Bell Media Studios announces 2017/18 original productions

From a media release:

In advance of the #CTVUpfront, Bell Media’s newly minted independent and in-house production arm Bell Media Studios confirmed today its slate of new and returning, English-language, original entertainment programming. With 19 new original programs to be produced in partnership with independent production companies or autonomously, Bell Media will introduce more new original series for the upcoming broadcast year than any year in recent memory. The company plans to spend nearly $900M overall on original French and English production in 2017/18.

More Canadians make Bell Media original programs their choice for homegrown viewing than any other media company. As Canada’s most-watched network in primetime for 16 years in a row, CTV is home to:

  • the country’s most-watched new Canadian program this year and a Top 10 new series among total viewers, CARDINAL;
  • the Top 2 Canadian series among key viewing demos, THE AMAZING RACE CANADA and MASTERCHEF CANADA, with THE AMAZING RACE CANADA reigning as the most-watched Canadian series overall for the fourth year in a row;
  • MASTERCHEF CANADA, climbing in its 4th season to become a Top 10 series in Canada, and growing 13% in the A18-34 demo;
  • the top Canadian programs in daytime, Bell Media Studio’s THE SOCIAL and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW;
  • and the most-viewed Canadian entertainment news program, ETALK.

Making Bell Media the home of the most-watched scripted and unscripted Canadian series premieres for entertainment specialties this year, Discovery’s debut of HEAVY RESCUE: 401 in January was the #1 original Canadian series launch of the season on entertainment specialty, followed by Discovery’s debut of scripted series FRONTIER. Discovery is also home to the most-watched unscripted specialty series in Canada among A18-34 and A18-49, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER.

New Bell Media Original Series and Specials for 2017/18:

Drama

  • Starring Shanae Grimes-Beech as street smart Detective Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Cooper, Angela Griffin as Detective Stevie Hall, a sharp quick-witted interrogator who is Jack’s mentor, and Wendy Crewson as Staff Inspector Fiona Currie, the homicide unit’s formidable boss, THE DETAIL (CTV) centers on three fiercely talented female homicide investigators who work tirelessly to solve crimes while navigating the complicated demands of their personal lives (ICF Films/eOne; 10 x :60).
  • New six-part mystery series THE DISAPPEARANCE (CTV) follows the Sullivan family in the wake of a tragic event. As the fractured family bands together to solve the puzzle that has uprooted their lives, long-held secrets are uncovered. Starring Peter Coyote as retired judge and prosecutor Henry Sullivan; Aden Young as Luke Sullivan, Henry’s son, and a scruffy, soulful musician; Joanne Kelly as Catherine Sullivan, Henry’s daughter and Luke’s sister, and a funny, devoted palliative care nurse; Camille Sullivan as Helen Murphy Sullivan, Luke’s ex-wife, a microbiologist, and devoted mother; Micheline Lanctôt as Susan Bowden, a tough, experienced Lieutenant-Detective; and Kevin Parent as Sergeant-Detective Charles Cooper, and Susan’s partner (Productions Casablanca/NBCUniversal International Studios; 6 x :60).

Comedy

  • Equal doses fish-out-of-water comedy and high-stakes drama, THE INDIAN DETECTIVE (CTV) stars comic Russell Peters as a suspended Toronto police officer drawn into solving a murder case in India (Big Light Productions/Blue Ice Pictures/Wonder Films; 4 x :60).
  • Life in Dog River is about to get a lot more animated! Re-imagined by CORNER GAS creator and star Brent Butt and slated to premiere in 2018, the all-new CORNER GAS ANIMATED (Comedy) series delivers its revered brand of comedy, but this time in an animated Dog River where anything is possible (Prairie Pantoons/Moving Mountoons; 13 x :30).

Reality

  • Reinventing the music genre, new original series and format THE LAUNCH (CTV) delivers an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a series of hit songs as a group of unsigned musicians are mentored in the process by a panel of international hit makers. The series showcases a mix of vibrant voices and mic-drop moments during the creation of the next chart-topping song. Featuring world-renowned record executive Scott Borchetta, Bell Media confirmed today that international recording artists Fergie and Ryan Tedder will join the series as mentors (Bell Media Studios/Big Machine Label Group/Eureka/ Insight Productions; 6 x :60).

