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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Disasters at Sea, Finding the Secret Path and CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme win on Night 1 of 2020 Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations

Discovery’s Disasters at Sea, the Gord Downie documentary Finding the Secret Path and CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme were among the individuals and programs to win during Night 1 of 2020 Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations.

The Canadian Screen Awards, originally scheduled to air in March, moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first portion of the stripped-down celebration focused on Broadcast News, narrated by former news anchor Lloyd Robertson, followed by Sports Programming with Toronto Raptors P.A. announcer Herbie Kuhn, and wrapped with Documentary and Factual categories narrated by writer, director, producer and actor Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers.

Here are the winners in Monday’s key categories:

Best News or Information Series
The Fifth Estate, CBC

Best News Anchor, National
Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton, Andrew Chang and Ian Hanomansing, CBC News: The National

Best National Newscast
CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme

Best Sports Host
James Duthie, 2019 Free Agent Frenzy

Best Sports Program or Series
29 Forever

Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series
Finding the Secret Path

Best History Documentary Program or Series
The Accountant of Auschwitz

Best Factual Series
Disasters at Sea

Best Documentary Program
To the Worlds

Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary or Series
A Day in the Life of Earth

For the complete list of winners, visit the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television website.

Virtual Presentation Schedule:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Children’s & Youth Programming, Presented by Shaw Rocket Fund (Narrator: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan)

7:30 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Lifestyle and Reality (Narrator: Emma Hunter)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Crafts in Scripted Programs (Narrator: Evany Rosen & Kayla Lorette)

7:30 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Scripted Programs & Performance (Narrator: Eric McCormack)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

7 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Cinematic Arts (Narrator: Théodore Pellerin)

Watch the Virtual Presentations on  Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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Transplant’s Laurence Leboeuf: “Something is about to happen that I don’t think people are going to see coming”

Medical shows are a dime a dozen. As such, it takes a special kind of show in that genre to make me perk up, take notice and—most importantly—tune in every week.

Transplant is that special kind of show. Created by Joseph Kay, Transplant is a medical drama with a twist—a Syrian refugee and his sister come to Canada where he works in a Toronto hospital—filled with characters that are flawed, complex and, thankfully, memorable. There is a reason the show is No. 1 in this country and was recently picked up to air on NBC. Yes, it’s that damn good.

Actress Laurence Leboeuf is an integral part of Transplant‘s success. Leboeuf, who I saw last on Bell Media’s equally excellent cop drama 19-2, plays Mags Leblanc, a workaholic resident who—as the season has progressed—has become quite close with newbie Bash (Hamza Haq).

We spoke to Laurence Leboeuf ahead of Wednesday’s season finale, which promises to be a nailbiter if CTV’s synopsis is to be trusted: Bash and Mags race to save a woman with mysterious symptoms who was nearly killed by their team’s medical error, Dr. Bishop and Claire face a devastating realization, Theo tries to help a gravely ill teen and his family deal with the possibility that medical hope has run out, and June finds a mystery patient unconscious in the waiting room and goes to battle to save him.

Give me your origin story. How did you get involved? Did you have to audition for the character of Mags or because of your relationship with Sphere Media Plus; did they already have you in their stable of talent?
Laurence Leboeuf: Yeah, exactly. It was through that beautiful gang of people that I knew from 19-2 and then they, I guess read this role and they were like, ‘We think Laurence would be great for that.’ And I met with Joseph Kay, whom I didn’t know before, so I met him through FaceTime and talked about the character and the journey for Mags. That was it. I was part of the show. It was an amazing way to be cast.

She’s a fascinating character, she’s loyal and hard-working and she’s smart but she’s also seeking approval. She lives at work and she’s very complicated. She must be a fantastic and exciting character to play because there are so many levels to her. She isn’t a one-note character.
LL: Yeah, definitely. That’s such a great gift as an actor to have a great character like that to play and to play around with. And her complexity and her devotion to her work is just, that’s how she works. She’s giving it her all and she lives for that. And at the same time, she’s realizing that it might get the best of her. She doesn’t find that balance. And that’s really interesting to play and to play something that’s so far away from my life and my reality, like a doctor. It’s just amazing to dive into that world with her and her passion and devotion are just really nice to play with.

Are you the type of actor that likes to know the arc for a character, or are you happy with just reading the scripts as they come in?
LL: I don’t actually. It’s true that I like some backstory but it is nice to discover the character as we go along. And sometimes we even find different directions as we go along and we’re like, ‘Oh, this would be extremely interesting for this character…’ We’re not stuck in anything and I like that. I mean, there’s a base for everything but I like that openness and the fact that we can just play around with the character.

It’s alluded to that maybe there might be something between Mags and Bash that might not be just professional. Is that a logical progression for those characters?
LL: I think so, in a way. Since the arrival of Bash things have changed for Mags. The way that he works is so different from hers, that she was completely thrown off guard by his arrival. And I think she was really intrigued and admired his talent and could see that he had that raw medical talent and that same passion as hers to save their patients at all costs. They share that. She’s always been attracted and intrigued by this man that just got into the hospital. Yeah, I think there’s definitely some attraction there.

He’s so mysterious, too.
LL: Yeah, exactly. And I think, she likes that, too. I think it’s going to force her, maybe, to open up more or to go and reach out more because she’s also shut down all of that part of her life. The hospital is her boyfriend.

Let’s discuss the medical jargon. Was there a boot camp that you had to go to, to learn about processes? 
LL: Yeah, we did. On the weekends, we would get together with our onset doctor, Dr. Zachary Levine, and our nurse, Mike Richardson. We had these boot camps with them to coordinate the big scenes that we had to do. Like the double traumas that we had to do and how we were going to handle that. And that was amazing to have them around and to be able to help us with looking natural when we do our manipulation at the same time as we talk that crazy jargon and have to be believable. We had to pretend that we were so confident in what we were doing that it looked like we know what we’re doing. The boot camps were amazing for that.

That tracheotomy that you did in the elevator looked pretty convincing to me.
LL: Oh, my god.

I think you could do it.
LL: Yeah, right. Oh, my god. I’m wouldn’t want to try. I had a hard time doing it on a fake neck because I was so stressed out. Oh, yeah. But Mags did good, though.

Can you tease Transplant’s season finale? Is it going to be a cliffhanger? Is it going to be shocking?
LL: I think so. I think there’s going to be a bit of a mix of all that. Definitely, we’re going to be left with a cliffhanger and something is about to happen that I don’t think people are going to see coming. We’re going to have those surprises coming our way.

Transplant‘s season finale airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Comments and queries for the week of May 22

I wish CTV and Global would commit harder to Canadian programming, in particular prime-time dramas and comedies. I don’t really care all that much for sports, lifestyle, news programming. I try to stay informed, I’m not on top all the time on the stories, I do pay a little attention, but I’d rather be entertained.

Somewhere I’ve struck a balance and entertainment gets the preference maybe like 70 or 80 per cent (70/30 or 80/20). CTV has come a long way since I started paying more attention to their “original” programming way back in the 90s with Due South and look what we’ve had since: Corner Gas, Corner Gas Animated, Cold Squad, Motive, 19-2, Orphan Black, Cardinal …. and Transplant! (Admittedly, I watch a lot of murder mystery shows).

On Global, the pace of growth (in the direction I’d like to see them go) has been slow for sure, but they are getting there; since Traders we’ve had Blue Murder, Rookie Blue, Bomb Girls, Nurses, Private Eyes, and Remedy, (yeah, there was Falcon Beach, but I never really watched it; glad there was a soundtrack album release though as I’m a collector of Canadian soundtrack albums.)

Hell, I loved Citytv’s The Bletchley Circle: San Franscisco. But it’s not enough for me. I want more from these networks! I want more original, Canadian programming on these networks. Recently I’ve signed up for Crave in order to see the Robbie Robertson documentary, Once Were Brothers (I highly recommend) and what else am I watching on Crave? Re-runs of 19-2! The American shows don’t interest me at all. So, luckily, I have the CBC to watch more Canadian shows on than CTV or Global. Man, I wish CTV and Global would catch up to the CBC! —Stephen

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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Baroness Von Sketch Show c-creators announce show’s fifth and final season

From a media release:

BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW co-creators Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen, today announced that their acclaimed CBC original sketch comedy series will return for its fifth and final season in Fall 2020. The series finale season (8×30) was filmed in Toronto last fall.

The Baronesses shared the following statement regarding their decision:

After five fantastic years, we have decided that Season 5 of Baroness von Sketch Show will be our last. We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to share our deepest embarrassments, existential angst and daily observations with you, our fans. 

We hope you’ll enjoy Season 5 of Baroness von Sketch Show. 

Love, 

Carolyn, Meredith, Aurora and Jennifer.

BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW is currently nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards including Best Sketch Comedy Show & Ensemble Performance, Best Direction and Best Writing. Winners for these categories will be announced virtually on Wednesday, May 27 beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The virtual presentation will be live-streamed on the Canadian Academy Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels, as well as at academy.ca.

Canadians looking to revisit Seasons 1-4 of BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW before the premiere of the fifth and final season this fall can watch on the free CBC Gem streaming service.

Fast paced and irreverent, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW celebrates the absurd, mines the embarrassing and satirizes our daily lives. Shot entirely on location, this single-camera comedy series takes a fresh look at our navel-gazing, contemporary culture. From marriage equality to screen addiction, Airbnbs to ultrasounds, this satirical sketch show captures the banalities and absurdities of modern life.

A CBC original series, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW is developed and produced by Frantic Films. Drawing on 16 years of comedy experience and multiple collaborations, the award-winning, talented team of Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen are the writers, stars and executive producers. For Frantic Films, Jamie Brown is CEO & Executive Producer. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager of Entertainment, Factual and Sports; Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content; Michelle Daly is Senior Director, Comedy, Scripted Content; Greig Dymond and Karen Tsang are the Executives in Charge of Production.

The series is also broadcast on IFC in the U.S.

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Link: David Hayman dies: Music supervisor for film, TV and ads, VP Guild of Music Supervisors Of Canada Was 42

From Bruce Haring of Deadline:

Link: David Hayman dies: Music supervisor for film, TV and ads, VP Guild of Music Supervisors Of Canada Was 42

David Hayman, a Canadian music supervisor with extensive film and television credits, has died at age 42. His death was confirmed by his company, but no cause was immediately available. Continue reading.

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