Tag Archives: Arlene Dickinson

marblemedia goes into development on a new scripted television drama adaptation of business mogul, Arlene Dickinson’s bestselling book Persuasion

From a media release:

marblemedia is expanding its primetime slate by going into development on a new one-hour drama series, Persuasion, based on the national best-selling business book from powerhouse Canadian entrepreneur and TV personality, Arlene Dickinson.

Featuring a cast and creative team of empowered women, both behind and in front of the cameras, this brand-new series will take a much different approach than other scripted series about business. Instead of showcasing the ruthless underbelly of business where the end justifies the means, Persuasion will take inspiration from Dickinson’s determination, dedication, tenacity and brilliance in her rise to success to dramatize a fresh & powerful approach to being effective in business.

marblemedia has optioned the rights to Persuasion, published by HarperCollins. Dickinson will serve as an executive producer on the series, her first scripted television series, along with marblemedia’s Matthew Hornburg, Mark Bishop and Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy, and Alexandra Zarowny is attached to write and executive produce.

Inspired by Arlene Dickinson’s book of the same name, the fictional series will explore the exhilarating high-octane, fast-paced world of marketing, public relations, and entrepreneurship where, through a dynamic and diverse cast of characters, the battle to do business ethically and honestly is fought every day. Through the lens of Rachel Nicholson’, a tough, fiery, innovative marketing mastermind, and her team at Trailblazer, we join Rachel as she journeys through two different periods of her life – as a tenacious young mother with no formal education in the 1990s, and a marketing maven and celebrity in present day. The series recognizes women’s leadership and the power of their unstoppable influence – motivating others around them, breaking glass ceilings and paving their own path – all while lifting up and setting the example for the next generation.

Best-selling author, investor and renowned entrepreneur, Arlene Dickinson is widely recognized for her role as a ‘Dragon’ on the multi-award-winning television series, Dragons’ Den. Arlene is also an inductee in Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Hall of Fame, amongst many other accolades. Arlene has become an icon for doing business with integrity.

“I am humbled and thrilled to be working with Arlene, a personal hero of mine who continues to smash through glass ceilings. Her rise from rock bottom to renowned business maverick is truly inspiring.” adds Alexandra Zarowny, writer and executive producer. “Persuasion will be filled with do-or-die drama and revel in the aspirational glamour of a woman who achieved success and power while remaining true to herself and her ideals.”

Most recently, Zarowny served as an Executive Producer and Showrunner on Global’s popular Private Eyes starring Jason Priestly and Cindy Sampson. Other producing credits include CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries and Republic of Doyle, Showcase’s Lost Girl and Syfy’s Wynonna Earp.

Persuasion joins marblemedia’s previously announced adaptation of The Other Boy, a best-selling novel by M.G. Hennessey, and Holding Still, a Toronto-set novel by celebrated author, poet and screenwriter, Zoe Whittall. These projects will all foster a new generation of stories driven by perspectives that need to be shared, heard and celebrated.

About marblemedia 
A global award-winning media company, marblemedia is anchored in original storytelling, innovation, and content that celebrates unique characters and perspectives through an inspiring lens. In addition to their critically acclaimed competition series and renowned award-winning family content, the leading production company is forging their way into the scripted television space by expanding their repertoire of scripted series with a handful of new acquisitions.

Founded in 2001 by co-CEOs Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg with a vision of creativity, partnership and innovation, the company has offices in Toronto, London and L.A., with a 50-acre production facility located 90 minutes north of Toronto.


CBC and Warner Bros. International Television announce third edition of format incubator

From a media release:

CBC and Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) today announced the return of the Format Incubator for a third round. Beginning today through April 23, Canadian producers are invited to submit ideas for original primetime unscripted formats with strong Canadian and international appeal. Format Incubator is a collaborative venture between CBC, WBITVP and the independent production community in Canada, aimed at boosting the creation of original, exportable television formats. Full submission details are available at cbc.ca/formatincubator.

The first program to come out of the Format Incubator initiative was Frantic Films’ factual series THE STATS OF LIFE which debuted as a pilot (1×60) in spring 2016, followed by a four episode half-hour series in fall 2017. The series reached over 2 million viewers* and has now been renewed for a second season. THE STATS OF LIFE is a fun, factual entertainment series that layers graphics of statistics over intimate stories of real people, exploring how households across the country compare to one another while allowing the viewer to discover where they themselves fit into the bigger picture. The format is represented in the international marketplace by Zodiak Rights, part of the Banijay Group (formerly Banijay International).

Produced by Proper Television and hosted by DRAGONS’ DEN investor Arlene Dickinson, UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT was selected as the winning format for the second year of the Format Incubator. Featuring Dickinson as she took budding entrepreneurs shopping for the right small business to fulfill their dreams, two back-to-back specials premiered in November 2016 and reached one million viewers on CBC.** Under New Management will be distributed internationally by Warner Bros. International TV Production.