Factual

  • LAST STOP GARAGE (Discovery) follows the often hilarious antics of CRB Automotive, the sole auto repair shop at the end of the only road left before hitting the most remote North American wilderness (Proper Television, 12 x :30) .
  • ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD (Discovery) takes viewers on an action-packed journey to discover an extraordinary Canadian way of life, meeting anyone from off-gridders whose sole source of resupply is the rail, to the hardy crews who do whatever it takes to keep these extreme railroads running (Cineflix Productions, 8 x :60).
  • Character-driven docuseries HELLFIRE HEROES (Discovery) gets up-close-and-personal with firefighters who’ll do just about anything to keep their community safe in the bullseye of forest fire danger zone, the remote Slave Lake, Alta. (Pixcom, 10 x :60).

Documentaries

  • Coming this fall to CTV is the new Tragically Hip documentary, about Canada’s beloved band, their challenging year, and their momentous cross-Canada Man Machine Poem tour. This highly anticipated CTV Feature Presentation chronicles the emotional and epic lead up to the iconic group’s now-legendary 2016 tour that captured the heart of the nation (Banger Films).
  • As its final act, Cassini – the largest interplanetary spacecraft NASA has ever built – will dive into Saturn’s atmosphere, collecting unprecedented science to end its 13-year mission at the ringed jewel of the solar system. SATURN: INSIDE THE RINGS (Discovery) unveils the engineering of the mammoth spacecraft, and shines a light on the team that has made incredible discoveries at Saturn during the one-hour special (Exploration Production Inc. (EPI)).
  • The world’s most infamous prison was also its most inescapable. But why? Many have tried to solve this mystery, but none have searched beneath the waves, until now. DRAIN ALCATRAZ (Discovery) uses cutting-edge CGI and sophisticated technology to “drain” the seas and scrub the sediments, revealing once and for all why Alcatraz was so difficult to escape (Northern Sky Entertainment).

Lifestyle

  • Not the typical design series, SHEMAR MOORE’S HOME INVASION(CTV/Bravo) is a passion project for the star who loves to give back to those who have supported him. Each week, a lucky fan will be selected from Moore’s fan base to meet and spend time with their idol, and be surprised with a very special room make-over for a powerful, positive impact on their life. With his signature fun, flirty vibe, Moore works with his hand-picked team of designers and contractors to create a new environment to reflect not only the fan’s current style, but also help bring out new possibilities for them (Bell Media Studios/Insight Productions).
  • In MINOR RENOVATIONS (Bravo), two young designers lead a team of contractors and trades to makeover one space in their clients’ home. The twist is the home owners have no idea that the designers are all tweens with an eye for design. Renovations include a master bedroom, backyard, and media room. (MGM Television/Highway Entertainment; 5 x :30).
  • Original concept, retro-themed baking series FLOUR POWER (Gusto) helmed by newcomer Jessica McGovern, is a fun, playful, and super-stylish baking show that is all about sharing the love and joy of baking. From sweet cream pies to tiramisu, McGovern shows viewers just how easy it is to make these recipes at home (Gusto Worldwide Media; 13 x :30).
  • FRESH MARKET DINNERS (Gusto) takes viewers on a fun road-trip to farmer’s markets across Ontario to discover local food products, before heading to a fabulous “glamping” site, where the audience is shown how to make irresistible, using the fresh ingredients (Gusto Worldwide Media; 10 x :30).
  • Mouthwatering barbecue cookout series WATTS ON THE GRILL (Gusto) celebrates all things grilled. Beloved Gusto host Spencer Watts (FISH THE DISH) shows viewers how to barbecue like a pro, from sizzling steak, smoked chicken, and steamy seafood, to even flavourful fruit, veg, and breads (Gusto Worldwide Media; 13 x :30).

Specials

  • Spectacular live events THE INVICTUS GAMES 2017 OPENING CEREMONY (CTV) and THE INVICTUS GAMES 2017 CLOSING CEREMONY (CTV) feature Canadian music superstars in celebration of Prince Harry’s movement to commemorate and honour ill, wounded, and injured soldiers.

Returning Bell Media Original Series Confirmed To Date for 2017/18:

Drama

  • The fourth and final season of multiple award-winning, Montréal-based cop drama 19-2 (CTV/Bravo) (Sphère Media Plus/Echo Media).
  • Based on best-selling crime novel Blackfly Season, Season 2 of critically acclaimed murder-mystery CARDINAL (CTV) is back with stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse (eOne/Sienna Films).
  • Season 2 of international dramatic series FRONTIER (Discovery), starring Jason Momoa (Take the Shot Productions/ASAP Entertainment).
  • Space’s most-watched original series of all time, the sci-fi adventure series KILLJOYS (Space) returns for a third season (Temple Street).
  • Season 2 of supernatural, demon-hunting sensation WYNONNA EARP (Space) (SEVEN24 Films).
  • Final season of highly acclaimed ORPHAN BLACK (Space) (Temple Street).

