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

Blink Studios acquires the rights to Canadian author Charlene Carr’s upcoming novel ‘Hold My Girl’ for television series adaptation

From a media release:

In a competitive situation with multiple bidders, BLINK STUDIOS, the recently launched content venture backed by global film and TV studio Endeavor Content, has acquired the rights to “Hold My Girl”, the upcoming novel from emerging Canadian author Charlene Carr. BLINK STUDIOS will serve as the studio for the television adaption, which marks the company’s first project since launching in November 2021. Academy Award® and Emmy® nominated producer Michael London and Shannon Gaulding of Groundswell Productions (Snowfall, The Magicians) will executive produce the series together with Carolyn Newman and Virginia Rankin for BLINK STUDIOS.

“Hold My Girl” is a heart-wrenching, dual narrative women’s fiction novel about two women whose eggs are switched during IVF, only to be revealed over a year later when one of them has been raising the wrong daughter, and the other has been grieving a stillborn child that wasn’t hers. Centred around a moral question, the emotional story features themes of motherhood, racial identity, betrayal and ultimately hope and healing. The premise of the novel was very much inspired by Charlene’s own life – a Black woman who gave birth to a visibly white child via IVF – and stemmed from her own fears of a mix-up, that one day she too would receive a call to say her daughter wasn’t hers. “Hold My Girl” will be published by Welbeck Publishing in the UK and Harper Collins in Canada, set to release in 2023.

“We are committed to working with and discovering great Canadian voices which is why we are delighted to partner with an emerging and brilliant talent like Charlene to help bring her novel to television. Her exceptional storytelling is authentic and universal, while also embracing her Canadian roots,” commented Carolyn Newman, Executive Vice President, Global Scripted and Virginia Rankin, Executive Producer, BLINK STUDIOS. “We’re thrilled to team with Michael and Shannon, who are truly passionate about this material.”

“I am beyond thrilled to have Blink Studios and Groundswell Productions working on the screen adaptation of ‘Hold My Girl’,” commented Carr. “I was blown away by their enthusiasm, emotional connection to the story, and clear desire to keep as true to the book as possible. It is an honour to have such vastly experienced, skilled and passionate producers championing this story!”

“Charlene Carr has written the rare novel that is both a page-turning ride and a moving piece of literature that explores issues of motherhood and race in a hugely relevant way. We’re thrilled that Blink shared our passion for the material and moved so quickly and aggressively on our behalf,” Michael London, Founder/CEO Groundswell Productions.

Charlene Carr is a lover of stories. Pursuing this life-long obsession, she studied literature at university, attaining both a BA and MA in English, including a study program at Oxford. Still craving more, she attained a degree in Journalism. A bit of a nomad, she’s lived in four countries and seven Canadian provinces. After travelling the globe for several years and working as a freelance writer, editor, facilitator, and running her own Communications business, she decided the time had come to focus exclusively on her true love – novel writing. She currently lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she splits her time between writing, building relationships with her readers, and trying to keep up with the energy and antics of her young daughter. Recently awarded a writing grant by Arts Nova Scotia, “Hold My Girl” is Carr’s first agented novel.

BLINK STUDIOS is a newly launched content venture with Endeavor Content as its anchor investor and lead strategic partner. Focusing heavily on a creative-first approach, BLINK STUDIOS is dedicated to partnering with best-in-class writers, creators and producers, as well as aggressively pursuing IP in Canada and throughout the world. The indie studio is committed to applying significant resources to support new and diverse Canadian voices.

Charlene Carr is represented by Hayley Steed and the deal was brokered by Hannah Ladds, Dramatic Rights Agent at the Madeleine Milburn, Literary, TV & Film Agency.

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Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “The Witches of East York”

If you haven’t had a chance to read our interview with Peter Mitchell, showrunner of Murdoch Mysteries and Hudson & Rex, give it a glance. Not only do you get a peek behind the scenes at how both Canadian primetime series are made, but there are some tidbits about Hélène Joy’s pregnancy and the decision to write it into the show.

