Everything about Battle of the Blades, eh?

CBC’s Battle of the Blades returns to the ice October 22

From a media release:

CBC today announced that the new season of Canadian audience favourite BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 6, produced by Insight Productions) will launch with a special two-hour live premiere on Thursday, October 22 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem, with eight new pairs ready to hit the ice in support of charities across Canada. Multi-talented singer-songwriter, TV host and actress Keshia Chanté will be joining veteran sportscaster Ron MacLean on the ice to share hosting duties this season. A singer since the age of 14, Chanté is known for her JUNO Award-winning music including multiple #1 hits and eight Top-10 radio singles, as well as her work as a television host and actress.

Originally born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto, Chanté has over 18 years of experience in the entertainment industry, including the release of four musical albums; a previous role as co-host of the #1 music show on television, 106 & Park, alongside Bow Wow; and her current role as co-host on Entertainment Tonight Canada. She served as a music expert and international judge on The World’s Best alongside James Corden and Drew Barrymore, as well as two seasons of The Next Star. As an actress, Chanté appears on Season 4 of Private Eyes and Season 2 of JANN. She is also known for her charity work, including serving as Youth Ambassador for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR); volunteering time in Africa with CANFAR to build schools; volunteering in the Dominican Republic with World Vision, and performing with Alicia Keys for the Keep A Child Alive fundraising concert.

CBC’s quintessentially Canadian competition series BATTLE OF THE BLADES features NHL, Olympic and professional hockey players performing on ice with World and Olympic figure skating partners in the hopes of winning the Season 6 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charity of their choice. Alongside hosts Chanté and MacLean, the Season 6 judging panel features beloved Olympic gold medallist in ice dance Scott Moir; multi-Olympic medallist in women’s ice hockey, and Season 5 runner-up, Natalie Spooner; and professional skater and choreographer Elladj Baldé. Four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returns to the series as Elite Battle Expert.

This season’s eight competing pairs, and their charities, are:

  • Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart

Competing on behalf of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

  • Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje

Competing on behalf of the BC Children’s Hospital

  • Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford

Competing on behalf of The Canadian Cancer Society

  • Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill

Campbell will be competing on behalf of Do It For Daron, while Hill will be supporting FreedomSchool – Toronto

  • Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski

Duhamel will be competing on behalf of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, while Wolski will be supporting The Hospital for Sick Children’s Patient Amenities Fund

  • Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg

Edwards will be competing on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, while Versteeg will be supporting Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society

  • Vanessa James and Akim Aliu

Competing on behalf of The Time To Dream Foundation

  • Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell

Competing on behalf of The Bickell Foundation in support of the MS Society of Canada

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Battle of the Blades Season 6 premiere postponed

From a media release:

As a precautionary measure in response to an individual on the Battle of the Blades production team testing positive for COVID-19, Insight Productions has temporarily halted all training and pre-production on the upcoming season to ensure the health and safety of the entire cast and crew. CBC fully supports this decision and, as a result, is postponing the October 15th live premiere of Battle of the Blades Season 6. CBC will provide additional scheduling updates as soon as possible.

A CBC original series, Battle of the Blades is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Sixteen Canadian athletes hit the ice on Battle of the Blades

From a media release:

With socially distanced training underway, CBC today announced the elite 16  skaters making up the eight pairs for the upcoming new season of the hit live-competition series BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 6, 1×120, 6×60), featuring NHL, Olympic and professional hockey players who will perform on ice with World and Olympic figure skating partners in the hopes of winning the Season 6 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charity of their choice. This is the first time in the series’ history that three female hockey players, and three male figure skaters, have been part of the competition. Produced by Insight Productions, BATTLE OF THE BLADES launches its new season with a special two-hour premiere on Thursday, October 15 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

The Season 6 pairings are: 

  • Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart

  • Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje

  • Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford

  • Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill

  • Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski

  • Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg

  • Vanessa James and Akim Aliu

  • Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell

Also announced today is the return of Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean as host for Season 6, alongside a judging panel featuring beloved Olympic gold medallist in ice dance Scott Moir; multi-Olympic medallist in women’s ice hockey, and Season 5 runner-up, Natalie Spooner; and professional skater and choreographer Elladj Baldé. Four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returns to the series as the Elite Battle Expert, guiding a weekly masterclass and throwdown challenges designed to test the hockey players as they prepare to compete.

