Everything about Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary, eh?

Preview: Food Network’s Cheese: A Love Story is a tasty treat

Cheese and I have been involved in our own love story since high school. It was then that I graduated from cheese slices—which I still highly enjoy, by the way—to gooey brie, stinky blue and nutty Swiss. Since then, I’ve enjoyed countless kinds of cheese and I love them all.

Afrim Pristine knows exactly how I—and so, so many others—feel. Heck, he’s made a career out of it. Now Afrim, the world’s youngest Maître Fromager (cheese master) and owner of Toronto’s Cheese Boutique, is delving deep into the world of cheese in Cheese: A Love Story.

Debuting on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Food Network Canada, the six-part documentary kicks off in Switzerland, where Afrim does a deep dive into how land, animals and their milk create something wonderful. Once there, Afrim meets with chefs, cheesemakers and vendors to learn the fine art of aging. In the area of the world known for Gruyère, raclette, fondue and the famous Swiss Emmental, Afrim discovers how these classic cheeses stand the test of time and discovers the modern approaches the Swiss have innovated in the world of cheesemaking.

Afrim is an affable host, equally at home serving as the viewers’ guide and as the student learning from the masters. He expounds on the history of cheesemaking in Gruyère and offers tips on amping up your mac and cheese or burger (hint: Gruyère). Then it’s on to Verbier, where Afrim gets a crash course in raclette and the strict rules surrounding its aging and sale, and gets his hands dirty milking a cow.

Future episodes follow Afrim on his culinary journey to France and Greece, Toronto, Quebec and British Columbia.

Cheese: A Love Story airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Food Network Canada.

Image courtesy of Food Network Canada.

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Preview: Smithsonian’s Searching for Secrets in the world’s iconic cities

When I travel to a new city, I always make sure I head a little off the beaten track and away from the more touristy areas to learn more about it. Now, thanks to a new Smithsonian Channel series, I’ve gleaned more about some of the world’s most iconic cities.

Searching for Secrets, debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern on the specialty channel, pulls back the curtain on some best-kept secrets and unappreciated history.

The first of six episodes is about New York City, a place I’ve been lucky enough to visit, explore and read some of the history of. But what’s unveiled on Sunday I’d heard nothing about.

Posed as a series of questions, the show reveals all. Visitors are allowed to enter the viewing area in Lady Liberty’s crown, but why not the torch? Timothy White, from New Jersey University, explains that the area—off-limits for more than 100 years—is part of a fascinating story of the First World War, terrorism and an island that no longer exists. By 1916, the U.S. was sending munitions to the Allies. The storage facility for waiting munitions was Black Tom Island, a fact that became known to the Germans and a plot was hatched to blow up the munitions and stop the flow of weapons overseas. Told through well-done recreations and CGI of the events that followed, the incredible story unfurls, the repercussions of which carry on today.

Next up, mixology historian Anthony Caporale visits the 21 Club. A place a who’s-who has visited during its storied past, Caporale heads to the basement to open a two-ton secret door hiding a tale of liquid treasure. The door is the product of Prohibition, that 1920s time when it was illegal to manufacture, sell or transport alcohol. To get around the rules, clubs like the 21 Club served booze illegally in spots advertised by word of mouth: the speakeasy. And, to make sure the police didn’t find the libations, cousins Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns built a basement storage area for alcohol behind a heavy, hidden door.

Also investigated in Sunday’s excellent debut: a blizzard and Thomas Edison are responsible for the steam that billows from New York City’s manholes, and how huge piles of rock are connected to the city’s grid system and its famous skyline.

Searching for Secrets airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on Smithsonian Channel.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Corus Entertainment announces 35 greenlights and renewals for its iconic portfolio of specialty networks

From a media release:

Today, Corus Entertainment announced its slate of premium original content for 2021/22 with 35 impressive greenlights and renewals across its powerful portfolio of specialty networks and streaming platforms.

With over 500 hours of content sold this year, Corus Studios, a leading hit-maker in lifestyle and unscripted series in Canada, broadens its worldwide reach and scale with eight new series and 13 returning shows that will debut across Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, and HISTORY®.

Celebrating 50 years as a world-leading international producer and distributor of children’s animated and live-action content, Nelvana has greenlit four brand new animated series and one returning fan-favourite with more to be announced soon. Nelvana-produced content is distributed in over 180 countries around the world with fresh new series and seasons landing in Canada on Corus’ leading kids’ networks, YTV and Treehouse, later this year.

