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

Comments and queries for the week of June 7

Canadian TV, especially the shows produced and distributed by non-network owned companies, live and die off their ability to be sold internationally. The East Coast accent [on Hudson & Rex] is probably seen as too alienating to foreign viewers. Since Hudson & Rex has been a hit here, hopefully, that’ll encourage them to be a bit more open about where the show is set in the future. —Jonathan

I disagree completely. People actually like shows that stand out culturally and visually yet, for some reason, certain Canadian shows try to make their shows too generic which IMO makes them inferior. I’ve long had a problem with shows trying to disguise their settings to try to appear as American. Currently that’s my biggest peeve with Northern Rescue. I’ve noticed they’ve tried to be subtle about the setting to pass themselves off as American. Little things like Scout going home to Boston. Would he have actually had his passport with him and would border services let a 15-year-old by himself that easily through? Not once have the characters said they were in Canada. It pisses me off, especially from a CBC show. —Alicia

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

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Canadian TV icon Mike Holmes joins CTV, announces new series Holmes Family Rescue

From a media release:

CTV announced live today from the #CTVUpfront in Toronto that Canadian TV icon Mike Holmes and his family are coming to Bell Media. The new partnership is anchored by the development and production of the all-new original television series HOLMES FAMILY RESCUE, featuring Holmes teaming up with his children Mike Jr. and Sherry in their biggest show yet, a Summer 2020 tent-pole series for CTV.

Something never seen before from Mike Holmes, the CTV Original Series HOLMES FAMILY RESCUE is an all-new lifestyle program featuring the fan-favourite TV host and professional contractor taking on the biggest and most challenging journey of his career. Helping homeowners MAKE IT RIGHT® in epic fashion are Mike’s kids – Mike Jr. and Sherry – who join their father to change lives and turn this inspirational new series into a family affair. Over the course of the season, the Holmes family works tirelessly to drastically improve and transform the lives of homeowners with their trademark relatable, hilarious, and heartfelt family dynamic.

Also announced as part of this extensive new partnership and solidifying the Holmes family as CTV Life Channel’s foremost personalities is a second series, HOLMES 911, premiering this fall on CTV Life Channel. From Make It Right Productions, the show features Mike Holmes going back to where he started: helping homeowners. But this time, he’s being helped by his kids, contractors Mike Jr. and Sherry, who share Mike’s passion for helping people who have been the victims of unscrupulous contractors and bad DIYers. Over 12 episodes, Mike, Mike Jr., and Sherry fix five houses, and viewers see these “houses” become “homes” again.

CTV Life Channel will also feature a vast library of previous programming from the family’s Make It Right production company, including the 2018 series HOLMES: NEXT GENERATION, which will be available to Canadian viewers for the very first time.

HOLMES FAMILY RESCUE is currently available for customized brand partnership opportunities.

About Mike Holmes
With more than 10 record-breaking, top-rated, and award-wining series and specials under his belt, Mike Holmes’ no-nonsense approach and MAKE IT RIGHT® attitude has struck a chord with television audiences and industry leaders worldwide. He has changed the way people think about their homes and the building industry for good.  Mike has joined forces with the next generation of Holmes’ – his son Mike Jr. and daughter Sherry Holmes, both contractors who grew up playing, watching, and working with their dad.

About HOLMES FAMILY RESCUE
A CTV Original Production, HOLMES FAMILY RESCUE is produced by Make It Right Productions in association with CTV. Mike Holmes is Executive Producer. Paul McConvey is Producer.

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Jennifer Podemski tells stories of Indigenous communities in APTN’s Future History

I can’t get enough of history, especially when it comes to Canada. What I dismissed as boring when I was in high school has become a fascination. And, thanks to APTN, I’ve learned a lot about Indigenous peoples and their stories.

A plethora of tales is told in Season 2 of Jennifer Podemski’s excellent Future History. Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, the program has really hit its stride in the sophomore go-round as producer-director Podemski follows Indigenous activist and artist Sarain Fox and archaeologist Kris Nahrgang through 13 half-hour episodes. For Nahrgang, this journey is deeply personal. He was raised not knowing anything about his First Nations roots and continues to gain knowledge this year. In the show’s May 14 debut, viewers learned how Nahrgang’s grandmother covered her skin with makeup to look white and joined what Nahrgang’s mother called “white clubs.”

“It’s not a story you often hear,” Podemski says. “Especially in this journey of reclamation, I think that many Canadians who see themselves as white, or non-Native, might never have considered they too might be a Kris.” The idea for Future History came about because of a meeting Podemski had with a production company working with Nahrgang on a possible archaeology project. The actress, writer, producer and director was intrigued at the idea of something historical, but with a future slant. Adding a younger co-host, Podemski reasoned, would polarize not just Nahrgang’s distance from his culture but his age and on-camera experience.