Here is the official episode synopsis for Monday’s new instalment, “The Witches of East York,” written by Christina Ray and directed by Bosede Williams:

Murdoch arrests a man for trying to kill a woman he claims is a witch only to have him mysteriously die in custody.

And here are more observations by me after getting a preview of the episode.

A special guest star
If you follow Peter Mitchell on Facebook—and if you don’t, you really should—you’ll know that his personal assistant, Elsbeth McCall (above left), guest-stars on Monday. She is also directing a Season 15 episode. Also, look for Diggstown‘s Billy MacLellan (who has appeared as different characters on MM in the past), Michaela Kurimsky, Lisa Michelle Cornelius and Sedina Fiati in guest appearances.

Margaret is back!
Margaret is usually a bright light, but not this week. Arwen Humphreys turns in a heartbreaking performance as Margaret continues to deal with her feelings surrounding Bobby’s fate.

A spooky storyline
It’s pretty obvious, from the episode title, what Monday’s episode is all about. Christina Ray’s script has fun with the witchcraft angle, especially when it comes to the fearful Henry. The A-storyline had me heading to Google regularly to look up names like Hecate and Baphomet and things like a grimoire. Also, it’s an opportunity for Watts and William to discuss faith.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Links: Children Ruin Everything, Season 1

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: In ‘Children Ruin Everything,’ producer and dad Kurt Smeaton mines the hard parts of parenthood for comedy
When you think of all the fictional mothers and fathers who have inhabited our small screens, it’s hard to picture, say, Mike Brady waking up next to a puddle of pee or June Cleaver shouting because Beaver is using “toilet words” at the dinner table. Continue reading.

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: Review: Children Ruin Everything
Schitt’s Creek proved you can go for it when it comes to a TV title. Children Ruin Everything, for example, is snappy and straight to the point. The series premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CTV. Continue reading.

From W. Andrew Powell of The Gate:

Link: Meaghan Rath and Aaron Abrams talk Children Ruin Everything
Life with kids is always interesting, and in CTV’s new comedy Children Ruin Everything, stars Meaghan Rath and Aaron Abrams play a couple who are trying to find that balance between being adults, and being parents. Continue reading.

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Preview: Documentary Channel delves into a decades-old mystery in SkyMaster Down

I’m fascinated with stories of people and/or things that disappear without a trace. I think it all started back when I watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind with my dad in the movie theatre. That lead me to UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle and other mysteries. It’s never stopped, which was why I was intrigued by Skymaster Down.

Debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on documentary Channel, filmmaker Andrew Gregg heads north to uncover a headscratcher case that hasn’t been solved in over 70 years.

Here are the facts. U.S. Air Force Douglas Skymaster #2469 departed Anchorage, Alaska, for Great Falls, Nebraska, on January 26, 1950, with 44 passengers—members of the U.S. military, and a pregnant woman and her child—on board. After checking in with Snag Airport over the radio, it suddenly disappeared over the Yukon without a trace. A massive search—where four rescue planes crashed—ensued, with no results.

Did it hurtle into a lake? Why wasn’t an SOS sent? Did it slam into a mountain? Become buried in a glacier? Gregg and others, like the late Gerry Whitley of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association in Whitehorse, attempt to find out, tracing the route #2469 took—a route still travelled today, it should be noted—and bring closure to the families who were left behind. Gregg is a master storyteller, giving an extensive history of the region at the time, including how and why the route #2469 flew was established in the first place, how an intensive military exercise may have played a part in the disappearance and why reports of an incident by an Indigenous man were ignored.

What sets Skymaster Down apart—aside from buggy visits in the north—from other docs in this vein are the interviews with the families of those lost. These chats paint a picture of the people in the images flashed on-screen, adding another layer of sorrow to an already devastating tale.

Skymaster Down airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on documentary Channel.

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