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: ‘Amazing Race’ missteps in Winnipeg

Darn it! My second favourite Amazing Race Canada team has been eliminated. Yup, former ballet superstar Rex Harrington and partner Bob Hope were jettisoned from Tuesday’s Leg after they arrived last in front of Jon Montgomery in Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The two admitted to being shocked at their final placing–they somehow believed they might have been in third place because they saw just two other teams at the dreaded Roadblock, where one had to dress up like a rock star and belt out a tune none of them (or myself) had ever heard. I was a little surprised show producers didn’t select a tune by the Guess Who for everyone to perform–you can’t get more Canadian or Winnipeg-focused than that–but maybe licensing issues put the kibosh on it.

As for my favourite pair, Meaghan and Natalie, they’re still in the thick of it. Barely. They were the first team to arrive at the Detour box after matching world coins to their corresponding flags at the Royal Canadian Mint (I had no clue that A) the Mint made coins for other countries, and B) the Mint was located in Winnipeg.), but made a stupid–and arrogant–move by bypassing the Fast Forward. Yup, instead of finding missing words in antique painted advertising on the sides of downtown buildings and skipping forward to the Pit Stop, they opted for the Detour challenging them to shoot hockey pucks through five different targets on a goal net. I understand them wanting to show off the prowess that won them Olympic gold medals, but they should have been thinking of the Race. Rubbing their hands with glee, Meaghan and Natalie plowed through the first four targets before getting stuck hitting the target between the goalie’s legs. They could only look on in shock as brothers Pierre and Michel, siblings Sukhi and Jinder and buddies Mickey and Pete completed the challenge and departed ahead of the hockey champs.

Alain and Audrey, meanwhile, had their game faces on. Realizing the Fast Forward was still up for grabs, the went for it. The test proved to be more challenging than they initially thought, but they still placed a respectable second behind brothers Michel and Pierre, who used the Express Pass to skip the singing on the way to a first-place finish.

Next week the teams fly to the Normandy coast of France, where they take some time out to remember the Canadians lost during world wars. I’m really enjoying the producers’ decision to use Canada as the main focus of Season 2 while spending time in other countries too. It’s brought a nice mix to the season so far and I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS tried something similar to keep their own version of the Race fresh.

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

What did you think of this latest Leg of the Race? Will you miss Rex and Bob? Comment below to let me know! Follow Greg on Twitter!

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Much celebrates 30-year anniversary

much

From a media release:

– Much’s 100 GREATEST VIDEOS EVER highlights iconic videos of last 30 years –
– Much pays homage to 1984 with movie marathons of POLICE ACADEMY, BEVERLY HILLS COP, and REVENGE OF THE NERDS franchises –

TORONTO (August 12, 2014) – In 1984, Prince’s “When Doves Cry” topped the charts, the first Apple Macintosh personal computers landed in stores, fashion was all about aerobics and lace, WHO’S THE BOSS was tops on TV, Madonna’s seminal sophomore album Like A Virgin arrived, and music videos on TV were king. And on August 31, a scrappy little music station was launched that quickly became a community for youth across Canada, thirsting for the latest fix of music and pop culture. Thirty years later, Much takes a look at some of the music and pop culture events that have shaped the channel with the 30-minute special MUCH 30th, premiering Saturday, Aug. 30 at 9 p.m. ET, as well as the 100 GREATEST VIDEOS EVER, starting earlier that day on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 11 a.m. ET.

“Much was a wild and dynamic place to be in the 80s,” said Steve Anthony, Much VJ, 1987-1995. “The MUCH 30th special really shows how through the constantly evolving world of pop culture Much has always been irreverent, cool, and in touch with its audience. It will always be forever young.”

“Every day at Much is a new adventure and MUCH 30th illustrates that,” said Liz Trinnear, current Much VJ. “As a child of the 80s, I know our fans are going to love revisiting some of the events that have shaped Much. Here’s to many more exciting moments to come!”

From legendary icons to incredible unscripted moments, MUCH 30th features current and past Much VJs including Devon Soltendieck, Hannah Sung, Liz Trinnear, Phoebe Dykstra, Steve Anthony, Traci Melchor, and Tyrone Edwards, who share stories and insights from their time on Much. The special revisits some of the biggest and most entertaining happenings in the channel’s 30-year history, including One Direction shutting down the streets around Much HQ in Toronto and giving fans the surprise of a lifetime; a young Mark “Marky Mark” Walhberg stripping down to his skivvies to do abdominal tricks; an interview with Tupac Shakur taped just a week before his death; and Jay Z introducing his then unheard-of protégé, Rihanna, to his fans. The special also includes new interviews with some of the Much audience’s favourite Canadian musicians, including Hedley, k-os, Serena Ryder, and Sam Roberts who recount their times at Much both past and present, as well exclusive anniversary greetings from some of music’s biggest names.

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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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