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Preview: VisionTV’s The Big Downsize is an emotional journey on the road to decluttering

Tidying up and decluttering isn’t a new thing—especially once spring arrives—and it’s reached new heights of awareness thanks to Marie Kondo and her Netflix series. I admit, I’ve used Kondo’s tip for folding t-shirts and it’s totally reorganized my dresser. But where it’s easy for me to clean up and get rid of my own stuff, the thought of doing it for someone else gives me the sweats and heart palpitations.

That’s where professional downsizer Jane Veldhoven comes in.

Premiering Monday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on VisionTV, The Big Downsize follows Veldhoven as she helps two Canadian families as they seek to declutter, clean up and ship out.

For the MacNeil family, that involves going through 50 years of accumulated things and memories in their childhood home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. With their mother passed away and their father living with one of his children, four of the five siblings have convened with thoughts of selling the family home. But to do that means a major cleanup.

It’s a daunting task, and not all of the MacNeil kids agree on how items should be divvied up. Throw in busy lives and nerves get jangled.

Meanwhile, Pam and Scott are on a different path. The Halifax couple is dissolving their marriage of over 20 years. The pair have a monumental task ahead: emptying a house full of items that were tied to them as a couple. Health issues have plagued Pam, adding another layer of stress to an already emotional situation. Things like key pieces of furniture are fairly easy to divide, but what about photos, clothing and the toys their son played with and, now, their grandkids?

“Even though downsizing seems like it’s just about getting rid of stuff, the stuff is usually a symbol of emotional chaos, something that’s happened in somebody’s life,” Veldhoven says during Episode 1. “In the end, that’s what we see physically but it doesn’t have a lot to do with that. People keep stuff for 20 different reasons.”

What sets the five episodes of The Big Downsize apart from other tidying-up television series or segments are the stories. This isn’t just about holding up a cracked old toy to the camera and wondering why it was kept. Tell Tale Productions, who previously made Growing Sense for AMI-tv, delves into the stories of these two families. The result is an emotional journey of togetherness, laughter, memories, tears and, ultimately, letting go.

The Big Downsize airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on VisionTV.

Images courtesy of VisionTV.


Intervention Canada premieres on T+E, April 1 at 9 p.m. ET

From a media release:

As announced today, the next season of the powerful docu-series Intervention Canada will premiere on its new home, T+E, beginning April 1 at 9 p.m. ET. In each episode, viewers get an up-close and personal look at the life of an addict and their family who are desperately trying to help them. The series premieres on T+E during its current free preview, which began March 4 and runs until May 4.

Intervention Canada provides an unflinching glimpse at the horrifying reality of the life of an addict, as well as the gut-wrenching toll their addiction takes on their family and friends. With the help of professional interventionists Andrew Galloway, Maureen Brine, Jesse Hanson, and Geri Bemister, each episode culminates in a dramatic intervention where the subject must make a life-and-death decision – continue their descent to rock bottom alone, or accept the offer of a clear path to recovery in one of Canada’s top addiction treatment facilities. This season, the series looks at addictions and dependencies on alcohol, crystal meth, cocaine, opioids, and eating disorders. Intervention Canada is based on the hit A+E format and is now in its fifth season.

Select storylines on this season of Intervention Canada include:

  • An expectant mother in BC who is determined to free her partner from a deadly fentanyl addiction before the birth of their child;
  • Three Ontario born siblings struggling to save their father from the grips of crippling alcoholism;
  • A four-time Canadian MMA fighting champion grappling to overcome an addiction to crystal meth both for the sake of his son, and ultimately his own life.

Intervention Canada is produced by Open Door Co. and Insight Productions, in association with Blue Ant Media. Executive Producers are Tom Powers for Open Door Co. and John Brunton and John Murray for Insight Productions. The Series Producer is Thomas Chenoweth. Sam Linton is Head of Original Content at Blue Ant Media.


