Tag Archives: 19-2

Award-winning writer/producer Bruce Smith to lead story room for 2019 Bell Media Prime Time TV Program

From a media release:

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Bell Media are pleased to welcome one of Canada’s top drama showrunners Bruce Smith as the Executive Producer in Residence of the 2019 Bell Media Prime Time TV Program. From September to December 2019, Smith will lead the story room as well as the six television writers selected to participate in this year’s program as they work together to develop Smith’s original series.

Bruce Smith was most recently creator and showrunner of Street Legal on CBC. Previously, he was the showrunner of CTV’s award-winning drama 19-2 and of Cracked (CBC). Over its four-season run, 19-2 earned more than 30 Canadian Screen Awards nominations, including the win for Best Dramatic Series in 2016, when it was also nominated for an International Emmy in the same category. Additionally, Smith has worked as a writer/producer on numerous dramas, including Durham County (HBO CANADA), and has penned multiple award-winning MOWs and miniseries, including The Sleep Room (CBC), Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story (CBC), The Investigation (CTV), and John A: Birth of a Country (CBC), for which he won a 2013 Canadian Screen Award. Smith has received three WGC Screenwriting Awards, including the WGC Showrunner Award in 2015 and the McGrath Service Award in 2019.

The 2019 Bell Media Prime Time TV Program participants are:

  • Henry Campbell (BC)
  • Imogen Grace (ON)
  • Amy Halloran (QC)
  • Rose Napoli (ON)
  • Lori-Ann Russell (ON)
  • Ian Steaman (ON)

This year’s program begins on September 23, 2019. The Bell Media Prime Time TV Program, now in its 20th year, delivers a real-world story room experience and an intense professional and project development process for six TV writers a year. The program has attracted some of Canada’s most prolific and successful showrunners to lead the story room as Executive Producer in Residence, including Michael MacLennan, Karen Walton, Brad Wright, Dennis Heaton and Alexandra Zarowny. The program has played a vital role in developing numerous hit series through its story room, including Travelers and the Emmy Award-winning series Orphan Black. Learn more about the program here.

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Damon Vignale’s The Murders brings Jessica Lucas back to Canadian TV

Damon Vignale has been a writer and producer on some of the most ambitious and exciting television series on Canadian television. Blackstone, 19-2, Motive, Ghost Wars and The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco … he’s worked on all of them.

Now Vignale is back with a television project all his own: The Murders. Set in Vancouver, the eight-part thrill ride—bowing Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv—stars Jessica Lucas as Kate Jameson, a rookie homicide detective whose mistake on Day 1 leads to tragedy. Aside from alienating herself from at least one co-worker, Kate and her partner, Det. Mike Huntley (Lochlan Munro), are chasing a killer who uses music in a deadly way. Along for the ride are Dylan Bruce as Detective Nolan Wells, Terry Chen as Staff Sergeant Bill Chen and Luvia Petersen as Detective Meg Harris.

We spoke to Damon Vignale about The Murders‘ origin story and where it goes from Week 1.

I love the fact that The Murders doesn’t shy away from showing the Vancouver skyline. I love the storytelling. 
Damon Vignale: Thank you. Yeah, it’s very exciting to be shooting a crime drama in Vancouver. I was always a big fan of Da Vinci’s Inquest. Motive was definitely a show that has been a highlight of my career and it’s shot in Vancouver. So when I was developing a crime drama and Muse came on board, them being a Montreal company, I thought, ‘OK, I guess we’re going to be shooting on the east coast,’ and they essentially asked, ‘Well, where do you want to shoot it?’ Of course that was a no-brainer. I just said in Vancouver and they really supported that. My original pilot was always based in Vancouver, it was just great that an eastern production company wanted to kind of stick with the original vision, so that’s great.

Take me back to the beginning. The Murders is based on an idea by you. Is this been something that you’ve been thinking about for a while? Tell me the origin story.
DV: Often when you’re going out for writing gigs, most producers don’t want to read shows that you’ve written on, they want to read original material. They want to know, ‘Hey, what’s your voice?’ I hadn’t had anything written for a while because I’d been really lucky going from show to show. I had a little time off after Motive and I actually had just watched Marcella. I was really inspired by that and wanted to write something with a female lead and I liked the idea of a serial killer.

At the time, I was really interested, separately, in the song ‘Long Black Veil,’ a song that has been recorded by over a hundred artists, and it fell into a genre called murder ballads. I’ve been researching murder ballads and what they are and how they came out of folk music. Before that, the early settlers that came to America would bring these crime stories and they’re all a part of what eventually became the genre of murder ballads, and ‘Long Black Veil’ fit into that. So the idea kind of grew out of that song. What if the detectives came across a murder and the victim’s life tied directly to an old murder ballad? That seemed interesting to me. That’s really kind of what the seed of where I started exploring. There is one case in the show that kind of bookends the season. But each episode in between, they have songs involved but they’re not necessarily murder ballads; they more play to the theme of the episode.