Episode tapings for the new season will all take place at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ontario, featuring a virtual audience. To generate excitement for the skaters on the ice and viewers at home, video screens in the arena will feature Canadians across the country watching and reacting to the live performances from their homes and communities. Fans interested in being part of the audience through a virtual video conference are encouraged to visit cbc.ca/battleoftheblades for more information.

The eight pairs stepping onto the ice and entering the competition on October 15 are:

Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart
A World Extreme pairs champion and four-time BATTLE OF THE BLADES fan favourite, Russian-born Canadian Afanasieva will perform with LaSalle, Quebec-born Stewart, a former NHL player for the Florida Panthers. Afanasieva and Stewart will be competing on behalf of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities – a national charity dedicated to helping kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation in an effort to provide inclusive play for kids of all abilities.

Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje 
A four-time Olympic medallist, including three gold and one silver medal in women’s ice hockey, Windsor, Ontario-born Agosta will perform with Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario-born Poje, a three-time World Ice Dance medallist, three-time Canadian Ice Dance champion, and two-time Olympian with partner Weaver, and Season 5 runner-up and dynamic duo with partner Spooner. Agosta and Poje are competing on behalf of the BC Children’s Hospital, a leader in general and specialized pediatric services, and the province’s foremost teaching and research facility for child health.

Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford
A four-time Olympic medallist, including three gold and one silver medal in women’s ice hockey, Ottawa, Ontario-born Botterill will perform with Winnipeg, Manitoba-born Radford, a two-time World pairs champion, Olympic team gold and Olympic bronze medallist with partner Duhamel. Botterill and Radford will be competing on behalf of The Canadian Cancer Society, a national, community-based organization of staff and volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.

Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill 
A former Canadian women’s ice hockey player for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, Moosomin, Saskatchewan-born Campbell will perform with Scarborough, Ontario-born Hill, a Canadian ice dancer and choreographer who also co-hosts CBC Sports’ YouTube series That Figure Skating Show with Dylan Moscovitch. Campbell will be competing on behalf of Do It For Daron, which supports education, awareness, and research initiatives at The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health that encourage young people to talk openly about mental illness and to ask for help when needed, while Hill will be supporting the Black Legal Action Centre, a non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario.

Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski 
A two-time World pairs champion, Olympic team gold and Olympic bronze medallist with partner Radford, Sudbury, Ontario-born Duhamel will perform with Polish-born Canadian Wolski, an Olympic bronze medallist in ice hockey and former NHLer with the Colorado Avalanche. Duhamel will be competing on behalf of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, whose mission is to raise funds for hospital Newborn Intensive Care Units to purchase life-saving equipment for premature and critically ill newborns, and provide scholarships to junior curlers, while Wolski will be supporting The Hospital for Sick Children’s Patient Amenities Fund, a source of assistance for families who have limited financial resources and whose child is being cared for by SickKids.

Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg
Professional skater and Dancing on Ice competitor Edwards, who grew up in Queen Charlotte on Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, will perform with Lethbridge, Alberta-born Versteeg, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks, and former Toronto Maple Leaf and Calgary Flame. Edwards and Versteeg will be competing on behalf of Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society, nurturing and supporting the strengths and resilience of Indigenous families, children, and youth.

Vanessa James and Akim Aliu
A six-time French pairs champion, 2018 Grand Prix Final champion and 2019 European champion, Toronto, Ontario-born James will perform with Nigerian-born Canadian Aliu, an NHL player formerly with the Calgary Flames. James and Aliu will be competing on behalf of The Time To Dream Foundation, which aims to make youth sports, including the game of hockey, more diverse, inclusive, affordable and accessible to all, regardless of race, gender and socioeconomic background.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell 
A three-time World ice dance medallist, three-time Canadian ice dance champion, two-time Olympian with Poje, and Season 5 winner with partner Sheldon Kennedy, Houston, Texas-born Weaver will perform with Bowmanville, Ontario-born Bickell, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks who competed in the NHL despite a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2016. Weaver and Bickell will be competing on behalf of The Bickell Foundation in support of the MS Society of Canada, providing services to people with multiple sclerosis and their families, and funding research to find the cause and cure for this disease.

