Everything about Children’s Programming, eh?

Family Channel enrols at Malory Towers

From a media release:

This summer, WildBrain Television’s Family Channel will be brimming with midnight feasts, oceanside swims, lacrosse, pranks, sweets, and lasting friendships as the charming new Malory Towers series launches with a two-episode premiere event on Wednesday, July 1 at 11 am ET/PT. Set in post-war Britain on the sun-drenched cliffs of the Cornish coast, Malory Towers is based on Enid Blyton’s hugely popular novel series and follows the adventures of 12-year-old Darrell Rivers, played by newcomer Ella Bright, as she leaves home to attend an all-girls’ boarding school.

Co-produced by WildBrain and the UK’s King Bert Productions, Malory Towers explores universal experiences such as shifting cliques, FOMO, bullying, crushes, peer pressure, and self-doubt. The girls keep an eye on each other and, like a family, are forever connected by their shared experiences. During the double-episode premiere event, Darrell Rivers settles in for her first day at Malory Towers. Always in the thick of it, Darrell has a hairy start at the train station and when odd sounds are heard in the dorm, she learns about the ghost of Lady Jane Malory! However, in awe of her brilliant new surroundings, she keeps her past at her old school, St. Hilda’s, a closely guarded secret.

In the second episode, a jealous Gwen is determined to find out more about Darrell’s past and leaves the school in pursuit of the truth—will Darrell be able to find her before her secret is revealed? Tune in on July 1st to find out! Those who can’t enrol on Canada Day, can enjoy an encore screening of episodes one and two at 6pm ET/PT on July 7th and 8th. From July 9, brand new episodes will run from Tuesday to Friday at 6pm ET/PT, so you won’t have to wait to enjoy all of this wonderful series!

Malory Towers also stars Jennifer Wigmore (Anne with an E) as Headmistress Miss Grayling; Imali Perera (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Miss Potts; and Ashley McGuire as Matron. Rounding out the cast are Zoey Siewert, Twinkle Jaiswal, Danya Griver, and Natasha Raphael alongside newcomers Sienna Arif Knights, Beth Bradfield, Saskia Kemkers, and Imogen Lamb.

An official Canada-UK treaty co-production, Malory Towers is adapted for television by Rachel Flowerday and Sasha Hails. Executive producers for WildBrain are Josh Scherba, Anne Loi, and Michael Goldsmith, with Jo Sargent serving as executive producer for King Bert Productions. The series is produced by King Bert’s Grainne McNamara and WildBrain’s Angela Boudreault, and directed by Rebecca Rycroft (Evermore Chronicles, So Awkward) and Bruce McDonald (Creeped Out, Heartland, Dark Matter).


Season 2 of Coyote Science celebrates Indigenous science on APTN

I love shows like Coyote Science. Though it’s aimed at kids, I found myself learning a heck of a lot about science and how it ties into the First Nations community.

Returning for a second season on APTN this Sunday at 10 a.m. ET, Coyote Science boasts super-cool animation and a punchy soundtrack, not to mention A-list Indigenous scientists like Percy Paul, a mathematician and physicist who explains the science of a skateboarding technique called an ollie; Jessica Bekker, an electrical engineer helping Indigenous communities develop sustainable energy from solar to wind; Naxaxalhts’i Sonny McHaisle, who has extensive knowledge of the traditional technology of the Sto:lo Nation; and Corey Gray, who works with the Nobel Prize team that measured gravitational waves at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

We spoke to Métis Cree filmmaker Loretta Todd—an internationally acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker—about creating Coyote Science, what viewers can learn and what her plans are for Season 3 amid COVID-19.

Tell me about how Coyote Science came about in the first place.
Loretta Todd: I’ve been a bit of an amateur science nerd for a long time. As an Indigenous person, I’ve always been conscious of the fact that we don’t seem to be in that space of science, except maybe as specimens, or something that is studied. And yet I knew that when I was growing up, I had relatives who were very innovative with technology, could fix anything because that’s what we had to do, who seemed to have deep knowledge of the land, and so on. And so, those things all pertain to science and technology. And also, as I started making films, I would meet new people.

I always like to reference Dr. Leroy Little Bear and his wife, Amethyst First Rider, because they have always been one of my greatest inspirations for much of the work I do as a filmmaker.

Another person who influenced me is someone who’s in the children’s series, John Herrington, who is an astronaut, the first Indigenous astronaut in space. He talks about us as being natural scientists, that Indigenous science, as Indigenous people, we observe, and that from the observations we gain knowledge. We may not have the scientific method, which the west sort of prescribes as a necessity to really be science, but we certainly are engaged in observation and learning from that observation, and even testing, maybe not in the same way as a lab, but we’re doing that now anyway.

Is there a formula for each episode?
LT: There’s a whole parameter of things that influence the shaping of Coyote Science. You sort of have a mission statement or a set of parameters that I wrote out. Drawing from that, but also drawing from my knowledge of Indigenous learning, and just sort of like, ‘OK, this is what we do, this is what we don’t do.’ We’re respectful of adults. We reinforce healthy family relationships. All these things we sort of model that are things that are values within the Native community. Within the Cree culture, we talk about this idea of the good life. It doesn’t mean a materialistic type of life.

