All posts by Denette Wilford

Preview: Private Eyes eyes big names for Season 4

Like with everything else, there’s been a lot of uncertainty surrounding network television, from when a series is premiering or returning, if at all.

Well, Private Eyes fans, fear not. Matt (Jason Priestley) and Angie (Cindy Sampson) are back and in fine form—Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global—so much so that if you close your eyes, things almost seem normal again.

Fresh off its Golden Screen Award win for Canada’s most-watched comedy or drama, your favourite detective duo is on the case for a fourth season. Also fresh? Angie’s new haircut. Just saying.

Monday’s premiere picks up pretty much where it left off, with Shade grappling with that paternity bombshell. A half-sister for Jules, played by the always awesome Jordyn Negri, not to mention being a grandfather for the second time for Barry Flatman’s wary Don? Sure! Angie, of course, wants to help (a.k.a. stick her nose in where it doesn’t really belong) but it’s what she does best. Thankfully, for everyone, a case becomes the distraction Matt and Angie need. This time, it’s a murder mystery, complete with the paranoid claims of a wealthy, ailing patriarch, a power struggle over business and inheritance, a Great Gatsby-themed soirée, and a handful of suspects that will keep you guessing.

Back to that distraction, though. Sabrina (Katie Boland) simply wants to connect with her newfound dad—until things take a turn when guest star Erica Durance (Saving Hope) turns up. And if her appearance wasn’t enough, it gets even more complicated as Shade and Angie continue to cast not-so-subtle longing glances at one another—especially since Tex (Brett Donahue) is still in the picture.

Private Eyes has once again lined up a slew of Canadian favourites. Keshia Chanté and Supinder Wraich join in recurring roles, as Angie’s pal, Mia, and Danica’s girlfriend, Kate, respectively. And Aaron Ashmore (Killjoys), Stefan Brogen (Degrassi), and Eric Peterson (Corner Gas) guest-star.

But it’s the seventh episode that’ll have you reaching for the popcorn, thanks to appearances from Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, the prettiest star on HGTV Canada, Scott McGillivray, and golf pro Mike Weir. Priestley directs that star-studded hour, while Episode 3 marks Sampson’s directorial debut. It’s safe to say the rest of the season (and the upcoming fifth instalment) looks bright. Shade(s) optional.

Private Eyes airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

Images courtesy of Corus.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Noah Cappe brings his love of food to the Wall of Chefs kitchen

Meeting Noah Cappe for the first time, his love of food is palpable and infectious (though trust me, I’ve never met a platter of chicken wings I didn’t like). But for his latest Food Network Canada gig, instead of venturing into more carnivals and fairs around North America, Cappe is swapping his shorts and Ts for dapper suits as the new host of Wall of Chefs.

It’s a perfect fit for the actor, whose love and passion for food is strictly “on the eating side,” though he admitted he didn’t get to sample as much here as he did on Carnival Eats. That being said, upon first hearing about the project, Cappe knew it was going to be good—and good for him.

“I think I’m a good conduit between the world of home cooks and celebrity chefs,” said Cappe, who gave a shoutout to the show’s casting and executive teams for recognizing his potential to handle the hefty task. “In a weird way I look at myself as a player for both of those teams so to be that connecting piece, it’s really a beautiful balance and I got to live on both sides of the fence a little bit.”

But Cappe, who is familiar with many of the 33 culinary geniuses up for grabs on the series, acknowledged there were “eye-opening” moments of just how extraordinary the world-class chefs truly are. “No matter how much culinary training, experience, knowledge you have, when you’re there with 12 of the country’s best, you realize, ‘Man, I know nothing.’ They’re at another level. They’re celebrity chefs for a reason.”

Wall of Chefs features four home cooks battling it out in three rounds in front of a dozen iconic chefs, who themselves are no strangers to culinary challenges and high-pressure stakes—be it as judges or competitors.