Format Incubator is open to applicants with all levels of experience, from students to established producers, and will support up to three new unscripted pilots through the development and production process, including primetime broadcast on CBC. Submissions must be original, non-derivative primetime entertainment formats that are fun and family-friendly with the potential for multiple seasons and broad appeal for both Canadian and international audiences. Chosen formats will benefit from development and creative editorial support from CBC and Warner Bros. International Television Production, and an expedited distribution process to bring their concept to the international market.

Pilots will be financed by CBC and WBITVP, along with provincial and federal tax credits and CMF funding when applicable. Canadian producers will retain copyright of the program, and the format will be owned equally and jointly by the production company, CBC and WBITVP.

*Source: Numeris TV Meter, Nov. 24- Dec. 15, 2017, CBC, Total, Total Canada, AMA, generated by InfoSys+TV

**Source: Numeris TV Meter, November 16, 2017, CBC, Total, Total Canada, AMA, generated by InfoSys+TV



Dragons’ Den: Arlene Dickinson teases her Season 12 return

A new night and a returning favourite are among the changes afoot for Dragons’ Den as CBC’s veteran reality series returns for Season 12. After exiting the program in 2015 to follow, as she said at the time on her Facebook page (“some big dreams, ones I want and need to chase”), Arlene Dickinson is back and ready to do battle.

Things have evolved on Dragons’ Den since she’s been gone. First, the series moves to Thursdays at 8 p.m. And second, three Dragons—Joe Mimran, Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow—who moved in after Dickinson left. Jim Treliving and Michael Wekerle return for Season 12, meaning Dragons’ Den has six business moguls on a panel split evenly into a trio of men and women. What hasn’t been altered is the shows winning formula: budding entrepreneurs enter the studio and pitch their business idea to the Dragons in hopes of scoring a business deal.

We spoke to Dickinson ahead of Thursday’s two-hour season return:

One of the things you say during Thursday’s episode is that you left the show to found District Ventures. Did working on Dragons’ Den and having entrepreneurs in front of you influence your decision to begin this accelerator program?
Arlene Dickinson: That was certainly a big piece of it. After spending all of those years in front of people, particularly entrepreneurs in the health and food sector, and they just weren’t getting the traction that I thought they should. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Food and health is so critical in the world today and Canada has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in both areas, I’m going to find a fund that does this.’ I realized there wasn’t one and that really got me going and led me to go out and support that particular area.

You also mention in the episode that you were called and asked to return. Were you called every year since you left?
No, no. When I left, I was pretty certain I wanted to go on and do the things that I did and would need a couple of years to do that and they knew that too. I’m guessing [the producers] said, ‘Hey, maybe she’s pitchable now.’

It seems as though with every season the pitches continue to get better and more complete. Do you agree?
Yes. I think there are two things that have happened over the course of time. Maybe three. The first thing is that the pitchers are definitely better. There are bigger businesses and are coming in prepared and know who they want to speak to. And the female entrepreneurs are showing up with more confidence and a little bit more assured about what they can offer, what they do and are building a business and that’s awesome to see as well.

There are three ladies on the Dragons’ Den panel this season. Is that representative of what the business world is like now? Is there gender parity in the boardroom?
It’s certainly not that way in the senior boardrooms of corporations. It’s not anywhere near that. I think the percentage is somewhere around 17 to 20 per cent of females are in the boardroom. It’s still really still one in five. But entrepreneurs are a different story. There are more and more women going into entrepreneurial endeavours, so we’re seeing a lot more women starting up businesses and doing them home or going out and doing them as a career choice. It’s definitely growing for sure. I think more women than men, actually, are starting up businesses.

You hadn’t worked with Joe, Manjit or Michele on Dragons’ Den before. What’s that experience been like?
It takes a while to get used to the dynamic or everyone, so it took me awhile to understand where they were coming from and how they approached deals. There is a constant yin and yang because we’re competing for deals, we’re competing to be heard, we’re competing to talk. [Laughs.] So it takes awhile to pick up on each other’s style. It was certainly very interesting for me and kept me on my game and on my toes.

Were you, overall, impressed with the pitches you saw this season?
For sure. There were some really great deals this year. Some that I was really happy that I was able to get and some that I was not so happy that I didn’t get! [Laughs.] That’s kind of the way it happens. In terms of the calibre of the entrepreneurs, yeah, fantastic. There is so much innovation going on in Canada and innovation without an entrepreneur is just an idea.

What can you tell me about District Ventures?
District Ventures capital has raised about $30 million to go out and invest in entrepreneurial companies that are in the food, beverage and health and wellness consumer goods. We’re out in the market doing deals. I wish I had done this 10 years ago because it’s so much fun. It’s also hard work. The accelerator has become Canada’s top accelerator for health and wellness and it’s been a really interesting journey in learning about the mentoring and training and programming you need to give entrepreneurs what they need to be successful.

