Everything about Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary, eh?

Blue Ant Media unveils three new greenlights for its Canadian specialty TV and global free streaming platforms

From a media release:

International producer, distributor and channel operator, Blue Ant Media, announced today from Prime Time three new greenlights set to air in 2023 across its Canadian specialty TV networks: T+E and Cottage Life, and its global free streaming (FAST) channels: HauntTV and Total Crime. The announcement underpins Blue Ant Media’s commitment to create premium, returnable and scalable series that offer superior storytelling and universal appeal. Overseen by Sam Linton, VP, Production and Development, Global Media, the latest originals lineup includes two world broadcast premieres on Blue Ant Media’s Canadian specialty TV channels. Blue Ant International will handle pre-sales and licensing opportunities worldwide for two new original series in the slate.

Following the ratings success of the two-part original documentary, Haunted Gold Rush, Blue Ant Media has ordered the new six-part series, Haunted by History (w/t)(6×60’; HD). The series sees the return of paranormal investigators, Corine Carey, Leanne Sallenback and Kelly Ireland, as they travel across North America and meet with real people who recount their intense, terrifying and emotional ghost experiences. Seeking the deeper meaning behind these hauntings and their ties to historic locations, the trio will undergo full-blown investigations to uncover the truth and give closure to both the witnesses and the spirits. Haunted Gold Rush launched on T+E in Canada and HauntTV in the US in October 2022. The documentary saw T+E perform 140% higher in its premiere time slot. The world broadcast premiere of Haunted by History is slated for spring 2023 on T+E in Canada during the channel’s nationwide free preview event. The series will also air on Blue Ant Media’s free streaming channel HauntTV in the US, UK and Australia in 2023.

Also commissioned is the Blue Ant Studios new original documentary, A Secret to Die For (2×60’; HD), which investigates how a person’s secret life can end up costing them their own. A Secret to Die For follows a suspenseful story arc that will keep viewers guessing who the murderer is until the very end. With emotional interviews from family and friends, the documentary weaves together a story of a seemingly successful and happy individual who’s dark past made them the perfect murder victim. The first two pilot episodes of the true crime documentary series will make its world broadcast debut on T+E in Canada this summer 2023. The series will also air in 2023 on the free streaming channel Total Crime in the US.

Finally, the new original series Secrets in the Sand (6×60’; HD) examines extraordinary curiosities that were once concealed in the deserts of the planet. From lost ancient cities to mysterious geological formations, each episode comprises four stories from different regions of the world and uses CGI, stock and archival footage, along with expert testimony to expose their secrets. The six-part series is slated to premiere in summer 2023 on Cottage Life in Canada.

For more information on Blue Ant Media’s original greenlights, please see below.


Haunted by History (w/t) (6×60’; HD)
Producer: Small Army Entertainment
World broadcast premiere scheduled for spring 2023 on T+E
Scheduled to air on HauntTV in the US, UK and Australia in 2023
Haunted by History (w/t) follows paranormal experts Corine Carey, Leanne Sallenback and Kelly Ireland as they travel across North America meeting with those who have come face-to-face with the unknown. The trio are on a mission to unlock a deeper understanding of the hauntings that take place in the world-famous locations they visit. Featuring stylized, cinematic dramatizations of eyewitness accounts, coupled with rich context provided by experts, historians and locals, Corine, Leanne and Kelly will bridge the gap between past and present in a fresh new way. The documentary series shows how paranormal investigations can enrich people’s understanding of history by giving voices to the spirits of those who lived it. Blue Ant International handles pre-sales and licensing opportunities worldwide.

T+E/Total Crime

A Secret to Die For (2×60’; HD)
Producer: Blue Ant Studio
World broadcast premiere scheduled for spring 2023 on T+E
Scheduled to air on Total Crime in the US in 2023
The documentary series, A Secret to Die For, investigates how a person’s secret life can end up costing them their own. The two-part documentary peels back the layers of the victim’s seemingly happy life to reveal new, dark secrets that family and friends would never have believed. As the missing pieces of the victim’s life come together, new interviewees offer an entirely fresh perspective, concluding with the dramatic revelation of a secret explaining why the victim was killed and identifying the murderer. Blue Ant International handles pre-sales and licensing opportunities worldwide.

Cottage Life

Secrets in the Sand (6×60’; HD)
Producer: Shark Teeth Films
Canadian broadcast premiere scheduled for summer 2023 on Cottage Life
Deserts are often an afterthought when it comes to climate change, but as global temperatures increase, they are among the most vulnerable places on the planet. Violent sandstorms and erosion are increasingly reshaping the arid regions of the Earth and as they do, astounding discoveries are being exposed. The series examines incredible curiosities that were once concealed for thousands of years, including the Egyptian Stonehenge, a lost ancient city and a tomb of an unknown soldier.


