Everything about Workin’ Moms, eh?

Juno Rinaldi exits CBC’s Workin’ Moms after five seasons

There will be no Frankie in Season 6 of Workin’ Moms. Juno Rinaldi, who has played the role of real estate agent Frankie Coyne for five seasons, made the announcement on Instagram Thursday morning.

“To my dear cast, crew, friends, families and fans of the show. I have made the hard decision not to return to Workin’ Moms this season,” she wrote.

“As an artist I felt like it was time to pursue other creative opportunities as an actor and different opportunities in other mediums within the business (specifically, writing and producing). Frankie was a role of a lifetime. Deep gratitude goes out to @reitcatou for taking a chance on a nobody like me. I had 5 glorious seasons with truly incredible people and now I am so excited to see where Workin’ Moms goes next , I know it’s going to be fantastic!

All my love. Juno.”

Rinaldi’s post was quickly answered by her Workin’ Moms co-star, show co-creator, director and executive producer Catherine Reitman, who wrote:

“Telling these stories without Frankie this season was hard. Your spirit will be missed more than you know. But I speak for many when I say, we can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon for you ❤️ Sending you all the good stuff and more #teamfrankieforlife”

Earlier this summer, CBC announced that Season 6 of Workin’ Moms would return in the winter.

Image courtesy of CBC.


Canadian Screen Award nominees: Tamara Podemski and Ryan Belleville

It’s Canadian Screen Awards week and we’re celebrating all week long in a very special way. We’ll feature exclusive interviews with the actors and creative folks who are nominated in the television and web series categories.

Today, it’s Tamara Podemski, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actress, Drama for Coroner; and Ryan Belleville, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actor, Comedy for Workin’ Moms.

Tamara Podemski, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actress, Drama for Coroner

How do you feel the Canadian TV industry is faring during these pandemic times?
I think the Canadian TV Industry fared pretty well during the pandemic. I feel like the actor’s union, ACTRA, did a really good job at disseminating information about safety protocols, as well as support programs for people who needed access to health services, financial services, counselling services. If people don’t feel safe going to work, there is no industry. Based on my experience filming throughout the pandemic in Ontario, I can say that I did feel protected and very safe. There’s a lot of value in that. I also think streaming services did very well in the pandemic and CBC Gem offered this amazing, free opportunity for audiences to access so much more Canadian content and all of us storytellers and story makers have benefited greatly from those new viewers.

How have you fared during these pandemic times?
I feel very blessed. I have experienced some serious dry spells in my career and yet, at a time of such suffering and uncertainty, this pandemic has brought me some really exciting and fulfilling work. I feel like opportunity and luck have aligned in the strangest and most marvelous of ways for me right now. During the first lockdown, I was in the middle of shooting my sister’s new TV drama, Unsettled, in North Bay. We were able to resume, safely, in June and then wrapped in September. Then I got to return to Coroner for Season 3, which we shot in the fall. In January, I started filming my new TV show Outer Range in New Mexico. But as much as the work has been plentiful, the real saving grace has been FaceTime dates with friends and family, backyard distance visits, leaving the city and moving to Georgian Bay, and participating in as many virtual gatherings/events as possible. The pandemic has been very isolating and any way that I can stay connected to my larger community has been vital and necessary.

Do you think Canadian TV is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
Everyone is better and stronger and more impactful when they represent the truth and authenticity of who they are and where they come from. I think Canadian television has a long way to go, but we’re moving in the right direction. Canadians want to see their own communities and their own storytellers on the screen. I want that, too! Every role I take is an act of representation; an act of visibility and inclusion and making my voice heard. Our diversity in this country is more than just ‘quota fillers’ – we are the faces that make up this nation and we are ALWAYS better when we own that and celebrate it.

Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
Maybe I should answer the question this way … I’ve been acting in Canadian film and TV for almost 30 years and this is my first acting nomination from the Canadian Academy. So obviously, I’ve had to find many other sources of validation and encouragement to get me through those years! Awards are good feeling things, though, and it’s just nice to finally be invited to the party.

What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
I’m working that night, so I will probably be wearing a Sheriff’s uniform and a cowboy hat.

What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Probably craft services. Veggie cup with hummus is my go-to these days.

Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
I was lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of women like my sister, Jennifer Podemski, Michelle St. John, Jani Lauzon, Monique Mojica and Shirley Cheechoo. These powerhouses claimed their space on the stage, screen and behind the camera and taught me that community responsibility, cultural accountability and artistic practice are all interconnected. My earliest introduction to professional performance was through these women, so I’m always grateful for their influence and guidance when I was so young and impressionable.

Ryan Belleville, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actor, Comedy for Workin’ Moms

How do you feel the Canadian TV industry is faring during these pandemic times?
The Canadian film and TV industry is booming right now. While the U.S. was in the midst of the garbage fire that is COVID, Canadians were heading the PM’s advice and avoiding speaking mostly to each other. The payoff? Every studio in Toronto was slammed, while L.A. was a ghost town. As for actual Canadian content? More people have been watching it than ever. Millions of people around the world were binging Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience and Workin’ Moms, just to name a few. I just finished the most recent season of The Expanse which I know isn’t officially a Canadian show, but it’s full of Canadian talent.

How have you fared during these pandemic times?
My screen time is up so high that my last phone screen time report just read: You are phone now. Seriously though, thank god for technology to get us through this. Zoom, and video games, and streaming. I also live in California, which has completely turned things around, and it almost feels like normal life again … almost.

Do you think Canadian TV is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
Canadian TV is absolutely having its moment in the sun, and I really hope it continues. We are telling more varied stories, from more diverse viewpoints, and people are watching. Not just in Canada, but around the world. I feel as though we are finally shedding this overly Canadiana hokey point of reference that had to be shoehorned into every show. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding a snow machine in the backcountry, but the overwhelming majority of Canadians live in urban settings and have big-city modern-day problems.

Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
Ha! I don’t think I’ve ever been confident I’m on the right track. It’s just that this is all I’ve ever known how to do. It is nice to be recognized for the work in the show, especially with my buddy, and fellow Loose Moose Theatre Alumni, Calgarian Andrew Phung.

What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Robe … maybe underwear. Wait … can people see me while I watch? In that case, I will wear a nice shirt and a tie … no pants … maybe underwear.

What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
I’d like to say I’m going to order some expensive sushi, and drink champagne, but I’m a tired parent with kids who are home all the time, so it’ll probably be pizza flavoured goldfish and a juice box.

Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
My parents. They are both gifted artists, who taught me the importance of staying true to yourself. I remember watching them as a child when they were on stage and being hypnotized by how they could move an audience.

Stream the Canadian Screen Awards on the Academy websiteTwitter and YouTube.

Check out the list of nominees.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
7 p.m. ET: CTV presents the Canadian Screen Awards – Creative Arts & Performance (Narrator: Tyrone Edwards)

Thursday, May 20, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Cinematic Arts, Presented by Telefilm Canada, Supported by Cineplex (Narrator: Nahéma Ricci)

8 p.m. ET: 2021 Canadian Screen Awards (Narrators: Stephan James and Karine Vanasse)


Links: Workin’ Moms, Season 5

From Norman Wilner of NOW Toronto:

Link: Video: The stars of Workin’ Moms on season 5, Calgary and COVID
“Our writers room opened in February of 2020 when the virus was very much alive, but we didn’t really know about it. We broke to draft scripts in March, when the world shut down. The writers broke the same day that the world shut down.” Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Catherine Reitman and Dani Kind preview Season 5
“Season 5 definitely had its new challenges because of COVID. I joke that as producers you think the biggest challenge is ‘Wow, how am I going to make a season of a television show?’ You never think you’ll have the responsibility of people’s lives like we did this season. That was a new, complicated layer to add.” Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Workin’ Moms: What’s behind Anne’s new life in Cochrane
It came as a shock to all Workin’ Moms viewers when Anne (Dani Kind) told Kate (Catherine Reitman) at the end of last season she was going to go with Lionel (Ryan Belleville) as he pursued new career opportunities in Calgary. Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Workin’ Moms stars preview big changes for Frankie and Jenny
“Being on a show for 5 years, I’ve never experienced that before so the amount of growth and learning — personally and professionally — has been massive.” Continue reading.


Workin’ Moms: Catherine Reitman and Dani Kind talk Season 5

But changes are afoot for the ladies when Workin’ Moms returns to CBC on Tuesday night.