It’s a good life in which you’re respectful of family, community, the world around you. So again, I try to embody that. And plus, the other thing is, you’re always trying to underline this idea of encouraging confidence, young people having respect for themselves, liking themselves, seeing that they can do this. And then also, kids like to see other kids reflected back to them. That’s something that’s a constant in educational media. That’s why you see a lot of Indigenous kids. I thought that was really important.

Your host, Isa, is fantastic. 
LT: One of the other things I try to do in my children’s series, and I’ve done that right from the beginning, just because I think it makes it easier for all of us, is I work with kids that I know. I didn’t do an open casting. I asked family and friends. And of course, many of my family and friends are themselves involved in media in some way. So I was looking for kids that were comfortable in front of the camera. That’s sort of one of the first things is to search that out. Isa is my niece’s husband’s niece. She’s brilliant.

She’s now at first-year university, but she’s a straight-A student her whole life, and science has always been an area of her expertise.

Season 3 of Coyote Science is heading into production. How will you do that with COVID-19 still a concern?
LT: I had to convince the broadcaster APTN and CMF that I could do this comfortably, I could do it safely. One of the things that I’m really, really fortunate to have is the fact that through Season 1 and 2 and also through my previous children’s series, I’ve developed these relationships with Indigenous directors, and cinematographers, and other crew, who have kids at home. So basically, what I can do is have them do the quests with their kids at home, because they’ve got the equipment, they’ve got the skill. Some of them are cinematographers and directors, and some of them have got one kid, some of them have got six kids.

Some live in the city, some live out in the country, so we could kind of adjust to that. Some have green screens even, so we can adjust to that. And then, in cases where maybe the only real critical thing I’m worried about is sound, so our plan is to do some online sound workshops with one of our sound recordists, and get one of their family members, the husband, or the wife, or one of their teenage kids, to train in sound so that we can then make sure that we have good quality sound as well.

Coyote Science airs Sundays at 10 a.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Coyote Science Inc.


Spring into March with My Perfect Landing, from the creator of The Next Step

From a media release:

Friendship, laughter and some amazing gymnastics are coming to Family Channel this March in the new series My Perfect Landing, premiering as a one-hour television event on Sunday, March 1 at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT. From the creator of the award-winning series The Next Step, Frank van Keeken, the family friendly drama stars real-life competitive gymnast Morgan Wigle as Jenny Cortez, a talented young gymnast who moves to a new city when her family gets the opportunity to run their own gymnastics club. Fans who can’t wait to vault right in can check out the My Perfect Landing YouTube Channel as exclusive video content, including cast video diaries, gymnastics tips and more, will be released beginning Friday, February 21!

The My Perfect Landing premiere kicks off Family’s amazing Free Preview for the full month of March, which includes an incredible line-up of series premieres, like Boss Baby: Back in Business and Holly Hobbie season 2; fan-favourites, like American Ninja Warrior Jr. and Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese; and must-see movies, like The Peanuts Movie and The Fault in Our Stars – all of which and more are sure to make screen time, family time this March!

Filmed last summer in Toronto and Miami, My Perfect Landing centres around aspiring young gymnast, Jenny Cortez, and her family, as they move from Miami to Toronto to open their own gymnastics club. Despite the fresh start, Jenny’s mom won’t allow her to compete at a high-level out of fear she’ll injure herself. With a little encouragement from her new best friends, and some secret training with her Grandpa – a former competitive gymnast himself – Jenny decides to follow her dreams and live up to the legacy of her mother and grandfather.

In the series premiere, debuting on Family Sunday, March 1 at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT, Jenny’s mom loses her job and moves her two kids to Toronto to start a gymnastics club with her father. Jenny is happy to discover her new school has a gymnastics team. Jenny goes behind her mother’s back and tries out for the team, but the captain of the team feels threatened by Jenny’s talent and blackmails her into quitting. Following the one-hour premiere special, new episodes of My Perfect Landing will continue to air Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT beginning March 15.

My Perfect Landing also stars Tom Hulshof as Jenny’s brother, Joon Cortez; Helena Marie as Jenny’s mother, Whitney Cortez; Shawn Alex Thompson as Jenny’s Grandfather, Gus McIlroy; Jordan Clark (The Next Step), Francesca van Keeken (The Next Step), and newcomers Ajanae Stephenson, Natasha Zaborski, Holly Belbeck, Abby Stretch, Keira Still, Luca Assad, Osias Reid, Leonidas Castrounis, Parker Lauzon and Hailey Vynychenko. My Perfect Landing is produced by Beachwood Canyon Productions in association with Family Channel and is executive produced by Frank van Keeken, Yolanda Yott and van Keeken’s Beachwood Canyon Production team. Andrew Barnsley (Schitt’s Creek, JANN) and Ben Murray (JANN, Working the Engels) also serve as executive producers. International distribution is handled by WildBrain Ltd.