“That also helps people really understand that he is on a very uncomfortable journey,” she says. The uncomfortable feeling really comes through, especially when Nahrgang gamely agrees to attend an Ojibway immersion camp where no English is spoken for days. Fox and Nahrgang visit different areas of the country in their journeys, visiting Southern Ontario locales like Orillia, Peterborough, Kitchener and Manitoulin Island. Their segments are broken up by the Talking Stick, where Indigenous members of the community look straight into the camera to vent frustrations, give advice or voice concerns.

“We were only looking for a minute, but it started a lot of great conversations and I really wanted it to feel not necessarily thematically tied to the episode,” Podemski says. “I wanted it to be a voice from the community, another texture that may be totally unrelated to what we are talking about.

“When we’re telling stories through an Indigenous lens it’s so important to me that we don’t paint them with one brush.”

Future History airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on APTN. You can watch past episodes on APTN.ca.

Image courtesy of APTN.

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Bell Media confirms 70 original productions for 2019/2020 season

From a media release:

In advance of tomorrow’s #CTVUpfront, Bell Media confirmed today its first wave of new and returning original entertainment programming for the 2019/20 season. With 31 new original programs announced to date, and more to be confirmed in the coming days and weeks, a total of 70 original English-language programs will be produced in the coming season in partnership with independent production companies and in-house at Bell Media Studios.

With Canada’s top programs, including original programs and homegrown hits, more Canadians make Bell Media their choice for viewing than any other media company. As Canada’s most-watched network in primetime for 18 years in a row, CTV is home to:

  • THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, the #1 summer series among A25-54 for a sixth season in a row
  • The most-watched Canadian comedy of the year, JANN
  • The top Canadian daily lifestyle programs, Bell Media Studios’ THE SOCIAL and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW
  • The most-watched entertainment newsmagazine for nine years running, ETALK
  • Canada’s most-watched national morning show, YOUR MORNING

In addition to the productions announced by Bell Media Studios last week, Bell Media’s 2019/20 Original Productions slate includes the following:

NEW Bell Media Original Series and Specials for 2019/20 (by channel):

CTV

TRANSPLANT
CTV announced today that Hamza Haq, Laurence Leboeuf, and John Hannah will star in the one-hour, primetime medical procedural, with production beginning this month. TRANSPLANT tells the story of a brilliantly skilled emergency medicine doctor who fled Syria to Canada, as he’s challenged to make a place for himself in a new hospital and country. The drama blends the story of a new immigrant with an ensemble medical procedural, offering audiences a fresh take on a beloved genre. The first season consists of 13 episodes, with production set to begin in Summer 2019. (NBCUniversal International Studios with Sphère Média Plus)

ALBEDO
One-hundred-and-fifty years in the future, detective Vivien Coleman is dispatched to the edge of our solar system to investigate a scientist’s mysterious death on board an isolated space station. She soon finds herself trapped and cut off from Earth, along with the station’s small crew of brilliant scientists – all murder suspects, and all harbouring their own secrets… What begins as a classic murder mystery evolves into a fight for survival that may threaten the future of our species. (eOne)

POP EVOLUTION
This eight-episode series has one goal: to tell the richest, most fascinating tales from the ongoing history of pop music. Each stand-alone episode is a documentary portrait with its own unique voice, style, and vision. Through exclusive interviews and unprecedented access, archival depth, and critical takes, POP EVOLUTION dives deeper into the genre than ever before. (Banger Films)
CTV Life Channel

LET’S BRUNCH
This delightful cooking series is dedicated to everyone’s favorite leisurely and decadent mid-morning meal. Hosted by the bubbly Vanessa Gianfrancesco (ONE WORLD KITCHEN), LET’S BRUNCH offers a brunch menu for every occasion, showcasing sweet and savory recipes, along with the occasional refreshing beverage or cozy latte. (Gusto Worldwide Media)

CHRISTMAS WITH BONACINI
In this charming one-hour holiday special set in Michael Bonacini’s festive kitchen, the celebrity chef and his son Oscar cook up an elegant and flavourful feast of their favourite Christmas recipes. (Gusto Worldwide Media)

WATTS ON THE GRILL FOR THANKSGIVING
In his upcoming special, host Spencer Watts shows viewers how to barbecue like a pro throughout the holiday season. (Gusto Worldwide Media)

