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Link: The Jim Henson Company boards fantasy drama ‘Knights of Panterra’

From Etan Vlessing of The Hollywood Reporter:

Link: The Jim Henson Company boards fantasy drama ‘Knights of Panterra’
The Jim Henson Company, the puppet-based production house behind Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, has come on board Knights of Panterra, a Canadian live-action series based on the Dino Knights kids books by Jeff Norton. Continue reading. 

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Blue Ant Media acquires Toronto-based Saloon Media as part of ongoing production expansion in North America

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international content producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today its acquisition of Saloon Media, a Toronto-based production company specializing in globally relevant factual television. Saloon Media’s Michael Kot (CEO), Steve Gamester (Executive Producer), Paul Kilback (Executive Producer) and Betty Orr (Head of Production) will join the Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit, which includes NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). The purchase is a key step in the expansion of Blue Ant Media’s North American production business, which will see the media company rapidly expanding its original content business in the Canadian and US markets. The news arrives on the heels of yesterday’s senior executive appointments to Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit in Canada and in the U.S.

Saloon Media, based in Toronto (Canada) and launched in 2013, is a leading factual television and digital content producer. Its recent credits include the CSA-nominated series Mummies Alive for HISTORY (Canada), Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Yesterday (UK); the 10-part broadcast and web series Tornado Hunters for CMT; the long-running returning series See No Evil, co-produced with the UK’s Arrow Media for DISCOVERY ID US; the eight-part series, Hunting Nazi Treasure for HISTORY (Canada), American Heroes Channel (U.S.) and More4 (UK); and international service work for several series and specials including The Kennedys, a six-part CNN mini-series in partnership with Raw TV in the UK.

Prior to launching Saloon Media, Michael Kot served as Senior Vice-President Factual for eOne, overseeing and executive-producing original factual programming for the company’s television group and Vice-President Original Factual Content for Canwest channels, including Global Television, HISTORY, Mystery, National Geographic Canada and IFC. Kot was also responsible for leading programming, acquisitions and the general operations of BBC Canada.

Steve Gamester has worked as a broadcaster, development executive and series show runner. His recent productions include Hunting Nazi Treasure, Mummies Alive, Perfect Storms, Miracles Decoded and Museum Secrets, all multi-part series that have broadcast around the world. He is currently producing 9/11 Kids, which examines the hidden impacts of 9/11 on American society. From 2005 to 2009, he was a Production Executive of Original Programming at Canwest and Alliance Atlantis, and oversaw more than 300 hours of programming for HISTORY, National Geographic, Showcase and Global Television. Gamester’s productions have been nominated for over 20 Canadian Screen Awards.

Paul Kilback is a multi-award-winning Series Producer, Director and Editor with over 20 years of experience filming and editing documentaries. He has produced and/or directed scores of television projects including: Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, Greatest Tank Battles, Museum Secrets and Hunting Nazi Treasure. More recently, he completed the critically acclaimed Tornado Hunters series and is currently putting the finishing touches on a soon-to-be-released, four-part true crime special.

Betty Orr, Head of Production, has over 20 years of television and film production experience, ranging from producing award-winning television series such as Kids in the Hall to her critically acclaimed feature film, CUBE. Prior to joining Saloon when it launched in 2013, Orr worked with Entertainment One, Cineflix, Decode Entertainment (DHX Media), Jim Henson Productions and CBC on various television projects, including young adult scripted comedies, docudrama series, documentaries and Movie of the Weeks.

Sam Sniderman, EVP, Global Production, Blue Ant Media oversees the production, finance and business affairs teams at Blue Ant Media, which include Saloon Media (Toronto), NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). Sniderman is formerly the Global Chief Operating Officer and MD, Film and Entertainment at Pulse Films (a Vice Media company). In these roles, he was responsible for the commercial performance of Pulse’s TV, film and branded content output and helped to guide Pulse through rapid growth, including scripted and unscripted commissions from Channel 4, Sky Atlantic and ITV. He also spearheaded the financing and distribution of award-winning theatrical feature films like 20,000 Days on Earth (Nick Cave), Who Is Dayani Cristal (Gael García Bernal) and Shut Up and Play the Hits (LCD Soundsystem).

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Production begins on new original drama, Rex – coming to Citytv in 2019

From a media release:

Shaftesbury, Pope Productions, and Citytv announced today that production has begun on new drama series REX (wt). Centred on the partnership between a police detective and his hardworking dog, REX is a procedural drama with a twist. Starring John Reardon (Van Helsing, Continuum), Mayko Nguyen (Killjoys, Fahrenheit 451), and Enrico Colantoni (Bad Blood, Flashpoint), the eight-episode, 60-minute series is based on the long-running, international hit series Rex, a Cop’s Best Friend. Executive produced by Christina JenningsScott Garvie, and Paul Pope, the series has begun shooting in St. John’s, Newfoundlandand will continue through December 2018.

Set in St. John’s, NewfoundlandREX is an action-packed police procedural drama focused on the partnership between a dedicated detective and his extraordinary former K9 dog. Rex and Charlie are a detective team that combine their individual skills to solve the most puzzling crimes. This is the first English-language adaptation of the highly successful European format that has aired in 125 countries around the world for 18 seasons.

Starring John Reardon as Detective Charlie Hudson, Rex’s partner; Mayko Nguyen as chief of forensics Sarah TruongEnrico Colantoni as Superintendent Joseph De Luca; and Diesel (a Canadian Kennel Club Grand Champion) as Rex.

Shaftesbury and Pope Productions Ltd. produces REX in association with Citytv, a division of Rogers Media, and Beta Film GmbH. Beta Film GmbH holds worldwide distribution rights. Produced with the participation of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Rogers Documentary and Cable Network Fund.

REX is executive produced by Christina JenningsScott GarviePaul PopeKen Cuperus, and Avrum Jacobson, followed by Laura Harbin as Supervising Producer, Julie Lacey as Producer, and Lisa Porter as Associate Producer. Friedemann Goez and Oliver Bachert are Executive Producers from Beta Film GmbH. Episodes are written by Showrunners Ken Cuperus, Paul AitkenJohn CallaghanJessie GabeAvrum JacobsonSimon McNabb, and Celeste Parr. Episodes are directed by Felipe RodriguezAlison Reid, and John Vatcher.

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Class action lawsuit a big step toward fairness in factual and reality TV

From a media release:

The Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada is welcoming a $35-million class action lawsuit [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classactionfiled by law firm Cavalluzzo on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada, which produces such TV shows as Property Brothers and Mayday.

The legal action follows a five-year campaign by CMG and its parent union CWA Canada to bring fair working conditions to this part of the entertainment industry.

“Reality and factual TV are the wild west of the entertainment world,” said Lise Lareau, a co-ordinator of the CMG’s Fairness in Factual TV campaign. “People working in this area of production are cut out of labour laws. They don’t have the rights of other employees, and historically they’ve been left out of union contracts enjoyed by the rest of the entertainment industry.”

Most reality and factual TV production companies make their workers set up their own corporations or sign contracts saying they are “independent contractors” and then don’t provide overtime pay, vacation pay and paid holidays. The failure to pay these basic entitlements is the basis for the Cavalluzzo class action lawsuit.

The statement of claim for the suit is based on the experience of Anna Bourque, a production worker whose most recent contract at Cineflix was September 2017 to February 2018.

“Picture editors and story editors work together taking hundreds of hours of footage and sharpening it into 43 minutes or so of entertaining television, but as schedules get squeezed our hours expand and there is never compensation for that, so our pay becomes inversely proportional to the hours worked,” Bourque said.

The ‘Fairness in Factual TV’ campaign began five years ago when a group of reality and factual TV workers decided enough was enough and sought the support of the Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada. More than 400 people have signed up as supporters since the campaign began.

“Since these workers aren’t covered by union contracts, production companies often use them as a way to create less expensive but still lucrative programming,” said CMG organizer Denise O’Connell, who has spent 20 years in the industry.

Kat Lapointe, an organizer with CMG / CWA Canada, said the fact that you sign a contract that calls you an independent contractor does not mean that you are not entitled to basic minimum employment standards.

“It is not that simple. Treating people as outside of employment laws keeps people vulnerable and unable to build sustainable careers.  It means they’re forced to deal one-on-one with the company — putting each individual worker at a disadvantage — rather than having a collective voice to win fairness and respect at work.”

The Guild is urging people in the industry to talk about this issue at work and join our campaign www.fairnessinfactualtv.ca. If you feel your work conditions have been unfair, contact the union at factualtv@cmg.ca. Write a few lines about your experience and attach a recent contract. It will be held in complete confidence.

Those who have worked at Cineflix, Boat Rocker Media, Insight Productions or other companies who want more information about class action lawsuits can visit the Cavalluzzo LLP website at [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classaction] or email factual-televison-classaction@cavalluzzo.com.

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CTV’s delectable new original series Mary’s Kitchen Crush begins production

From a media release:

CTV, in association with Proper Television, announced today that production has begun on MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH. The all-new, thirty-episode, half-hour series will air on CTV, Gusto, and ultimately stream on demand from the new CTV Super Hub, as part of the new lifestyle brand, CTV Life.

MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH features Canada’s culinary sweetheart and MASTERCHEF CANADA Season 3 winner Mary Berg as she shares her delicious twists on home-cooked classics inspired by her family and friends. The series, produced by Proper Television, is currently shooting in Toronto and will premiere as part of CTV’s 2019 midseason schedule. MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is currently available for customized brand partnership opportunities.

Mary Berg has spent most of her life cooking and baking for those she loves and building a strong appreciation for the connective powers of beautiful, home-cooked food. In each episode of MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH, she demonstrates her culinary skill and creativity with three to four original recipes – inspired by someone who has made a meaningful impact on her life. The resulting meal is like an edible love letter for family members and close friends. We’ll hear about the memories that motivated her menu choices as she guides viewers clearly through her recipes, offering up plenty of illuminating tips, and take-aways.

Mary Berg’s meteoric culinary journey took off after capturing the Season 3 title of MASTERCHEF CANADA. She can be seen regularly as a food expert on CTV’s YOUR MORNING and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW and can be found developing recipes for shows, food, beverage brands, and her blog A Small Stove. Berg has also started working on her first of two cookbooks to be released in September 2019 and Spring/Summer 2021.

MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is produced by Proper Television (MASTERCHEF CANADA). Cathie James, Allison Grace, and Lesia Capone serve as Executive Producers and Garrett Wintrip as Series Producer.

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