Like many programs, COVID-19 impacted production on the primetime comedy both creatively and physically. Production on the show, which is usually filmed indoors, was in many instances moved outside. And, the pandemic worked its way into the Carlson’s plans: upon arriving in Cochrane, Alberta, Anne, Lionel and the girls were forced to sequester for safety. Upon things opening up intown, Anne found herself a true stranger in a strange land and unable—so far—to cope with the upheaval.

We spoke to Workin’ Moms’ co-creator, executive producer, writer, star and director Catherine Reitman and actor Dani Kind about the upcoming 10-episode season.

Catherine, did the fact you had to work around the safety issues change anything from a writing standpoint or even a filming standpoint? Were there major changes that you had to make to the fifth season because of the pandemic?
Catherine Reitman: Huge. Yeah, I mean, look, we’re a summer show that goes into tiny, little real apartments. We’ve never been a real studio show. We’ve really been a location-based show. I think why Toronto loves the show, in particular, is because we’re in real buildings in Toronto. We’re in tiny apartments. We’re like an indie movie where we’re we’ve got two camera teams going up and down narrow stairwells with stairs that are about to give way.

We’ve shot in several buildings that have been since torn down because they’re derelict. So we couldn’t really go into buildings that had elevators. We had to move a lot of our interiors to exteriors. We could only shoot 10-hour days. We had to make a lot of concessions as far as we had to shoot in the fall to winter and add exteriors to that, so that was more complicated than we were used to. And then, from a creative standpoint, we were trying to figure out how much we were actually going to deal with COVID-19. The idea of a season of characters in masks and being six feet apart didn’t really interest me. And it’s not even that didn’t interest me. I mean, it’s our life, right?

I wanted the fans of the show to be able to come back and laugh at what we used to deem real problems. And I think that’s what our goal was this season, to put it in the rear view mirror. Deal with it quickly and get out.

Dani, what were your thoughts on having the pandemic impact the Carlson’s and their move out to Cochrane?
Dani Kind: The impact was helpful as an actor because she’s going through so much with the move already, leaving her best friend and that main relationship in her life, leaving the circle of her job, leaving a house that she loves, and then going with Lionel to this new place, but also having the pandemic hit the moment they move in just squashed everything. I found it really helpful, and also I loved that we acknowledged it, that it was happening. We didn’t just gloss over it and pretend like it was fine. It was extremely helpful to play the anxiety of what she was already going through.

Catherine, friendship is a huge part of Workin’ Moms, and to see Kate and Anne distanced by so much is tough. How much of that friendship is going to be tested? Is that the main arc of the season, this fifth season?
CR: It’s certainly one of the arcs. I know what you mean. And watching it in post, it’s funny… I think it’s Quentin Tarantino who said that you write your rough draft and then post is the last draft of the script. What worked, what didn’t work. And what was really telling to me—and to all of us—was I think we were so excited about this Anne bottle, but you do miss her friends with her. You’re so hungry for them to be together again and for Anne to get that comfort and seeing them pulled away from each other was painful. And I think it’s all too real for a lot of people.

For me personally, my friendships have taken such a back seat to my job and to my family, and to my responsibilities. To see Kate and Anne separated—this love story that we’ve been rooting for—to see them pulled away is probably a little too real for a lot of people and I don’t think I even realized that until it aired. And so challenging that is, of course, one of the big obstacles of the season. And then we sort of turn it on its head mid-season in a way that I don’t think anyone’s going to see coming.

As funny as Workin’ Moms can be, it can be very, very serious. Dani, there is an incredible scene in the season premiere where Anne isn’t saying anything, she’s just overcome with emotion. How do you feel about this storyline that has been written for Anne?
DK: I think that’s one of the greatest gifts I get being on this show is that I can be and I can play her grounded and I can play the relationships more than the comedies. I don’t think that that’s mainly my strength in the show per se.

I think playing the real is and also lends itself to Anne. That’s who she is. She’s a straight shooter. But watching a straight shooter fall is where she lives. And every season that I get the scripts and I get to see those moments in all the different ways that have unraveled in the five seasons, that’s the most exciting part for me playing her.

