Tag Archives: Bell Media

Timely and emotionally charged new CTV original drama Transplant premieres Feb. 26

From a media release:

CTV announced today that new MADE®-in-Canada series TRANSPLANT is set to air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT beginning Feb. 26 exclusively on CTV and everywhere CTV content can be found. The CTV Original drama comes from Sphère Média Plus, the producers behind Bell Media’s multiple award-winning and International Emmy-nominated drama series 19-2, in association with NBCUniversal International Studios. NBCUniversal is also handling global distribution.

TRANSPLANT is about Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq, THE INDIAN DETECTIVE), a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine who makes the difficult decision to flee his country with his younger sister Amira. Together they struggle to build a new life in Canada, as Bash strives to rebuild his career in medicine.

Shot in Montréal and set in Toronto, the first season of TRANSPLANT consists of 13 one-hour episodes and stars an ensemble cast anchored by Haq and also starring Laurence Leboeuf (19-2) as Dr. Magalie “Mags” Leblanc, an empathetic ER resident seeking perfection, along with John Hannah (MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Dr. Jed Bishop, the hospital’s Chief of Emergency Medicine.

TRANSPLANT also features Jim Watson (MARY KILLS PEOPLE) as Dr. Theo Hunter, a pediatric fellow in the emergency department; Ayisha Issa (Polar, Immortals) as Dr. June Curtis, an ambitious surgical resident; Sirena Gulamgaus (ORPHAN BLACK) as Bash’s sister Amira; Torri Higginson (DARK MATTER, THIS LIFE) as head ER nurse Claire Malone; Linda E. Smith (19-2) as Dr. Wendy Atwater; Grace Lynn Kung (THE INBETWEEN, FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES) as social worker Vivian Barnes; and Sugith Varughese (KIM’S CONVENIENCE) as senior surgeon Dr. Aajay Singh.

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Exclusive photo gallery: First-look photos at CTV’s Transplant

Clearly, we here at TV, Eh? were good boys and girls last year because Bell Media has given us one heck of a cool belated Christmas gift: an exclusive first-look at CTV’s newest original series, Transplant.

As previously announced, Transplant stars Hamza Haq, John Hannah, Laurence Laboeuf, Jim Watson and Ayisha Issa.

 

Here is the official synopsis for Transplant direct from Bell Media:

Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq), a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, makes the difficult decision to flee his country with his younger sister Amira. With the hope of returning to his career in medicine, together Bash and Amira strive to build a new life in Canada while managing the struggles that come with a new country. With life experiences and a medical background unlike his Canadian counterparts, Bash works to navigate a new environment and forge new relationships after earning a coveted residency in the Emergency Department of one of the best hospitals in Toronto, York Memorial.

Transplant debuts this spring on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Crave’s New Eden turns true crime on its head

Some of my favourite films are Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries. It started with This is Spinal Tap and continued with Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. They hilariously skewer, respectively, the life of a rock band in decline, dog shows and folk music festivals.

So, I love Crave’s newest original series, New Eden.

Created by, written and starring Kayla Lorette and Evany Rosen, the eight-part first season—dropping Wednesday on Crave—takes the mickey out of true-crime documentaries. Spanning the 1970s, 80s and 90s, New Eden tracks the beginning and end of a feminist utopia based out of small-town B.C. Though Katherine Wryfield (Lorette) and Grace Lee (Rosen) have good intentions for the group of ladies they assemble, the community quickly devolves into drug-addled, alien-goddess worshipping chaos and murder.

We spoke to Lorette and Rosen about the series’ creation, assembling the cast and showrunning.

If someone tunes in and don’t understand, they’re going to think that this is real. Well done.
Kayla Lorette:  That was our goal. That’s great.

Evany Rosen:  We’ll trick everyone.

This wasn’t the first pitch that you took to Carrie Mudd at Peacock Entertainment. This was something that came up after having a conversation with her. Is that true?
KL: We were doing this live improv show called Network Notes, where we played two network executives with bad opinions, but a lot of power. That was how we got in with Carrie. Evany had a working relationship with her, but in talking it through we were like, ‘This is maybe an impossible show, maybe a bad idea and too inside baseball.’ That left us to put our heads together and come up with this, which is honestly a much better idea.

Was this an idea that the two of you were kicking around as a result of speaking to Carrie or you both already true crime fans?
ER: Oh, we were both already true crime fans, longstanding. As Kayla said, I had worked with Carrie on a couple of other shows and then she said, ‘Do you have anything you want to pitch right now?’ We started just chatting about what kind of narratives interested us and I guess what was the most terrifically ambitious idea we could possibly have, and New Eden was born.

Kayla, why did you decide to present it straight?
KL: We’ve seen people do true crime send-ups previously, but within those structures, we found that often the stakes were quite low and played for high. We were interested in building a show that was funny but also had extremely high stakes. You know, the bodies are real as the violence is real. And, also, we just really wanted to send up the true crime genre as well as we could and as accurately as we could. We didn’t want to poke fun at the genre itself, we wanted to play within the balance of the genre because we love it. I wanted to make sure we were showing up for them and doing our job to build a tight true crime story and a tight documentary.

Evany, you have co-stars like Nikki Duval, Melody Johnson and David Ingram involved. People I automatically think of as being comedic, but New Eden is surprisingly dark. Was that the goal from the very beginning?
ER: Yeah. In our writing process we started by building out, but quite seriously what we thought was a pretty airtight true-crime narrative. Always trusting because of our comedy backgrounds that the comedy would really come from character and the absurdity would come from how these characters reacted to this kind of absurd situation they found themselves in. So yeah, we really wanted to find a balance of extreme comedy but also a pretty intense relationship with the centre of the story and some really dramatic moments.

