TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 3
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Roger Petersen leaves Breakfast Television Toronto

After replacing the departed Kevin Frankish on Citytv’s Breakfast Television in Toronto, Roger Petersen has departed too.

Toronto Mike broke the news late on Monday afternoon, stating the veteran broadcaster was fired from the long-running morning program.

Petersen made it official via his Twitter account on Tuesday.

“I’m no longer with Breakfast Television,” he began. “It was wonderful, it was an incredible time. Wonderful people to work with, a wonderful crew who put that show together. When you look at all the work they do, it’s all behind the scenes and they don’t get enough credit for it.

“Thank you, the two years that I had with you guys was amazing,” he continued. “Dina, it was wonderful sitting on that couch with you. We had some magnificent laughs, beautiful laughs, genuine laughs.” Petersen rhymed off memorable interviews, including with Prime Minister Trudeau, Danny DeVito, Steve Earle and the people in Toronto “that make this city go.”

“I want to say a big thank you to all of you, the viewers, for joining us over the last two years,” he said. “It has been incredible … I will miss you all.”

In addition to Kevin Frankish, Breakfast Television has said goodbye to Winston Sih, Adam Wylde and Jennifer Valentine.

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Production underway on Thunderbird’s Mud Mountain, a second spin-off from the hit Highway Thru Hell franchise

From a media release:

Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TSXV: TBRD) (OTC: THBRF) (Thunderbird or the Company) announced today that production is currently underway on  the new original factual series, a second spin-off of the global hit Highway Thru Hell franchise. Bell Media’s Discovery has ordered eight one-hour episodes of Mud Mountain (working title).

Mud Mountain (wt) is set in the high mountains of British Columbia, just down the road from the Highway Thru Hell, where giant logs and bigger pay days beckon men to take huge risks. And no one is willing to go deeper in the mud than the Lebeau brothers, Craig and Brent, who are third generation family loggers, with very different styles, and separate operations. Now, wicked weather, and an even more frigid economy, has forced the brothers to bury the hatchet, and work together to survive road building, logging and brotherhood on the steepest, muddiest mountains anywhere.

Thunderbird has implemented strict health and safety cultures on all of its shows, which has enabled the Company to remain fully operational throughout COVID-19. These protocols and measures were key to the safe development and production of the new Mud Mountain series.

Mud Mountain will be distributed around the world by Bell Media.

The series is produced by Great Pacific Media, Thunderbird’s factual division, and Bell Media Studios. Executive Producer is Mark Miller. The Series Producer is Jeff Kinnon.

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Global Original Big Brother Canada greenlit for Season 9; host Arisa Cox named executive producer

From a media release:

Global, a Corus Entertainment network, and Insight Productions announced today the greenlight for Season 9 of Big Brother Canada, and the promotion of series Host Arisa Cox to Executive Producer. Commissioned by Corus Entertainment for Global, Big Brother Canada is produced by Insight Productions and helmed by Showrunner and EP Erin Brock.

“We have reached a turning point in history and as the fight against racism and issues facing Black, Indigenous and people of colour around the world have been pulled into the spotlight, Big Brother Canada is seizing this moment to become a leader in the reality TV world,” said Arisa Cox, Host and Executive Producer, Big Brother Canada. “Our top priority is bold, lasting change by embracing the rich diversity of Canada in front of and behind the camera. Both are vital. And as one of the biggest and best reality TV shows in the country, we have both the ability and the responsibility to do just that. I’m thrilled to join Erin and the producing team, and work together to ensure Big Brother Canada meets this moment.”

As an Executive Producer, Arisa now plays a critical role in all storytelling aspects of Big Brother Canada.  In partnership with Erin and the EPs, Arisa’s responsibilities now include key creative input on the show’s real-time storylines, casting and outreach, and increasing BIPOC representation across the board, among others. Global and Insight Productions are working together to implement anti-racism policies and procedures that foster a creative environment where equity, inclusion, and diversity can flourish on and off camera.

“Arisa Cox has been an integral part of Big Brother Canada, always armed with an arsenal of bold and bright ideas, thoughtful insights, and a deep passion for the show,” said Erin Brock Showrunner and Executive Producer, Big Brother Canada/Insight Productions. “We’re passionately committed to leading thought-provoking conversations, telling uniquely Canadian stories, and reflecting the diverse culture of Canada. Arisa has always demonstrated a fierce commitment to these ideals and I’m excited to elevate our partnership and to continue to make trailblazing content.”

Set to debut on Global in spring 2021, Big Brother Canada is one of the most internationally revered iterations of the Endemol Shine format. Pre-production for Season 9 includes a thorough review of current production practices and the development of new ones, anti-racism personnel policies, racial-equity training, and more. Additional announcements regarding Season 9, including casting opportunities, will be made at a later date.

Commissioned by Corus Entertainment, Season 9 of Big Brother Canada is produced by Insight Productions Ltd. in association with Corus Entertainment and Endemol Shine. Executive Producers are John Brunton, Erin Brock, Eric Abboud, Trevor Boris, and Arisa Cox.

Corus Entertainment’s Original Content team driving its slate of unscripted series is helmed by industry executive Lisa Godfrey as VP Original Content and supported by long-time TV veterans Krista Look (Director of Lifestyle) and Lynne Carter (Production Executive).

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Mental health remains top of mind in Season 2 of Ghost BFF

When we last saw Ghost BFF‘s Amy (Vanessa Matsui), things weren’t going well. She and Mitchell (Dan Beirne) had broken up, and she’d been haunted—literally—by Tara (Kaniehtiio Horn), Amy’s best friend who had committed suicide.

Season 2 is a struggle too.

Available on Shaftesbury’s KindaTV now, Ghost BFF reunites the two best friends—one living, one dead—for more hijinks. Created and written by Matsui, she admits to being caught off-guard by a second season renewal.

“Never did I think a second season was going to happen,” she says with a laugh. “I had to write it really fast, much faster than I did with the first season. I learned that’s a real rookie move. You should have multiple seasons in mind in case that green light keeps going.” Like the debut season, Ghost BFF digs more deeply into Amy’s struggles as she addresses unemployment, single life, unexpected challenges, and the continued grief of missing her friend.

Often, a web series doesn’t allow for a ton of character growth outside of the main player. Not so with Ghost BFF. Horn’s Tara evolves, in search of closure with her mother (Angela Asher), to help Amy heal and to gain a better understanding of her own narrative of what happened the day she died.

“I have a hard time not finding layers in the characters that I portray,” Horn says. “It’s not fun to play someone who is one-note. This is a comedy about suicide and I didn’t want the humour to come at the expense of such an intense, serious subject.” Eight PSAs accompany the new episodes, offering advice on mindfulness, depression, anxiety, boundaries and self-care. With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc with our lives—and many Canadians staying indoors—mental health continues to be important and talking about it even more so.

“In Season 1, Amy would use band-aid solutions to deal with her mental health,” Matsui says. “In Season 2, she isn’t wearing band-aids. She is being forced to deal with her real self, which is I think what a lot of people have had to do in this very isolating time.”

“Normalizing talking about mental health is really important,” Horn says. “I used to joke about having a glass of wine in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. But that was my coping mechanism. I was very lost for a long time. But the pandemic has forced me to face myself. And, with things like Ghost BFF, I’ve started to talk about my mental health.”

Season 2 of Ghost BFF is available on KindaTV now.

Images courtesy of Shaftesbury.

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Preview: Smithsonian’s Hell Below heads for new waters in Season 3

Hell Below is heading to new heights in Season 3.

The documentary series from Parallax Film Productions Inc.—the crew behind Hitler’s Last Stand, Battle Castle and two previous seasons of Hell Below—has added CGI aircraft to its toolbox. The Vancouver company’s storytelling sets it apart from other projects in this genre with its grittily realistic filming, achieved through as much in-camera filming as possible, including explosions.

The purpose of Hell Below continues to be tracking submarine warfare throughout the course of the Second World War, and Parallax always hit the mark.

Returning Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Smithsonian Channel Canada, “Killer Strike” spotlights U-47 and its commander, Günther Prien, who is credited with the first official U-Boat kill of the Second World War when he sinks the SS Bosnia. Prien is recalled from patrol early and offered a secret mission to strike the British Royal Navy at its home port of Scapa Flow, in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. Used as far back as the Vikings, Scapa Flow has served as the Royal Navy’s base of operations since the First World War. Fighting heavy currents and dodging blockships, Prien breaks into Scapa Flow, but there is no guarantee he will make it out again.

Expert analysis, re-enactments, stock footage and always-impressive CGI help tell these tales.

Future episodes cover the true stories of German U-Boat Commander Fritz Julius Lemp and the sinking of the SS Athenia, attacks on Allied shipping off the coast of Australia, and the rescue of George H. W. Bush by a submarine after he was shot down.

Hell Below airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on Smithsonian Channel.

Image courtesy of Parallax Film Productions Inc.

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