Crave
Canada’s prestige entertainment offering recently announced a complete slate of upcoming conversation-worthy Crave Originals, headlined by:

Crave heads to Montréal for the JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL this summer, shooting a series of four new specials featuring acclaimed Canadian comedians. These four new specials bring the Crave Original standup series total to 10 specials. (Just For Laughs Television)

WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE
A smart, distinctive, and caustic documentary about the end of the world, the newest original series from Crave goes into production this summer. Drawing together science, psychology, pop culture, and philosophy, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE meets viewers’ fascination with the apocalypse head-on. Each episode explores one of the ways that humanity could meet its end – from nuclear war and asteroids to aliens – with the ultimate hope that humankind can come together to make the world a better place. (90th Parallel Productions)

ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND
Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard, this documentary feature is a confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music. Inspired by Robertson’s bestselling memoir, Testimony (Penguin/Random House, 2017), the film blends rare archival footage and interviews with many of Robertson’s friends and collaborators, including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Scorsese, Taj Mahal, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen, and Ronnie Hawkins, among others. (Imagine Documentaries/White Pine Pictures/Bell Media Studios/Universal Music Canada)

NEW EDEN
Production kicks off June 17 in North Bay, Ont. on the darkly funny “true crime” comedy from two of Canada’s hottest comedic voices, Evany Rosen (PICNICFACE, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW) and Kayla Lorette (THE BEAVERTON, SPACE RIDERS). (Peacock Alley Entertainment)

Discovery

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, MAKE IT TO THE MOON (narrated by Canadian actor Stephan James) features four trailblazing teams – contracted by NASA – who take up President Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. These ‘unsung heroes of the unsung heroes’ must invent from scratch the innovative technology necessary to create the lunar module spacecraft, the onboard computer, the moon suit, and track it all through space. (eOne)

VW WOODSTOCK BUS
On the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, VW WOODSTOCK BUS is a one-hour special that explores the inspiring story of Dr. Bob, the man who painted the original Woodstock hippie bus with symbols he believed would usher in the dawn of a new age. (Arcadia Productions)

CLEARED FOR CHAOS: 9/11
This documentary special tells the gripping story of how air traffic controllers in Gander, Newfoundland pulled off the impossible on September 11, 2001. (Bristow Global Media)

UNABOMBER: THE MAD TRUTH
This four-part series tells the story of the nationwide manhunt for the terrorist known only as the “Unabomber,” which lasted from 1978 – 1995, until a tip led the FBI to a remote cabin in the Montana mountains. The tip that ultimately took down Ted Kaczynski, a.k.a. the Unabomber, came from his younger brother, David, and David’s wife, Linda. (Yap Films)

Investigation Discovery

IF I SHOULD DIE
As investigators piece together a murder mystery, sometimes the victim speaks from beyond the grave, communicating via their revelatory words written in a diary, journal, or private online blog. IF I SHOULD DIE explores how these emotional words can provide incredible insight into the victim’s life – and sometimes into their darkest secrets. (Cream Productions)

UNEXPLAINED 911
This immersive new series reveals the true-life stories of police and other members of law enforcement who found themselves face-to-face with strange and bizarre events. Each episode investigates cases involving ghostly haunting, demonic possession, alien abduction, and other supernatural emergency calls featuring the men and women who have devoted their lives to serve and protect. (Cream Productions)
Much Studios

POSITIVE
A Much Studios’ Original Documentary, POSITIVE profiles the lives of five diverse HIV+ millennials through a roundtable discussion and stigma-busting personal narratives. Moderated by Much Studios’ Michael Rizzi, the documentary creates an intimate and safe space for the group to discuss the themes of identity, community, sex, and the ongoing misconceptions surrounding HIV.

Returning Bell Media Original Productions Confirmed to Date for 2019/20 (by channel):

CTV

Internationally successful and critically acclaimed series CARDINAL has wrapped production on its final season with stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse. (Sienna Films/eOne)

The half-hour satirical news sensation THE BEAVERTON returns to CTV for Season 3, premiering July 23. (Pier 21 Films)

THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, the most-watched series of the summer, is set to deliver its seventh season Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT beginning July 2 on CTV. Hosted by Olympic gold medallist Jon Montgomery, the multiple Canadian Screen Award-winning series returns as nine all-new teams join fan favourites from Season 1, Jet & Dave, who were selected as Canada’s Choice to race again. The 10 teams head to the starting line to push themselves out of their comfort zones in a non-stop, action-packed race. (Insight Productions)

New episodes of original culinary series MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH continue Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV as host Mary Berg shares her delicious twists on classic dishes inspired by her family and close friends. (Proper Television)