Bell Media also welcomes Canadian series DARK MATTER for a third season to the 2017/18 slate (Space) (Prodigy Pictures).

Comedy

  • Half-hour satirical news sensation THE BEAVERTON (Comedy) has been greenlit for a second season (Pier 21 Films).
  • Featuring the hottest names in comedy this fall is Season 5 of JFL: ALL ACCESS (Comedy). A sixth season of the original stand-up series goes into production this summer at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montréal (Just For Laughs Television).
  • Cult hit LETTERKENNY (CraveTV) returns for a third season (New Metric Media/DHX Media).

Factual

  • Internationally recognized winner of the Canadian Screen Award for Best News or Information Series, DAILY PLANET (Discovery) returns for Season 23 (EPI).
  • Entertaining and educational hit series, HIGHWAY THRU HELL (Discovery) returns for Season 6 (Great Pacific Media).
  • Season 4 of MIGHTY PLANES (Discovery) (EPI).
  • Long-time international favourite, HOW IT’S MADE (Discovery) returns for Season 30 (Productions Maj).
  • Investigating the stories and science behind recent major crashes is MAYDAY (Discovery) Season 17 and Season 18 (Cineflix Productions).
  • Discovery’s most-watched original series among key adult demos, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER (Discovery) enters its 13th season (Proper Television).
  • Season 2 of TOUGHER THAN IT LOOKS (Discovery) starring CANADA’S WORST DRIVER’s Andrew Younghusband (Proper Television).
  • Season 2 of this year’s most-watched Canadian program debut, HEAVY RESCUE: 401 (Discovery) (Great Pacific Media).
  • Following the adventures of the jade-mining Bunce Family in northern B.C. is Season 4 of JADE FEVER (Discovery) (Omnifilm Entertainment).

Lifestyle

  • Season 3 of original Canadian series and marquee production ONE WORLD KITCHEN (Gusto) (Gusto Worldwide Media).

Music Specials

  • IHEARTRADIO MUCH MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS (Much/CTV)
  • WE DAY 2017 (CTV/MTV)

Original Bell Media Studios Productions for 2017/18

SIDES*

  • This fall, Bell Media Studios presents SIDES*, the first-ever Canadian social-media-first series. Created for youth by youth, as a place to explore all sides of topics and ideas that teens deem important, the weekly live talk show will have its premiere exclusively on social media, keeping the feed fresh all week long with a mix of produced and user-generated content across all social media channels. Positioned to be everywhere the SIDES* audience is – including TV – the best of the week will then be curated into a one-hour television broadcast called SIDES*XL (Much), mixing the unfiltered discussion from SIDES* with audience reactions and rants from social media. SIDES* passes the mic to the next generation, and lets them lead the conversation.

Daytime & Entertainment News

Producing some of Canada’s most-watched daily programs in-house, Bell Media Studios continues to offer a robust and unrivaled lineup of flagship programs, including:

  • Kicking off CTV’s leading original daytime lineup, YOUR MORNING (CTV).
  • 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).
  • Genre entertainment series, INNERSPACE (Space) and its series of after-shows.
Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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3 thoughts on “Bell Media Studios announces 2017/18 original productions”

  1. How is a show starring Shemar Moore a Canadian show? Is he going into Canadian homes to remake them? Or did Bell just pony up some money to watch him remodel houses in California? Regardless, how does that qualify as Canadian content?

    And while we’re on the subject, why are they making a music show with an American producer and using American stars (Fergie et al) as mentors? How exactly is that Canadian content?

    Why do we bother having a Canadian industry if every attempt is constantly made to get around it? I can watch American channels for American tv. I’ll stick with CBC, thanks, even if they’re hit or miss.

    1. We need more information about Shemar’s show regarding if these fans are Canadian or not, but Insight Productions is a Canadian company. They do The Amazing Race Canada, The Juno Awards and others.

      Insight is also the production company behind The Launch. Getting international acts will bring eyeballs, but on the surface doesn’t appear to be “Canadian.”

      1. No sorry, I know Insight is Canadian. I meant an American music producer , or record executive they call him. Because we apparently don’t have a Canadian music industry either.

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