Is that the reason why the logo is kind an equalizer? The bar’s moving up and down and changing to blood?
DV: Yeah! Here’s the reason for that. In pitching the show, one of the things that I thought would be interesting, always looking for ways to separate yourself from other shows and bring something interesting to the mix, is I thought if the show were to play over five seasons, it would be great to, in each season, explore one of the five senses. So in the first season, sound … music. In different cases, it plays a part in the show and that’s why that equalizer is in there, it’s a subtle reference. I don’t know if we’re necessarily pitching the show on the five senses, but in developing Season 2 I am looking at the sense of touch.

You said off the top, when it came to developing this you were trying to figure out what your voice is. So what is your voice? What’s your strength? Is it dialogue? Is it atmosphere? Is it setting a scene?
DV: It’s kind of hard to reflect on yourself. I think, certainly, crime drama, and I tend to lean toward the darker side of things. And so when I’m putting a room together, I purposefully put writers in the room that are really strong on the lighter, comedic side of things because you obviously need both in the show. But I have no problem getting into—Blackstone would be a perfect example—a show where you lift the rug up and show the dirt underneath. I tend to like that kind of stuff. It’s fun to write.

Let’s talk a little bit about Jessica Lucas. She’s fantastic as Kate. How did she get involved in the process? 
DV: I’m bi-racial, my mother’s black, my father’s white, and so when I wrote the show I thought, ‘I would like to have a character that was bi-racial.’ For me, without getting too personal, it’s sometimes weird being in that gray area where you’re not black, you’re not white, you’re kind of in the middle and you kind of see things a little differently. I thought it would be fun to do things with issues that are going on today. So in starting there, I was already looking for a certain actor, an actress who fit into that and Jessica was really top of my list. We just felt that she was right for the role and when we reached out to her and she read the material, the conversations were really good and she felt good about it.

This first episode, it really starts and ends with a bang, literally. Can you talk a little bit about this journey for Kate as she moves forward into these following seven episodes?
DV: I would say that would be a part of being inspired by Marcella. I really like that the character Marcella had all of the issues that she was dealing with in her policing. There’s a case that comes back into our story from Kate’s past. [We’re] just piling all this stuff on this character.

The Murders airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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CTV and NBCUniversal International Studios partner on new medical procedural The Transplant from Montréal-based Sphère Média Plus

From a media release:

Canada’s leading television network CTV, together with NBCUniversal International Studios, today announced THE TRANSPLANT, a new, one-hour, primetime medical procedural slated for CTV’s 2019/20 broadcast season. Developed by CTV, the series is from award-winning Montréal-based producer Sphère Média Plus (19-2). NBCUniversal will have distribution rights outside of Canada. The announcement was made from the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) Prime Time conference in Ottawa.

When a truck plows into the busy street café where he works, Bash, a struggling Syrian refugee, draws on bold skills and warzone instincts from his former life as a doctor to save multiple people. Among these victims is the chief of the busiest trauma centre in Toronto and the one person who can give Bash the opportunity to return to a career in emergency medicine that he so deserves.

THE TRANSPLANT tells the story of this charismatic man with an elusive past as he joins a team of doctors, challenged to make a place for himself in a new hospital and country. The drama blends a modern immigrant tale with an ensemble medical procedural, offering audiences a fresh take on a beloved genre. The first cycle consists of 13 episodes, with production set to begin in Summer 2019.

The series is created and written by Joseph Kay (FRONTIER, LIVING IN YOUR CAR). Executive producers are Jocelyn Deschenes, Bruno Dube, Virginia Rankin, Jeremy Spry, and Tara Woodbury of Sphère Média Plus, the producers behind Bell Media’s multiple award-winning drama 19-2.

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CraveTV celebrates Canada with the Canadian Screen Award nominees collection

From a media release:

Oh Canada! On the heels of last week’s 2018 Canadian Screen Award nominations, CraveTV has launched a newly curated collection that puts CSA-nominated series and specials front-and-centre in one easy-to-navigate spot. The Canadian Screen Awards take place during Canadian Screen Week, which celebrates the best of Canadian film, television, and digital media from March 5-11, 2018.

The Canadian Screen Award Nominees Collection features more than 20 titles, such as CTV’s acclaimed drama series CARDINAL, which is nominated for 12 CSAs, including Best Limited Series or Program. The drama is currently in the middle of its second season, airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, with episodes streaming in advance of their broadcast premiere in a CraveTV First Look.

Also featured in the collection is: the CraveTV original series LETTERKENNY, which is honoured with nine nominations; Space’s ORPHAN BLACK and CTV’s 19-2 with six nominations each; and with four nominations, CTV’s original mystery series THE DISAPPEARANCE, which was last fall’s #1 new Canadian series.