Cottage Life celebrates spring with seven new and returning series

From a media release:

After a long winter, Cottage Life is celebrating spring with an eight-week, national free preview running until May 5, with a slate of brand new series that showcase weekend and lakefront living. Headlining the new lineup is The Bryk Cottage (6×30), a documentary series that follows professional contractor and TV contractor and designer, Danielle Bryk, as she knocks down and rebuilds her sister’s beloved, but dilapidated cottage with thoughtful design and eco-friendly materials. Also new this spring, the channel gives audiences an advanced look at the first episode of the fan favourite series Life Below Zero: Canada (1×30), which will air in full in 2020. Popular Canadian-shot series Lakefront Luxury (10×30) and Hope For Wildlife (10×60) are both back with new seasons and Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast (10×60) introduces new vets to Bondi Vet fans.

As an added springtime bonus, Cottage Life fans in Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton have the chance to meet Danielle Bryk, Hope Swinimer, two of the Australian Bondi Vets, as well as Sue Aikens from the original Life Below Zero series at different upcoming Cottage Life consumer shows. For more information on the TV talent lined up for each Cottage Life Show visit shows.cottagelife.com.

Free Preview Premieres on Cottage Life

World’s Wildest Weather (Canadian Premiere, season two)
Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT starting March 11
From freak tornadoes to hailstones the size of footballs, this fast-paced, adrenaline-filled documentary series charts some of the most extreme weather from around the world with first-hand, witness statements and personal footage, bringing viewers right into the panic and drama of being caught up in a storm.

Lakefront Luxury (World Premiere, season two)
Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, starting March 14
The second season of this aspirational series, gives viewers more stunning views, gorgeous waterfronts and serene sunsets. With unlimited budgets and endless wish lists, each episode explores three opulent properties, which a featured buyer chooses from.

Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast (World Premiere, season one)
Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT, starting March 27
Fan favourite series Bondi Vet has been revamped and will introduce five new Australian vets from across the Australia who offer a myriad of exciting animal stories, ranging from the exotic and wild to our favourite domestic creatures.

The Bryk Cottage (World Premiere, season one)
Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning March 28
This documentary series follows contractor and designer Danielle Bryk as she knocks down and rebuilds her sister and brother-in-law’s much-loved, but dilapidated cabin into a new stunning vacation home. Danielle deals with real-life issues as she works with a team of local contractors to use passive building standards that create a low carbon footprint cottage and a new getaway the entire family can cherish for generations.

Hope for Wildlife (World Premiere, season nine)
Friday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, beginning April 5
A brand new season follows beloved nature advocate Hope Swinimer and her team as they rescue animals at her Halifax-based wildlife refuge and release them back into the wild. In this season, Hope forges a new partnership with an expert rescue crew.

Log Cabin Fever (Canadian Premiere, season two)
Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m PT, starting on April 6
New episodes follow southern jack of all trades Charlie Norman, as he and his crew travel throughout Tennessee and the Carolinas to salvage log cabins, barns, churches and old mills. To the Log Cabin team, they are hidden gems waiting to be mined for rare raw materials or carefully resurrected.

Life Below Zero: Canada (30-minute premiere episode; World Premiere Sneak Peek) This 30-minute, premiere episode airs Sunday, April 21 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT
Based on BBC’s successful format, Life Below Zero: Canada is an observational documentary series about people who live off the grid in remote regions of northern Canada. The new series is being shot on location in Canada with a focus on Canadian people and stories. The full series airs on Cottage Life in 2020.

Engage with Cottage Life: @cottagelife #cottagelife

Cottage Life, is a Blue Ant Media multi-platform brand, celebrating the people, activities and places that make leisure time special. Exclusive content covers real estate, food, DIY projects and much more. Both informative and entertaining, no one captures the essence of weekend living like this.


Dog’s Best Friend, Evan Goes Wild and North Woods law come to Animal Planet this spring

From a media release:

From unlikely animal companions, to exotic wildlife adventures, to high-stakes conservation drama, Animal Planet delivers something for everyone this spring with new and returning series.

First up, Dr. Evan Antin – voted the Sexiest Veterinarian Alive by PEOPLE magazine – takes viewers around the world as he chases his wildlife bucket list in the eight-episode one-hour series EVAN GOES WILD, airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT beginning March 7. Growing up in Kansas it was a fascination with wildlife and a love for animals that led him to become a vet. Sharing videos of his interactions with animals has made Evan the most followed veterinarian on Instagram, with more than one million followers. In EVAN GOES WILD, Evan leaves his Los Angeles-based clinic behind and crosses the globe chasing his dream wildlife experiences, including swimming alongside humpback whales in Tahiti, exploring caves with bats and snakes in the Philippines, and tangling with crocs in the Yucatan. Evan brings his passion and love for all wildlife to each adventure where, as a practicing veterinarian, he also lends a helping hand to animals in need along the way.

Then, dogs may be man’s best friend, but it’s their extraordinary chumminess with other animals that are the focus of Animal Planet’s original Canadian production DOG’S BEST FRIEND, airing Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT beginning March 10. The 12-episode, half-hour series showcases dogs who have struck up friendships with the most unlikely of animal companions, from turtles and dolphins, to cheetahs and cats. Each episode visits two sets of unique animal amigos from near and far, showcasing the fate-filled circumstances that first united the animal buddies. Viewers hear the tale of these extraordinary dog relationships, while expert commentary reveals the pop science and dog psychology contributing to these unlikely furry friendships.

The Conservation Officers of New Hampshire face a never-ending series of challenges carrying out their conservation work in Season 6B of NORTH WOODS LAW, airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning April 2. Whether it’s fighting against the clock on a search and rescue, preserving and protecting the state’s resources, or tracking down elusive criminals, there’s never a dull moment for the Conservation Officers of New Hampshire. With the help of new trainees and the indispensable, and adorable, K-9 force, this elite group takes on everything the state can throw at them and works together to get the job done.

Below is a closer look at Animal Planet’s new and returning programming highlights for March and April. All programming is subject to change (all times ET; visit animalplanet.ca to confirm local broadcast times; programming subject to change).

Thursday, March 7
9 p.m. – EVAN GOES WILD – “Sharks and Recreation” – *Series Premiere*
Evan heads to the Tahitian Island of Mo’orea to fulfill a lifelong dream of swimming with humpback whales; he gathers DNA samples from Lemon sharks and blacktip reef sharks; Evan tries to find a home for a litter of day-old kittens.

Sunday, March 10
8 p.m. – DOG’S BEST FRIEND – *Season Premiere*
A four-year-old American bulldog/boxer rescue pup with a cleft lip named Puka loves to cuddle with Rocket Larry, the African Sulcata Tortoise he shares snacks, cuddles, and even coffee time with. Also featured in this episode, Eligh, a rambunctious Great Pyrenees mountain dog, tried desperately to make friends with the other animals at the farm, but it wasn’t until a bossy donkey named Laura arrived that he finally found his best friend.

Tuesday, April 2
10 p.m. – NORTH WOODS LAW – “Midsummer Mayhem” – *Season 6B Premiere*
Officer Holmes and Trainee Frye respond to an ATV accident where a man’s head has been run over. Officer McKee helps relocate a rare rattlesnake. Officer Courtney assists a dog locked inside a car. On Mt. Willard, a collapsed student needs rescuing.


AMI-tv re-examines the death of a young Canadian, who was blind, in What Happened to Holly Bartlett, debuting March 28

From a media release:

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announces its newest series What Happened to Holly Bartlett, debuting Thursday, March 28, at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv.

Holly Bartlett, a 31-year-old Dalhousie University graduate student who was blind, was found unconscious under the MacKay Bridge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, early one morning in March of 2010. She died in hospital the next day from injuries identified as blunt force trauma, and hypothermia. While local authorities determined Holly’s death was accidental—stating she simply became disoriented and fell—there remains several unanswered questions, compelling evidence, and many theories about how she may have died.

Each of the six episodes—hosted by orientation and mobility specialist Peter Parsons—include interviews with family, friends and subject matter experts. The series uses computer animation and dramatic recreations to explore the various theories about what may have happened.

Additionally, the companion What Happened to Holly Bartlett podcast will be available on Apple iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher and other podcast catchers immediately following each new television episode. Hosted by investigative journalist Maggie Rahr, the podcast digs deeper into the inquiry and paints a full picture of Holly’s life and the uncertainty surrounding her death.

In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, What Happened to Holly Bartlett utilizes Integrated Described Video (IDV) to make episodes accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

Season one episodes of What Happened to Holly Bartlett air Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv. The series can be watched post-broadcast on demand at AMI.ca or via the free AMI-tv App.