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.

Preview: CTV’s Transplant kicks off Season 3 in shocking style

When we last left Bash, his career and those around him were at a crossroads. He was offered a job in the new trauma OR, but his mentor, Jed, left the hospital. Mags, meanwhile, aimed to change her residency, June was about to get a new roommate in the almost stepsister she didn’t know she had and Theo’s life was on the line following a helicopter crash.

So, yeah, there is a lot to address when the award-winning Transplant returns this Friday on CTV. Here’s what the network released as the official synopsis for “Fracture,” written by creator Joseph Kay and directed by Stefan Pleszczynski.

Bash’s decisions lead to conflict with the new Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Neeta Devi (Rekha Sharma). Mags (Laurence Leboeuf) struggles to save a patient who thinks the system gave up on her. June (Ayisha Issa) has trouble with her new roommate – who happens to be her almost-step-sister – and gets a work proposal from Novak (Gord Rand). Theo (Jim Watson) has trouble adapting.

And here are some non-spoilery tidbits I picked up while watching a preview:

Bash and Amira become Canadian citizens
A month after the events of the Season 2 finale, we meet up with Bash and Amira, who are nervously waiting in a government office to begin the citizenship process (no word on how long they’d been waiting for an appointment), when a woman has difficulty breathing and Bash leaps to action. As an aside, I’m very impressed with Sirena Gulamgaus’ acting chops. She wasn’t a newbie actress when she started on Transplant, but her growth as a performer has evolved over the past two seasons.

We’re introduced to Dr. Neeta Devi
Played by Rekha Sharma—who has been so great in Yellowjackets—Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Devi dramatically enters York Memorial on the heels of a shocking chain reaction accident.

Theo fights to survive
Spoiler alert! Jim survived the helicopter crash. But now the real test begins; can he make his way to safety in Ontario’s unforgiving North? And if he does, how will what happened affect him?

A memorable guest gig
Veteran actor Joe Cobden (This Life, Bellevue) turns in one heck of a performance as a man who confounds Bash with his post-op demeanour. First responder series like Transplant rely on killer casting to supply episodes with engaging characters dipping in and out of York Memorial and Cobden nails his gig.

Are Mags and Bash … a thing?
There are lots of longing looks between the two during the first half of Friday’s return, but nothing to suggest anything intimate might have occurred in the last month.

Transplant airs Fridays at 9 p.m. Eastern on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Entertainment One bolsters Canadian unscripted creative team

From a media release:

Entertainment One (eOne) announced today the addition of Christine Diakos, who joins the company as Vice President, Development, Unscripted – Canada, Television. In her new role, Diakos will be responsible for the development, creation and pitching of non-scripted content, with a focus on lifestyle, reality and competition series.

Prior to eOne, Diakos was Senior Vice President of Production and Development at Big Coat Media, where she served as a Supervising Producer on such series as Love It or List It (HGTV), Love It or List It Vancouver (HGTV) and Jillian and Justin (W Network). She’s also served in a variety of senior production and development roles at Shaw Media and Peacock Alley Entertainment, working on content as varied as A Users Guide to Cheating Death (VisionTV) and Hockey Wives (W Network), among others.

Working alongside Diakos is Scott Boyd, who has been elevated to VP, Development, Unscripted and will oversee factual, true crime, and docuseries content. Boyd joined eOne in 2017 as a Development Producer, following eOne’s acquisition of Paperny Entertainment, and quickly progressed to Director of Development, steering such projects for eOne as Make it to the Moon (Discovery) and two-time Canadian Screen Award-winning Arctic Vets (CBC). Prior to eOne, Boyd worked as a Producer and Director across multiple unscripted genres and on several hit series such as Dragons’ Den (CBC) The Big Decision (CBC) and Undercover Boss Canada (W Network)

Both Diakos and Boyd report to Jocelyn Hamilton, President – Canada, Television.

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Howie Mandel, Lilly Singh, Kardinal Offishall, Trish Stratus and Lindsay Ell return for Citytv’s Canada’s Got Talent

From a media release:

Canada’s Got Talent, Citytv’s most-viewed original series in over a decade, gears up for an all-new season, airing and streaming exclusively on Citytv, Citytv.com, and Citytv+ next Spring. Ahead of tonight’s highly-anticipated finale of America’s Got Talent on Citytv, the network announces the return of #CGT’s star-studded judges’ panel – Howie Mandel, Lilly Singh, Kardinal Offishall, and Trish Stratus – alongside host Lindsay Ell, which begins production next month in Niagara Falls.

Canada’s Got Talent Season 2, produced in partnership with Fremantle, SYCO Entertainment, and McGillivray Entertainment Media Inc., will film at the brand new OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino. This season will broadcast nine episodes, featuring six audition shows, two semifinals, and a spectacular live two-hour finale. Starting now, the public can sign up to be part of the live studio audience free of charge by visiting Citytv.com.

As one of America’s Got Talent’s star judges with 13 seasons under his belt, Howie Mandel returns to the Canadian judging panel with his infectious energy, warmth, humour, and a keen eye for astonishing talent.

Lilly Singh brings hype, creativity and heart back to the judges’ panel with wisdom and advice for Canada’s bright new talents inspired by her own journey to self-made success in the entertainment industry.

With his larger-than-life personality and exceptional ability to seek out Canada’s new wave of superstars, Kardinal Offishall is sure to bring a whole lot more of “YESSIR!” to the judges’ panel in Season 2.