Beyond Corus Studios and Nelvana, Corus also proudly announces its first-ever original series for Adult Swim with Psi Cops (26×11), while kid-favourite cartoon Toopy and Binoo has been greenlit to return in 2022 as an animated feature film of the same name (1×80).

Stay tuned for more Corus content announcements in the coming weeks including updates across scripted and new pickups for the 2021/22 season. For the latest updates, visit www.corusent.com.

HGTV Canada

The nation’s destination for home renovation and design, real estate and DIY projects, HGTV Canada introduces four new eye-catching Corus Studios series and six returning favourites.

Vibrant, fresh and fun, Styled (Working Title) (8×60), follows the staging and renovation adventures of dynamic design super-duo and BFF’s Nicole Babb and Caffery VanHorne. Then in Trading Up (10×60), Mandy Rennehan, celebrated builder, motivational speaker, blue-collar hero and proud founder and CEO of the women-owned LGBTQ+ business Freshco.ca, focuses on the trades as she mentors deserving apprentices while renovating three extraordinary properties in her hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

HGTV Canada’s trusted coach and contractor, Sebastian Clovis, returns to the network in Gut Job (8×60) with his biggest mission to date – guiding homeowners through the biggest renovations of their lives. In a new spin-off, Scott McGillivray turns the tables and puts his rules to the test on his waterfront cottage in Scott’s Own Vacation House Rules (4×60). The stunt-series will debut alongside with the renewal of his Top 5* HGTV Canada Original series, Scott’s Vacation House Rules, Season 3 (12×60) set to debut in 2022.

The show that keeps on breaking records, Island of Bryan is back for a fourth season. HGTV Canada’s most-watched series in a decade continues to drive audiences beating its own records season after season, and currently primed to be the #1 specialty program this spring as Season 3 continues its run. Season 4 will play out in two parts in F22 (8×60) and F23 (8×60) with the Baeumler family continuing their tumultuous journey in Bahamas as they build and run their resort, plus add-on a whole new property in Florida to renovate.

This fall, the network sees the return of gorgeous transformations in Making it Home with Kortney & Kenny (10×60). Kortney Wilson brings her extensive flipping and real estate expertise to help desperate homeowners renovate their spaces. With keys and budget in hand, she and contractor Kenny Brain (Big Brother Canada), will transform each unloved house into a show-stopper. The #1 new Canadian show on specialty this spring, Rock Solid Builds (10×60) returns for a second season with the charming Randy Spracklin and his dedicated fun-loving team, as they take on historic renos and jaw-dropping builds in the heart of Newfoundland. Breathing new life into spectacular vintage spaces, siblings Carolyn and Billy come back for another season of Farmhouse Facelift (8×60). Canadian original series with fan-favourite brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott return, transforming houses into lifetime treasures in Property Brothers: Forever Home, Season 2 (17×60).

Food Network Canada

Top 10 specialty network this spring, Food Network Canada welcomes seven new and returning mouth-watering Corus Studios Originals as part of its 2021-2022 schedule.

‘The Wall’ has spoken! The exhilarating competition series, Wall of Chefs (10×60), hosted by Noah Cappe, that sees home cooks face off in front of a group of 12 intimidating and well-respected Canadian chefs, returns for a second season. Continuing the competition fever, Corus Studios introduces a deliciously divine spin-off of the series with Wall of Bakers (10×60). A fresh batch of baking series continue with the renewal of Top 10 program on Food Network Canada last spring, Great Chocolate Showdown (8×60), new episodes of The Big Bake (11×60) continue with spectacular, over-sized Halloween and Holiday-themed cakes, and Project Bakeover (10×60), the series that keeps on giving, as renowned pastry chef and entrepreneur Steve Hodge, alongside designer Tiffany Pratt, transforms struggling bakeries across North America into successful businesses.

Host Dylan Benoit invites pit masters and chefs into the arena for a third season of the fiery competition series Fire Masters (Set A 10×60 – F22, Set B 10×60 – F23). The search for the best eats across North America continues with John Catucci’s Big Food Bucket List (14×30) and out-of-bounds amusement park treats return with Noah Cappe on Carnival Eats (13×30).