The full list of titles streaming as part of the Canadian Screen Award Nominees Collection includes:

  • 19-2 (Seasons 1-4, The Complete Series)
  • 2017 iHeartRadio MuchMusic Video Awards
  • THE AMAZING RACE CANADA (Seasons 1-5)
  • THE BEAVERTON (Season 1 and current Season 2 episodes)
  • BUILDING STAR TREK
  • CANADA IN A DAY
  • CARDINAL (Season 1 and current Season 2 episodes)
  • THE DISAPPEARANCE (Season 1)
  • FORT MAC WILDFIRE: ROGUE EARTH
  • FRONTIER (Seasons 1-2)
  • HOWIE MANDEL: A BELL LET’S TALK SPECIAL
  • THE KENNEDYS: AFTER CAMELOT
  • KILLJOYS (Season 1-2)
  • LETTERKENNY (Seasons 1-3B)
  • LONG TIME RUNNING
  • MASTERCHEF CANADA (Seasons 3-4)
  • MAYDAY (Seasons 5-10)
  • ORPHAN BLACK (Seasons 1-5, The Complete Series)
  • REIGN (Seasons 1-4)
  • RUSH: TIME STAND STILL
  • SAVING HOPE (Seasons 2-5)
  • W5 (New episodes weekly)

 

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Cardinal, Letterkenny and Kim’s Convenience top 2018 Canadian Screen Award nominees

Cardinal, Alias Grace, Murdoch Mysteries, Mary Kills People, Letterkenny, Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience and The Disappearance—and many of those in the projects’ casts—are among the nominees for 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.

The announcement was made Tuesday morning at The Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto with Kim’s Convenience‘s Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Cardinal‘s Karine Vanasse and Rise host Sarain Fox serving as hosts.

Here are the nominations in the key television categories. Here is a link to the full list of nominations.

Best Drama Series

  • 19-2
  • Anne
  • Mary Kills People
  • Pure
  • Vikings

Best Comedy Series

  • Letterkenny
  • Workin’ Moms
  • Nirvanna the Band the Show
  • Michael: Every Day
  • Kim’s Convenience

Best Variety or Sketch Comedy Series

  • The Beaverton
  • Baroness Von Sketch Show
  • Rick Mercer Report
  • This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Best Reality Competition Series

  • The Amazing Race Canada
  • The Bachelorette Canada
  • Big Brother Canada
  • MasterChef Canada
  • Top Chef Canada

Best Limited Series or Program

  • Cardinal
  • Alias Grace
  • The Disappearance
  • The Kennedys: After Camelot
  • Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall

Best Children’s or Youth Program or Series

  • The Next Step
  • Odd Squad
  • Degrassi: Next Class
  • L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables Fire & Dew

Best Lifestyle Program or Series

  • Dead Set on Life
  • Property Brothers
  • The Goods
  • Backyard Builds
  • Great Canadian Homes

CBC

Best Lead Actress, Comedy

  • Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms
  • Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
  • Andrea Bang, Kim’s Convenience
  • Jean Yoon, Kim’s Convenience

Best Lead Actor, Comedy

  • Gerry Dee, Mr. D
  • Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
  • Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
  • Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Best Lead Actress, Drama Series

  • Amybeth McNulty, Anne
  • Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People
  • Jennie Raymond, Sex & Violence
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
  • Meaghan Rath, Rogue

Best Lead Actor, Drama Series

  • Brian Markinson, The Romeo Section
  • Richard Short, Mary Kills People
  • Christopher Heyerdahl, Van Helsing
  • Alexander Ludwig, Vikings
  • Shawn Doyle, Bellevue

Best Lead Actress, Drama Program or Limited Series

  • Sarah Gadon, Alias Grace
  • Maxim Roy, Bad Blood
  • Karine Vanasse, Cardinal
  • Camille Sullivan, The Disappearance
  • Helene Joy, Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

Best Lead Actor, Drama Program or Limited Series

  • Kim Coates, Bad Blood
  • Edward Holcroft, Alias Grace
  • Billy Campbell, Cardinal
  • Alan Thicke, It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway
  • Yannick Bisson, Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

Best Performance, Sketch Comedy (Individual or Ensemble)

  • Baroness Von Sketch Show
  • Rick Mercer Report
  • The Beaverton
  • This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Best Performance, Children’s or Youth

  • Ella Ballentine, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables Fire & Dew
  • Amanda, Arcuri, Degrassi: Next Class
  • Michela Luci, Dino Dan
  • Akiel Julien, The Next Step
  • Anna Cathcart, Odd Squad

 

The Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast gala airs live Sunday, March 11 at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Which shows and actors/actresses are you hoping will win big at the Canadian Screen Awards? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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