Scott McGillivray and Bryan Baemler join forces in Renovation Resort

From a media release:

Two of HGTV Canada’s biggest stars, Scott McGillivray and Bryan Baeumler, reunite in Renovation Resort (7×60), a one-of-a-kind vacation rental renovation competition series premiering Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada and STACKTV. In this brand-new series distributed by Corus Studios, Scott’s recently purchased lakeside vacation resort needs a complete overhaul, so he enlists friendly rival and expert builder Bryan to help get his rundown property into shape. To transform the resort into a modern-day vacation destination, they bring in four professional designer-contractor duos who are up for the challenge. Each week, the pairs battle against each other in a riveting renovation showdown to impress Scott, Bryan, and the expert guest judges. In the end, the team with the best cabin wins the title of Renovation Resort Champions and a reward of $100,000.

At the start of the competition, the duos are assigned to one of four identical cabins that will be entirely renovated over the course of seven weeks. In each episode, they are tasked with remodeling a new space in the cabin, bringing their skills to transform the interior and exterior of the cabins into stunning retreats ahead of the peak rental season. Armed with their signature banter and keen observations, Scott and Bryan will check in regularly to evaluate the teams’ work and guide them through each cabin challenge. Facing off in this unique competition is dynamic husband-and-wife duo Rotem and Troy from Toronto, Ont., entrepreneurs April and Arnold from Chicago, Ill., business partners Jena and Sean from Toronto, Ont., and partners in life and work, Savannah and Kyle, hailing from Phoenix, Ariz. To learn more about the professional duos, visit hgtv.ca.

Throughout the season, Scott and Bryan are joined by expert guest judges, including Debra Salmoni (designer, Scott’s Vacation House Rules), Heather Greenwood Davis (travel writer and lifestyle host), Sarah Keenleyside (designer, Backyard Builds), Christine Tizzard (cookbook author and food stylist), Natalie Preddie (travel expert and writer), and Carson Arthur (landscape designer and television personality). Alongside Scott and Bryan, the judges will evaluate the renovations by assessing the quality, creativity, and functionality to determine the winning vacation cabin. In the first episode, the competitors’ mission is to tackle the primary bedroom and main-floor bathroom in one week. As these super-skilled teams work against the clock and under pressure, they will have to deliver exceptional designs if they want to be the best.

Renovation Resort welcomes series sponsor Tim Hortons, offering the competitors a well-deserved lunch of loaded wraps and bowls, plus an assortment of treats, coffee, and cold beverages throughout the season. In several episodes, SICO paint, available at RONA, highlights the brand’s line of Endurance and Prestige paint options to create inviting spaces. The curb appeal of the property is transformed with Techo-Bloc’s modern paving stones and landscaping products, allowing the competitors to extend their designs outside.

Renovation Resort is produced by M.E.M, Scott McGillivray is CEO, Angela Jennings is President, Nanci MacLean is COO, Jeff Baker is Head of Production and Kelly Wray is Executive Producer.


AMI announces production is underway on Season 2 of Fashion Dis, hosted by Ardra Shephard

From a media release:

AMI, in partnership with Nikki Ray Media Agency (Fire Masters, Home to Win), is pleased to announce that principal photography has started on six Season 2 episodes of AMI-tv’s Fashion Dis in Toronto.

Called “groundbreaking” by Postmedia, Season 2 of Fashion Dis promises to be a game-changer in the makeover space, challenging traditional norms that lack inclusion. Each episode of Fashion Dis celebrates the head-to-toe overhaul of a frustrated style seeker discouraged by an industry that lacks adaptive options.

Utilizing innovative fashion design and transformative beauty techniques provided by partner companies, the Fashion Dis expert team reveals the latest in fashion-forward thinking and shows those ready to rock their best body exactly how to do it.

“Universal design is exploding and it’s such an exciting moment in fashion and beauty,” says show creator and host Ardra Shephard. “Season 2 is stacked with more engaging and fun participants. I can’t wait to see the looks we create for these individuals and for the disability community at large.”

Meet the Season 2 experts:

Ardra Shephard, host
Ardra is an influential Canadian blogger, speaker, leader in the Multiple Sclerosis community and host of the Tripping On Air podcast.

Bella Strange, makeup artist
Bella is a makeup artist catering to the LGBTQ+, disability and special effects communities.

Susan Shipley, hair stylist
Susan is a master stylist with extensive experience in accessible hair care services.

Izzy Camilleri, style expert
Izzy is one of Canada’s leading fashion designers and a pioneer in adaptive clothing.

Melonie Lawrence, art director
Melonie is a fashion stylist who believes great style can be achieved regardless of size, colour, creed or cash flow.

Alkan Emin, photographer
Alkan is an award-nominated photographer.

Returning partners to Fashion Dis include Guide Beauty, June Adaptive, ByAcre, Rollz, MagnaReady, BILLY Footwear, Liberare, Slick Chicks and Cheekbone Beauty.

New Fashion Dis partners include Will & Well, BeedleBug, Consonant Skincare, Elba London, Aille Design, MIGA Swimwear, Blue Dahlia, The Vault By Volpe Beringer, Chamiah Dewey Fashion, It Actually Fits, Auf Augenhoehe, Crease Piece, Deafmetal, Amaterasu Beauty, Sweet LeiLani, Elate Beauty, EazyHold, Roncy Packs, Ambutech and Sahajan.

About Nikki Ray Media Agency
Nikki Ray Media Agency (formerly known as Architect Films) is a world-class creator of original mass-audience content. Since 2010, Nikki Ray has produced hundreds of hours of content that has been sold in territories all around the world. Titles include Fire Masters, The Big Bake, Great Chocolate Showdown, Hot Market, Extreme Ice Machines, Donut Showdown, Sugar Showdown and Home To Win.

About Accessible Media Inc.
AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal. To learn more visit AMI.ca and AMItele.ca.


Gripping four-part Crave original investigative docuseries, Thunder Bay, premieres February 17

From a media release:

Crave announced today that its new, four-part original gripping investigative docuseries, THUNDER BAY, premieres on Friday, Feb. 17, and is available to audiences in both English and French. The series is produced, written, and co-directed by Anishinaabe journalist Ryan McMahon, who is on a quest to uncover the truth behind the deaths of numerous Indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ont. – a Canadian city which has historically had high rates of homicides and hate crimes. THUNDER BAY debuts on Feb. 17 with the first two episodes, followed by the final two episodes on Feb. 24.

Following the breakout success of his CANADALAND podcast of the same name, McMahon returns to Thunder Bay to discover the roots of the city’s systemic racism against its Indigenous population. From investigating the unexplained deaths of local Indigenous teens to exploring the failings of the city’s police service, McMahon sheds light on Thunder Bay’s enduring history of racism.

Over the course of four episodes, THUNDER BAY unravels Canada’s complicated relationship with colonialism, examining the consequences of a broken system in which some can thrive, while many others disproportionally struggle to survive.

Episodic synopses are outlined below:

Episode 1 – Murder Capital #1
Journalist and host Ryan McMahon is determined to uncover the truth behind multiple teenage deaths in Thunder Bay’s waterways.

Episode 2 – Whodunit
Ryan explores three theories behind the deaths: serial killer, gang violence, and darkest of all, racist vigilantes.

Episode 3 – No Foul Play
Ryan suspects that the police’s failure to investigate Indigenous deaths may be intentional after an inside source seeks him out.

Episode 4 – The Hive
Ryan learns some inside information about the police force and his worst fears are confirmed after he receives a covertly leaked report.

THUNDER BAY is produced by Ryan McMahon and Entertainment One (eOne), and produced and developed in association with Bell Media. Created, executive produced, and hosted by Ryan McMahon. Series Producer is Leslie Lucas. Jocelyn Hamilton and Toby Dormer serve as executive producers for eOne.


Preview: Documentary Doug and the Slugs & Me is a filmmaker’s love letter to her childhood

Growing up in the 1980s, I heard a lot of Doug and the Slugs music.

The group’s music videos for tunes like “Too Bad,” “Making It Work,” “Tomcat Prowl” and “Day by Day” were MuchMusic staples. Heck, I have “Day by Day” as part of my most-played songs on my iPhone. But, aside from knowing they were from Vancouver and created some wild videos, Doug and the Slugs has been a bit of a mystery to me.

Until now.

Debuting Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC, Doug and the Slugs & Me follows filmmaker Teresa Alfeld as she explores the story of Doug Bennett. And while he led one of the most iconic 80s bands in Canada, Alfeld only knew him—during her childhood—as the cool dad of her best friend next door in East Vancouver.

Unlike most music documentaries that simply trace the birth and growth of a band, Doug and the Slugs & Me adds Alfeld’s personal journey, including chats with her mother, to round out Bennett and the band’s story. That, along with interviews with the Slugs, Bob Geldof (who worked with Bennett before Doug and the Slugs formed), Bif Naked, Steven Page, Ron Sexsmith, Michael Williams, Denise Donlon (who was the band’s publicist!) and Terry David Mulligan—and treasured home video—paint a wonderfully moving picture not only of Bennett but capture a slice of Canadiana well worth checking out.

Doug and the Slugs & Me airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of Hans Sipma.