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.

Set visit: The Next Step kicks into high gear

The most unlikely of places often contains the most interesting things. Take The Next Step, for instance. Family Channel’s smash hit tween series is filmed in a nondescript neighbourhood in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot: an old high school that’s been decommissioned by the Toronto District School Board.

The only indication anything is happening are the telltale orange traffic pylons that denote television or film production underway in the city. There’s plenty happening on the set of The Next Step. Though the second half of Season 2 has yet to air on Family, the third season is filming now. On the day I visited, creator and showrunner Frank van Keeken (Wingin’ It) was overseeing a key storyline where one member of the dance studio was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, a decision that could affect everyone else on the squad. Those on the team include Michelle (played by Victoria Baldesarra), Emily (Alexandra Beaton), Riley (Brittany Raymond), James (Trevor Tordjman), Eldon (Isaac Lupien), West (Lamar Johnson), Giselle (Jordan Clark), Chloe (Jennifer Pappas), Thalia (Taveeta Szymanowicz), Hunter (Zac Vran), Stephanie (Samantha Grecchi) and Amanda (Logan Fabbro), who showed off their dancing skills during several takes as part of the day’s frantic production schedule.

According to van Keeken, one episode of The Next Step is shot in just over a day, a lightning-quick turnaround when the industry norm is one episode per seven days of shooting. The industry veteran, whose experience goes back to working on The Kids in the Hall, says he wanted to hire dancers rather than actors to fill the roles on The Next Step. As he tells it, he could teach them how to act. Or react; van Keeken gives the kids a scene outline to work with and then they go for broke, giving authenticity to the mockumentary series.

The Next Step attracted 574,000 viewers in its Season 1 debut, making it No. 1 for the network. A 2013 shopping mall tour was a success, original music from the show is available on iTunes and the series airs around the world in such countries as the U.S., the UK, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Belgium and Switzerland. Next up: a retail program for fans to connect with the show.

Look for my Next Step feature when Season 2B has been announced.

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Kevin O’Leary joins Bell Media

oleary

From a media release:

– Celebrated businessman and television personality will act as on-air contributor for numerous TV, radio, and digital programs and properties –
– Kevin O’Leary returns to the SHARK TANK when Season 6 premieres this fall on CTV Two –

Bell Media announced today that SHARK TANK’s Kevin O’Leary is joining the company as an on-air contributor. In his new role, which officially begins September 1, 2014, O’Leary will lend his unique and colourful commentary to a variety of Bell Media programs and properties, including BNN, CANADA AM, ETALK, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, and THE SOCIAL, as well as various digital platforms. He will also be heard on radio stations 580 CFRA, CJAD 800, and NEWSTALK 1010, among others.

“We are very happy to welcome Kevin to the Bell Media team,” said Kevin Crull, President, Bell Media. “Kevin is an engaging personality whose savvy advice and strong business acumen will be of great interest to our viewers and listeners.”

“I am excited to be joining Bell Media, as CTV is where I first started my television career,” said O’Leary. “I look forward to working with some of Canada’s finest producers to maintain the dialogue about capitalism, entrepreneurialism, and family finance that we need to have as a nation.”

Kevin O’Leary is best known for his role as a panellist on SHARK TANK and as a prominent venture investor and champion of entrepreneurs. He leads a group of financial companies, and is chairman of O’Leary Funds. He is also the founder of O’Leary Fine Wines and a three-time #1 bestselling author for his Cold Hard Truth series of books promoting financial literacy for Canadian families, including his current #1 bestseller, Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids and Money. Previously, O’Leary founded and was president of SoftKey (later called The Learning Company), a global educational software company, and negotiated its $4 billion acquisition by Mattel.

Season 6 of SHARK TANK begins Friday, Sept. 26 with a two-hour season premiere on CTV Two.

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TSN expands to five national feeds

TSN

From a media release:

– Leading television service providers sign on for TSN’s new lineup of five national feeds –

– TSN’s suite of channels to debut on the opening day of the U.S. OPEN, delivering expanded live coverage of the final tennis Grand Slam of the season –

TSN announced today that its highly-anticipated expanded package of five national feeds will debut across Canada on Monday, August 25 – delivering more sports, more choice, and #MoreTSN to Canadian sports fans than ever before.

Optimized to give Canadians the most extensive selection of sports programming on television, TSN’s suite of five national channels – branded TSN1, TSN2, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5 – will deliver a slate of expanded programming, including the ability to schedule key programming to serve multiple time zones.

TSN’s five national feeds will be available to subscribers on the first day of the U.S. OPEN, enabling Canada’s Sports Leader to broadcast an unprecedented amount of live coverage of the final tennis Grand Slam of the season.

Distribution for TSN1, TSN2, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5
TSN also confirmed today that the expanded five-feed service will debut in millions of Canadian homes, with a slate of leading television service providers already signed on to carry the service.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the reaction to our expansion plans across the industry – it’s clear that our viewers, partners, and clients all want more choice and more access to the biggest events in sports,” said Stewart Johnston, President of TSN. “We are delighted that so many television service providers have signed on for the launch, and we are looking forward to announcing further distribution partners in the coming weeks.”

The following distributors are among the first to offer TSN1, TSN2, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5 to their customers when it launches on August 25:
Bell Fibe TV
Bell Satellite
Cogeco Cable Inc.
Eastlink
FibreOP TV (Bell Aliant)
MTS
Rogers
SaskTel
Shaw
Shaw Direct
Source Cable
TELUS Optik TV

More Sports, More Choice, and #MoreTSN
Already home to Canada’s most diverse lineup of sports programming and the biggest championships – among them the World Juniors, Grey Cup, FIFA World Cup 2015-2022, Grand Slam tennis, all of golf’s majors and much more – Canada’s Sports Leader is now able to fully leverage its deep lineup of world-class content with its expansion to five feeds: TSN1, TSN2, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5.

