupe has been up to since their Regionals loss. Following the premiere, new episodes of The Next Step will air regularly Fridays at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT with encore presentations at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Season five of The Next Step brings about a lot of changes for the studio. Since losing at Regionals, A-Troupe is once again the underdog, but that won’t deter them from getting back to the top. As many dancers leave to pursue their goals and dreams, former dance captain Emily (Beaton) steps in to take control of the studio. But her strict regime isn’t welcomed by everyone and the studio quickly divides into two: Emily’s classically trained dancers, and the self-trained/hip-hop crew led by veteran Michelle (Baldesarra). In the end, only one team can make it to Regionals and it’s a full out battle between East vs. West.

New dancers joining the cast for season five include: Dylan Ratzlaff as Jacquie; Jessica Lord as Lola; Milaina Robinson as Zara; Julian Lombardi as Ozzy; Hanna Miller as Heather; Noah Zulfikar as Kingston; Dawson Handy as Josh; and Julian Elia as Elliot. In addition to Beaton and Baldesarra, returning familiar faces include: Myles Erlick as Noah; Briar Nolet as Richelle; Alexandra Chaves as Piper; Isaiah Peck as Henry; Shelby Bain as Amy; Brennan Clost as Daniel; Lamar Johnson as West; and Akiel Julien as LaTroy. Fan-favourites Brittany Raymond (Riley), Trevor Tordjman (James), Taveeta Szymanowicz (Thalia) and Isaac Lupien (Eldon) will make guest appearances throughout the season.

The Next Step is produced by Radical Sheep Productions, a division of Boat Rocker Studios in association with Family Channel and is executive produced by Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier (Lost & Found Music Studios, Wingin’ It); Michelle Melanson Cuperus (The Bagel and Becky Show, Fangbone!); Rachael Schaefer (The Next Step, Wingin’ It) and Karen McClellan (The Other Kingdom, Being Erica). The Next Step was created by Frank van Keeken. The Next Step is also produced with the participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund, the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and CBBC. BBC Worldwide handles the international rights to the series.

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DHX Television brings the heat to fall with hottest programming lineup to date

From a media release:

This fall, DHX Television has the perfect cure for the end of summer blues: a sizzling hot lineup the entire family will enjoy. The forecast for Family’s suite of channels is bright as musical celebs, daring adventure-hunters and animated heroes bring the best in fall entertainment to viewers. Beginning as early as August 29, exciting new series, returning favourites and monumental finales join the programming schedule.

With new episodes debuting weeknights at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Family Channel throughout the fall, singing and dancing take centre stage ushering in the return of fan-favourite series Backstage, The Next Step and The X Factor UK. Family’s teen block F2N continues with new episodes of Degrassi: Next Class, culminating in the gripping season finale. Family CHRGD keeps Tuesdays turbo-charged with the return of The Deep, Slugterra and Fangbone! Meanwhile, Family Jr. sparks creativity and imagination with brand new episodes of Nature CatYaYa & Zouk and Rainbow Ruby airing alongside returning fan-favourites Playdate and Teletubbies.

Family Channel – All Times ET/PT
Backstage – New Episodes Return – Friday, September 9 at 7:30 p.m.
After a whirlwind mid-season finale which saw Carly take her best friend Vanessa’s place in the show and Alya leave school to chase stardom, nothing is like what it was before the break. With missing faces in the halls, new musical partnerships forming and dancers changing positions, all of Keaton’s students are searching for answers while trying to adjust.

The Next Step – New Episodes Return – Friday, October 14 at 7 p.m.
With Regionals just around the corner, the pressure is on for A-Troupe who are determined to defend their title as Regional Champions. But tensions run high in The Next Step studio as Piper struggles with the fact that she saw Alfie and Riley kiss, and the dancers wonder how they’ll even qualify after Noah’s departure from the team. The new episodes will also feature a guest starring role by the winner of the UK’s reality competition series Taking The Next Step, which currently airs Fridays at 7 p.m.

We Are Savvy – New Timeslot – New Episodes air Thursdays at 7 p.m. beginning September 8
Hosts Tehya, Spencer and Sarah continue to keep fans in-the-know and up-to-date on the latest trends with awesome interviews, crafty DIYs and tours of cool locations. Upcoming special guests include: singer JoJo, rapper Little T, popstar Betty Who, illustrator Juliana Neufeld, astronaut-in-training Alyssa Carson, viral sports fan Mini Bautista, DIY superstar LaurDIY and more!

F2N – All Times ET/PT
Degrassi: Next Class – Season 2 Finale – Tuesday, September 20 at 9:45 p.m.
As the Degrassi girls volleyball team prepares for the championship game against Northern Tech, things reach a boiling point. Shay finds out if her relationship with Tiny is “Lola approved,” while Winston continues to second-guess his relationship with Zoe – forcing her to make an important personal decision. Meanwhile, Hunter worries that he is an angry monster who will never deserve Yael, or any relationship for that matter.

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Production on Season 5 of The Next Step begins

From a media release:

DHX Television’s Family Channel and Radical Sheep Productions, a division of Boat Rocker Studios, announced today that principal photography has begun on the fifth season of the award-winning global tween series, The Next Step. The fan-favourite series, which follows the lives of an elite group of dancers that train at the Next Step studio, has become a worldwide phenomenon, sparking three Canadian tours, international tours through Europe, the UK and Australia, a feature film, and spin-off series. Production on the 20-episode order begins this summer in Toronto, with the fifth season slated to premiere on Family Channel in 2017.

Season five opens a new chapter for The Next Step dance studio. The studio is expanding and attracting a lot of fresh faces and the dancers are looking to step up their game. The dance world is a tight family, but competition will put old friendships and new relationships to the test, as the dancers try to strike a balance between individual talent and dedicated teamwork. This season asks the question: How far would you go to make it to the top?

In addition to returning fan-favourites from previous seasons of the show, season five of The Next Step will introduce fans to a new group of talented young dancers including: Dylan Ratzlaff as Jacquie; Jessica Lord as Lola; Milaina Robinson as Zara; Julian Lombardi as Ozzy; Hanna Miller as Heather; Noah Zulfikar as Kingston; Dawson Handy as Josh; and Julian Elia as Elliot.

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Frank van Keeken ousted from The Next Step

After creating four seasons of mega-hit The Next Step for Family Channel, Frank van Keeken has been removed as its executive producer.

Van Keeken made the announcement while accepting the Showrunners Award at the 2016 Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards, where he was being fêted for his body of work in the television industry. Van Keeken was reliving key moments in his TV career—his love of the medium began when he and his siblings would take turns holding the TV antenna on the roof of their home so signals from Barrie and Kitchener, Ont., could be picked up—that contained many ups and downs, including the news he’d been removed from The Next Step.

Van Keeken supposed to the assembled crowd that executives at Temple Street—The Next Step and Lost & Found‘s production company—viewed the formation of his own company, Beachwood Canyon Productions, as competition and therefore cut ties.

We’re awaiting a comment from Temple Street Productions.

Shot as a reality show, The Next Step follows the struggles of a group of dancers at The Next Step Dance Studio as they try to win national dance championships alongside the angst that is a part of being a young person. The Next Step has become a worldwide phenomenon, earning a BAFTA in 2015 and spawning its own touring dance company showcasing the program’s real stars. Its spinoff, Lost & Found Music Studios, spotlights struggling musicians trying to find their sound.

Van Keeken was the series creator on Winging’ It and Big Sound, executive-produced Billable Hours and was supervising producer on Greg the Bunny and Raising Dad, and has written for The Kids in the Hall and Maniac Mansion.

 

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