Dragons’ Den airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.



Arlene Dickinson returns to Dragons’ Den for Season 12

From a media release:

CBC today announced that renowned Canadian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Arlene Dickinson will return to DRAGONS’ DEN for Season 12 of the series. Hosted by Dianne Buckner, Season 12 will mark the first time there will be six dragons as Dickinson joins Jim Treliving, Joe Mimran, Manjit Minhas, Michael Wekerle and Michele Romanow in the Den. Following entrepreneur auditions across the country, the new season of DRAGONS’ DEN will begin shooting this month at the CBC Broadcasting Centre in Toronto for a fall 2017 launch on CBC.

Known for such notable deals as OMG Candy and Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, Dickinson joined DRAGONS’ DEN in Season 2 in 2007 and left in 2015 after eight seasons to launch District Ventures Capital, a fund aimed at investing in innovative food and health based businesses. Having raised approximately $30 million, Dickinson is ready to put the capital to work.

She also launched District Ventures, Canada’s first accelerator focused on early-stage food and health businesses, and the District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space, a technology hub that connects large enterprise to entrepreneurs.

Dickinson is one of Canada’s most renowned marketing communications entrepreneurs. As CEO of Venture Communications, her creative and strategic approach has turned the company into a powerhouse with a blue chip client list. Her success and leadership has been recognized with multiple honours and awards including Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 and the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence as well as PROFIT and Chatelaine’s TOP 100 Women Business Owners. Dickinson is also the best-selling author of two books, Persuasion and All In.

A generous philanthropist, supporter of many important causes and mother of four and grandmother of seven, Dickinson is an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy and is the recipient of honorary degrees from Concordia University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. She sits on several private and public boards, and is the proud recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

A CBC original production, DRAGONS’ DEN returns for season 12 in fall 2017. Theatre and venture capital collide as aspiring entrepreneurs from across Canada vie for a coveted spot in the Den to pitch potentially profitable business investments to some of the nation’s most successful tycoons. The Dragons use their own money and know-how and have the power to catapult companies into home-grown business success stories. Stakes are high as good deals may be rewarded, but there’s also the risk that bad ideas will get burned. One of Canada’s most successful unscripted programs, DRAGONS’ DEN offers audiences a front-row view as the country’s top business moguls wheel and deal with entrepreneurs who dare to brave the Den. Tracie Tighe is executive producer. Dianne Buckner hosts.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Set Visit: Dragons’ Den is Vikram Vij’s new baby

Peering upon the Dragons’ Den chairs is almost like looking at Canada’s equivalent to the Iron Throne. Each of the five seats belongs to some of Canada’s most successful business moguls (including Jim Treliving, Arlene Dickinson and David Chilton), armed with the bank accounts, connections and real-world experience to change the lives of the everyday entrepreneur. With that knowledge, you can almost physically feel the power radiating from each chair.

It’s no surprise then that Vikram Vij, chef, restaurant giant and one of two new dragons joining the den for Season 9 (alongside Michael Wekerle), was too nervous to sleep the night before his first day, regardless of how much prep work he put in.

“I had studied hard, I had really done my homework, I had done so much other stuff to prepare, but it’s a little bit like child bearing,” Vij says. “This experience was like I had just given birth. I needed to go through the pains and the motions of learning how things are going to happen for me.”

Vij is no virgin to television gigs, serving as a judge on Recipe to Riches, Chopped and Top Chef Canada in the past. But what Dragons’ Den is giving Vij is an opportunity to show viewers that he’s much more than just a chef and restaurateur.

“I want to get away from the stigma of people thinking I’m a food guy only,” Vij says, listing his investments in computer apps as an example of some of his other business ventures. “At the end of the day I’m a businessman. I’m looking for great deals and I’m going to put money where the great deals are.”

What Recipe to Riches did do to help Vij, however, was give him a pre-established connection to Dragons’ Den through fellow Riches judge Arlene Dickinson, a Dragon since Season 2. Although the veteran gave her friend some tips, Dickinson doesn’t seem to have a problem flexing her seniority over Vij when it comes to the Den.

“She kind of said to me very nicely, ‘Just be yourself. Be silly if you have to be, and do what you need to do and just be yourself.’ Which also meant, ‘I will take you and ring you very nicely if I have to because I am the senior person on this show,'” Vij says with a smile.

“Initially a couple of times when I’m making a pitch or asking questions she will look over at me and say, ‘Really? You asked that question? Why would you ask that question?'” he says. “She comes from the experience like you should already know this.”

After filming a handful of pitches, Vij now refers to himself as more of an underdog rather than simply a rookie. It’s something he knows will continue to change as he discovers his individual place within the show’s pre-existing puzzle.

“I find that sometimes the pitches go automatically towards Arlene because they gravitate towards her, but that’s OK” Vij says. “I’m going to make my mark and keep focused at it.”

Dragons’ Den airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.