Everything about Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary, eh?

CBC sells original culinary competition series Fridge Wars to The CW

From a media release:

CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution, the international content licensing arm of Canada’s public broadcaster, today announced the sale of CBC’s original culinary competition series FRIDGE WARS (6×60) to The CW Network in the U.S. Co-created by CBC and The Gurin Company, the series premiered on CBC in February 2020. The CW is adding the series to its Summer 2020 broadcast schedule, premiering August 2.

An original format, FRIDGE WARS pits two celebrity chefs against one another with a challenge to create extraordinary meals using only the ingredients taken from the ordinary fridges of typical families. The improvised dinners must win over two families who act as judges to determine which chef wins each epic battle.

Each episode begins in the first family’s home where Emma Hunter conducts a surprise fridge raid, taking everything from last week’s leftover lasagna and the condiment collection, to that questionable bag of frozen vegetables circa 2016. With the ingredients in-hand, the competition heats up at the FRIDGE WARS studio where two top chefs are given 45 minutes to create a masterpiece – cooking with the ingredients they’ve never seen for people they’ve never met.

When time’s up, the family takes their place at the dining room table, tasting each meal and scoring them on look, taste and originality. The results go in the FRIDGE WARS vault and the competition takes place again with a second family and another fridge full of challenging ingredients – this time upping the ante with a ‘What The Fridge’ (WTF) challenge that forces both chefs to adapt to a totally unique culinary crisis. With both families’ scores tabulated, the final scene reveals which chef created the most mouth-watering masterpieces and is named this week’s FRIDGE WARS champion.

FRIDGE WARS is a CBC original series, co-produced and co-created by CBC and The Gurin Company. For CBC the executive producer is Tracie Tighe, the showrunner is Barry Davis, and the series producer is Jeff Thrasher.

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Nish Media’s documentary series Skindigenous sold to PBS & international broadcasters

From a media release:

The documentary series Skindigenous, which airs on APTN, the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, has been licensed by PBS. The 13-episode x 26-minute series, which explores Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world, is produced by Gatineau’s Nish Media and is internationally represented by Filmoption International Inc. Skindigenous has been selected as an official 2020 Rockie Awards nominee in the Arts & Entertainment: Arts & Music category. The Rockie Awards will be streaming live today (June 15) at 3pm EDT on Youtube.

Season 1 of Skindigenous has been purchased by networks around the world: NITV (SBS) in Australia, RSI Switzerland and MAORI TV in New Zealand. UR Sweden and USHUAIA in France has purchased both seasons of the series.

Season 2 of the series is currently airing on APTN in both English and Dene until July 15, 2020. Season 3 is currently in production.

Skindigenous is a 13-part documentary series exploring Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world. Each episode dives into a unique Indigenous culture to discover the tools and techniques, the symbols and traditions that shape their tattooing art. In this series, the art of tattoo becomes a lens for exploring some of the planet’s oldest cultures and their unique perspectives on life, identity, and the natural world.

About Nish Media
The series is produced by Nish Media, a multi-award-winning production company based in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Over the past years, producer Jason Brennan has produced over 220 hours of television for various networks such as APTN, CBC, Radio-Canada, Ici ArtTV, Canal D, TV5 and CBC Docs, including Mouki, Wapikoni, La Fosse aux tigres and seven seasons of Hit The Ice, nominated in prestigious television festivals including the Banff World Media Festival and Italy’s FICTS. Its first feature film, Le Dep, was selected to play in several film festivals including the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, the Vancouver Film Festival, the Raindance Film Festival, ImagineNative and the American Indian Film Festival. Filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s new feature film, Rustic Oracle was presented in several festivals over the last few months. Nish Media currently has several TV projects in the works, including Season 3 of Skindigenous, the dramatic miniseries Pour toi Flora as well as the documentary Non réclamé. 

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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).

SERIES RETURNING THIS FALL

  • 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)
Trickster

WINTER NEW SERIES

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.