How did the writing on New Eden work? Does one of you do a draft, pass it over to the other one and work on it? 
KL: It was an ever-changing process as we figured out. On top of it being the first time we’ve written a project together, we were breaking kind of a new style itself. We had to figure out a style to articulate a documentary, so we were writing an edit, we were writing in picture inserts and things, we had to develop our own style. That was a whole thing of like, ‘OK, when it’s italicized this is a flashback and when it’s this, it’s this.’

We would spend hours and hours and hours world-building. We just would talk about it nonstop. That was the first step, which involved what we call a voluntary work trip to Ottawa, so we’d be forced to work. Then we had a writer’s room to help us break story and punch things up, but I mean I would take turns taking scripts back and forth. Evany’s such a brilliant structure line, so she would get into her lizard mind space, as I like call it, and do these beautiful, beautiful structural pieces. Then we pass back some dialogue and punching up and it’s ever-evolving as different challenges came up episode to episode, cause they’re all quite different as well.

You’ve got this huge cast of characters, how did you go about picking who you want to be part of the show? Was it people that you worked with before?
KL: Yeah, it was a big mix. We were really ambitious with the numbers because we want our world to feel really full. We come from such a wonderful, diverse and rich community of comedians that we were able to cast a lot from our own community. And the show itself is kind of a love letter to the Toronto comedy community as it is right now, and that we’re very proud of.

And then beyond that, we had a great casting process and met new people that walked into the room and we were like, ‘Well that’s the character.’

What kind of showrunners do you find yourselves being after this experience? 
KL: Oh my goodness, we learned so much. I think overall, I would say the kind of showrunners that we strove to be and I think we are on the other end of that is just collaborators. The collaboration was so essential to us. And again, that seems like something that people would just say, but we really mean it. Our creative team, everyone that kind of came in and bought into the thing and were a part of our team and a part of our world, that trust and that collaboration just enhanced everything and it was amazing. The people that we got to work with, our creative team is just jaw-dropping.

ER: The collaborative practice between us was a given, but we really tried to lead with that example and lean on each other and let our harmonious working relationship and our years of collaboration trickle down and be the standard for how we wanted to work and how we wanted people to work together.

KL: Evany challenges me to be better and vice versa, I hope, but we wanted that across the board for all our teams to be like, ‘We’ve worked this hard, we’ve thought about this this hard, we want you to buy in and have the space to show your best work.’ And everyone always just striving for the best and the best of the best and questioning like, ‘Is this enough? Can we push this further?’ And I think we did that and I feel very proud. We’re both very tired now.

ER: Yeah, we’re both tired, but we’re fortunate.

Season 1 of New Eden debuts Wednesday on Crave.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Ken Shaw announces his retirement from CTV News Toronto

From a media release:

Veteran news anchor Ken Shaw announced this evening during CTV NEWS AT SIX that he will be retiring from the anchor chair following his final newscast on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. With a career spanning six decades – from the 1970s and into 2020 – Shaw has been a welcomed guest in millions of homes each week throughout the GTA.

Co-Anchor of Toronto’s #1 newscasts CTV NEWS AT NOON and CTV NEWS AT SIX since April 2001, Shaw first joined the CTV News Toronto team in 1979 as a breaking news reporter. He later moved to the national beat as National Editor for the station, and then as Weekday Anchor for CTV News Channel, before returning to CTV News Toronto to become its anchor.

“There have been so many changes over the decades and I’ve been privileged to have a front-row seat for all of them. I’m so thankful for the trust viewers put in our team to document the stories of their lives,” said Shaw. “Although I’m leaving the day-to-day duties of the anchor desk, I’m excited to work on a number of special projects at CTV News.”

Following Shaw’s last broadcast from the anchor desk on Jan. 6, he will assume a new role with CTV News Channel where he will provide special reports on a number of key issues of importance to him, including the environment. The reports and accompanying podcasts and digital stories will be available on CTV News properties across Canada.

A look back on highlights from Shaw’s career is now featured at CTVNewsToronto.ca. Viewers wanting to send their best wishes can also post messages to the site.

The multiple award-winning Shaw has guided Torontonians through some of the most memorable and momentous local and international news headlines, earning CTV News Toronto its distinction as the most-watched local newscast in the GTA. From coverage of the G20 Summit in 2010, the ice storm that left thousands of Torontonians without power in December 2013, the deadly Toronto van attack in April 2018, the closing of GM Oshawa in November of 2018, and countless provincial and municipal elections, to breaking key revelations in the Toronto mayoral scandal, viewers consistently turn to Ken Shaw and Co-Anchor Michelle Dubé for the headlines that matter most.

An announcement about a new co-anchor for CTV News Toronto will be made on Monday, Dec. 9.

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Link: On location in Montreal with upcoming CTV drama Transplant

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: On location in Montreal with upcoming CTV drama Transplant
Here’s the great irony of Canadian TV: I was in Montreal earlier this week on the set of Transplant, a medical drama set to premiere early next year on CTV. It’s about a Syrian refugee played by Hamza Haq (The Indian Detective) returning to his medical training roots as a resident in the emergency ward of a downtown Toronto hospital. Continue reading.

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