“There are chefs on this panel that if you’ve never watched a minute of cooking programming in your life, you still know them,” raved Cappe. “There are some of the biggest Canadian names in the culinary world on this show but there’s also this amazing opportunity for a lot of young, fresh, new faces. Each episode, there are 12 chefs but we’ve got 33 that we’re working with so you’re getting different combinations and it brings a little individual life every time.”

As for the competitors, it takes a special kind of person—one with ambition, bravery and confidence—to compete in a kitchen like this in front of these big names.

“Even if it’s only an hour, these home cooks are on a bit of a journey,” said Cappe, who went on to describe the three rounds they have to endure. Up first, the four contestants make their own crowd-pleaser before one is eliminated; during Round 2, they’re challenged to create a dish using staple ingredients from the home fridge of one of the chefs; and in the final head-to-head, the Top 2 create something inspired by a chef’s signature dish. “They’re going from home cooks to having to make a restaurant-worthy dish in those three rounds so hopefully with each round comes a bit more confidence, a bit less nervousness.”

The Great Canadian Cookbook star did concede, however, that the energy on set will throw even the fiercest, most fearless of competitors.

“There’s no way you can ever prepare yourself for the moment when the wall is revealed,” said Cappe. “I don’t care how many times you’ve made a dish, or how many times you’ve stood under lights or in front of a camera when that wall is revealed you’re looking at 12 of the best this country has to offer. You can instantly feel the air, it’s intense.”

That tension is to be expected when it comes to a cooking competition of this calibre but for Cappe, his favourite part of Wall of Chefs is how it showcases Canada’s diversity.

“I literally watched four home cooks over 10 episodes and every single person, the different backgrounds, different backstories, their families, their histories, the food they grew up on, the flavours that they used, it was all super-cool because our chefs are such a diverse panel as well,” gushed Cappe, who added that what will also draw in audiences is seeing these real people in these unreal situations.

“I always wondered as a viewer about these shows, how much of it is editing, is the plating really always happening in the last 30 seconds? It is. That’s the environment, it is that intense, that rushed and chaotic and frenetic and I think people can expect to see people that they can relate to in a situation that they never could have imagined.”

Wall of Chefs premieres Monday, February 3, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Nurses gets personal in Episode 2

Nurses may have only just debuted but with Global’s unprecedented order of a second season, the medical drama has a lot to live up to. That security of a sophomore year could’ve allowed for the writers to have more time to develop the five main characters—Grace Knight (Tiera Skovbye), Ashley Collins (Natasha Callis), Keon Colby (Jordan Johnson-Hinds), Nazneen Khan (Sandy Sidhu) and Wolf Burke (Donald MacLean Jr.)—but viewers will instead get quite a bit of insight into what makes these newbies tick, and how they got to where they are now in the second episode.

The description for “Undisclosed Conditions” is pretty generic stuff: “When a guest of honour at a St. Mary’s fundraiser collapses, Grace grapples with the patient’s refusal to tell her family her secret, while Ashley confronts Grace about her own secret.” That’s what it’s all about with these five: secrets. And for Grace and Ashley, a bit of a rivalry as well, both professionally and personally.

“It’s a misunderstanding,” Skovbye clarified when I met with the five actors at Corus’ headquarters to chat about the show. “It’s two people, coming in, one thinks they know what’s going but when the truth is revealed, they end up forming a bond.”

It’s the final heartbreaking scene in Episode 2 that Callis calls the “turning point” for Grace and Ashley, and will move them “a step in the right direction.” But if you’re hoping they’re going to be besties (which they are in real-life, FYI), think again. “It levels the playing field,” added Skovbye. “But it’s not like they’re going to be buddy-buddy.”

As for Ashley’s actual buddy, we get a peek into Wolf’s past, which MacLean Jr. described as “a life-defining moment.”

“Wolf seems like a goof, kind of wears everything on his sleeve, and maybe gets judged for that, but then you realize that this guy has something figured out within himself from when he was a child,” revealed MacLean Jr., who found parallels between himself and his character. “Before I even auditioned for it, I was searching for that feeling of fulfillment and zeroing in on what’s important and spiritually being enlightened, and then this came across my table and I fell in love. And I think I matured with the character.”