The Season 6 host is Ron MacLean, a Canadian icon and multiple award-winning sports broadcaster for three decades, known for his roles on Hockey Night in Canada and Rogers Hometown Hockey. He is a two-time George Gross Award recipient, honouring excellence in sports broadcasting, and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2015, alongside Don Cherry. MacLean has been part of the BATTLE OF THE BLADES family since the beginning and brings his extensive knowledge of hockey and figure skating to the role of host once again, in addition to his comedic charm and ease of refereeing the pairs’ and judges’ comments.

Returning to the series for the sixth time, in the new role of Elite Battle Expert, is iconic figure skater Kurt Browning. Considered one of the greatest of all time, Browning was recently honoured with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Figure Skating Union. Browning has been inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, and was the first to land a quad jump in competition. He has contributed to CBC’s coverage of the Olympic Winter Games and World Figure Skating Championships as an analyst, and choreographed programs for dozens of skating stars, in addition to touring with Stars on Ice.

The Season 6 judges, returning each week, are: 

Scott Moir
A two-time Olympic gold medallist, Olympic silver medallist and two-time Olympic team medallist, Moir and his partner, Tessa Virtue, are the most decorated ice dancers in Olympic history. They are also three-time World champions and eight-time Canadian champions. Moir joined BATTLE OF THE BLADES last season to guest judge and audiences can look forward to his expertise and thoughtful comments throughout this season.

Natalie Spooner
A World champion, Olympic gold and silver medallist, Spooner is the unforgettable BATTLE OF THE BLADES Season 5 runner-up with Poje. She knows the journey, and exactly what the players feel in the moment when their music starts. In her role as judge this season, Spooner will share her enthusiasm for the series and a hockey player’s point of view.

Elladj Baldé
One of the most sought-after professional skaters in the world today, Junior Canadian champion and international competitor Elladj Baldé has risen to international status through hardship and with determination. Despite a competitive career that was halted by multiple concussions, Baldé has never stopped honing his skill and artistry. With his natural on-ice charisma, he knows what it takes to truly command an audience.

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

2020-21 Canadian TV season renewal scorecard

Well, things are just a little bit different this time around. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on television production around the world, the Canadian networks—like others—have been a little late in announcing their primetime schedules.

But they’re gradually doing that, so we’ve put together a handy list of what will air between the summer of 2020 and the end of spring in 2021.

Check back often to see if your favourites have been renewed; we’ll be updating this list as we get more information.

Renewed

APTN
Tribal
Tribal Police Files
The Other Side

Tribal

CBC
Still Standing
Murdoch Mysteries
Frankie Drake Mysteries
Workin’ Moms
Baroness Von Sketch Show (final season)
Heartland
The Nature of Things
Marketplace
The Fifth Estate
Battle of the Blades
Family Feud Canada
Just for Laughs: Galas
Ha!ifax Comedy Fest
You Can’t Ask That
Coroner
Kim’s Convenience
Tallboyz
Dragons’ Den
22 Minutes
The Great Canadian Baking Show
Diggstown
Burden of Truth

Tallboyz

Citytv
Hudson & Rex

CTV
Corner Gas Animated
JANN (renewed for Season 3)
The Amazing Race Canada
Transplant
MasterChef Canada: Back to Win

Crave
Letterkenny

Discovery
Heavy Rescue: 401
Disasters at Sea
Highway Thru Hell

Nurses

Food Network Canada
Big Food Bucket List
Carnival Eats
Wall of Chefs
Great Chocolate Showdown 
Junior Chef Showdown 
Fire Masters
The Big Bake 

Global
Nurses 
Private Eyes
Big Brother Canada
Departure

Backyard Builds

HGTV Canada
Backyard Builds 
Island of Bryan 
Property Brothers: Forever Home 
Scott’s Vacation House Rules  
Save My Reno 

History
Vikings (final season)
Rust Valley Restorers  
History Erased 
Salvage Kings 

Netflix
Another Life

Omni
Second Jen
Blood and Water

T+E
Hotel Paranormal
Haunted Hospitals

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

The complete lineup of pairs announced for Battle of the Blades

From a media release:

With just over a week to go until show time, the skaters are sharpening their blades and their moves. CBC today announced the pairings for the upcoming return of the hit live-competition series BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 5, 1×120, 6×60), including the remaining NHL veteran and Olympic hockey players who will perform with their World and Olympic figure skating partners in the hopes of winning the Season 5 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charities of their choice. BATTLE OF THE BLADES, the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time* and produced by Insight Productions, launches with a special two-hour premiere on Thursday, September 19 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service.

The former NHL and Olympic hockey players announced today are: 18-year professional hockey veteran and former Toronto Maple Leaf, Colton Orr; Olympic Games gold and silver medal-winning hockey player for Team USA, Amanda Kessel; 13-year professional hockey player and former New York Islander Bruno Gervais; and 14-season NHL veteran and current Calgary Flames Director of Player Assistance, Brian McGrattan. Orr, Kessel, Gervais and McGrattan join previously announced fellow hockey players Natalie Spooner and Sheldon Kennedy as Season 5 competitors.

Former Toronto Maple Leaf and Montreal Canadien, and current NHL broadcast analyst, Colby Armstrong had committed to the series, but while training last week with his on-ice partner, Violetta Afanasieva, he sustained a hamstring injury that prevents him from continuing in the competition. He has been forced to withdraw, and Afanasieva will continue to train and perform with her new partner, former NHL player, current sports broadcaster, and past BATTLE OF THE BLADES competitor and judge P.J. Stock, who was also her partner in Season 2 of the hit series.

The pairs preparing to hit the ice for the live competition beginning September 19, are:

Violetta Afanasieva and P.J. Stock  
World Extreme pairs champion and three-time BATTLE OF THE BLADES fan favourite Afanasieva will be performing with Quebec native Stock. He began his NHL career with the New York Rangers, before signing with the Montreal Canadiens, and continuing with the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. Stock is a hockey broadcast analyst, having appeared on Hockey Night in Canada for nearly a decade, and he currently appears on RDS. Afanasieva was also his partner when he competed on Season 2 of BATTLE OF THE BLADES, and he appeared as a judge on Season 4. He is competing this season on behalf of the Stock Fund in support of the ALS Society of Quebec, which works to provide support and referrals for people living with ALS and their loved ones, fund research, and raise awareness of the disease, while Afanasieva is competing in support of the Humane Society of Kawartha Lakes, providing protection and provision for the humane care and treatment of all animals.

A man and woman on skates.Amanda Evora and Colton Orr
The Season 4 winner and an Olympian in pairs skating, Evora will be performing with Orr, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-born 18-year professional hockey veteran who played close to 500 games in the NHL. Orr played for the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, establishing himself as a top enforcer, which earned him a major contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He suffered a concussion during the 2010/2011 season but returned to the ice the following season, playing for an additional two years before his retirement. He is currently coaching youth hockey at the Colton Orr Hockey Academy as well as doing broadcast work in Toronto and New York. He is competing in support of the Smilezone Foundation, which strives to improve the lives of children receiving medical treatment at health care facilities across Canada, while Evora is competing in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, which works with communities across Canada to encourage and empower children and youth, helping them set a path for success.

