Everything about What Would Sal Do?, eh?

What Would Sal Do? debuts in Canada after resurrection on CraveTV

You might say Bell Media was the saving grace for What Would Sal Do? Or maybe the Canadian company was doing God’s work? Whatever the cliché, without CraveTV, Sal might never have been aired. It’s a resurrection of biblical proportions. OK, we’ll stop now.

All eight half-hour Season 1 episodes of What Would Sal Do? arrive Friday on CraveTV, but in the summer of 2016, Andrew De Angelis’ comic creation was dead in the water. Last June, Allarco Entertainment was granted creditor protection. Allarco owns Super Channel, Sal‘s original home. With creditor protection in place, What Would Sal Do?, Slasher and Tiny Plastic Men couldn’t air on the pay channel and were released to their production companies to be shopped around. Sal‘s producers, New Metric Media, landed a deal with Bell Media. No wonder, really; New Metric’s Letterkenny has been a success for CraveTV and Sal is a natural fit.

Dylan Taylor as Sal

Sal stars Dylan Taylor (most recently of CBC’s Pure) as the titular character, a foul-mouthed overachiever who has lived a life of laziness and questionable decisions in Sudbury, Ont. That all changes when his mother, Maria (Jennifer Dale) blows his mind with the following info: Sal is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

“The show actually came from two ideas in my head,” De Angelis—who has written for Mr. D, 18 to Life and Orphan Black—says of Sal‘s origins. “One was just this thought of if there was a Second Coming, how would it go in today’s world? What would the difficulties be? I’ve also been fascinated with the entitled generation who are raised—mine included—spoiled rotten and they just think they’re great and that everything they do is wonderful. Once they’re adults they’ll realize how ill-prepared for the world they are.”

That’s established in the opening minutes of the debut, “Punches Pilot,” as director Samir Rehem pulls in on Sal sitting at the dining room table. A distraught Maria—a dear friend has just passed away—slumps into a seat, heartbroken. Sal, hoping to help, offers to make her some pasta. Just one problem.

“So, how the fuck do you make pasta?” he asks.

“Oh my God,” Maria sighs. It’s then she reveals to Sal his lofty expectations. He is, understandably, incredulous … and overwhelmed.

Jennifer Dale as Maria

“It’s a pleasure to be in a Canadian comedy,” Taylor told us during a 2015 set visit to Sudbury. “We’re playing this so straight. It’s written so well and the scenarios are so funny. This is clown work and a clown is someone who is just in over their head. Sal is told he’s Jesus and he’s woefully unprepared for it.”

At first blush, Sal isn’t a likable guy. Strutting around Sudbury, wearing tearaway pants and making fun of everyone isn’t the stuff of a lead, more like the obnoxious friend. Taylor says the balance they struck to connect with viewers is to portray Sal as someone who is a good person at his core who “became a douchebag because he was spoiled and because of how he was raised.” The love he has for Maria and best friend Vince (Ryan McDonald) makes him endearing.

“This was the opportunity to play a completely unique and original role like nobody has ever seen before,” Dale said of signing on to Sal. “If anybody had said to me 10 years ago, ‘This is what you’ll be doing,’ I could never have dreamed the part.” Aside from the series’ originality, Dale said Maria is a grounded character full of contradictions. She is a religious person whose doubts are creeping in, has a mouth like a truck driver and has no sexual experience.

“It’s not because she’s ugly or anything,” Dale explained. “She has made this choice and that’s a very hard thing to imagine. It’s kind of like playing an alien.”

Scott Thompson as Father Luke

What Would Sal Do? marks not only a departure for Dale but Scott Thompson too. After almost exclusively comedic roles throughout his career, the Kids in the Hall member jumped at playing Father Luke because it’s so different from his usual gigs.

“There have been other somewhat serious parts I’ve been cast in, but the difference in those is that they had an agenda,” Thompson said during a break in filming. “This is the first part that’s just a part. I’ve been hired on [in the past] because of my comedy but also because I was gay and they wanted me to do gay parts. [Father Luke] is not about my persona and my baggage.” Sal is a comedy, but there a several serious and downright tender moments. One notable few minutes in Episode 1 features Luke and Sal arguing over religion and peanut allergies; you see the paternal qualities in Luke that extend past his title.

“You understand that Father Luke is not a charlatan, he actually believes,” Thompson said. “What I like about that scene is Luke is filled with this conviction that God is talking through Sal. It’s funny, it’s dramatic and he also wants to use this to advance his career.”

Season 1 of What Would Sal Do? arrives Friday on CraveTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.



Link: Sudbury Accent: All hail Sal, of Copper Cliff

From Ben Leeson of the Sudbury Star:

Link: Sudbury Accent: All hail Sal, of Copper Cliff
“Come on, do you think the second coming of Christ would second come in Sudbury of all places?”

So says Sal, incredulous at the idea that he, a foul-mouthed underachiever from Copper Cliff, could be a bona fide, blind-curing, bread-making, virgin-born King of Kings, partway through the pilot for What Would Sal Do?, a new comedy series filmed – and set – in the Nickel City, and due to drop next week on CraveTV. Continue reading. 


TV, eh? podcast episode 220 — Croissants and Canuckiness

Greg is back from his vacation and raring to go. Among the topics he and Anthony discuss: the weekly calendar, Part 1 of our deep dive into this year’s Canadian Screen Award nominations for television and the long-awaited debut date for CraveTV’s What Would Sal Do?

Listen or download below, or subscribe via iTunes or any other podcast catcher with the TV, eh? podcast feed.