SERIES SET TO RETURN THIS WINTER

  • 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)

KIDS PROGRAMMING

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.
Enslaved

CBC FALL SCHEDULE

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)

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

TUESDAYS
7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
8 PM – STILL STANDING *Season 6*/ JUST FOR LAUGHS
8:30 PM – THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES *Season 28*/ JUST FOR LAUGHS
9 PM – BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW *Season 5 – Finale Season*
9:30 PM – CATASTROPHE *Seasons 3 and 4*/ HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

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

THURSDAYS
7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
8 PM – BATTLE OF THE BLADES *Season 6*
9 PM – DRAGONS’ DEN *Season 15*
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

FRIDAYS
8 PM – MARKETPLACE *Season 48*
8:30 PM – YOU CAN’T ASK THAT *Season 2* / ORANGEVILLE PREP *New Factual Series*
9 PM – THE NATURE OF THINGS *Season 60*
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

SATURDAYS
Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6*

SUNDAYS
Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6*
8 PM – THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW *Season 10*
9 PM – ENSLAVED *New Documentary Series*
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

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Season 3 of Where to I Do? Premieres June 9 on CTV Life Channel

From a media release:

Time to say “I Do” to the perfect wedding venue with the return of WHERE TO I DO?, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET, premiering June 9 on CTV Life Channel. Co-produced by Bell Media Studios and Motion Content Group, the 30-minute series, follows Canadian property and design expert Tommy Smythe as he helps couples navigate the often difficult search for the wedding venue of their dreams. Nominated for two trophies during this week’s Canadian Screen Awards, the series has reached over 5.5 million Canadians across all airings since its series debut in 2018.

Following new episodes of WHERE TO I DO?, the hit wedding series I DO, REDO with Jessica Mulroney joins the lineup at 9:30 p.m., making Tuesdays on CTV Life Channel the ultimate destination for wedding themed TV this spring.

Taped before the COVID-19 pandemic, the eight-episode third season of WHERE TO I DO? heads to Ireland as its first international destination outside of North America, before also visiting California, Montréal, New Orleans, and Toronto. While couples continue to have their weddings delayed as the world waits to return to normal, the series hopes to encourage couples to think outside the box when it comes to location and venue.

Seasons 1 and 2 of the series, which is seen in international markets including Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Latin America, Norway, Poland, and others, is currently streaming on Crave.

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Preview: Dan Aykroyd hosts spooky goings-on in Hotel Paranormal

Dan Aykroyd is no stranger to the paranormal. In addition to hosting PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal—tales inspired by the paranormal investigations of the Office of Scientific Investigation and Research—for 88 episodes, Aykroyd’s great-grandfather was a spiritualist who held séances and his father published a book called A History of Ghosts.

So it’s not a shock, really, that Aykroyd was tagged to narrate T+E’s latest peek into the paranormal. Debuting Friday, May 15, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on T+E, Hotel Paranormal retraces the terrifying, true stories of those who have come face-to-face with otherworldly hotel guests.

“Millions check into hotels each year,” Aykroyd states in the opening credits. “Some check into another dimension.” In Friday’s debut instalment—the first of 10 episodes—we’re introduced to “Paranormal Predator,” three stories of scares from around the world.

Paranormal experts complement the stories told by witnesses, offering suggestions and clues as to what—and why—spookiness is going on. Many believe the fact hotel rooms, which see thousands of guests, are the perfect places to house spirits. I’m not sure I believe in the supernatural, but I do have my own odd tale. Years ago, I spent several nights in a B&B outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Built in 1812, the property had served as a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg. From the moment I entered the room I was staying in, I felt out of sorts and two nights of sleeplessness followed. Nothing grabbed at me or moved stuff around, but something was going on in that room.

But back to Hotel Paranormal.

In 2017, travelling repo man Frank spent the night in a low-budget Texas motel boasting five decades of service. But instead of respite, Room 38 oozed unease from the get-go. What began as the phone receiver hopping out of its cradle and a plastic cup sliding across a bedside table was enough to send Frank scrambling for the door. Luckily for us, Frank recorded what happened in Room 38 with his cell phone and it’s shown. Sadly, much of the evidence could be dismissed as Frank moving those items himself.

Also included in Friday’s debut is the 2014 account of American high school students unleashing ancient evil in an Italian guest house, and something unseen attacking news reporter Patricia Stark in a New England B&B in 2014.

If you’re a fan of this type of programming, as I am, you’re going to love Hotel Paranormal, particularly thanks to the stories told, accented by Arkroyd’s deep baritone.

Hotel Paranormal airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on T+E.

Images courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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