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

CBC/Radio Canada doubles down on kids programming

From a media release:

At the annual international Kidscreen Summit, CBC/Radio-Canada President and CEO Catherine Tait today announced the public broadcaster’s expanded commitment to serve a wider range of young audiences in Canada, including acquired content and new original French and English-language programming from Canadian creators for CBC Kids and Radio-Canada Jeunesse. The public broadcaster’s goal is to double the amount of content for young audiences on the CBC Gem streaming service over the next year to match the amount of content already available on ICI TOU.TV.

As a leader in serving young children, with one of Canada’s most-watched English-language preschool services on weekday and weekend mornings, CBC Kids is now looking to reach school-aged and tween audiences with new programming. With a focus on live-action scripted series for the 6-12 and tween demographics, new original programming includes tween action-adventure series DETENTION ADVENTURE (10×11, LoCo Motion Pictures and Broken Compass Films). This is CBC’s first original kids scripted series for CBC Gem and will premiere this spring. Following the recent launch of CBC Kids News, CBC is also building on its commitment to serve young Canadians with trustworthy content with the greenlight of LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX (35×5, Echo Media), the English-language version of On parle de sexe, which will provide tweens with age-appropriate information on healthy sexuality. It will premiere as the first original factual series for kids on CBC Gem in 2020. CBC Kids is nominated for 10 Kidscreen Awards this year.

These new series are part of CBC’s goal to double the amount of kids’ digital content available on CBC Gem over the next year. This commitment includes acquired content from Canadian and international distributors, with the streaming service currently offering more than 200 hours of advertising-free programming for young Canadians.

Already a leader in children’s programming in the French market, having doubled its offer on ICI TOU.TV et ICI TOU.TV EXTRA this past year, Radio-Canada Jeunesse will increase its short-form content offer for the tween and teenage groups and strengthen its 360-degree platform approach for successful brands. New original programming launching this year includes two fiction series for the 13-17 age group: NOMADES (10×10, Trio Orange) and AVEC MOI (10×10, Attraction Images). Also set to launch this year is a new magazine style production called 14 MILLE MILLIONS DE CHOSES À SAVOIR (35×15’, KOTV), introducing young audiences to some incredible star power, such as Pierre-Luc Funk, Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais, Gabrielle Fontaine and Anna Beaupré Malounda.

CBC/Radio-Canada will also continue to explore national and international partnerships to tell Canadian stories on a more significant scale and share them with audiences around the world. Examples of some new partnerships include tween sci-fi action adventure ENDLINGS (12×30; Sinking Ship Entertainment for CBC/Radio-Canada, Hulu, NDR, CBBC, ABC Australia, Universal Kids US, NRK, SVT) and MOLLY OF DENALI (38×30; Atomic Cartoons for CBC Kids, WGBH, PBS), an animated series for young children that tells the story of a 10-year-old Indigenous girl and shines a spotlight on Indigenous storytelling and perspectives.

Continuing to build on its amazing success across all of our platforms, L’AGENT JEAN (40×90’’, Happy Camper Media) is back with new episodes in French and English, in partnership with TFO and CBC Kids. Also launching in the fall, is a new live action fiction series for the 4 to 7 age group, in addition to another upcoming live action fiction series for the same age group.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s expanded programming for kids is part of our commitment to provide Canadian parents with a trustworthy digital platform where they can find safe, high-quality, educational and entertaining content for their children.

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Murdoch Mysteries: Maureen Jennings talks “One Minute to Murder”

Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading until you have watched the most recent episode of Murdoch Mysteries, “One Minute to Murder.”

It’s always fun to catch up with Maureen Jennings. As most of you know, without her there would be no Murdoch Mysteries. I spoke to the author, who created Detective William Murdoch, to discuss the episode she wrote, “One Minute to Murder,” and what didn’t make it into the episode.

Wow, 12 seasons. Are you surprised that Murdoch Mysteries has gone on this long?
Maureen Jennings: Totally surprised. At the beginning, we were literally saying, ‘Maybe we’ll get two seasons out of this,’ and then three, and then four, and then … Yeah. It’s wonderful. It is one of those things where you go, ‘Wow!’

We talked a little bit about this last year, and how the storylines come about. You had told me then that you usually pitch three or four episode ideas and then they select one. Is that how it worked for tonight’s episode, “One Minute to Murder”?
MJ: Actually, no. That’s the typical way, but I was very pressed for time this year. I felt a bit guilty about this. I went in with literally an idea, as opposed to a developed story of any kind. This was the typewriting competition, which I had come across, and I used in another book, actually. I’d come across this at some point with a fantastic photograph of these very, very dressed up folks watching a typewriting competition.

They were very, very popular. I guess the competitive nature of them. Big purses and I don’t know. It’s a bit hard to imagine, somebody going in with a keyboard on his computer and everyone spending whatever amount of money. Hundreds of people coming in watching you do your keyboard. I thought it was very funny.

Anyway, I literally went in with just that idea. Not even what happens, except that it’s around the competition. The writing room was great. They just took that and developed a story. We kind of have to have a crime in there. I didn’t. All I had was a typewriting competition. That’s how that evolved this time.