In addition to My Perfect Landing, Family’s March schedule is jam-packed with can’t-miss programming for the entire family, including: the series premiere of Boss Baby: Back in Business on Monday, March 2 at 5 p.m. ET/PT; the return of reality competition series American Ninja Warrior Junior on Monday, March 2 at 7 p.m. ET/PT; the season 2 premiere of the popular tween drama Holly Hobbie on Sunday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET/PT; new episodes of Sadie Sparks weekdays at 4:15 p.m. ET/PT; episodes of Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese continuing weekdays at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT; and popular movie titles like The Peanuts Movie, Kung Fu Panda, Charlotte’s Web, Over the Hedge, Open Season, Despicable Me and Shrek.


CBC Gem original Detention Adventure Season 2 in production

From a media release:

Production is underway on the second season of CBC Gem original tween action-adventure series DETENTION ADVENTURE (10×11) from LoCo Motion Pictures and Broken Compass Films.  Filming in the Greater Toronto Area will continue until mid-February. Upon its initial launch in spring 2019, DETENTION ADVENTURE was CBC’s first-ever original kids scripted series for CBC Gem.  Season 2 is once again directed by showrunner Joe Kicak, and will be available to stream on-demand via CBC Gem later in 2020.

In Season 2, the DETENTION ADVENTURE crew – Raign (Simone Miller, Snapshots), Joy (Alina Prijono, Odd Squad), Hulk (Jack Fulton, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments), and Brett (Tomaso Sanelli, Titans) – must join forces once again. This time, their adventure has them searching the historically rich town of Brantford for the lost fortune of its wealthiest former resident, Ignatius Cockshutt.

After a summer of defeat, being unable to make heads or tails of their new treasure map to Cockshutt’s fortune, the gang finds new hope when they meet Kelly (Lilly Bartlam, Paw Patrol), an enthusiastic fellow student with a passion for their town’s history. Unfortunately, their hijinks land them in a new form of detention: helping the head of Brantford’s Historical Society Miss Dumont (Sarah McVie, Workin’ Moms) plan the town’s annual historical re-enactment.

The group must follow clues that lead them through their town’s historic sites, learning more about the mystery of Ignatius Cockshutt and drawing nearer to their prize. However, a shadowy figure follows their every move, circumventing their plans and trying to beat them to their goal. Who is their mysterious adversary, and who will find the treasure first?

A CBC Gem original series, DETENTION ADVENTURE is produced by LoCo Motion Pictures and Broken Compass Films.  Created by Joe Kicak and Carmen Albano, executive producers are Lauren Corber, Joe Kicak and Carmen Albano, with producer Ryan West. The series is directed by Joe Kicak. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Gave Lindo is Executive Director, OTT Programming; Marie McCann is Senior Director, Children’s Content; and Zach Feldberg, Mélanie Lê Phan and Paige Murray are Executives in Charge of Production.

DETENTION ADVENTURE Season 2 is made with the generous support of the Shaw Rocket Fund, the Canada Media Fund, the Bell Fund, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.


Marblemedia announces re-commission of All-Round Champion

From a media release:

marblemedia is delighted to announce that season two of All-Round Champion, its premium, unscripted kids and family series, has been greenlit and gone into production. This news comes ahead of the season one premieres of All-Round Champion on BYUtv in the US on 19th March and on TVO in Canada on 25th March. The series will also air on Canada’s Knowledge Network this summer.

Hosted by Canadian Olympian and World Champion hurdler, Perdita Felicien, All-Round Champion (11 x 60’) is an inspirational and feel-good challenge series that features ten of North America’s most celebrated young athletes competing in each other’s sports. Rising stars aged 12-15 from sports as diverse as swimming, golf, and gymnastics, test their abilities in a new discipline in every episode and score points based on skill, sportsmanship, and general improvement over the series. Each week, they’ll receive coaching from a major sporting star, such as American gymnast Alicia Sacramone Quin, who’ll help them overcome their fears and provide tips and help with technique. The non-elimination format sees all ten young sporting stars remain until the final episode when scores are added up and one athlete is declared the All-Round Champion.

In season two, also 11 x 60’, the focus has shifted to 10 winter sports, all different activities from season one. Featured celebrity guests include three-time X Games Champion Max Parrot (snowboarding), Olympic gold medal-winner Derek Parra (speed skating) and World Champion Sarah Hendrickson (ski jumping).

marblemedia acquired the format rights for a North American version of All-Round Champion from Beta Film. It was originally created by NRK in Norway, where, as Best I Mest, it was hugely successful, winning a Prix Jeunesse as well as an International Emmy Kids Award for Non-Scripted Entertainment.

All-Round Champion is a marblemedia production for BYUtv, TVOKids and Knowledge Network. Producers are Matt Hornburg, Mark Bishop and Steve Sloan from marblemedia; Michael Dunn, Andra Johnson Duke and Jim Bell from BYUtv, and Marney Malabar from TVO.