HISTORY

HISTORY, the #2 specialty entertainment network this spring, sees four invigorating new and returning Corus Studios Originals added to its schedule. Attracting a massive fan-base for its unique approach to restoration, Rust Valley Restorers (6×60), a Top 10 program amongst Men 25-54, comes back for a fourth season. Previously announced, the logging and sawmill team out of Vancouver Island dig in with more high-stake jobs in Big Timber (8×60). New to the schedule is Lost Cars (Working Title) (6×60), where an ambitious team of classic car hunters scour the remote North to recover rare classics fabled to be hiding in the wilderness, before the cars are lost forever to history. Then in Deadman’s Curse (Working Title) (8×60), former MMA fighter Kru Pitt, and young Indigenous explorer Taylor Starr seek out the help of seasoned treasure hunter and mountaineer, Adam Palmer, to finally solve the mystery of Slumach’s lost gold mine. Hidden somewhere in the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest, its mysterious location has eluded prospectors for generations — and many have lost their lives searching for it. The treasure hunting threesome may have ancestral connections to the legend and the gold, but extreme weather, unforgiving terrain and a curse all stand in their way.

The network brings Canadian Black History to the forefront with two Canadian originals. This November, Black Liberators WWII (1×90) will shed light on the heroic stories and amazing acts of bravery of Black Canadian soldiers during World War II, who risked their lives for their country while facing racism at home and on the battlefield. Then in a four part series, BLK: An Origin Story (4×60) explores untold stories of Black Canadians, from the early settlers of Ontario to the gold rush era of BC; from the Maroons of Nova Scotia to Montreal’s vibrant Little Burgundy neighbourhood. The series aims to show that Black History is Canadian History.

ADULT SWIM

Hot on the heels of Adult Swim’s second anniversary, Corus has commissioned and greenlit its first original for the popular network. The animated Psi Cops (26×11) sees “out of the box thinkers” Agent Kyd and Agent Felix investigate spiritual phenomena, extraterrestrial life, and paranormal activity.

YTV

YTV is the place to be for non-stop Fam Fun, delivering another year of The Zone, The Zone Weekend and Big Fun Movies with beloved hosts Spencer, Tyra, Alex and Duhin. Plus, Spencer and Tyra are back for Season 2 of Kid Food Nation: The Show (8×11), where they embark on culinary missions with Canadian kid food nation heroes and answer questions like, “should I eat crickets?” or “are dandelions edible?.”

Nelvana continues to foster its partnerships with the best in kids entertainment, with the recently announced Best & Bester (52×11), a co-production between Nelvana, Eye Present and Gigglebug Entertainment, about two siblings and best friends obsessed with comparing the best things of all time while enjoying the power to transform themselves into anything they want, once a day – if only they can figure out what the best thing to be actually is!

ZJ Sparkleton (Working Title) (26×22) is an original creator-driven 2D-animated series produced by Nelvana in partnership with Nickelodeon that follows quirky 10-year-old vlogger Ruby and her tail-zapping space alien best friend as they film their daily mishaps and adventures around town.

Audiences will discover the magic of birthdays through the fantastical adventures in Super Wish (52×11), produced by Nelvana and Discovery’s joint venture, redknot, and created by Nelvana’s own Vanessa Esteves and Daytime Emmy® Award winning art director, Adrian Thatcher.

Treehouse

A new addition to Treehouse, the #1 overall kids specialty network**, is The Hamster Show (Working Title) (26×22) produced by Nelvana in partnership with Nickelodeon, where a crew of furry friends keep an eye on their owner, “King” Harry, saving him from daily doom, granting his wishes and keeping his life running smoothly. The pet-ventures continue as everyone’s favourite P.U.R.S.T. agents get ready for action in the second season of Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe (52×11), produced by Nelvana and Discovery’s joint venture, redknot, and based on the best-selling books by Ashley Spires, published by Corus Entertainment’s Kids Can Press.

Coming 2022 is the animated feature film Toopy and Binoo (1×80), based on the series of the same name that aired on Treehouse in the early aughts. Following the theatrical release, the movie will have its broadcast premiere on Treehouse.

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T+E serves bite-size scares with dark, modern-day horror anthology Series, Web of Darkness

T+E’s new original series Web of Darkness (8×60’) is a dark, modern-day anthology series that pays homage to the classic horror and sci-fi genre. Inspired by horror stories found in the deepest recesses of the web, each episode follows five chilling tales narrated by everyday characters reliving their nightmarish run-ins with the unexplained. From ghosts seeking revenge to encounters with UFOs and a resentful witch bearing a grudge, Web of Darkness accelerates the terror to deliver bursts of fright in a bite-size format. The series shows audiences what could happen if our world ever intertwined with the supernatural, offering a vivid portrayal of modern-day horror stories often caught on camera by the main characters. The world broadcast premiere of Web of Darkness airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on T+E, starting June 8.

The first two episodes of Web of Darkness include:

Episode 1 – Not So Scary Now, Are You?
June 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
A nurse is plunged into a frightening battle with mysterious patients who infect her with their dark qualities. A farmer is in mortal danger from a “scarecrow” that is terrifyingly more than what it seems. A UFO crash puts a doctor in an impossible and deadly battle with alien lifeforms. When an old theatre reopens, a clown ghost is reawakened and embarks on a frightening rampage. A teen couple are having fun live streaming their explorations of haunted places until they find themselves way in over their heads.

Episode 2 – The Game’s Just Begun
June 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
At a school with a sordid past, a desperate ghost reaches out to an unsuspecting new teacher. On Hallowe’en, a young man fatally misjudges what he thinks are only frightening decorations. Discovering her boyfriend is part of a horrifying offworld experiment, a young woman realizes she’s their next target. The only survivor of an office massacre returns to work, only to be trapped with the killer who died at the scene. Discovering his family’s brutal past when he returns to their old homestead, a tailor tries to outrun ferocious, newly-awakened spirits.

Web of Darkness is produced by Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company, in partnership with the U.S.-based MY Entertainment. Michael Kot, Betty Orr, Julie Chang, Joe Townley and Michael Yudin serve as Executive Producers. Paul Kilback and Tara Elwood serve as Series Producers.

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Food Network Canada delves into Cheese: A Love Story

From a media release:

The creamy richness of Camembert, the smooth texture of fresh mozzarella, the oozy stream of melted raclette: arriving this summer, Food Network Canada and Corus Studios dive into the evolving world of cheese with food travel docu-series Cheese: A Love Story. Hosted by the world’s youngest Maître Fromager (Cheese Master), Afrim Pristine travels the globe exploring the most iconic cheese locations and hidden gems to get a deeper look at one of the world’s greatest, and most beloved foods. Cheese: A Love Story makes its debut on June 9 at 8 p.m. ET on Food Network Canada.

Afrim Pristine is Canada’s leading cheese expert, owner of the Cheese Boutique in Toronto, Ont., and has over 25 years of cheese experience. His passion and commitment to learning more about this magical food stems from his father and family business of 50 years. In this six-part series Cheese: A Love Story, Afrim embarks on a journey to meet up with the farmers, cheesemakers, shop owners, affineurs and chefs in Switzerland, France, Greece, Toronto, Quebec and British Columbia. In each episode, Afrim’s love of cheese only grows fonder as he gets an in-depth look at how each culture has made it their own. Throughout his excursions, he crosses paths with culinary pioneers including: Chuck Hughes (Le Bremner) and Michele Forgione (Chez Tousignant) in Quebec; Elia Herrera (Colibri) and Aiko Uchigoshi (Aburi Hana) in Toronto; and Wall of Chefs’ Rob Feenie and Top Chef Canada Season 7 winner Paul Moran in British Columbia, and many more.

In the premiere episode airing Wednesday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET, Afrim starts his journey in Switzerland, where he meets with chefs, cheesemakers, vendors and a legendary affineur, Roland Salhi to learn the fine art of aging. In the home known for Gruyère, raclette, fondue, and the famous holey Swiss Emmental, Afrim learns firsthand how these classic cheeses stand the test of time and discovers the modern approaches the Swiss have innovated in the world of cheesemaking.

For recipes and food inspiration all summer long, plus an exclusive in-depth look at the cheeses explored in the upcoming series Cheese: A Love Story visit foodnetwork.ca. Check back week-to-week for full episodes and new editorial content.

Cheese: A Love Story is produced by Proper Television, A Boat Rocker Company, in association with Corus Studios for Food Network Canada. For Corus Studios and Food Network Canada, Andrea Griffith is Executive in Charge of Production, Krista Look is Director of Original Lifestyle Content and Lisa Godfrey is Senior Vice President of Original Content and Corus Studios. For Proper Television, Cathie James and Lesia Capone are Executive Producers and Scott Harper is Series Producer.

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