How Anne copes with the move to Cochrane is interesting.
CR: One of our writers was from Cochrane, specifically, and there was a group of women. This writer doesn’t have children, but a lot of her sister’s friends were in what they called the Pretty Committee. We turned it into the Cutie Committee on our show. We sort of showed the Alicia version in the Toronto Mommy and Me group and going to Cochrane and seeing how that’s changed because there are different mom gangs anywhere you are, right? And in this particular mom gang, they had to adjust from the sort of big city, high-pressure career lifestyles to a much slower lifestyle. And the way they chose to deal with it is by sedating themselves.

I know a lot of women my age who are opioid addicts. They’re taking pills to sedate themselves to just let those hours go by a little more quickly. And it’s an international problem truly, but seeing a character like Anne, who is a psychiatrist and is sharp and really smart and really understands the nature of the human mind, to see her slowly accept that and fall into that slippery slope makes us as an audience terrified.

And so watching her not only say goodbye to her friendships and the world we know in Toronto, but also maybe turn off the lights a little bit. That was something that was really fun to explore.

Workin’ Moms airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.


Production begins on Season 5 of Workin’ Moms

From a media release:

Principal photography has begun on the fifth season of CBC’s bold and irreverent original comedy WORKIN’ MOMS (10×30), produced by Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment. The series is created by Catherine Reitman (Black-ish, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who serves as showrunner and executive producer and stars as Kate Foster. WORKIN’ MOMS looks at the polarizing and unexpected realities of the lives of a group of friends—all working moms—and their partners, as they’ve adjusted to life as parents. They might not be able to have it all, but they’re sure as hell going to try. Production will continue in and around Toronto through late November for a winter 2021 premiere on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service.

Season five of WORKIN’ MOMS continues to explore careers, motherhood and the delicate balance of having it all. Kate is inspired by a formidable new client, but could it cost her everything she’s worked for? Anne leaves Kate and her old life behind, as she, Lionel and the family move to Calgary. While Frankie easily steps into a leadership role at work, she struggles to find a connection with baby Solomon at home. Meanwhile, Jenny realizes her relationship with MCP could have more strings attached than she thought. The women embark on new chapters of their lives, while striving to maintain their friendships, careers, and parenting goals.

Returning cast include Dani Kind as Anne; Juno Rinaldi as Frankie; Jessalyn Wanlim as Jenny; Philip Sternberg as Nathan; Ryan Belleville as Lionel; Olunike Adeliyi as Giselle; Sarah McVie as Val; Katherine Barrell as Alicia; Sadie Munroe as Alice; Alex Mallari Jr. as MCP; Mimi Kuzyk as Eleanor; and Peter Keleghan as Richard, among other fan favourites. Joining the ensemble cast this season is Enuka Okuma (Impulse, Caught, Rookie Blue) as razor-sharp publishing executive Sloane Mitchell.

Earlier this month, Catherine Reitman was recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media with two Gracie Awards for WORKIN’ MOMS —one for Best Lead Actress, Comedy and one for Best Direction, Comedy. The Gracies® are named after media pioneer Gracie Allen, who embodied the character of the awards, and recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, and interactive media.

WORKIN’ MOMS is executive produced by Catherine Reitman, Philip Sternberg and Jonathan A. Walker. Directors for the season are Mars Horodyski (Murdoch Mysteries, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and Aleysa Young (New Eden, Baroness von Sketch Show). The series is written by Reitman, Jessie Gabe (Frankie Drake Mysteries, Mr. D) who is also co-executive producer this season, Karen Moore (Mary Kills People, Detention Adventure) who serves as supervising producer, Daniel Gold (Workin’ Moms) and Linsey Stewart (Mr. D, The Commute). Associate producers are Karyn Nolan (Workin’ Moms, The Stork Derby) and Lisa Benedetto (Workin’ Moms).  Series cinematography by Ben Lichty (TallBoyz), production design by Danielle Sahota (Workin’ Moms, TallBoyz) and costume design by Sheila Fitzpatrick (Workin’ Moms, The Padre). For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports; Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content; Michelle Daly is Senior Director, Comedy, Scripted Content; and Sandra Picheca is Executive in Charge of Production.

A CBC original series, WORKIN’ MOMS is produced by Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund. The series is distributed internationally by Coldsprings Media LLC and represented by Executive Producer Tina Horwitz and her company Vanguarde Artists Management. Nominated for multiple Canadian Screen Awards and two International Emmy® Awards, the series airs in Canada on CBC and CBC Gem, and streams worldwide as a Netflix Original.