All posts by 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.

CRTC Chairperson and CEO Vicky Eatrides to give keynote at BANFF 2023

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce CRTC Chairperson and CEO Vicky Eatrides will speak on Monday, June 12, with a keynote session. The 44th edition of the Festival will take place in-person June 11 – 14 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

With delegates from more than 45 countries, BANFF attracts the world’s top creators, producers, showrunners, talent, networks, studios, streamers, press and media companies. As previously announced, George Cheeks, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS and Chief Content Officer, News and Sports for Paramount+, is also confirmed as a Summit Series speaker, a curated, future-focused lineup of keynote sessions that was launched in 2019 in honour of the festival’s four-decade legacy.

“Chairperson Eatrides’ BANFF debut comes at a pivotal time of critical examination and foundational change for the Canadian and international media industry,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival. “We are honoured to host the new head of the CRTC at this year’s festival, to participate in what is sure to be an illuminating and greatly anticipated keynote.”

Eatrides began her career practising regulatory law at a national law firm in 2000. She joined the federal public service in 2005 and held a number of senior executive positions at the Competition Bureau, Natural Resources Canada, and the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Eatrides has experience across a variety of areas, including law enforcement, strategic policy, economic analysis, legislative affairs, and international relations.

Eatrides held several leadership roles at the Competition Bureau over a twelve-year period, including Senior Deputy Commissioner in charge of enforcing criminal and civil provisions of the Competition Act. During her time at the arm’s-length organization, she developed expertise in telecommunications, broadcasting, and new technologies by leading merger reviews, civil and criminal investigations, and regulatory interventions.

Eatrides taught Competition Law courses at Queen’s University and has spoken at numerous domestic and international conferences and events. She is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.

In addition to Summit Series keynotes, BANFF will return with an array of provocative panel discussions including the recently announced Universal Studio Group Spotlight session featuring Erin Underhill, President of Universal Television, Beatrice Springborn, President of Universal International Studios & UCP and Toby Gorman, President of Universal Television Alternative Studio.

The Festival will again include celebrity master classes and networking opportunities to connect the global media industry to ignite new projects and support business development. Also returning: the prestigious Rockies Gala honouring the most inspiring executives and talent in the industry; and 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 Francophone Prize, and other special prizes, will be announced during the Festival on June 12th.


CBC renews original comedies Run the Burbs, Son of a Critch and This Hour Has 22 Minutes

From a media release:

Reinforcing its status as Canada’s go-to destination for Canadian comedy, CBC today announced the renewal of popular original series RUN THE BURBS and SON OF A CRITCH for their third seasons, and long-running sketch comedy series THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES for its 31st season. These series join Peabody Award-winning comedy SORT OF, which was renewed for a third season in December 2022 by CBC and HBO Max, as part of CBC’s 2023-24 comedy slate. CBC comedies were recently recognized with 54 Canadian Screen Award nominations, including Best Comedy Series for SORT OF and Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series for THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES. SON OF A CRITCH is also among the Top 5 series currently in the running for the 2023 Cogeco Fund Audience Choice Award.

Created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience) and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon), RUN THE BURBS follows the Phams, a young, bold Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest, while changing the way we think about contemporary family values and life in the burbs. The series is produced by Pier 21 Films and distributed by Fifth Season. The Season 2 finale of RUN THE BURBS airs Wednesday, March 29 at 8:30 p.m (9 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

Based on Mark Critch’s award-winning, best-selling memoir, SON OF A CRITCH is the hilarious and very real story of 12-year-old Mark coming of age in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the 80s. Created by Critch (This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and Tim McAuliffe (The Office, Last Man on Earth and MacGruber) and produced by Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning producer Andrew Barnsley (Schitt’s Creek), the series is an inter-provincial co-production between Barnsley’s Project 10 Productions Inc. and Newfoundland-based Take the Shot Productions in association with CBC and Lionsgate Television, which handles worldwide distribution rights outside Canada. This season, SON OF A CRITCH is the most-watched English Canadian comedy series and CBC’s most-watched program with 18-49 and 25-54 audiences.* The Season 2 finale of SON OF A CRITCH airs Tuesday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. (9 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

Canada’s longest-running TV comedy series, THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES continues to push the boundaries of provocative satire, targeting politics, culture and world events with biting parodies and an unrelenting skewering of the weekly news. Produced by IoM Media, the series remains a beloved sketch comedy staple for audiences across the country after three decades, and has featured some of Canada’s greatest comedians – and most of the country’s political leaders. The finale of THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES’ 30th anniversary season airs Tuesday, March 28 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

In addition, CBC continues its commitment to showcasing emerging and established Canadian stand-up talent with returning specials and series for the 2023-24 broadcast season. Recently captured at Just For Laughs Vancouver and produced by Just For Laughs TV, Season 4 of THE NEW WAVE OF STANDUP showcases Canada’s hottest new comedians (Season 3 debuts Friday, March 24 on CBC Gem). Also from Just For Laughs TV, Season 20 of JUST FOR LAUGHS GALAS will offer the best-known international and Canadian stand-up comedians, alongside exciting breakout performers, from the world’s biggest comedy event in Montreal. WINNIPEG COMEDY FESTIVAL (Season 22, Frantic Films) and HALIFAX COMEDY FEST (Season 27, Pilot Light Productions) round out CBC’s comedy lineup for the upcoming broadcast season, capturing some of the most dynamic performers on today’s circuit.

