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.

Review: Racers flex their mussels in Charlottetown

Who else is amazed by the performance of Mickey and Pete on The Amazing Race? In a classic case of “never judge a book by its cover,” the duo from Muskoka, Ont., have not only made it to the semifinals but they could end up being the winners of Season 2.

Mickey in particular has excelled in several cases, mostly due to the fact that he successfully keeps his superpowers hidden behind a stoner, easygoing façade. Those skills were first unveiled in France, when his science background helped with the making of Calvados. During Tuesday’s Leg in Charlottetown, he showed off his running skills by pulling Pete around a racetrack. Every other team took turns running, but not Mickey. He pulled his brunette-maned bud around that course the whole time. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mickey was a surgeon or opera singer.

Meanwhile, Olympians Meaghan and Natalie are in disarray. Their calm, cool, demeanour has shown cracks, particularly with Meaghan, who is easily rattled when things don’t go her way immediately. Her struggles remembering the 10 men who helped shape Canada at the Charlottetown Conference left her shaken and upset; exactly the opposite formula for success on The Amazing Race Canada.

Sukhi and Jinder continue to surprise me; the kids that overlooked clue boxes right in front of them have been replaced by siblings who have found inner strength, able to muscle their way through what looked like a disgusting mussel harvesting challenge and outrunning Meaghan and Natalie to the mat for another first-place finish. The look on the mud-spattered face of Sukhi told it all last night: she wants to win this competition.

Alas, it won’t be Alain and Audrey cashing in the cheque at the end of the show. The pair from Quebec were eliminated during a close race between they and Ryan and Rob.

“I’m sad this experience is over,” Audrey told host Jon Montgomery on the mat. “But we’re gonna start our life together and that’s absolutely wonderful.”

Ryan and Rob were tasked with the most disgusting challenges of the Leg so far when they had to complete a Speed Bump that involved digging for three bottles of moonshine hidden in a massive, steaming pile of cow manure. Add to that they mussel harvesting challenge and I’m betting those boy were pretty darned ripe.

Next week the final four teams head to New Brunswick to decide who will be in season finale.

Here’s how the teams finished:

  • Sukhi and Jinder
  • Meaghan and Natalie
  • Mickey and Pete
  • Ryan and Rob
  • Alain and Audrey (eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Rogers announces Hometown Hockey Tour

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From a media release:

– 25 communities from across Canada set to receive hockey-themed festivities and outdoor viewing parties, beginning with London, ON, October 11 & 12 –

– Live Sunday broadcasts from Sportsnet Mobile Studio to feature local NHL player profiles and grassroots stories each week, hosted by MacLean –

– Sunday night broadcasts culminate with NHL national game each week on City –

This hockey season, Canadians across the country will get to experience the game they love with the ones they love, along with one of Canada’s favourites – Ron MacLean – as Rogers today unveiled the 25 communities that will be part of the inaugural Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour presented by Scotiabank and Dodge.

Each week during the 2014/15 NHL season, the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour will roll into a different community across the country with a weekend of free outdoor hockey festivities for all ages, culminating in an outdoor viewing party of an NHL game broadcast every Sunday, with MacLean hosting live onsite from the Sportsnet Mobile Studio.

“The passion for hockey in this country is unrivaled. Every Canadian has a connection to the game – it is part of our DNA, it is part of our communities,” said MacLean. “We’re excited to share in this season-long celebration of Canada’s favourite pastime, help grow the game and bring to life those great hockey stories every Sunday.”

Each Weekend of the Tour:
Kicking off in London, ON on October 11 and 12, the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour will bring together a community with deep hockey roots and deliver a jam-packed weekend of interactive games, activities and entertainment for the whole family, celebrating all things hockey in the heart of each town.

Rogers Hometown Hockey – Sunday Night Broadcast

  • Each Sunday– the newest national night for hockey – City will air a half-hour pre-game show hosted by Ron MacLean live from the Sportsnet Mobile Studio, leading into an NHL game broadcast. MacLean, along with other Sportsnet personalities, will also make appearances during the intermission and post-game show
  • The broadcast will include interviews with celebrities, NHL alumni,  and special guests with connections to the community, including features on local NHL players and grassroots stories
  • The first Rogers Hometown Hockeybroadcast will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. N.Y. Rangers on Sunday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET3:30 p.m. PT on City
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Marblemedia gets into bed with Ashley Madison

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From a media release:

Continuing the expansion of its primetime scripted development slate, award-winning content creator marblemedia (The Dating Guy) has announced a deal with production company OutEast Entertainment (Rogue, The Cover) to develop a scripted drama series based on the premium brand Ashley Madison.

The development deal will see both companies create a character-driven drama loosely based on the online dating site. The series is to be executive produced by Matt HornburgMark Bishop,Steven MarrsAlex Hertzberg and Noel Biderman, the CEO and Founder of Ashley Madison.

marblemedia and OutEast Entertainment are currently in pursuit of both Canadian and American writers for the project and will take the series to the marketplace as a script-to-series deal.

“Ashley Madison is a brand that offers a built-in and non-traditional audience that attracts international intrigue,” said Matt Hornburg, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “Tapping into new audiences and discovering unique, complex worlds such as Ashley Madison allows us the opportunity to challenge audiences about taboo topics such as infidelity in a sophisticated and thought-provoking way.”

“Just the name Ashley Madison conjures up thrilling images and a fascinating dialogue that we know will make for an incredible dramatic series,” said Steven Marrs, President & Managing Partner of OutEast Entertainment. “We’re truly ecstatic about the opportunity to work with marblemedia as we bring Ashley Madison to life in many unexpected ways.”

“This new series is a great opportunity to challenge the traditional idea of monogamy, with the insights we’ve gained from analyzing the interactions between our more than 29 million members from around the world,” says Noel Biderman, CEO and Founder, Ashley Madison. ”We’ve become a cultural touchstone, routinely featured on major network news and referenced on hit TV shows, so having a TV series based on our business is a natural next step for us. We’re excited about this opportunity and I, personally, am looking forward to seeing our story told in this way.”

Launched in 2001 and currently hosting more than 29 million members in 41 countries, Ashley Madison has become one of the most recognized brands in the online dating space through its originating of the married dating vertical, targeting both men and women looking to have discreet affairs.

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CBC hits TIFF in grand style

Kudos to the folks over at the CBC for taking a crucial first step in the network’s reinvention by using the Toronto International Film Festival as a backdrop to let folks know about the upcoming television season and the brand overall.

Canada’s public broadcaster staked out the corner of King St. West and Blue Jays Way this past weekend, turning what used to be a condominium sales office into a welcome centre called Canada House stocked with snacks, virgin Caesars, phone recharging stations and cardboard fans emblazoned with the iconic network logo and the Twitter message “#FallForCBC.” The stars of CBC’s radio and TV shows rolled through as well, meeting fans, posing for pictures and promoting their projects all weekend long.

The network even had a cool little set-up where those featured folks held press conferences in front of groups of about 50 or so fans at a time. I sat in on the panel for Canada’s Smartest Person, and hosts Jessi Cruickshank and Jeff Douglas described how the interactive program will not only showcase the linguistic, physical, musical, visual, social and logical skills of selected finalists from across the country, but an app will challenge viewers at home.

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I also got the chance to interview Dragons’ Den David Chilton and newest panelist Michael Wekerle for an online bit for TV-Eh (I’ll post that when it’s all been edited) and the pair swear the show’s upcoming Season 9 is deserving of your investment of time. Also appearing over the weekend were the stars of Mr. D, Murdoch Mysteries‘ Jonny Harris, Adam Beach, the folks behind The Book of Negroes–which has been adapted into a miniseriesand that Mamma Yamma thing.

The CBC knows it has some catching up to do with regard to connecting with newer and younger viewers. No longer able to sit back and allow NHL hockey to draw in numbers, they’re experimenting with content very unlike CBC. Dark western drama Strange Empire has got great buzz (the rough poster I was shown has a Deadwood feel), co-production sci-fi offering Ascension is definitely not typical CBC fare and historical drama Camp X promises to be thrilling.

Sure the network acknowledges this is somewhat of a rebuilding year, but there was a palpable optimism on Saturday that they are moving in the right direction with content and, even more importantly, connecting with an audience.

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Tiny Talent Time dances back onto television

For 35 years, Tiny Talent Time shone a spotlight on kids who could sing, dance, juggle and play instruments. There was no cash prize for being the best, no panel of judges looking down their noses and sniffing in disdain, no voting someone off the stage. It was a gentler time, and one CHCH is getting back into this weekend.

Yes, Tiny Talent Time returns to CHCH on Saturday with the first of 12 new half-hour episodes (a second season has just been announced). And while the brand has been updated from the original that ran from 1957 to 1992–a stunning 35 years–the message remains the same: have fun without any judgment. The idea for bringing back the series–the original was hosted by CHCH legend Bill Lawrence–came up during planning for the channel’s 60th anniversary happening this year.

“One of the things they said was to bring back Tiny Talent Time,” remembers producer Jennifer Howe (Descending). “I think this is a very good homage to the past with a new, modern take on it.” Producers went with two hosts for this incarnation (“I joke to Bill that it took two people to replace him,” Howe laughs.) in Jason Agnew (Splatalot) and Jaclyn Colville (Morning Live), which affords them the opportunity to bounce things off each other while interacting with the kids. The set has been updated, social media implemented and a website boasting a Wish Wall, an online update to a Lawrence mainstay.

“Bill always said, ‘If I could snap my fingers and make a wish come true for you, what would it be?’ and not everyone was able to reveal their wish because they weren’t on the show,” Howe explains. “Now kids can go and upload their wishes and can see each other’s wishes and interact.” Each half-hour instalment spotlights five on-air acts–beginning with Saturday’s “An Amazing Premiere”–and an interview with a child whose performance can only be seen by visiting the Tiny Talent Time website.  Howe reveals over 500 kids auditioned to appear on the program from across Southern Ontario.

“There were a lot of viewers of the old show, a lot of people who had been on the old show and wanted their grandkids to be on, or their nieces and nephews,” she says. “That seemed to be the big connection for people auditioning.”

Tiny Talent Time airs Saturdays at 7 p.m. ET on CHCH.

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