Rounding out the jury is wrestling legend and hall-of-famer Trish Stratus. After being named WWE’s #1 Greatest Female Superstar and performing around the world in front of millions of fans, she knows what it takes to be a top entertainer. Trish returns with the hope of dropping that elbow on the Golden Buzzer after being left STRATUSFIED.

Lindsay Ell, a GOLD-certified, three-time CCMA winner and Juno Award nominee, returns as host for Season 2. After selecting Season 1 Champion Jeanick Fournier as her Golden Buzzer, Ell released her fastest chart-climbing single to date, “Right On Time.”

Fournier won $150,000, courtesy of CIBC, to help realize her ambitions, and the opportunity to perform in the “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas LIVE” stage show at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Created by Simon Cowell, the Got Talent franchise is the most successful reality TV format ever, airing in 194 territories worldwide and holding the Guinness World Records title for the highest number of adaptations, having been commissioned in over 72 territories. Canada’s Got Talent is produced by Fremantle, SYCO Entertainment, McGillivray Entertainment Media Inc., in association with Citytv, a division of Rogers Sports & Media.

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Incendo & Tubi announce continued partnership at Content Canada with two additional horror films slated for production in 2022

From a media release:

Incendo is thrilled to announce two additional horror films slated for production in 2022, in conjunction with FOX-owned streaming giant, Tubi as part of their continued content initiative. Driven by the success of the genre and consumer demand for themed content, the projects include Marry F*** Kill, an original film written by Ian Carpenter and Aaron Martin (Terror Train), as well as The Amityville Curse, an adaptation of Hans Holzer’s iconic novel from the successful franchise, scripted by Dennis Heaton (Motive).

Incendo is in pre-production in Montreal on the films and will also represent distribution on a global scale; Tubi is the commissioning U.S. licensee for both projects.

Marry F* Kill sees five estranged college friends reunite to attend their friend’s funeral after her shocking suicide. Scarred by a past betrayal that led to the ultimate demise of their friendship, an innocent game of Marry F* Kill spawns into something far more sinister than they could have imagined.

Led by an exceptionally talented Canadian cast, the film stars Jedidiah Goodacre (Descendants), Maxine Denis (Party of Five), Robbie Graham-Kuntz (Utopia Falls), Cynthia Jimenez-Hicks (From), Deanna Jarvis (Beauty and the Beast), and Devin Cecchetto (The Craft: Legacy). Marry F*** Kill has attached multi-award nominated director Caroline Labrèche (Rule of 3) and will be produced by Graham Ludlow and Kaleigh Kavanagh; Executive Producers are Graham Ludlow, Brook Peters, and Shari Segal.

Based on the book of the same name, the new adaptation of The Amityville Curse will take on a different perspective than the 1990 direct-to-video released film. With Incendo securing the underlying rights to the original novel from the estate, fans can look forward to an authentic approach to capturing the gripping story of Hans Holzer’s book.

Incendo partners for the second time with Éric Tessier (You Will Remember Me) to direct the film. Producers are Graham Ludlow and Kaleigh Kavanagh; Executive Producers are Graham Ludlow, Kaleigh Kavanagh, Brook Peters, and Shari Segal, as well as fellow author and Hans Holzer’s daughter, Alexandra Holzer, whose contribution to the film pays tribute to continuing the authenticity and legacy of her father’s work. Casting for the film will commence in the coming months.

Incendo and Tubi initially partnered earlier this year for the collaborative remake of cult classic film Terror Train, which will premiere October 21st in the U.S. as a part of Tubi’s annual month-long Halloween inspired genre celebration, ‘Terror on Tubi’.

From classic slashers to thrills from the paranormal, Incendo’s talented production team are dedicated to bringing these original and reimagined stories to life while staying true to the core fundamentals of the genre and homage to horror fans. The company also has collection of multi-genre series and films in various stages of development for 2023 and beyond.

About Incendo

Incendo is a Canadian company that specializes in the production and international distribution of high-quality television programming for the worldwide marketplace. Since its inception in 2001, the company has produced compelling movies, television series as well as documentaries that have been sold throughout the world. Incendo is the leading television distribution company in Canada and also handles theatrical distribution in Québec for Paramount Pictures. For more information, visit www.incendo.ca.

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Preview: Rick Mercer returns to CBC with Comedy Night

Rick Mercer is back on the CBC, and all is right in the world.

I’ve felt a Mercer-sized hole in the network’s primetime schedule since 2018, when The Mercer Report made its final, well, report. Since then, there has been a global pandemic, dozens of political gaffes and untold silly situations that could have used Mercer’s wry take on.

Let’s get things out of the way first. His first series back on the CBC, Comedy Night with Rick Mercer is not The Mercer Report. The veteran funnyman isn’t behind a desk, by himself, reporting on the world while starring in short skits. And that’s totally OK.

Debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC, the eight-episode Comedy Night with Rick Mercer is a great comedy showcase, with Mercer stalking the stage of theatres across Canada, performing standup.

“I’ve done two tours of Comedy Night in Canada, and they are big tours, going from St. John’s to Victoria, 28 rooms, 1,000 to 2,000 seats,” Mercer says.

These tours and this show, of course, offer him the chance to talk about what’s been going on with his life since COVID-19 emerged and observations about the world at large. And, it’s a showcase for Canadian comedians, who perform sets in front of the live audience before sitting down with Mercer for one-on-ones. The project is something Mercer has been doing for years, albeit the first with cameras rolling for TV.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” Mercer says. “There have always been comedy showcases. The difference is, there hasn’t been a comedy showcase in primetime in a very long time.”

Comedy Night with Rick Mercer airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of JFL.

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