*Source: Numeris TV Meter, September 12, 2022 – March 5, 2023, CBC Total, Total Canada, Based on AMA, Confirmed Audience Data, generated by InfoSys+TV.


The Jim Henson Company & marblemedia to develop new original live-action comedy series, Felix

From a media release:

Award-winning global production company, marblemedia, and The Jim Henson Company, an established leader in innovative and iconic entertainment, are partnering once again, this time on the original scripted comedy series, Felix (10×30), which will break new ground by debunking the stereotypes and stigmatization around neurodiversity and mental health challenges among children.

Created by Miklos Perlus, and inspired by his neurodivergent son, Felix is a live action comedy about a boy, his family, and his “feels” – five original characters to be created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™ that manifest his larger-than-life emotions. They live in his house; they follow him to school; they eat all the good snacks; they’re like the worst pets ever. And now that Felix attends a school for neurodivergent kids like him, he’s finally learning how to live with his very real emotions.

“We could think of no better partner on this project than The Jim Henson Company to join us in creating a transformative family television series”, explains A.J. Trauth, VP Kids at marblemedia. “We share a desire to bring the much-needed conversation around children’s mental health directly to audiences across North America, and the world. Miklos has expertly crafted an authentic, optimistic, and hilarious story about this very important topic.”

“For generations, the art of puppetry has helped us process our thoughts and feelings. By authentically depicting the nuanced and complex ways that neurodivergent children experience the world, Felix will use comedy and a cast of original hilarious characters to introduce audiences to new ways of thinking, reducing the stigma around mental health and inspiring families to improve their own communication,” said Halle Stanford, President of Television for The Jim Henson Company.

marblemedia and The Jim Henson Company have partnered previously on live-action preschool series Hi Opie!, in 2014 and its spin-off Opie’s Home in 2016.


Links: Essex County

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: TV version of Jeff Lemire’s ‘Essex County’ tells ‘beautiful, emotional, magical stories about ordinary people’
As the TV series “Essex County” begins, a boy in a red cape stands staring at a field of wheat. There’s a vulnerability in the sight of the back of his curly head and exposed neck, but he determinedly straps a black mask over his face, clenches his fists, closes his eyes and rises into the air while a woman in a white dress smiles at him. Continue reading.

From Barry Hertz of The Globe & Mail:

Link: Inside Essex County’s superheroic journey from Canadian comics breakthrough to CBC epic
A young boy stands out in the middle of a field, the crops reaching up to his knees. He’s wearing a slim black mask around his eyes, and a bright red cape is tied around his neck, fluttering in the wind. He takes a breath, concentrates and then smirks as his feet lift off the ground, the opening act of a superhero origin story yet to be fully written. Except that this Smallville-esque moment arrives in the first episode of Essex County, a new limited television series set in rural Ontario that has nothing to do with comic books. Well, almost nothing. Continue reading.

From Joe Belanger of the London Free Press:

Link: Young London teen stars in Essex County TV series
Essex County, based on the graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, stars London’s Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, a 13-year-old Grade 8 student at St. Michael Catholic elementary school. The show is on CBC at 9 p.m. and can be streamed on CBC Gem. Continue reading.


Saskatchewan’s award-winning Flat Out Food is back for a third season, March 15, on Citytv

From a media release:

The made-in-Saskatchewan docuseries that puts homegrown ingredients, farmers, chefs and food artisans in the spotlight is back for a third season. Flat Out Food premieres Wednesday, March 15 at 10pm CST on Citytv Saskatchewan.

Flat Out Food’s third season is an eight-episode documentary series that traces unique Saskatchewan ingredients from the field to the plate, hosted by journalist and author Jenn Sharp. Flat Out Food is inspired by the stories in her 2020 book, Flat Out Delicious: Your Definitive Guide to Saskatchewan’s Food Artisans.

During season three, the docuseries visits places as diverse as a salt mine, a rural craft brewery, an orchard and even joins the wild rice harvest in northwestern Saskatchewan. Each episode focuses on one ingredient and shows viewers how it’s produced and how it can be used before ending with a stunning meal in one of the province’s most popular restaurants. Flat Out Food was filmed in several Saskatchewan locations during the summer of 2022.

“Our goal with Flat Out Food is to introduce people to the incredible food scene and hidden gems that we have here while also showcasing the immense beauty of the Prairies,” says Adrian Halter, the series’ producer and director.

“Saskatchewan is well-known as an agricultural hub and produces food for the commodity markets that is exported throughout the world. What many don’t realize is just how much food is produced locally and stays in the province. Sharing stories about our local food systems is what makes Flat Out Food unique,” says Sharp.

Flat Out Food airs Wednesday nights on Citytv Saskatchewan and streams online at Season three premieres March 15 at 10 pm CST. A new episode airs weekly until May 3 with the season finale.

Flat Out Food is produced by HalterMedia Inc. in association with Rogers Sports & Media, with assistance from the Canada Media Fund and is made possible through the Feature Film and Television Production Grant from Creative Saskatchewan.