Key programming highlights that viewers can expect to see across TSN’s suite of five national feeds include:
· More live game coverage
· More choice of games and events taking place at the same time
· Expanded coverage of marquee live events
· Effective scheduling of TSN news and studio shows, including SPORTSCENTRE
· NHL hockey
· ESPN programming
· New acquisitions and partnerships

TSN is Canada’s Sports Leader and #1 specialty network. With a broad portfolio of multimedia sports assets, TSN currently delivers world-class content across industry-leading platforms including TSN2, TSN.ca, TSN GO, and TSN Radio. Official broadcaster of the Grey Cup, IIHF World Junior Championship and FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, TSN’s slate of live sports coverage includes NHL, CFL, NFL, NBA, MLS, Season of Champions Curling, UEFA Euro 2016, MLB, Barclays Premier League, Golf’s Majors, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Canadian Tire Series, F1, Grand Slam Tennis, NCAA March Madness, and Skate Canada events. TSN is a division of Bell Media, which is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company.

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CBC presents Just for Laughs galas

From a media release:

CBC brings the best in Canadian and international comedy to homes across Canada late this summer with the Just For Laughs Galas, featuring renowned comedians Eddie Izzard, Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers, along with an impressive lineup of comedians from around the world.

British comedy legend Eddie Izzard presents The United Nations of Comedy, featuring some of the hottest stand-up comedians from around the globe, including American Colin Quinn, Malaysian-Australian Ronny Chieng, South African sensation Trevor Noah, French superstar Gad Elmaleh (performing in English for the first time ever), and Trinidadian-Canadian Jean Paul. The United Nations of Comedy airs Friday, August 22 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT).

She’s the diva of the D-list, the she-wolf of show business, and one of the funniest women around. Straight from Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival comes Kathy Griffin and some of her very best frenemies. This one-hour special, airing Friday, August 29 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), features celebrity trash-talk from Kathy herself, with stand-up performances from comedy pros Jon Reep, Sebastian Maniscalco, Alex Nussbaum, Kitty Flanagan and Scottish superstar Danny Bhoy.

A trail-blazer and bridge-burner, the ageless Joan Rivers is sure to deliver the laughs in this one-hour special, airing Friday, September 12 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT). Audiences can look forward to a star-studded line-up of comedians including Tom Papa, Laurie Elliott, Lynne Koplitz and improv superstars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.

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Global announces fall 2014 premiere dates

 

sleepy

From a media release:

This fall, Global delivers the wow factor with a powerhouse schedule of captivating new dramas, charming comedies and long-awaited comebacks of returning favourites, drawing viewers in to sensational TV moments.

With a schedule packed with TV’s fiercest females, hottest men and thrilling event series, Global gears up for an unstoppable season. Ten o’clock is home to Global’s most buzzed about new dramas, including the heart-pounding new thriller Stalker, premiering on October 1, comic book adaptation Constantine beginning October 24, and the gripping CIA drama State of Affairs, debuting on November 17. Unapologetic political drama Madam Secretary joins critically acclaimed The Good Wife, rounding out Global’s must-see Sunday night schedule. From dynamic characters to spine-tingling twists, Global also brings viewers the highly anticipated event of the season Gracepoint, premiering October 2.

Balancing out the high-stakes drama, Global’s fall schedule has something for everyone with an array of diverse comedies. Brand-new sitcom Mulaney debuts on October 5, and the hilarious new series Marry Me ties the knot between love and laughs beginning October 17. The unorthodox legal comedy Bad Judge and the quirky romantic comedy A to Z complete the comedy lineup, both premiering on October 3.

Global keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with the return of last season’s explosive hit series The Blacklist, alongside fan-favourite Sleepy Hollow. Other returning favourites include the powerhouse franchise NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, Bones, Hawaii Five-0, Survivor, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.

FALL 2014 PREMIERE DATES and TIMES for GLOBAL TV:
All times are ET and subject to change. New series are bolded.

Sunday, September 21st
Madam Secretary, 8 pm
The Good Wife, 9 pm

Monday, September 22nd
Sleepy Hollow, 9 pm
The Blacklist, 10 pm

Tuesday, September 23rd
NCIS, 8 pm
NCIS: New Orleans, 9 pm
Chicago Fire, 10 pm

Wednesday, September 24th
Survivor, 8 pm
Chicago PD, 7 pm

Thursday, September 25th
Bones, 8 pm
Parenthood, 10 pm

Friday, September 26th
Hawaii Five-0, 9 pm

Sunday, September 28th
The Simpsons, 7:30 pm
Family Guy, 10 pm

Monday, September 29th
NCIS: Los Angeles, 8 pm

Wednesday, October 1st
Stalker, 10 pm

Thursday, October 2nd
Gracepoint, 9 pm

Friday, October 3rd
Bad Judge, 8 pm
A to Z, 8:30 pm

Sunday, October 5th
Mulaney, 7 pm
Bob’s Burgers, 7:30 pm

Friday, October 17th
About A Boy, 8 pm
Marry Me, 8:30 pm

Friday, October 24th
Constantine, 10 pm

Thursday, October 30th
Elementary, 10 pm

Monday, November 17th
State of Affairs, 10 pm

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