THE 2019 CANADA’S WALK OF FAME AWARDS, delivering the awards’ 21st anniversary this November. (Insight Productions)

Crave

Named a “must watch” series by the New York Times and an award-winning Canadian comedy program, an all-new six-pack of LETTERKENNY premieres on Oct. 11 and production on another season begins this summer in Sudbury, Ont. (New Metric Media)
CTV Comedy Channel

Coming to the CTV Comedy lineup in the 2019-20 broadcast year are THE STAND-UP SHOW WITH JON DORE and four unique @JFL gala presentations from Montréal’s Place des Arts. (Just For Laughs Television)

The most-watched original series ever on CTV Comedy, CORNER GAS ANIMATED (CTV Comedy) premieres Season 2 on July 1 with 11 all-new episodes. The new season includes a star-studded lineup of cameos, featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chris Hadfield, and EPIC MEALTIME’s Harley Morenstein, with a special guest star appearance by Michael J. Fox. (Prairie Pantoons/Moving Mountoons)

CTV Drama Channel

The light hearted mystery-crime drama CARTER, starring Jerry O’Connell (BILLIONS) is currently in production for Season 2. Shot in North Bay, Ont., the sophomore season is set to debut later this year, exclusively on CTV Drama. (Sony Pictures Television)

CTV Life Channel

Season 3 of SPENCER’S BIG 30 showcases healthy, hearty meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes. (Gusto Worldwide Media)
Italian cooking series BONACINI’S ITALY, starring MASTERCHEF CANADA’S Michael Bonacini, returns for a second season. (Gusto Worldwide Media)

Season 2 of WATTS ON THE GRILL continues to celebrate all things grilled with chef extraordinaire Spencer Watts. Each half-hour episode shows viewers how to barbecue like a pro, from sizzling steak, smoked chicken and steamy seafood, to fruit, cheese, and delicious desserts. Tips, tricks, and tasty recipes are all on Watts’ menu as he inspires viewers to think of ingredients differently and try new things on the grill. (Gusto Worldwide Media)

CTV Sci-Fi Channel

The fifth and final season of CTV Sci-Fi’s most-watched original series KILLJOYS returns July 19. In the Quad, a planetary system on the brink of a bloody interplanetary class war, a fun-loving trio of bounty hunters attempts to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants. Reprising their roles for the last time, Hannah John-Kamen (ANT MAN AND THE WASP) returns as Yelena “Dutch” Yarden / Aneela, along with Canadian Screen Award nominee for best lead actor Aaron Ashmore (CARDINAL) as John Jaqobis, and Luke MacFarlane (THE NIGHT SHIFT) as D’avin Jaqobis. (Temple Street Productions)

Discovery

The captivating series MAYDAY, currently in the first half of its 19th season, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET, continues to reveal the often harrowing truth behind plane crashes, providing viewers a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the world’s most catastrophic aviation accidents in search of clues that might prevent similar tragedies from happening again. (Cineflix/National Geographic Channels International/Canal D)

HELLFIRE HEROES returns this fall for Season 2. Featuring stories of strength, fearlessness, and dedication, a uniquely versatile group of firefighters risk their lives to serve and protect the residents of isolated areas of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. (Pixcom Productions)

HIGHWAY THRU HELL is back for Season 8 in 2019, chronicling the lives of heroic rescue teams who often put their own lives at risk to help keep vital transport highways open and communities safe. (Thunderbird Entertainment Group)

HEAVY RESCUE: 401, a Top 5 series on Discovery, returns for Season 4 in early 2020, documenting dramatic recoveries along Ontario’s 400-series highways – extending from Windsor in the west to the Québec border in the east. (Thunderbird Entertainment Group)

Animal Planet

Biologist Niall McCann travels the world to understand the relationship between humans and some of the world’s most charismatic and formidable animals in the upcoming third season of the award-winning BIGGEST AND BADDEST. (Gryphon/Wild Planet Productions)

KERI: PRAIRIE VET returns for a third season, continuing to follow the action-packed life of travelling vet Dr. Keri Hudson Reykdal, on the road 24/7 to care for “all creatures big and small.” (Merit Morion Pictures)

WILD BEAR RESCUE, the most adorable original Canadian series, returns for Season 3 on June 14 with heartwarming stories of injured and orphaned bear cubs at Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers, B.C. (Omnifilm Entertainment)
Investigation Discovery

FEAR THY NEIGHBOUR returns for Season 6 this fall. This true-crime thriller follows the disturbing tales of those with the misfortune to unwittingly take up residence within a stone’s throw of a psychopath or killer. (Cream Productions)

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Ian Carpenter lives his dream showrunning Netflix’s Slasher: Solstice

Ian Carpenter was convinced Aaron Martin didn’t like his writing style. Yes, Martin—the showrunner behind series like Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Best Years and Saving Hope—had hired Carpenter to work on Being Erica, but since then … nothing.