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CraveTV’s next Canadian Original Series, WHAT WOULD SAL DO?, begins streaming March 24 exclusively on CraveTV

From a media release:

CraveTV today announced its third Canadian Original series, the satiric WHAT WOULD SAL DO? From New Metric Media, the producers of CraveTV hit comedy LETTERKENNY, the eight-episode, half-hour comedy, about a slacker who discovers he’s the second coming of Christ, begins streaming exclusively on CraveTV on Friday, March 24, as part of the #iCraveFridays weekly roll-out of new content. WHAT WOULD SAL DO? joins a growing list of Canadian Original series exclusive to CraveTV subscribers, which also includes LETTERKENNY and the upcoming RUSSELL PETERS IS THE INDIAN DETECTIVE.

The series received the following three Canadian Screen Award nominations last week: Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role (Jennifer Dale); Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role or Guest Role in a Comedic Series (Ryan McDonald); and Best Writing in a Comedy Program or Series (Andrew De Angelis)

WHAT WOULD SAL DO? is a modern-day parable of an entitled underachiever who, for the first time in his life, is challenged to be a good person when he discovers he’s the second coming of Christ. The series stars: Dylan Taylor(ROGUE) as the titular slacker Sal; Jennifer Dale (STREET LEGAL) as his mom, the virgin Maria; Ryan McDonald (2012) as Sal’s best friend; Scott Thompson (THE KIDS IN THE HALL) as an ambitious priest; and in a supporting role, LETTERKENNY’s K. Trevor Wilson. Set in modern-day Sudbury, WHAT WOULD SAL DO? comes from showrunner Andrew De Angelis (MR. D, KILLJOYS), with episodes directed by Samir Rehem (SKINS), and is produced by New Metric Media.

WHAT WOULD SAL DO? joins the growing lineup of CraveTV Originals – series available only to Canadian audiences on CraveTV. Recent notable CraveTV Originals include the recently launched OUTSIDERS, the sophomore season of Canadian sensation LETTERKENNY, as well as SHUT EYE, CASUAL, MANHATTAN, and DEADBEAT, among others. WHAT WOULD SAL DO? bolsters CraveTV’s popular Comedies Collection, streaming alongside LETTERKENNY, SOUTH PARK, and ANGIE TRIBECA.

WHAT WOULD SAL DO? is acquired by CraveTV from New Metric Media. Series is written, created, and executive produced by Andrew De Angelis and directed by Samir Rehem. Additional writers include Kurt Smeaton, Mark Forward, Alex Levine, Mark De Angelis, and Brandy Hewitt. Executive Producers for New Metric Media are Mark Montefiore and Patrick O’Sullivan. The series is produced by New Metric Media, in association with DHX Media and with the participation of the Canadian Media Fund and Ontario and Federal Tax Credits.


Future of Super Channel originals Slasher, What Would Sal Do? and Tiny Plastic Men in limbo


UPDATE: As per a feature in Playback magazine, New Metric Media has found a new home for What Would Sal Do? The series has been acquired by Bell Media and will air on TMN and HBO Canada.

It wasn’t the news the creators and producers of Slasher, What Would Sal Do? and Tiny Plastic Men wanted to hear. Making a television show in Canada is difficult enough, but it’s impossible when the company responsible for broadcasting your series goes into creditor protection.

That’s the sad scenario facing the trio of original Canadian productions after Super Channel’s parent company, Allarco Entertainment, was granted creditor protection for 30 days under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act in early June. Now, two months later, things are dire. All three properties have been released back to the production companies to be shopped around to new broadcasters. Because the case is still in the courts, the series’ creators, showrunners and producers aren’t able to comment, but Super Channel did provide an official statement regarding What Would Sal Do?

“Unfortunately, we will not be moving forward with the series at this time,” Melissa Kajpust, head of creative development, said. “Due to our recent CCAA filing we have had to do some financial restructuring and unfortunately this was one of the projects affected.” That, to put it frankly, sucks. Shot in Sudbury, Ont., Sal stars Dylan Taylor as entitled underachiever, Sal, who is challenged to be a good person when he discovers he’s the Second Coming of Christ. The modern day parable also stars Jennifer Dale as Maria, Sal’s mother, a virgin and devoted catholic, Ryan McDonald as Vince, Sal’s best friend and Scott Thompson as the career driven Father Luke, Maria’s friend and confidant. TV, Eh? visited the set while cameras were rolling and we’ve seen the first couple of episodes and it’s not only damn funny and boundary-pushing, but it’s heartfelt. Taylor, in particular, is splendid as Sal.

Sal is written, created and executive produced by Andrew De Angelis alongside writers Kurt Seaton, Mark Forward, Alex Levine, Mark DeAngelis and Brandy Hewitt. Sal director Samir Rehem has been nominated for a Directors Guild of Canada Award for his work on the pilot episode, an additional kick in the crotch for a series that has eight instalments filmed, edited, in the can and ready for broadcast. And yet it has nowhere to be broadcast. New Metric Media is currently seeking a home for the series.

If there is a second season of Slasher, it won’t be on Super Channel. Created by Aaron Martin, the horror series—filmed in and around Sudbury and Parry Sound, Ont.—starred Katie McGrath as Sarah Bennett, a young woman who returns to the small town where she was born, only to find herself the centrepiece in a series of horrifying copycat murders based on the widely known, grisly killings of her parents. Slasher co-starred Brandon Jay McLaren, Wendy Crewson, Steve Byers and Dean McDermott. The series’ production company, Shaftesbury, couldn’t comment on what was happening with regard to a sophomore season.

Tiny Plastic Men, meanwhile, was in the middle of production on Season 4 when the filing shut them down. The Canadian Screen Award and Canadian Comedy Award nominee, from Mosaic Entertainment, stars writers Chris Craddock, Mark Meer and Matt Alden as Crad, October and Addison, three man-boys who test bizarre toy prototypes in their playroom of an office at the eccentric Gottfried Brothers Toy and Train Company.

Fingers crossed things are sorted out for all three.