It’s interesting you say, it’s a little bit shocking imagining a room full of well-dressed people watching a typewriting competition. The thing is there are people that sit and watch people playing video games all the time. We may be and 2019, but people will still watch other people doing things.
MJ: Right. That’s a good way to put it. I would have been impressed, I’m sure, but the speed, the unusual speed of these competitors. I guess the same if you don’t play video games, and you’re seeing these kids doing these brilliant things. You go, ‘Wow! That’s really good.’ I found another picture afterwards that was taken at the CNE, and the same thing. A whole bunch of people crowded around watching this guy typing. So there you go.

You pitched this little nugget of a story idea to the writer’s room. When you say that they developed it, how involved were you in the writing of this episode, besides coming up with this competition?
MJ: Well the typical process is they broke the story. They had all the beats, which is another word they use. I went in and they presented me with that, and there was another story that was already developing about Murdoch and Julia writing a book. There’s been I think at least three episodes where that’s been going on. That was in the episode as well. So they present me with that, and then I went home, and wrote it up, and added my scintillating dialogue. Then it goes back, and people do this and that and the other. I had a little less involvement than typical developing the plot, I must say. And as I said, I felt a bit guilty about that, but it was a fun idea to them, so I think they were OK.

Louise Cherry is an interesting character. A lot of people don’t like her, because of the things that she said about William and Julia in the past. The way that she treats the police. How do you feel about her, and what was it like writing for her?
MJ: Well, good question. How it was initially presented to me was we want to do a story around journalistic ethics, which I was dead keen to do. I like stories about ethics. I did a bit of exploration with that. I called the Ryerson Journalism department. Now, unfortunately, because of the actual time constraints, it’s not a lot of time in the episode, as you know, to develop much of the story. All of that ethical stuff, which I was very interested in, kind of got cut actually, but we had three ‘suspects’ who, for me were each representing an aspect, and ethical aspect of things, which is so current today. But we couldn’t really develop that. I wanted to make Louise Cherry a little more vulnerable. But that got shot down. I wanted her to be a bit softer, and they wanted her to be a bit tougher.

There was that little bit there. She let the wall down a little bit with George. 
MJ: As a character, I think she’s nicely multifaceted, actually, but I certainly, personally always like it when we get a bit of the softer side of her and other people. Anybody, whoever it is. I think we’ve done with a lot of the characters, actually.

When we were discussing the story, the very original draft, [William and Julia] go into an empty room. I said, ‘Actually it’s much more humiliating to have three people than to have no people because I’ve done it.’ When I started out, there were literally two people … I did it at Chapters. My very, very first talk was at Chapters. Two people, the manager, my friend, and my husband. If there’s nobody there, then there’s nobody to witness that you’re going, ‘Oh no.’

Peter Mitchell posted on Facebook the other day, and he wanted to know everybody’s Top 5 favourite episodes. Do you have a couple of favourites or five favourites?
MJ: I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feeling who’s not on my list, as it were, but I particularly have liked ‘The Accident.’ That’s been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Way back, I really liked ‘Dead End Street.’ I thought that was very good. I must say I liked ‘Shipwreck,’ which was from my book. I thought that was a good episode, regardless. I liked the most recent episode, too, that Simon did. I thought that was really good.

‘Sins of the Father.’
MJ: Yes. Yes. Again, my whole orientation is definitely to emotion and relationships and the past and everything. I thought that came off really well. Over the years there are things that have been quite outstanding. I look back on them and go, ‘Wow!’ It’s still amazing.

What have you got coming up, Maureen? I’ll, of course, point folks to your website.
MJ: Oh, thanks, Greg. Let me see. I’ve finished a book and it will be released in March. March 23rd. It’s called Heat Wave: A Paradise Café Mystery. This came about because I read that in 1936—it’s set in 1936—there was a heatwave in Toronto, and Canada, that has never been equalled before or since. You know we’ve had some sweltering summers. But this was just beyond, beyond. I really was grabbed by that. I thought, ‘OK.’ I wrote a short story about it for Taddle Creek magazine. Then I said, ‘Hey, I like this. I’m going to develop into a book.’ So, that’s the most recent one, and with a female PI.

I like creating a world that seems real, so in ’36, Murdoch’s son, who isn’t in the TV show but is in my book, is now 40. He comes into the book as and then Murdoch has retired, not to keep bees, but more or less. He’s retired to Nova Scotia. The book before this one is 1917, where I’m completely immersed at the moment, Canada in World War I, Murdoch is 56, and he’s the centre of the story. Then in this most recent book. He’s not. It’s his son. That’s fun.

A long time ago—I don’t know if I ever said this to you—but I often quote this. Peter Robinson said being a writer was a bit like playing with dolls when you’re a kid. That you make things up and they start to have their own personalities, their own characters, and you don’t want them to go away. I sort of think, ‘OK don’t leave me yet, I’ve still got more to say.’

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC and on CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Roger Cross plays “a complicated man” on CBC’s Coroner

From Sabrina Furminger of YVR Screen Scene:

Link: Roger Cross plays “a complicated man” on CBC’s Coroner
“I think what’s great about the Jenny Cooper character is this is what Mac used to be when he came in: so gung-ho and do everything right, trying to save the world and solve the crime and get that bad guy no matter what. He learned later in life that it’s not so black and white, and he’s gotten comfortable in the grey area, and maybe he’s gotten too comfortable in the grey area.” Continue reading.

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