“He and I would meet for a work day in a café and I would ask him what he was working on, and he would tell me about this great thing and all of the great writers he had in the room with him,” Carpenter says with a laugh. “I hit a point when I said to myself, ‘Well, maybe he doesn’t like my writing.'” It turns out the right project hadn’t come along. Until now.

Slasher: Solstice is the third season of the franchise created by Martin—it’s available on Netflix now—and Carpenter is on board not just as a writer but showrunner too. Martin’s latest creation, Another Life starring Katee Sackhoff, had been greenlit by Netflix meaning he wasn’t available to handle Solstice. Enter Carpenter, horror fanboy.

“Every meeting that I was having with anyone, when they asked me what I wanted to work on it was horror,” he says. “That’s all I want to do for the next many years.”

Slasher: Solstice keeps the franchise’s cast intact by reuniting several actors from past seasons in Dean McDermott, Joanna Vannicola, Paula Brancati, Erin Karpluk, Jim Watson, Jefferson Brown and Paulino Nunes with new faces in Baraka Rahmani, Lisa Berry, Mercedes Morris and Salvatore Antonio. And, like the franchise, Solstice meets up with these characters as awful things happen in present-day to match a truly terrible occurrence in the past.

We spoke to Ian Carpenter about his dream gig.

How did the writing for this season come about?
Ian Carpenter: Aaron had pitched the season, it had been approved and he had written an amazing pilot that is, for the most part, entirely there. If I changed anything, it was maybe five per cent. Thirteen out of the 15 characters were there and he knew who [was behind the crimes] and the whole arc down the line. He had the tent poles worked out and then we sat down and broke the next four episodes. And then, once he became unavailable, I broke the remaining four with a writer named Matt MacLennan. At all times I was, of course, running things by Aaron. There were a couple of massive twists that I sent to him and got super-excited responses back. It was so much fun to freak out the creator.

Can an eagle-eyed viewer spot the person or people behind this during the season?
IC: I didn’t encounter anyone that had picked it out and wasn’t floored by the story. But, as a guy who has spent a lot of time with the episodes, I’m pleased with how much it is seeded in there. Like, ‘Oh my god, when this person is saying this, really this is going on.’

A woman screams while crouching over a dead body.A big part of Slasher’s storytelling is through flashback. I noticed this goes back as far as 20 years. It that the furthest?
IC: I think so. I’m obsessed with the emotional weight of everything and I want us to mourn the characters who die. As I’ve been working on this I’ve come to realize how much I want there to be hope, positivity or light in the show. In this season, as it is in past seasons, is that the deaths mean something. It’s not a nihilistic lopping off of people’s heads all over the place for no reason. For sure, there are a couple of characters people want to see die and probably celebrate their end, but at all times I want to feel the weight of what’s happening.

Adam MacDonald directed all of Solstice’s episodes. What was it like working with him?
IC: We’ve been friends for, I think, something like 20 years. I was hired maybe two weeks before Adam was and they were pursuing him ahead of time so it was just bizarre, amazing luck that we were on it together. We were close then and we are way more close now. I would put his work up against anyone’s. It’s so incredible. I have never worked with a director who has a more visceral connection to the camera. I love the expressiveness of the camera and he has done something that really stands out in the genre and on TV.

The apartment building serves as the main focal point for much of the action and story. Was it always the intention to have that claustrophobic feel?
IC: Aaron was riffing off the case in New York City where the woman was murdered in front of her apartment building and people watched but did nothing. We wanted to spin around that and I loved the claustrophobia of it, and of people brushing up against each other, getting in each other’s business and driving each other crazy. And it makes those moments where you leave the building extra special.

You not only have a diverse cast but you don’t shy away from storylines containing xenophobia, hatred, inclusion or acceptance.
IC: It’s a huge part of everything Aaron has ever done and I’m the same way. I wanted to make it carte blanche across the board and I feel like it led us to discover some really exciting talent. And, it’s a big part of some of the themes this season. Netflix was totally into that and was a big part of this season’s pitch. It’s fun to tell those stories right now because it’s so important. A lot of hard work went into not making it simplistic.

Slasher: Solstice is streaming on Netflix now.

Images courtesy of Shaftesbury.

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