Sidhu shares those same sentiments about her time on Nurses, specifically where her character came from, and what lies ahead. Nazneen may come across as spoiled (OK, technically, she kind of was), but she tries to prove she’s anything but. Some things, though, you can’t fake.

“What I really love about her journey is it’s really a reinvention story,” she explained. “Why is she in Canada, and why is she a nurse? How does someone like that, who comes from such a wealthy family in India, and has had a life of privilege, decide to transplant herself into a totally new environment where she doesn’t know anyone and chooses the most selfless occupation ever?” Sidhu promised her story would be unraveled as the season plays out.

We also got answers as to why Keon would give up a possibly lucrative football career for nursing (“a freak accident” is how Johnson-Hinds described it), but as far as the actor is concerned, he’s only looking towards his—and Keon’s—futures.

“I think once [creator and showrunner] Adam [Pettle] and I sit down and see where he wants to take Keon’s story, more layers will be pulled back,” said Johnson-Hinds. “It’ll be interesting to see where the writers take that. Because I’ll be ready to chime in and say, ‘Yup, this is what I wanna be fighting for for this character.'”

It’s safe to say they’re all going to be fighting for their characters.

Nurses airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Survey says it’s time for Family Feud Canada

The air was immediately electric as I walked into the Studio 40 at CBC headquarters in Toronto. Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Family Feud knows exactly what the show’s about, whether it was the Richard Dawson era, the more comical years hosted by the late Ray Combs, or the current version with Steve Harvey at the helm. And Family Feud Canada—debuting Monday at 8 p.m. on CBCdoesn’t disappoint; it’s impressive right from the start. From the iconic name tags to those oh-so-familiar sights and sounds, it’s exactly how you remember it—with a Canadian spin.

“We might have a French-Canadian question, you might hear the word ‘hockey’ a bit more, you might get a poutine reference. But it’s not forced,” host Gerry Dee told us during the show’s recent media day. “We had a family from Winnipeg here and they were pumping up the Grey Cup. So there are some very proud Canadians on set because it is our version.”

And because of its Canadian-ness, expect it to be pretty darn nice. “It’s ironic, it’s called Family Feud but there’s no feuding,” laughed Dee. “They really love each other. One team feels bad to beat a team. So far, so Canadian.”

Literally. Nearly 2,000 families across the country applied and the show has received 10,000 emails from those who want to be in the studio audience. All who are surveyed are Canadian, and the questions range from Canadian to more Canadian to super-Canadian. And they’re all vying—albeit, politely—for that $10,000 prize.

Family Feud may be a game show at heart, but because of all the comedy that comes with it, it’s pretty perfect for the actor-comedian. Dee found out that Family Feud Canada was in the works about five months after Mr. D, which ran for eight seasons on the broadcaster, wrapped. “When Mr. D was done, there was nothing. Then this came along and it was perfect.”

Luckily for Dee, he didn’t have to audition as the broadcaster knew what a good thing it had with him. He joked that CBC asked five other people before turning to him but acknowledged, “I think that they probably were looking at all the great choices Canada has and I’m very lucky that they thought of me. It was a pretty cool call to get but it was never on my radar.”

But as far as Dee is concerned, he was never not going to do this. “This is right in my wheelhouse. I’m not saying I’m perfect for it but it’s a perfect fit as far as for me, it is.”

The only difference between Canada’s version and the U.S., Dee points out is, well, him. “Obviously it’s going to be very different with me as the host. Some people will like it, some won’t, and that’s a given. There always is in entertainment.

“The only thing that could be worse is me,” he continued. “That’s the only thing that could be worse. But it might not be. Not sure yet. We’ll find out.”

Family Feud Canada airs Monday to Thursday at 8 p.m. on CBC before moving to its regular timeslot of 7:30 p.m. the following week.

Image courtesy of CBC.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail