Tag Archives: Bell Media

Amazing Race Canada: And the winners are…

This season of The Amazing Race Canada has seen its share of drama, joy, and tears both happy and sad. It also had a surprising number of close finishes in front of Jon Montgomery. That’s a testament, I think, to how evenly matched the teams have been.

Taylor and Courtney, the clear favourites after winning so many Legs, departed New Brunswick in the lead. They were confident. But confidence can be a killer, especially when you have a team like Courtney and Adam on your tail. Time and time again they dodged elimination; would this be the week they’d win their first—and the most important—Leg of all in their home province? And you couldn’t count out the late surge of Kwame and Dylan.

On the ground in Calgary, the pairs were faced with a Road Block: to enter the airport’s air traffic control tower simulator to memorize two weather reports and then relay them to the senior air traffic controller upstairs. Kwame and the Courtneys tackled the test. It was going to be tough. Taylor was confident his sister would pull it off. And it appeared she would thanks to a trick she’d used in the past: assigning acronyms to things she had to recall.

“Courtney and Taylor are not the team you want in the lead,” Dylan said. It was a huge understatement. The siblings beat it to a waiting helicopter that took them to Banff National Park and Mount Fable for their next clue. At 9,000 feet above sea level, it was one hell of a spot to grab a clue. The scenery was simply stunning; The Amazing Race Canada never disappoints with its choices of location to film at. I did wonder if the producers would let teams go off on their own to find the clue. They rightly erred on the side of caution and had a climber accompany them.

Meanwhile, Courtney and Kwame were stuck at the airport, one word separating each from advancing. Courtney finally said “inform” rather than “tell” and she and Adam left Kwame and Dylan behind. Kwame finally got “altimeter” and they headed out.

Sunshine Village Ski Resort was the next stop and another upward climb—via gondola—to the next clue. In the Leg’s Road Block, Racers had to master two extreme winter sports: skijoring (skiing and dog sledding) two laps and then sledding down a slushy course. The team member who didn’t perform the airport task had to do this one. That meant Taylor, Adam and Dylan had to complete it. With no one else to challenge him, Taylor was able to take his time and build up a routine with his canine companions. A hearty thank you to the producers for replaying Taylor’s faceplant and flip coming out of the slush pond.

The Banff National Park Administration Building was the next location and Courtney and Taylor believed they had a 45-minute lead on the first responders. The next test? A classic Amazing Race Canada memory recall with teams picking through 10 souvenir shops on Banff’s main street for trinkets representing the people, places and things experienced during Heroes Edition. Display them in the correct order and you get to move on. With almost half of the episode left to broadcast, it appeared this was going to determine who would win the season. (It was as Taylor and Courtney started shopping that I noticed the huge snow rash on Taylor’s face.)

Where Taylor and Courtney appeared to just grab and dash with their items, Courtney and Adam took the time to write them down and the countries they were assigned to. It appeared that would give them a huge advantage when it came to assembling them in order. Suddenly, the RCMP officers’ lead was gone as both teams were in the same shop. Dylan and Kwame caught up too … but then assumed there were single items in the stores. Ouch.

Taylor and Courtney were the first team back to the administration building but were short on items, meaning they had to go shopping. It was a tense time in the building as Courtney and Taylor and Courtney and Adam came up short on one tchotchke each. While Adam and Courtney swapped toys back and forth, placing the PEI zombies in a Mexico spot, Taylor and Courtney were grabbing the all-important helicopter.

Suddenly, Adam realized the zombies weren’t part of the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico. And just like that, he and Courtney were in first place and off to the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course via raft in search of Jon Montgomery and the final Pit Stop. Coming in fast were Courtney and Taylor. The only thing standing in the way of a first-place finish was the elusive fifth hole … on the 18-hole course.

And, in a stunning finale, it was Adam and Courtney who finished in first place, outrunning Courtney and Taylor for the title, vehicles, trip for two around the world, and $250,000.

Congratulations to the crew and cast of The Amazing Race Canada. You’re all heroes in my book.

Here’s how the teams finished the final Leg of the Race:

  1. Adam and Courtney
  2. Courtney and Taylor
  3. Kwame and Dylan

Were you happy with the season finale of The Amazing Race Canada? Who would you like to have seen won instead? What did you think of this season overall? Let me know in the comments below.

Flag image courtesy of Bell Media.

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CTV’s new original comedy Jann begins production

From a media release:

CTV, in association with Project 10 Productions and Seven24 Films, announced today that production has begun on the inaugural season of its new original comedy series JANN. Starring multi-platinum award-winning Canadian singer, songwriter, broadcaster, and author Jann Arden as a fictionalized version of herself, the six-episode comedy series takes viewers on “Jann’s” quest for renewed fame in the wake of a waning career, while also dealing with the obligations and pressures of her real life.

A comedy series with heart that bridges fame and family, the supporting cast joining the series includes Zoie Palmer (SEX AFTER KIDS, DARK MATTER), Patrick Gilmore (TRAVELERS; YOU, ME, HER), Deborah Grover (ANNE WITH AN “E”), Alexa Rose Steele (DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION), Jason Blicker (F/X: THE SERIES), Sharon Taylor (BAD BLOOD), and Elena Juatco (OPEN HEART), with surprise celebrity cameos as well.

Produced by Project 10 (SPUN OUT, Spirit Unforgettable), and Seven24 Films (WYNONNA EARP, HEARTLAND) JANN shoots in Calgary until October 4, 2018, and is set to premiere as part of CTV’s 2018/19 schedule.

In JANN, Arden plays a fictionalized version of herself: a singer songwriter of a “certain age” dealing with the harsh reality that her former music career is now on a slow, relentless slide into obscurity. But it’s not just Jann’s career that’s on life support – she’s newly single, her sister may disown her, and her mother may be showing the early signs of dementia. Although Jann’s personal life is in shambles, she’s convinced that the cure-all is to rebrand her image in order to reclaim her celebrity status, so she embarks on a quest to return to greatness but gets tangled in the pressures of her ‘real’ life. Jann is at the crossroads between who she was and who she wants to be – if she can just figure out what’s really important.

Jann Arden is the celebrated multi-platinum award-winning artist who catapulted onto the Canadian music scene in 1993 with the release of her debut album Time For Mercy featuring the hit single, “I Would Die For You”. A year later with Living Under June, she would have her career breakout hit, “Insensitive,” that would solidify her position in the music world. In November 2017, Arden released the Canadian best seller Feeding My Mother – Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss, a book that shares insights, loss, irony, and yes humour, as mother and daughter face the journey together. Arden has released 14 albums with 19 Top 10 singles; her most recent album These Are the Days was released on March 16th, 2018. A proud recipient of a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, she has been inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and has been given the Vantage Women of Originality Award.

JANN was put into development in Spring 2017. The comedy series was co-developed by Bell Media and Project 10 Productions and is produced in association with Project 10 Productions and Seven24 Films.

JANN is executive produced by Andrew Barnsley and Ben Murray for Project 10 Productions and Tom Cox and Jordy Randall for Seven24 Films. Jann Arden, Leah Gauthier, and Jennica Harper are co-creators of the series and will also serve as Executive Producers.

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Amazing Race Canada: Muertos and mercado in Mexico City

I admit it. I had cheerleaders Mar and Leanne as one of the favourites to win this season of The Amazing Race Canada. But one tight-fitting helmet derailed the pair in PEI, setting up what should be very interesting remaining episodes of the Race.

Nancy and Mellisa, who went from worst to first last week (and suffered a few speed bumps along the way) departed for Mexico City in high spirits. But with a population of 21 million, it was going to be a daunting Leg. The first stop upon arriving? The Monumento a la Revolución and a very special clue. Every season of The Amazing Race Canada features messages from loved ones and it took place above Mexico City. There were tears, runny noses and promises to complete the Race. (Tola’s message to Kwame was very emotional, and we got his backstory.) Courtney and Taylor and Adam and Courtney arrived within minutes of each other and were directed to Frontón, Mexico, for their next clue. It was hilarious to see Courtney and Taylor ask to be driven there, only to have the driver point across the street.

In the Road Block, one team member was challenged to don the huge arm scoop of Jai Alai and land one serve. I’ve always wanted to play Jai Alai … not so much after seeing the struggle everyone went through. (I’m pretty sure Jon Montgomery missed his serve.) It only took Dylan a second set of attempts for him to land his serve correctly and the mentors were off in first place, followed by athletes Mel and Nancy. Martina, who is becoming a stronger competitor every week, beat out the Courtneys and she and Phil departed in third. Courtney and Adam completed the task next, leaving the RCMP officers behind. It was sad to see Courtney get down on herself after countless attempts, but she got it after switching to underhand.

The Leg’s Detour was a choice between Mercado (purchasing four ingredients from stalls in a 2,000 shop market and making pico de gallo) or Muertos (going to a park and painting a Day of the Dead mask on their partner’s face). Dylan and Kwame opted for face painting, as did Martina and Phil, Courtney and Adam and Courtney and Taylor. Mellisa and Nancy chose to go shopping and quickly regretted it. Dylan and Kwame did an amazing job on each other’s makeup and left the challenge first. Meanwhile, Mel and Nancy found an angel in Mary, who helped them shop and they were done in no time. Taylor and Courtney remained in last place.

Next up? Learning lines for a faux telenovela The House of Shame and Passion. Yikes. Kwame’s moustache was killer. The Racers embraced their inner scene-chewer as they took turns portraying over-the-top characters. Kwame and Dylan struggled, but gutted it out and departed with their heads held high. Phil’s performance was horrible but the director approved anyway. The pressure was on the remaining duos.

The Leg’s Pit Stop was located in Alameda Central and Kwame and Dylan arrived as the No. 1 team, scoring a trip to Sydney, Australia. Yes, the pair finally came out on top. Martina and Phil continued to impress, followed by Mel and Nancy. It came down to who could remember their lines … and Taylor and Courtney pulled it off, leapfrogging Courtney and Adam. But, as sometimes happens, flagging a taxi can be a challenge. That meant a stressful few moments for viewers leading into the last commercial break of the episode. Who would make it to the mat in time and who would be going home?

Safe: Courtney and Taylor, in a stunning reversal of fortune.

Safe: Courtney and Adam.

Eliminated by mere steps: Mel and Nancy.

Yes, this is a Race, but it was still touching to hear Adam say, “No!” and apologize to Mel and Nancy.

Next week teams fly to New Brunswick. Who do you think has the best chance of winning The Amazing Race Canada? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:

  1. Dylan and Kwame (trip for two to Sydney)
  2. Martina and Phil
  3. Courtney and Taylor
  4. Courtney and Adam
  5. Mel and Nancy (eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Amazing Race Canada: Red earth and raw emotions in PEI

With Courtney and Taylor coming off back-to-back-to-back victories, the RCMP officers seem poised to take The Amazing Race Canada title this season. They don’t bicker and they seem to have fun, two key ingredients to success. But then, fellow siblings Martina and Phil have been crushing it of late; could they be the season’s dark horse team?

With the number of teams dwindling, everyone jetted to one of my favourite spots in this country: Prince Edward Island, home to Cows ice cream, lobster suppers, Anne of Green Gables and potatoes. Lots and lots of potatoes. But before that, the teams had to get there. Courtney and Taylor and Martina and Phil helpfully reminded viewers of the alliance they formed back in Leg 1. Of course, that was foreshadowing. At some point, that alliance would be tested, put into play or broken.

Beaconsfield Historic House was the first location, in downtown Charlottetown, and Kwame and Dylan were the first to arrive. Teams were asked to participate in a scavenger hunt to locate statues of Eckhart the mouse, the hero of a local children’s book. There were nine bronze statues, but only three held Race clues to the next destination. Rather than running all over downtown searching, Mar and Leanne took the time to read up on Eckhart. The result? They collected the first clue before anyone else. Sadly, the fact Courtney and Adam were on a small island didn’t stop them from making a wrong turn. Those two are cursed.

Meanwhile, Mel and Nancy faced their Speed Bump after arriving at Beaconsfield Historic House. There they were instructed to cut hair for charity at The Humble Barber, donating locks. This test was an emotional one for Nancy, who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 45. Needless to say, it was a touching and tearful few minutes showcasing the power of The Amazing Race Canada. It wasn’t revealed how long the Speed Bump lasted, but by the time Mel and Nancy had completed it, they and Courtney and Adam were both asking for maps revealing the locations of Eckhart. Martina and Phil and Courtney and Taylor used their alliance to help the latter team score their final Eckhart location. When we last left Kwame and Dylan, they were wandering aimlessly.

Mar and Leanne found the three pint-sized clues first, followed by Courtney and Adam who used the help of strangers to leave Charlottetown. The aid paid off big-time and they leapfrogged to first place upon arrival at the Road Block. Supper was the order of the day at The Table Culinary Studio but scrambled menus threatened to confuse more than one Racer. Courtney kicked things off on the right foot, followed by Nancy, Mar, Phil and Taylor. Courtney was simply glowing as she received the clue card and ran out to meet Adam. It was good to see them celebrating. Taylor took the time to help Phil decipher his mixed-up menu, repaying them for aid in Charlottetown.

The Detour was, as expected, tuber themed. Teams could either choose to milk goats to make soap and label different types of soap or till the soil and plant potatoes. Every team chose to plant potatoes—I would have too—and Dylan and Kwame were once again left in last place, this time at the restaurant.

For the very first time—on-air at least—we saw Mel and Nancy argue. “Just tell me what to do,” Mel said. “Because that’s what you like to do.” It was a brief altercation, but was it an indication of what each Leg of the Race has been like so far? (Mel’s eye roll said it all.) Still, she brightened up when they completed the task ahead of Courtney and Adam and drove off to Cavendish for a little zombie paintball. Every hit taken by a team while hunting for their next clue was a minute time out.

Mel and Nancy, Courtney and Adam and Courtney and Taylor were the first three pairs to leave for paintball while Mar’s back gave her fits and Dylan and Kwame finally arrived. The drive to Cavendish gave Nancy and Mel the chance to air out their grievances in an honest way. It was uncomfortable to watch, but credit to the producers for really showing the pressure these teams are under. Mel and Nancy apologized to each other … and then got hit 15 times for a 15-minute penalty. Courtney and Adam were assessed a 16-minute penalty and had a minute to sit and watch Mel and Nancy exit for the Pit Stop. Courtney and Taylor were hit 23 times while Martina and Phil were hit 19. Leanne battled her fear of enclosed spaces for as long as she could but she had to bow out, giving Dylan and Kwame an open door as they were given a two-hour penalty. Dylan and Kwame were only hit 14 times, closing the gap between them and the cheerleaders.

This Leg’s Pit Stop was located on a lovely Cavendish beach where Nancy and Mel checked in and received a trip for two to Istanbul. It was pretty cool to see last week’s saved team land in the top spot. Clearly, PEI was just the salve some teams needed, as Courtney and Adam were second on the mat. Dylan and Kwame found their way to the Pit Stop in plenty of time. It was a muted celebration for them as they claimed the final spot on the Leg and Leanne and Mar were eliminated from the Race.

Were you sad to see the cheerleaders leave? Who do you think will win? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:

  1. Mel and Nancy (trip for two to Istanbul)
  2. Courtney and Adam
  3. Taylor and Courtney
  4. Martina and Phil
  5. Dylan and Kwame
  6. Mar and Leanne (two-hour penalty, eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Vice and Bell Media join forces for innovative new partnership in Canada

From a media release:

Bell Media and VICE Media announced today a new, long-term, far-reaching agreement that delivers the best of VICE programming, original VICE productions, and a new media sales relationship.

The arrangement sees Bell Media become the exclusive Canadian broadcast home to new original programming from VICE’s U.S. linear network, VICELAND, along with hundreds of hours of library VICE programming, all debuting on multiple Bell Media platforms, including CraveTV, in the fall of 2018.

New VICE programming such as the upcoming THE HUNT FOR THE TRUMP TAPES WITH TOM ARNOLD and MUNCHIES GUIDE TO will exclusively air on television on Bell Media channels. Bell Media has also acquired the TV, digital, and SVOD rights to more than 650 hours of VICE library programming, including the Emmy®-nominated GAYCATION, WHAT WOULD DIPLO DO? starring James Van Der Beek, MOST EXPENSIVEST starring Grammy Award-winner 2 Chainz, SLUTEVER, F*CK THAT’S DELICIOUS with Action Bronson, VICE GUIDE TO FILM, MY HOUSE, KING OF THE ROAD, HAMILTON’S PHARMACOPEIA, and ABANDONED.

Both companies will also explore co-production opportunities for Bell Media platforms in Canada and VICE platforms around the world. It was announced today that The Movie Network (TMN) has commissioned the sequel to the acclaimed VICE documentary DOPESICK, entitled DOPESICK2: THE FUTURE OF ADDICTION.

The two companies will also utilize their respective expertise by forming an advertising sales relationship that will see VICE and Bell Media combine their capabilities to bring innovative, multi-platform solutions to clients.

VICE programming will also be available on the upcoming CTV Super Hub and in a VICE-branded collection on CraveTV. SnackableTV, Bell Media’s new short-form video app, will become home to VICE videos like SMOKE SHOW and TEENAGE EXORCISTS.

Bell Media has previously showcased VICE programming on HBO Canada, including the Emmy-winning documentary series VICE (Fridays at midnight ET) and Emmy-winning weeknight series VICE NEWS TONIGHT (Monday-Thursday at midnight ET). VICE special reports like A WORLD IN DISSARAY are available on HBO Canada On Demand.

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