A man and woman on skates.Ekaterina Gordeeva and Bruno Gervais
The Season 2 winner and two-time Olympic Games gold medallist in pairs skating, Gordeeva will be performing with Gervais, a Longueuil, Quebec-born 13-year professional hockey veteran. Gervais was initially drafted by the New York Islanders, where he was a strong defensive figure for years, and after achieving a career-high 19 points in 63 games, Gervais was awarded the Nassau County Athlete of the Year Award in 2009. He played with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers before shifting his hockey career to Europe, where he spent two years playing for Eisbären Berlin. He is competing in support of the Gervais-Talbot Foundation, which supports disadvantaged youth, while Gordeeva is competing in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

A man and woman on skates.Vanessa James and Brian McGrattan
A six-time French pairs champion, 2018 Grand Prix Final champion and 2019 European champion, James will be performing with McGrattan, a Hamilton, Ontario-born 14-year NHL veteran. McGrattan made his NHL debut with the Ottawa Senators, establishing himself as the team’s top enforcer, and one of the best in the league. After being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes, his struggles with substance abuse led him to seek help, entering a program that would help him change the course of his life. He returned to the NHL with the Calgary Flames, where he was a positive influence on his team, and following his retirement, he rejoined the Flames as the team’s Director of Player Assistance. He is competing in support of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, which works to help homeless animals in Alberta communities, while James is competing in support of the Alzheimer Society of Canada, which works to make life better for Canadians affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and advances research to improve diagnosis, treatments and to find a cure.

A man and woman on skates.Amanda Kessel and Eric Radford
A two-time World pairs champion and two-time Olympic Games medallist, Radford will be performing with Kessel, a Madison, Wisconsin-born hockey player for Team USA. At the start of her career, she played for the United States Under-18 Team, and was named the World Under-18 tournament’s most valuable forward, scoring six goals and 13 assists which led the team to a gold medal. Kessel also helped lead Team USA to a silver medal at Sochi 2014, and despite suffering a debilitating concussion in 2014, she helped them to a gold medal at PyeongChang 2018. Since then, Kessel has been playing in the National Women’s Hockey League for the Metropolitan Riveters. She graduated from college with a degree in Sports Management, and has her own clothing line, AK28 with Gongshow Gear. Kessel is competing on behalf of SickKids Foundation, in support of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, while Radford is competing in support of Egale Canada, which works to improve the lives of all LGBTQI2S people.

A man and woman on skates.Natalie Spooner and Andrew Poje
A three-time World Ice Dance medallist, three-time Canadian Ice Dance champion, and two-time Olympian with Kaitlyn Weaver, Poje will be performing with Spooner, a Toronto-born hockey player with Team Canada who won a gold medal at Sochi 2014 and silver medal at PyeongChang 2018. Also in 2014, she became the first woman in hockey history to claim both the Olympic Games gold medal and the Clarkson Cup for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Spooner is competing in support of Fast and Female, a charity dedicated to keeping girls healthy and active in sports by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models at non-competitive, fun-filled events all over North America, while Poje is competing in support of Right To Play, which works to protect, educate and empower children to rise above adversity using the power of play.

A man and woman on skates.Kaitlyn Weaver and Sheldon Kennedy
A three-time World Ice Dance medallist, three-time Canadian Ice Dance champion, and two-time Olympian with Poje, Weaver will be performing with Kennedy, a Manitoba-born former NHL player who played for three teams over the course of his eight-year NHL career: the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames. For his tireless work as a spokesperson and advocate for abuse survivors, Kennedy has received numerous awards, including being named a Member of The Order of Canada (2015) and a Member of The Order of Manitoba (2015), and receiving the Hockey Canada Order of Merit (2018). Kennedy and Weaver are competing in support of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, a national charity dedicated to helping kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation in an effort to provide inclusive play for kids of all abilities.

Returning this fall, BATTLE OF THE BLADES combines athletes from two of Canada’s favourite sports — figure skating and hockey — as they pair up in a live, high-stakes figure skating competition for the charity of their choice. Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean will reprise his role as host, with four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returning as head judge. Beloved Canadian Olympic Games ice dance champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, will be rink-side with him as guest judges for select episodes. First launched in 2009, BATTLE OF THE BLADES was broadcast on CBC from 2009–2013 (4 seasons, 57 episodes) and remains the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time.*

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content; and Susan Taylor is Executive in Charge of Production.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail