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CBC announces new and returning series in 2020-21 programming slate

From a media release:

[Editor’s Note: Fridge Wars, Diggstown and Burden of Truth are on hold at the moment given COVID-19 production delays. The Detectives has not been renewed.]

At CBC’s 2020 virtual upfront presentation today, Canada’s public broadcaster revealed its 2020-21 slate of original programming, led by a strong fall schedule featuring 1,300 new hours for television spanning 22 new and returning series across all genres.

FALL 2020

ENSLAVED (6×60 Documentary, Associated Producers/A CBC Gem and documentary channel co-production with Epix in the United States) is a blue-chip documentary series led by Samuel Jackson and directed by Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici (The Naked Archaeologist) that charts the history of slavery through underwater archaeology. The series coincides with the 400-year anniversary of the first African brought to the New World as a slave, and will retrace the harrowing sea voyage that brought millions to a life of slavery. ENSLAVED is produced by Felix Golubev and Ric Bienstock and executive produced by Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Jackson, Eli Selden, Rob Lee, Simcha Jacobovici and Yaron Niski. International distribution by Fremantle.

ORANGEVILLE PREP (6×30 Factual, Orangeville Hoops Inc.) is a character-driven factual series that offers an inside look at the competitive, high-pressure world of basketball’s most successful preparatory program. Tucked away on farmland in Orangeville, Ontario lies the sport’s best kept secret – The Athlete Institute (AI). This high school basketball program has produced more Division 1 College and NBA players in the last five years than any other program in the world.

The Sounds

THE SOUNDS (8×60 Drama, Canada/New Zealand co-production, Shaftesbury and South Pacific Pictures) is a striking take on the relationship-driven thriller. Welcome to Pelorus Sounds, New Zealand – the sleepy settlement where nothing, including the visiting Cabbotts, is quite what it seems. Grieving wives, cheating husbands, epic embezzlement and historic crime all collide to weave a complicated web stretching through the Sounds’ hidden valleys and deep waters. Created by New Zealand-based author Sarah-Kate Lynch and directed by Peter Stebbings (Frankie Drake Mysteries, The Disappearance), the series stars Rachelle Lefevre (Mary Kills People, Under the Dome) as Maggie Cabbott and Matt Whelan (Narcos, The Luminaries) as Tom Cabbott.

TRICKSTER (6×60 Drama, Streel Films and Sienna Films) is based on the best-selling novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson, with CBC confirming today that it has been renewed for a second season. Starring newcomer Joel Oulette, this unique series is created by award-winning filmmaker Michelle Latimer (RISE, Nuuca) and Tony Elliott (Orphan Black), and directed by Latimer. Oulette plays Jared, an Indigenous teen struggling to keep his dysfunctional family above water, holding down an after-school job and selling ecstasy to support his partying mom, Maggie (Crystle Lightning), who self-medicates an undiagnosed mental illness, and his unemployable dad, Phil (Craig Lauzon) and his new girlfriend. But when Jared starts seeing strange things — talking ravens, doppelgängers, skin monsters— his already chaotic life is turned upside down. Additional cast includes Kalani Queypo (Jamestown), Anna Lambe (The Grizzlies), Joel Thomas Hynes (Little Dog), Gail Maurice (Cardinal) and Georgina Lightning (Blackstone).


  • BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW (Season 5, Frantic Films) – Finale Season
  • BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 6, Insight Productions) Following its remergence on the ice last year that reached over 1.5 million Canadians each episode, the factual hit will return this fall.**
  • DRAGONS’ DEN (Season 15, CBC)
  • FAMILY FEUD CANADA (Season 2, Zone 3/Fremantle) Following its inaugural season that reached 2.6 million viewers each week with a nightly average audience of over half a million including 30 percent in the key 25-54 demo, the hit series hosted by Gerry Dee is confirmed to return four nights per week this fall with 104 new episodes as a nationwide virtual search for new Canadian families now begins.***
  • HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST (Season 24, Pilot Light Productions)
  • JUST FOR LAUGHS: GALAS (Just For Laughs TV)
  • MARKETPLACE (Season 48, CBC News)
  • THE NATIONAL (CBC News, ongoing)
  • THE NATURE OF THINGS (Season 60) The landmark 60th season of THE NATURE OF THINGS will kick off with STATE OF THE PLANET, a unique documentary featuring a one-on-one conversation between David Suzuki and Sir David Attenborough that takes the pulse of our planet and asks whether humans can change their ways in time.
  • PURE (Season 2, Two East Productions/Cineflix)
  • ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES (Season 6, CBC Sports)
  • STILL STANDING (Season 6, Frantic Films)
  • THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Season 28, Wildbrain)
  • YOU CAN’T ASK THAT (Season 2, Pixcom)


LADY DICKS (10×60 Drama, Cameron Pictures) is a fun and honest portrayal of two radically different female detectives in their early 40s. The buddy cop drama series follows Guns and Gangs detective, Samantha (Meredith MacNeill, Baroness von Sketch Show) and Drug Squad detective, Kelly (Adrienne C. Moore, Orange is the New Black), who by day are true action heroes in their own particular way: skilled, tough, determined, and ruthless. But by night, they’re both grappling with loneliness, dysfunctional families, screwed-up love lives, and a sense that their professional ambitions may not be totally in line with their personal needs. Their friendship could help to balance each other out, if only they didn’t drive one another utterly insane. LADY DICKS is co-created by Tassie Cameron (Mary Kills People, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue, The Robber Bride) and Sherry White (Little Dog, Frontier, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue).

ARCTIC VETS (10×30 Factual, eOne) takes viewers up close with the remarkable wildlife that inhabits Canada’s frozen north and the team of veterinarians that works tirelessly to keep them safe. With around 40 patients per week, no two days are the same for the team at Assiniboine Park Arctic Animal Hospital in Manitoba. From muskox to seals, wolverines to reindeer, treating Arctic animals is often dangerous, but always rewarding. Whether they’re performing life-saving surgery on a polar bear, or tending to a snowy owl with a broken wing, the mission of the vet team is the same – save the lives of sick and injured Arctic species.


  • CORONER (Season 3, Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios)
  • FAMILY FEUD CANADA (Season 2 continues, Zone 3, Fremantle)
  • THE FIFTH ESTATE (Season 46)
  • FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES (Season 4, Shaftesbury)
  • THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (Season 4, Proper Television)
  • HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST (Season 24 continues, Pilot Light Productions)
  • HEARTLAND (Season 14, Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films)
  • KIM’S CONVENIENCE (Season 5, Thunderbird Entertainment) – also renewed for Season 6
  • MARKETPLACE (Season 48 continues)
  • MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Season 14, Shaftesbury)
  • THE NATURE OF THINGS (Season 60 continues)
  • ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES (Season 6 continues)
  • TALLBOYZ (Season 2, Accent Entertainment)
  • THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Season 28 continues, Wildbrain)
  • WORKIN’ MOMS (Season 5, Wolf & Rabbit Entertainment)


New original series for kids on CBC Kids and CBC Gem this upcoming year include:

  • REMY & BOO (Industrial Brothers/Boat Rocker, in association with Radio-Canada, 52×11 – Fall 2020), an animated preschool series about a unique friendship between an adventurous little girl and a squishy pink robot called Boo.
  • DINO RANCH (Industrial Brothers/Boat Rocker, 52×11 – 2021), an action-packed animated preschool series that follows the Cassidy family as they tackle life in a fantastical “pre-westoric” setting where dinosaurs still roam.
  • GARY’S MAGIC FORT (CBC Kids, 13×11 – Spring 2021), a welcoming enchanted pillow fort where CBC Kids’ host Gary the Unicorn plays with his friends.


CBC’s Fall 2020 broadcast and streaming schedule on CBC TV and CBC Gem is as follows:

(For Newfoundland and Labrador, please add one half-hour for all times)

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
8 PM – THE SOUNDS *New Drama Series*
9 PM – PURE *Season 2*

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
9 PM – BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW *Season 5 – Finale Season*
9:30 PM – CATASTROPHE *Seasons 3 and 4*/ HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
8 PM – WAR OF THE WORLDS *Exclusive Canadian Premiere*
9 PM – TRICKSTER *New Drama Series*

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
9 PM – DRAGONS’ DEN *Season 15*

8 PM – MARKETPLACE *Season 48*
8:30 PM – YOU CAN’T ASK THAT *Season 2* / ORANGEVILLE PREP *New Factual Series*

Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6*

Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6*
9 PM – ENSLAVED *New Documentary Series*


Corner Gas Animated, Mary’s Kitchen Crush and The Amazing Race Canada capture trophies during Night 2 of Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations

Corner Gas Animated, Holly Hobbie, The Amazing Race Canada and Mary’s Kitchen Crush were among those who captured trophies during Night 2 of 2020 Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations.

The Canadian Screen Awards, originally scheduled to air in March, moved online and was streamed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuesday’s online ceremony celebrated Children’s & Youth Programming, narrated by actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and the Lifestyle and Reality categories, narrated by The Beaverton‘s Emma Hunter.

Here are the winners in Tuesday’s key categories:

Best Performance, Children’s or Youth
Saara Chaudry, Dino Dana

Best Performance, Animation
Brent Butt, Corner Gas Animated

Best Children’s or Youth Non-Fiction Program or Series
Just Like Mom and Dad

Best Children’s or Youth Fiction Program or Series
Holly Hobbie

Best Animated Program or Series
Corner Gas Animated

Best Pre-School Program or Series
Paw Patrol

Best Talk Program or Series
The Social

Best Morning Show
Breakfast Television

Golden Screen Award for TV Reality Show
The Amazing Race Canada

Best Lifestyle Program or Series
Mary’s Kitchen Crush

Best Reality/Competition Program or Series
The Amazing Race Canada

Best Host, Talk Show or Entertainment News
Evan Solomon, Question Period

Best Host or Presenter, Factual or Reality/Competition
Jon Montgomery, The Amazing Race Canada

Best Host, Lifestyle
Mary Berg, Mary’s Kitchen Crush

For the complete list of winners, visit the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television website.

Virtual Presentation Schedule:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Crafts in Scripted Programs (Narrator: Evany Rosen & Kayla Lorette)

7:30 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Scripted Programs & Performance (Narrator: Eric McCormack)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Cinematic Arts (Narrator: Théodore Pellerin)

Watch the Virtual Presentations on  Academy.ca, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


Disasters at Sea, Finding the Secret Path and CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme win on Night 1 of 2020 Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations

Discovery’s Disasters at Sea, the Gord Downie documentary Finding the Secret Path and CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme were among the individuals and programs to win during Night 1 of 2020 Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations.

The Canadian Screen Awards, originally scheduled to air in March, moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first portion of the stripped-down celebration focused on Broadcast News, narrated by former news anchor Lloyd Robertson, followed by Sports Programming with Toronto Raptors P.A. announcer Herbie Kuhn, and wrapped with Documentary and Factual categories narrated by writer, director, producer and actor Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers.

Here are the winners in Monday’s key categories:

Best News or Information Series
The Fifth Estate, CBC

Best News Anchor, National
Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton, Andrew Chang and Ian Hanomansing, CBC News: The National

Best National Newscast
CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme

Best Sports Host
James Duthie, 2019 Free Agent Frenzy

Best Sports Program or Series
29 Forever

Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series
Finding the Secret Path

Best History Documentary Program or Series
The Accountant of Auschwitz

Best Factual Series
Disasters at Sea

Best Documentary Program
To the Worlds

Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary or Series
A Day in the Life of Earth

For the complete list of winners, visit the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television website.

Virtual Presentation Schedule:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Children’s & Youth Programming, Presented by Shaw Rocket Fund (Narrator: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan)

7:30 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Lifestyle and Reality (Narrator: Emma Hunter)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Crafts in Scripted Programs (Narrator: Evany Rosen & Kayla Lorette)

7:30 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Scripted Programs & Performance (Narrator: Eric McCormack)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Cinematic Arts (Narrator: Théodore Pellerin)

Watch the Virtual Presentations on  Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


Shaftesbury Kids expands development and production slate and commences virtual writing rooms for four new series

From a media release:

Shaftesbury, the award-winning production company behind the global hit TV series Murdoch Mysteries, is expanding the Shaftesbury Kids production and development  slate to include four new series: Mary and Flo: On the Go!, Life With Luca, Miikshi and Stinky Science. This ambitious slate, led by Jennifer McCann, Executive Producer, Shaftesbury’s Kids and Family, has united key creatives from across Canada and established virtual writers’ rooms for each series.

About the four new series:

In development
Life With Luca – (26 x half hrs) – Life With Luca is a live-action spin-off comedy series based on the long-running hit Life with Derek. The series picks up 15 years later, as Derek and his “Type A” personality daughter Skyler prepare to move in with aunt Casey and her extended family. What makes things complicated is that Derek’s daughter is way more like her aunt, and Casey’s “Type Z” personality son way more like his uncle. As Derek and Casey’s stepsibling dynamics are reignited, Skyler tries to adjust to her new life with an aunt she barely knows and FOUR cousins. But the biggest adjustment of all will be living with Luca, a charming yet rebellious prankster. The series is being developed with funding assistance from the Shaw Rocket Fund and the Canada Media Fund.

In production
Stinky Science (26 x 3 mins) – In pre-production. With animation from Smiley Guy Studios, this smart and gleefully gross series explores the science behind why things stink. Vibrant animation, loveable characters, smelly songs and stink-loads of comedy blend together in this magazine-style show, produced, performed and hosted by the characters from the acclaimed Stinky Science books written by Ed Kay with illustrations by Mike Shiell. The series is being produced with funding assistance from the Shaw Rocket Fund.

Mary and Flo: On the Go! (9 x 7-mins) – Inspired by Shaftesbury series Frankie Drake Mysteries, with animation by Smiley Guy Studios, this animated series is currently in production and follows beloved characters Mary and Flo as they travel the world encountering famous women and men of the 1920s. Part buddy caper, part history lesson, these two fearless heroines solve problems, resolve mysteries and help people everywhere with a healthy dose of girl-power to fuel their adventures. The series was co-created by its two stars Rebecca Liddiard (Mary) and Sharron Matthews (Flo) along with Carmen Albano (Detention Adventure). The series is being produced with funding assistance from the Shaw Rocket Fund and the Canada Media Fund.

Miikshi – (10 x 7 mins) – In pre-production. From creators Lindsay and Justin Lee, Miikshi follows the adventures of a shy but genius sheep scientist who saves the world one day at a time… quietly. Using her quick, resourceful mind and scientific smarts, this live-action puppet series provides a strong and unique female role model for a generation of STEAM-loving kids. The series is brought to life through hand puppets and model miniature effects. The series is being produced with funding assistance of the Independent Production Fund and the Shaw Rocket Fund.

Shaftesbury has released its full library of new and legacy kids programming on the Shaftesbury Kids YouTube channel, to provide families with free and easy access to entertaining and educational content. Some of these series are also available on CBC Gem and Citytv in Saskatchewan. The programming available includes The Solutioneers (released Monday, March 30, with new episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday), Life with Derek (all four seasons on CBC Gem) as well as the all-new series, ClearWaterKids Challenge, also launching on CBC Gem in May.


Canada’s public broadcaster launches the CBC Creative Relief Fund

From a media release:

In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CBC has launched THE CBC CREATIVE RELIEF FUND to provide immediate, urgent support to Canadian creators. The unprecedented new Fund will provide $2 million in development and production funding for a diverse range of innovative, original Canadian storytelling, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted entertainment, kids and young adult programming, podcasts, play adaptations and short documentaries.

Spanning three different streams detailed below, THE CBC CREATIVE RELIEF FUND will support innovative original projects with compelling perspectives and unique voices that also reflect contemporary Canada, and follow the recommended local and national COVID-19 safety guidelines. Canadian creators can apply immediately starting today until 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, April 24, and eligible applicants will be notified of their project’s status starting on May 8. More information and full application requirements can be found at cbc.ca/creativerelief.

The new Fund expands CBC’s ongoing efforts to find new ways to support Canadian creators in response to the COVID-19 crisis. On Wednesday, April 15, CBC Podcasts is launching THE SHOW MUST GO ON, a new PlayME original series featuring audio adaptations from Canadian playwrights whose plays have been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. In support of documentary filmmakers, CBC and Hot Docs are launching HOT DOCS AT HOME ON CBC on Thursday, April 16, offering exclusive, first-run documentary premieres from the postponed 2020 Hot Docs Festival to Canadian audiences on CBC TV, CBC Gem and documentary Channel.


The Innovation Stream offers support of big, bold ideas that are innovative and take creative risks, to be considered for multiple development and production opportunities on all platforms. Both established and emerging creators are invited to apply; applicants must have one television, audio or digital credit, or be partnered with an experienced existing production company. Genres include the following:

  • Scripted – Comedy and Drama

  • Unscripted – Factual Entertainment

  • Kids & Tweens; Youth & Young Adult

  • Podcasts – Multiple Genres

The Playwright Pilot Stream is open to playwrights with at least one produced play to submit either new concepts or existing plays for adaptation on all platforms. CBC is looking for concepts that are a natural fit for either limited or ongoing series in the comedy or drama genres, episodic or serialized, and will fund the writing of a pilot script with an intended broadcast duration of either 30 or 60 minutes.

CBC Short Docs is inviting documentary filmmakers from across Canada to showcase their unique perspectives on what’s happening in the world during this time of COVID-19. Productions must be produced and delivered within three months or less, with filmmakers adhering to all local and national COVID-19 safety guidelines. CBC Short Docs is looking for standalone, immersive documentaries under 40 minutes in length, intended for a digital audience.