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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Canadian screenwriters and independent producers reach terms on new Independent Production Agreement

From a media release:

Today, the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) and the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) jointly announced the successful conclusion of negotiations, resulting in an agreement in principle on the terms for a new Independent Production Agreement. The CMPA-WGC Independent Production Agreement establishes the terms, conditions, and rates for writers, story editors, and story consultants.

“We are pleased to have reached a fair agreement with the CMPA that will protect the livelihoods of our screenwriter members and maintain stability in the Canadian film and television industry,” said Victoria Shen, WGC Executive Director. “We feel the new agreement includes important protections for Canadian screenwriters and balances the concerns of our producer partners.”

“We are proud to have come to terms on an agreement that truly values the important alliance that exists between Canadian screenwriters and independent producers,” said Sean Porter, the CMPA’s Vice-President of National Industrial Relations and Counsel. “I want to thank the individuals on both sides of the bargaining table for their commitment to finding solutions that serve to benefit the future of our sector and Canadian storytelling on screen.”

The terms for the new three-year Independent Production Agreement will be sent to the CMPA’s Board of Directors, and distributed by the WGC, for ratification. The current agreement expired on December 31, 2023.


Chef Shawn Adler cooks up tasty and traditional treats on APTN’s Pow Wow Chow

I’m fascinated with the behind-the-scenes of creating food. Whether it was The Heat with Mark McEwan back in 2006 or Carnival Eats with Noah Cappe, it’s interesting to find out how food is prepared, quickly and on-location, for people.

That fascination continues with Pow Wow Chow. The documentary series, debuting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on APTN, hits the road to follow two Indigenous chefs preparing food for crowds at Pow Wows across the country.

Featuring Indigenous chefs Shawn Adler of the Pow Wow Café and Flying Chestnut Kitchen, and Bob Chilblow of Chiblow Fish, their partners, family, and road crews, each instalment of Pow Wow Chow digs into the dishes being created, as well as spotlighting the Pow Wows themselves.

“Going behind the scenes is interesting,” Adler says during a recent phone call. “People don’t have that perspective without a TV show, and it definitely makes for some interesting watching.”

Adler and his partner are a sight, driving a small yellow school bus from location to location, unloading it, prepping, cooking, selling, cleaning up, packing up and doing it all over again. It can be a logistical nightmare, but one Adler has nailed down with experience.

Produced by InterINDigital and Sandbay, Pow Wow Chow is educational as well. Viewers learn about the Pow Wow Trail, which stretches from B.C. to Nova Scotia, celebrating Indigenous culture as multiple generations come together to enjoy food, honour traditions, forge a sense of community and practice spiritual healing.

“APTN is aired all across Canada,” Adlet says. “I don’t think a lot of non-Indigenous folks have ever been to a Pow Wow, maybe they have heard the term before, and don’t really understand what happens. Beyond the food vending, there is the drumming, the dancing, the singing, all of the craft vendors and it’s a family-oriented cultural practice.”

“I hope that people tune in and garner a little more of an understanding of life on the Pow Wow Trail.”

Pow Wow Chow airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on APTN.

Image courtesy of Sandbay Entertainment.


CTV announces 16 episode order of original comedy Children Ruin Everything

From a media release:

CTV announced today a 16-episode order of Canadian Screen Award-nominated comedy CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING from New Metric Media. With production beginning today in Toronto and Hamilton, Ont., Meaghan Rath (BEING HUMAN) and Aaron Abrams (BLINDSPOT) return for 16 half-hour episodes, alongside Logan Nicholson, Mikayla SwamiNathan, Canadian Screen Award-winner Ennis Esmer, Nazneen Contractor, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Veena Sood and Lisa Codrington. Part 1 of Season 4 set to air during CTVs 2024/2025 schedule. CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING is created by Emmy® Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (SCHITT’S CREEK).

A comedic love letter to childrearing, CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING follows parents Astrid (Rath) and James (Abrams), as they raise their three young children and struggle to hold on to their pre-kid life, while discovering all of the little ways that raising kids has reshaped their world. Each episode explores how the demands, needs and whims of the little weirdos they love so dearly shape and change their lives.

The fun and fumbles of raising kids continues for Astrid (Rath), who now faces the pressure of being the sole bread winner, and James (Abrams), who struggles with his new role of stay-at-home dad. Parenting is more challenging and funnier than ever with tween Felix (Nicholson) asserting more independence and attitude, seven-year-old Viv (SwamiNathan) dealing with friend drama at school, and Morris, a toddler who steals. Meanwhile, Astrid’s sister Dawn (Contractor) and her husband Bo (Chepovetsky) fuss over their surrogate’s pregnancy, Bo’s business find new success under Marla’s (Codrington) watchful eye, and James’s best pal Ennis (Esmer) finally commits to a relationship. The complications of work and child-rearing may pull Astrid and James in different directions but they always end up on the same page – even if that page is dog-eared and stained with jam.

The sophomore season of CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING garnered seven nominations for the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards, including back-to-back Lead Performer, Comedy for Meaghan Rath and Best Supporting Performer, Comedy for Ennis Esmer – who won the award in 2023. The series also leads the nominees for the 28th Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) Screenwriting Awards this month.

The first three seasons of CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING are currently available for streaming on and the CTV app with no subscription or sign-in required, and Crave. In the U.S., CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING airs on The CW. The first two seasons are also available on Netflix in Canada, the U.K., and German-speaking territories, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.

CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING is from award-winning comedy entertainment studio New Metric Media and is created and executive produced by Smeaton and executive produced by Chuck Tatham (MODERN FAMILY, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT), multiple Canadian Screen Award-winner Mark Montefiore (LETTERKENNY, SHORESY, BRIA MACK GETS A LIFE, WHAT WOULD SAL DO?), and Meaghan Rath, with Alyson Richards (The Retreat) serving as Producer.


Brandon Gonez checks in for Season 2 of CBC’s Canada’s Ultimate Challenge

There is a lot of reality competition series vying for eyeballs, and one of the most interesting is kicking off its second season on Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Canada’s Ultimate Challenge—produced by the same folks behind The Amazing Race Canada—is equal parts The Amazing Race, Survivor, and in some cases, Wipeout, making for an entertaining watch. And, serving as host is Brandon Gonez.

Gonez, who joins the series for Season 2, is well-known to audiences. Aside from founding his own online news and entertainment company, Gonez Media, he was a reporter and anchor at CP24 and Your Morning. What made him join the ranks of Jon Montgomery, Arisa Cox and Sharleen Joynt?

“I’ve had the opportunity to travel across many parts of this country as a local reporter, but now I get to showcase them,” he says. “I was like, ‘Let’s do it!” And the opportunity to host allows Gonez to show a side of him folks may not have seen when he was a reporter.

“I like to laugh, I like to giggle, and I like to get real,” he says with a laugh. “You get to feel all of those highs and lows with this gig. My job is to be the audience, to ask that question, to get to the bottom of a fight that may be unfolding.”

Each episode of Canada’s Ultimate Challenge features four strangers thrust together into a team and facing off against other teams in a country-wide obstacle course. The challenges are, of course, designed to award winners and losers, but they also demand teamwork. And, that can be tough when you have a bunch of alphas yelling rote catchphrases into the camera and at each other.

A prime example is Sunday’s return, set in St. John’s. After Gonez introduces the team members to each other they have to work together to hoist one competitor down a rope anchored at the iconic Signal Hill, to a location down the hill. Once there, they look through binoculars at nautical flags being flown on a boat, memorize them and the order they are in, get hoisted back to the top of the hill and recreate the flags in order from dozens of combinations. All bragging and posturing drops, replaced by sweat, hard work and confusion.

Each leg features one team eliminated from the competition, with the winning competitors receiving a VIP trip to cheer on Team Canada at the Olympic Games in Paris.

Future locations this season include Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Ottawa, Hamilton, Canmore, Revelstoke and Vancouver Island, offering larger-than-life settings and drama for viewers and competitors.

“When you have a show called Canada’s Ultimate Challenge, you have to go big or go home,” Gonez says. “Each part of the country that we visit, you’re going to feel that on-screen. Our landscapes, cities and towns are so different depending on which region you’re in. This country is full of ups and downs, from mountains to fields, and you’re going to see that, and feel that range of emotions as well.”

Canada’s Ultimate Challenge airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.


Writers vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike authorization

From a media release:

Today the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) announced that its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of authorizing strike action if there is no resolution in its negotiations with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA). An unprecedented 96.5 per cent voted in favour of a strike mandate during a week-long voting period, which also marked the highest voter turnout in Guild history at 70.2 per cent of eligible voters.

“This strike authorization vote, a first in the Guild’s 33-year history, represents a pivotal moment for Canadian screenwriters,” said WGC Executive Director Victoria Shen. “It underscores our members’ commitment to securing fair compensation and meaningful AI protections in an ever-evolving industry.

“While a strong strike mandate does not necessarily mean we will strike, it tells the producers we are ready to defend ourselves if necessary. We remain committed to negotiating a fair agreement for our members.”

The strike authorization vote came after nearly six months of negotiations aimed at renewing the Independent Production Agreement (IPA) between the WGC and the CMPA. WGC members have been working without a new contract since December 31, 2023.

The WGC has been fighting for an agreement that will protect the livelihoods of its members and preserve a future for screenwriters in Canada. To date, the parties have not been able to negotiate meaningful protections for both live action and animation writers against AI, reasonable compensation for animation writers, or secure minimum participation of screenwriters during production of television series.

“Our members understand what’s at stake in these negotiations, and I am proud of the strength of their support in this vote,” said Alex Levine, President of the WGC. “We cannot let producers devalue us and our work. We are standing strong and together to secure a future for Canadian screenwriters.”

The WGC remains committed to reaching a fair agreement with producers and keeping the industry working. Currently, the Guild is confirming dates when all parties can get back to addressing the outstanding issues.