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

Preview: Tripping the French River is the latest episode in TVO’s successful franchise

The advent of spring marks several things. Warmer weather. Flowers growing and trees budding. It also means a new instalment in the excellent Tripping franchise.

And, after previous jaunts on the Rideau Canal, the Bruce Peninsula, the Niagara River and Train 185, the French River is getting the spotlight in Tripping the French River.

Airing Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern on TVO, TVO’s website and YouTube channel, executive producer Mitch Azaria’s franchise has become hugely popular thanks to its “slow TV” approach of taking viewers on a trip through Ontario in real-time.

The three-hour instalment begins with a babbling waterfall and chattering birds before a long drone shot joins a couple paddling a cedar-stripped canoe on Lake Nipissing at the mouth of the French River. The duo traversing the first part of the river, called Canoe Pass, are retracing those of European explorers (guided by Indigenous peoples who had used the waters for millennia) 400 years ago. And, much like it must have been back then, the only sounds here are birds, a breeze in the trees and the soft kerplunk of paddles dipping into the water.

It isn’t all just languid strokes on the river to Georgian Bay. Some rapids require a portage that follows trails established by generations of wildlife, and side trips that use animation to explore other facts about flora and fauna along the way.

As with past Tripping excursions, facts about the river, its environs, and the people who used it are spelled out with facts shown on screen. Among them:

  • In 1986, the French River was named the first Canadian Heritage River, in recognition of its place in Indigenous history and role in shaping Canada
  • Its waterways are protected within the boundaries of a provincial park
  • The French River was a vital travel and trading link between Quebec City, Lake Superior and points west
  • The pictographs on Kennedy Island were created hundreds of years ago and are one of three pictograph sites on the river

The 100-kilometre paddle is marked by several stops along the way, most notably the aforementioned pictographs, Dokis First Nation, Five Finger Rapids, Recollet Falls, Old French River Village and Old Voyageur Channel.

If you don’t have access to a canoe to do this trip yourself, Tripping the French River is the next best thing to being on the water.

Tripping the French River airs Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern on TVO. Stream it and the TVO YouTube Channel.


Banff announces key speakers for its growing programming lineup

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is pleased to announce a distinguished lineup of industry leaders set to headline the 45th edition of the Festival taking place June 9 – 12, 2024 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Key sessions at the Festival will feature:

In Conversation With Amy Reisenbach, CBS Entertainment
CBS Entertainment President, Amy Reisenbach, will join BANFF for a special ‘in conversation with’ session as she speaks about the network’s 2024/25 programming strategy, the art of building procedural franchises and CBS’ important role in the evolving TV ecosystem.  Reisenbach has served as President since 2022, where she now leads all primetime, daytime and late-night creative departments at the CBS Television Network, and supervises all comedy and drama development, alternative, specials and current programming, scheduling and casting.

International Media Leaders
Charting the Course Forward: Join our esteemed international media leaders as they delve into the currents reshaping the media landscape. From technological convergence to the imperative of diversity and inclusion, they’ll navigate the challenges and opportunities of an ever-evolving industry, sharing innovative strategies driving success in the face of disruption.


  • Bing Chen, CEO & Co-Founder, Gold House
  • Sandra Dewey, COO, Media Res
  • Lisa Kramer, President, International TV Licensing, Paramount Global Content Distribution
  • Asif Sadiq, Chief Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery
  • Cori Wellins, Partner, William Morris Endeavor

Disrupt or Be Disrupted: The Media Industry in the Age of Enshittification
Adam Cunningham, Chief Strategy Officer, Allied Global Marketing

Enshittification, the gradual decline into irrelevance faced by media platforms that fail to evolve with their audience, is the sword hanging over every media owner’s head. This era, characterized by rapid tech growth, domination and control, threatens to diminish your value, compelling an urgent shift from legacy approaches to innovative engagement. In this gritty guide, we challenge you to overhaul your strategy, placing the audience’s preferences at the core. It’s a clear call: disrupt your own models or be side-lined by those who will. For those daring to adapt, the future is bright; for the rest, irrelevance awaits.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these outstanding global entertainment thought leaders to the BANFF stage,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director (pictured above). “Now is not the time to be timid. The industry is at an inflection point. We’re programming a provocative lineup of speakers and this year’s Festival is poised to be a cornerstone event for media professionals navigating the complexities of our rapidly growing landscape.”

As previously announced, Channing Dungey, Warner Bros. Television Group Chairman and CEO and Rob Wade, CEO, FOX Entertainment are confirmed as Summit Series keynotes. The Festival will again include more than 1,200 facilitated networking opportunities, in addition to over 25,000 meetings connecting the global media industry to ignite new projects and support business growth.

This year, international financing and co-production will be a major focus.  BANFF will also debut new conference content focused on music on screen.   Technology, AI and entertainment content on social media and online platforms will also be a key focus.

Also returning to the BANFF stage in June is the Rockie Awards International Program Competition, one of the world’s most prestigious screen industry competitions, with participation from more than 45+ countries annually including an international jury of 150 industry professionals. Category winners, including the Grand Jury Prize, the Rogers Prize for Canadian Content, the Emerging Talent Prize, the Francophone Prize, and other special prizes, will be announced during the Festival on June 11th.

In addition, taking place on the evening of June 10th, the industry-favourite Rockies Gala will return to recognize the best content and most influential entertainment industry executives, talent and creators in the world.


Industry veterans Michelle Mama and Bill Taylor launch new production company Gay Agenda

From a media release:

Industry veterans and award-winning producers Michelle Mama and Bill Taylor today announced the launch of their boutique production company GAY AGENDA. With an aim to foster, mentor, and produce from a defiantly queer lens, and to discover and amplify the next generation of queer voices, the company is currently in various stages of development and production on a robust slate of feature films and scripted and factual TV and digital series. Production is currently underway throughout Canada and the U.S on the feature-length documentary AntiDiva: The Confessions of Carole Pope.

“Everything just clicked when I met Bill and I knew we could build something meaningful together. We share the same vision, work ethic, and commitment to giving back to the community,” said Michelle Mama. “We’re passionate about empowering talented queer creatives who have been misunderstood by the mainstream, and about depicting representations of queer people not in peril, grief, or living through tragedy – we’re in the business of creating and sharing queer joy.”

“Forming GAY AGENDA at a time when the world feels increasingly divisive, it’s important for us to tell our own stories that foster empathy, build bridges, and celebrate forgiveness and redemption,” said Bill Taylor.

Featuring interviews with music industry titans, making use of never-before-seen archival footage, and with exclusive access to Carole Pope today, AntiDiva: The Confessions of Carole Pope chronicles the fascinating career and current life of a queer maverick. Challenging mainstream notions about sex and sexuality with her band Rough Trade in a time when it was dangerous to be gay, the now 78-year-old icon is navigating a new chapter of her life – still gigging, working on a musical, and recording fresh new music with young artists in her thrall. Produced by Michelle Mama, Bill Taylor, and Allison Grace of Fall From Grace Productions, and written and directed by Michelle Mama, AntiDiva: The Confessions of Carole Pope is slated for release in 2025 on CBC Documentary Channel.

AntiDiva: The Confessions of Carole Pope was made possible with the support of the Canada Media Fund POV Program, the Ontario Creates Film Fund, the Hot Docs-Slaight Family Fund, and the Rogers Documentary Fund.

Additionally, GAY AGENDA is currently in various stages of development on the following projects:

  • That’s Just Super (8×30) – queer superhero series created by Julianna Notten (Erin’s Guide to Kissing Girls) and co-showrun by veteran writer Anthony Q. Farrell (The Office, Shelved)
  • Queer Elders (working title, 6×30) – documentary series directed by Maya Bastian (Farm Crime, Tigress)
  • Daygamers (8×30) – adult animated series created by Lester Trips (Content Farm)
  • My Fabulous Gay Orgasm (6×30) – comedic series created by Scott Jones
  • Change Your Life Forever in 60 Days (6×16) – comedy web series created and produced by Ink Cap Productions
  • 2 x formatted queer dating series – additional details to be released at a later date

MICHELLE MAMA is an award-winning, five-time Canadian Screen Award nominee who has been producing and directing in the factual and doc space for over two decades. Her most recent credits include executive producing doc feature Summer Qamp (TIFF ’23) Canada’s Drag Race Season 3 and “Canada vs. The World” (Crave), directing the trans makeover series Shine True (VICE), and show-running two seasons of the award-winning arts documentary series In The Making (CBC). Michelle most recently directed celebrated comic Mae Martin hosting of a special episode of The Nature of Things “Fluid: Beyond the Binary” (CBC) and had the pleasure of directing two 2024 Governor General Award films, produced by the National Film Board, honouring comedy icon Andrea Martin and puppeteering legend Ronnie Burkett.

BILL TAYLOR is an award-winning queer filmmaker who is committed to telling stories deeply rooted in the human condition. He began his career as a writer/director making several films that screened at festivals worldwide, including Silver Road (CBC, Iris Prize Nominee, MTV Logo), The Young Prime Minister (Bravo!), and Don’t Get Killed In Alaska. After directing, producing and writing his first feature, Bill turned his attention to television production, working on hundreds of hours of scripted and unscripted shows.

For more information, follow @we_are_gay_agenda and visit

Image courtesy of Lulu Wei.


A season of linguistic pride: Indigenous languages take centre stage in APTN’s spring programming

From a media release:

APTN is proud to announce its spring lineup, which promises to inspire, educate and ignite conversations across the nation. Through groundbreaking newscasts and language revitalization initiatives, APTN continues to uplift Indigenous voices on-screen.

News and current affairs programming
APTN is strengthening its commitment to news and current affairs by introducing a 30-minute midday edition of APTN National News that aims to give viewers a quick snippet of key stories during their lunch breaks. The program offers a more lighthearted newscast, while still covering the events that impact First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Tune in to the live newscasts on weekdays or access them anytime at

APTN National News at noon CT
APTN TV premiere date: May 6, 2024 (English)

New language & entertainment programming
As part of the network’s commitment to language revitalization, APTN is launching several new Indigenous-language series alongside its English and French offerings. These programs showcase the power of culture, help people engage with their language in a fun way and spark dialogue that connects generations.

On the Front Line – Season 1 – Docuseries (originally aired in French as Sur le terrain)
APTN lumi premiere dates: April 29, 2024 (Innu) & April 30, 2024 (English)
APTN TV premiere dates: May 6, 2024 (Innu) & May 7, 2024 (English)

Pow Wow Chow – Season 1 – Docuseries
APTN lumi premiere date: April 30, 2024 (Ojibwe & English)
APTN TV premiere date: May 7, 2024 (Ojibwe & English)

Chums – Season 1 – Kids/Youth
APTN lumi premiere dates: May 4, 2024 (Ojibwe) & May 5, 2024 (Cree & English)
APTN TV premiere dates: May 11, 2024 (Ojibwe) & May 12, 2024 (Cree & English)

Mi’kma’ki – Season 1 – Docuseries
APTN lumi premiere dates: April 29, 2024 (Mi’kmaq) & July 30, 2024 (English)
APTN TV premiere dates: May 6, 2024 (Mi’kmaq) & Aug. 6, 2024 (English)

Lands Enchanted – Season 1 – Docuseries (originally aired in English)
APTN TV premiere date: May 7, 2024 (Cree)
APTN lumi premiere date: May 8, 2024 (Cree)

La brigade – Season 1 – Kids/Youth
APTN TV premiere date: May 11, 2024 (French)
APTN lumi premiere date: May 12, 2024 (French)

Returning fan favourites
Moosemeat & Marmalade (image above), one of APTN’s most successful productions ever, is going out with a memorable final season of laughter, adventure and, as always, mouthwatering food. Before they hang up their aprons, beloved chefs Art and Dan explore the traditional recipes and hunting practices of Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Sweden and more. For longtime fans or those who are hungry to catch up on the action, all past seasons of Moosemeat & Marmalade will be available for streaming on APTN lumi this July in English, Cree and French. Other programs returning to APTN this spring include the second season of Bears’ Lair, featuring 18 new Indigenous entrepreneurs in a friendly competition for $100,000.

Moosemeat & Marmalade – Season 7 – Docuseries
APTN TV premiere dates: May 6, 2024 (French) & May 7, 2024 (English)
APTN lumi premiere dates: May 7, 2024 (French) & May 8, 2024 (English)

Bears’ Lair – Season 2 – Reality/Competition
APTN TV premiere dates: June 4, 2024 (English) & June 10, 2024 (French)
APTN lumi premiere dates: June 5, 2024 (English) & June 11, 2024 (French)

Visit for the full APTN TV schedule.


Drew and Jonathan Scott’s Backed By The Bros premieres June 5 on HGTV Canada

From a media release:

Home renovation and real estate superstars Drew and Jonathan Scott will put their professional reputation, connections and resources on the line to help struggling property investors find success in the new HGTV Canada series Backed By The Bros. Premiering Wednesday, June 5, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada and available to stream the same day and time on STACKTV, the 10-episode season will show another side of the Brothers – proven real estate moguls who know a good investment when they see one – as they relinquish total control of renovations to advise bewildered entrepreneurs, short-term rental owners and residential developers on high-stakes investment properties. To get each project across the finish line in an unforgiving housing market, the popular twins will back investors with their professional expertise, experience, invaluable insights, and top-notch resources – gratis.

In every episode of Backed By The Bros, Drew and Jonathan will consider two potential real estate investments. After assessing the properties and meeting the owners, they will decide who to back with their full suite of support. Offering their expert mentorship, project management capabilities, trusted trade contacts, a team of designers and a warehouse full of construction materials, furniture and décor, Drew and Jonathan will bring every resource to the table. The Brothers are ready to help the investors avoid pitfalls, but there’s no guarantee they will listen. Protégés may push back or go rogue, but if they make the right decisions, they’ll get the best return on their investment.

In the season premiere, Drew and Jonathan will review a troubled renovation project in North Hollywood that’s already more than $100,000 in the hole, as well as a detached garage in Burbank that the owners hope to transform into a rental unit. While only one will receive the backing opportunity, the other will still reap the benefits of the Brothers’ consultation and invaluable advice.

Backed By The Bros is produced by Scott Brothers Entertainment with Drew and Jonathan serving as executive producers.