Tag Archives: Bell Media

Links: SurrealEstate, Season 1

From Victoria Ahearn of the Canadian Press:

Link: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ actors Tim Rozon, Sarah Levy reunite as co-stars on ‘SurrealEstate’
When the CBC sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” finished its run in April of last year just as the pandemic ramped up, cast member Sarah Levy anticipated a dry spell on the work front. Continue reading.

From CBC:

Link: New supernatural TV show shot in N.L. continuing to push production in province
The housing market in St. John’s has seen a boom over the past year and a half, but what if the houses for sale were haunted? That’s the premise of the latest TV show to be filmed in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will hit the airwaves later this month. Continue reading.

From Stephanie Webber of Us Weekly:

Link: Sarah Levy Reunites With ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Costar Tim Rozon in ‘SurrealEstate’: He’s a ‘Great Actor and Human Being’
Twyla and Mutt together again! Sarah Levy couldn’t put the “pilot script down” for SYFY’s SurrealEstate — and wanted to join the show even more once she learned her former Schitt’s Creek costar Tim Rozon was already attached as the star. Continue reading.

From Meredith Jacobs of TV Insider:

Link: ‘SurrealEstate’ Stars Tim Rozon & Sarah Levy on Why Their Characters Work Well Together
If you’re having problems selling your house because it’s haunted or possessed, you need look no further than the Roman Agency on SurrealEstate. Real estate agent Luke Roman (Tim Rozon) and his team of specialists handle the problem houses, the ones that scare would-be buyers (and sellers). Continue reading.

From Jeff Pfeiffer of Main Street Nashvile:

Link: Tim Rozon and Sarah Levy reteam for Syfy’s fun and frightening ‘SurrealEstate’
It’s been said to be a “seller’s market” for real estate lately. But even under such favorable conditions, the owners of the places featured in Syfy’s fun and frightening new scripted series SurrealEstate, premiering Friday, would find it impossible to unload their properties. A leaky roof or a crack in a foundation may not be deal breakers for motivated home buyers; poltergeists, demon dogs and portals to hell in a cellar, on the other hand, certainly are. Continue reading.

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: From gunslinger on ‘Wynonna Earp’ to paranormal real estate agent in new series, it’s all surreal
Doc Holliday’s moustache almost came between Tim Rozon and Luke Roman. Rozon, the Montreal-born actor who played immortal gunslinger Doc for four seasons on supernatural dramedy “Wynonna Earp,” was on the phone earlier this week describing how he got the part of Luke, a realtor who specializes in haunted houses in “SurrealEstate,” which debuts Friday on Syfy and CTV Sci-Fi Channel. Continue reading.

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Links: Corner Gas Animated, Season 4

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: Brent Butt sets up the 4th and final season of Corner Gas Animated
Check out the latest from Brent Butt, my guest this week on brioux.tv: the podcast. The creator, writer, executive producer and star of Corner Gas Animated returns to brioux.tv: the podcast to set up the fourth and final season of his award-winning series. Continue reading.

From Greg Harder of the Regina Leader Post:

Link: Corner Gas animated series set to go out with a bang
This may be the end of the road for Corner Gas, but that doesn’t mean its final incarnation is running on fumes. Continue reading.

From Stephen Cooke of Saltwire:

Link: Halifax-raised Corrine Koslo reflects on final fill-up for Corner Gas Animated
It’s a long way to go from rural Saskatchewan to seaside Nova Scotia, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Continue reading.

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Bell Media announces English and French-language original programming orders and renewals for 2021/22 season

From a media release:

Bell Media confirmed today a robust Canadian content lineup of more than 75 titles for its 2021-22 season, featuring orders of new original series, documentaries, and specials. Fueling English and French-language services across Bell Media properties, and produced in partnership with independent production partners and Bell Media Studios, the new orders and series join a strong roster of award-winning returning shows, and can’t-miss documentaries and specials.

Among today’s announcements:

Veena Sood (CORNER GAS ANIMATED), Dmitry Chepovetsky (KILLJOYS), and Lisa Codrington (LETTERKENNY) join previously announced cast of new CTV Original comedy CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING, created by Emmy® Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (SCHITT’S CREEK), and executive produced by Chuck Tatham (MODERN FAMILY) and Mark Montefiore (LETTERKENNY).

The CTV Original slate also includes a double season order of the English-language adaption ROAST BATTLE CANADA for CTV Comedy Channel, hosted by Ennis Esmer (CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING), and featuring Russell Peters (THE INDIAN DETECTIVE), Sabrina Jalees (CAROL’S SECOND ACT), and K. Trevor Wilson (LETTERKENNY); Mary Berg’s new previously confirmed culinary series MARY MAKES IT EASY for CTV Life Channel; new haunting drama SURREALESTATE starring Tim Rozon (WYNONNA EARP) and Sarah Levy (SCHITT’S CREEK) for CTV Sci-Fi Channel; and previously confirmed new seasons of award-winning hits TRANSPLANT (Season 2) and JANN (Season 3) for CTV, and CORNER GAS ANIMATED (Season 4) for CTV Comedy Channel.

Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Canada’s most-watched summer series, THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, is heading back on the road in 2022.

In addition to a strong roster of original documentaries, Crave confirmed orders for new and innovative scripted comedy DU ME A FAVOR starring 4YE Original’s Jermaine Richards and Trevaunn Richards; six-part, limited dramatic series LITTLE BIRD, created by Jennifer Podemski (UNSETTLED), who also serves as executive producer, and Hannah Moscovitch (X COMPANY), with Jeremy Podeswa (GAME OF THRONES) and Rezolution Pictures/Original Pictures as executive producers; and gripping investigative series THUNDER BAY, produced and hosted by Anishinaabe journalist and award-winning writer Ryan McMahon, who works to uncover the truth in the recent deaths of multiple Indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Crave also adds 10-part comedy PILLOW TALK, an adaptation of the French-language Noovo series, ENTRE DEUX DRAPS, set entirely in people’s bedrooms; and drag queen and CANADA’S DRAG RACE judge Brooke Lynn Hytes hosts new eight-part series 1 QUEEN 5 QUEERS, an update to MTV Canada hit 1 GIRL 5 GAYS, which ran from 2009 to 2014. Plus, as previously announced, CANADA’S DRAG RACE returns for its sophomore season.

As production begins on Seasons 10 and 11 of acclaimed series LETTERKENNY, Crave confirms upcoming LETTERKENNY spin-off series SHORESY.

New French programming on Crave this season includes docuseries QUI A TUÉ MARIE-JOSÉE?, which follows the murky case of Marie-Josée Saint-Antoine to find out what happened to the Quebec model. Plus, Crave’s first French original production, POUR TOUJOURS, PLUS UN JOUR, is back for a second season.

Discovery Networks adds MOTHER TRUCKERS about a female led trucking company’s treacherous hauls to the North; chainsaw-wielding competition series A CUT ABOVE; and unlocks centuries-old mysteries of hidden artifacts, infrastructure, and Underground Railroad and railroad routes in the new four-part series UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SECRETS (working title). MUD MOUNTAIN HAULERS, HIGHWAY THRU HELL, and HEAVY RESCUE: 401 are also set to return for new seasons.

Bell Media confirms new documentaries including OSCAR PETERSON about the jazz legend; a look at a Canadian rock-trio in TRIUMPH: ROCK & ROLL MACHINE; NAKED, a documentary that follows individuals and communities, experts and artists around the globe who are radically and joyfully redefining gender as we know it; and WILFRED BUCK, which follows one Cree elder’s dedication to unearthing and sharing Indigenous star knowledge by weaving together his harrowing past and present life.

Bell Media Studios delivers new seasons of YOUR MORNING, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, THE SOCIAL, and ETALK – which celebrates its milestone 20th season, and 11 years as Canada’s most-watched entertainment news program.

This fall, Noovo once again relies on top-quality Quebec programming, including new drama series VIRAGE, …MOI NON PLUS!, and L’HOMME QUI AIMAIT TROP. Returning this fall are LA FAMILLE GROULX for Canal Vie, and hit series CORDE RAIDE for Z, with additional titles to be announced for 2022 in the coming months.

Bell Media’s New English and French-Language Primetime Original Entertainment Productions Slate from Independent Producers Includes the Following.

New English-Language Series:

1 QUEEN 5 QUEERS – Crave
Drag queen and CANADA’S DRAG RACE judge Brooke Lynn Hytes, our Queen of the North, is here and ready to lead fierce and fiery discussions about all things queer in the new eight-part series 1 QUEEN 5 QUEERS. The show, an update to MTV Canada hit 1 GIRL 5 GAYS that ran from 2009 to 2014, offers a platform for a broad range of queer voices and reflects the awareness and values of a new generation of viewers. Led by Brooke Lynn herself, each episode is focused on a single topic and brings together a panel of diverse voices to speak openly and honestly through fast-paced, no-holds-barred conversations. It is chaotic and raw, quick and unfiltered, engaging, possibly enraging…but always inspiring. (Bell Media Studios)

A CUT ABOVE – Discovery
From the producers of BLOWN AWAY, this brand new cutting-edge competition series features twelve of the best chainsaw wielding carvers form across North America turning ordinary logs into intricate works of art. In each episode, the carvers face two time sensitive challenges to test their skills and creativity: a Quick Carve that tests their technique and the functionality of the carved piece followed by an elaborate, high-stakes themed Main Challenge to help decide who advances and who goes home. Throughout the series, competitors are mentored and judged by a panel of highly respected Master Carvers. In the end, there can only be one winner who will take home the cash prize and be named A Cut Above the rest? (marblemedia)

CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING – CTV
Created by Emmy® Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (SCHITT’S CREEK), CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING follows a set of parents, as they raise their two young children and struggle to hold on to their pre-kid life. But can one be a parent and have the strong desire to live a beautiful, easy, cool, not-covered-in-snot life? In CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING, Astrid and James struggle with this paradox, as they try to maintain sanity in the face of their young children. The series chronicles their war of identity – one conceded battle at a time – that illustrates the hilarious and varied ways kids can wreck happiness, annihilate goals and dreams, and re-invent lives. It explores how sometimes, if parents are very lucky, their re-invented life is sort of okay, too. Nowhere near as good as that old, really great life. But still kinda nice. The eight-episode, half-hour series stars Meaghan Rath (HAWAII FIVE-0) and Aaron Abrams (HANNIBAL), with Ennis Esmer (BLINDSPOT), Nazneen Contractor (RANSOM), and introducing Logan Nicholson and Mikayla SwamiNathan. Veena Sood (CORNER GAS ANIMATED), Dmitry Chepovetsky (KILLJOYS), and Lisa Codrington (LETTERKENNY) join the cast in supporting roles. (New Metric Media in association with CTV)

DU ME A FAVOR – Crave
Jae and Trey’s DU ME A FAVOR is a half-hour loosely scripted series following wannabe fashion moguls, Jermaine Richards and Trevaunn Richards. The durag, a thin headscarf that has been vilified and misunderstood for years, is now the focus of their mission of redemption, de-stigmatization, and monetization. Jermaine Richards and Trevaunn Richards serve as executive producers alongside Mark Montefiore. (New Metric Media)

LITTLE BIRD – Crave
LITTLE BIRD is a premium, six-part limited dramatic series about an Indigenous woman on a journey to find her birth family and uncover the hidden truth of her past. Bezhig Little Bird was adopted into a Jewish family at the age of five, becoming Esther Rosenblum. Now in her 20s, Bezhig longs for the family she lost and is willing to sacrifice everything to find them. Her quest lands her in the Canadian prairies, worlds apart from everything she knows, where she begins unravel the mystery behind her adoption forcing her to question everything she believed to be true. When she discovers that she was one of the generation of children forcibly apprehended by the Canadian government through a policy, later coined The 60s Scoop, Bezhig’s pursuit to reconnect her family intensifies. This groundbreaking new series explores themes of trauma and loss while reminding us of the power and resilience of the human spirit, holding a mirror up to who we are and who we hope to become. Bell Media is in partnership with APTN for LITTLE BIRD. The series will launch simultaneously on Crave and APTN lumi. Further details to be announced. Created by Jennifer Podemski and Hannah Moscovitch. Directors include Zoe Hopkins. Executive producers are Podemski, Moskovitch, and Jeremy Podeswa. Catherine Bainbridge, Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick, and Ernest Webb serve as executive producers for Rezolution Pictures, and Kim Todd and Nicholas Hirst serve as executive producers for Original Pictures. (Rezolution Pictures, Original Pictures)

MARY MAKES IT EASY – CTV Life Channel
The kitchen is Mary Berg’s happy place, and she wants it to be yours too – whether you’re bored of your repertoire, or scared to try something new. On MARY MAKES IT EASY, join Berg as she takes you step-by-step through recipes guaranteed to impress without the stress. Filmed in Toronto at her home kitchen, the series follows Berg as she shares tips, tricks, and recipes to solve every day cooking conundrums. From ideas on what to make with a fridge full of leftovers, to lackluster chicken emergencies, Berg’s thoughtful solutions for viewers leaves them with a newfound confidence to overcome any challenges they encounter on their culinary journey. The series is hosted by Canadian Screen Award-winner Mary Berg (MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH). (Boat Rocker Studios, Unscripted through Proper Television)

MOTHER TRUCKERS – Discovery
The frozen north: home to dozens of remote communities that are inaccessible by conventional roads or railways. Above the tree line, lakes, rivers, and spongy, low-lying bogs, called muskeg, cover the landscape. For eight short weeks, from early February to late March, the ice is thick enough to support an 80,000-pound truck filled with supplies. The winter roads are the lifeblood for thousands of people living in the North. Building supplies and medical equipment, construction vehicles, fuel, and food all have a short window for delivery. It is simply too expensive to get heavy goods in by air. So the winter roads trucking season is essential. And slammed Geraldine Horbas runs the first trucking company to haul loads to the frozen North. Geraldine is calling on the legendary Lisa Kelly (Ice Road Truckers), and friends to haul double and triple the loads they normally carry on the most treacherous ice roads ever. These MOTHER TRUCKERS will do whatever it takes to bring communities the supplies they need to survive the winter and make it home alive. MOTHER TRUCKERS is produced by Prospero Pictures and Eagle Vision and represented in the US and globally by Rive Gauche Television, an Aftershock Media Company. (Prospero Pictures and Eagle Vision)

PILLOW TALK – Crave
An adaptation of the French-language Noovo series, ENTRE DEUX DRAPS, PILLOW TALK is a 10-part comedy that takes place entirely in bedrooms. The series mainly revolves around five twosomes of completely different ages and backgrounds. With a realistic tone, the dramatic comedy explores in a raw and disarming way all the various scenarios experienced in the intimacy of the bedroom. Louis Morissette, Louis-Philippe Drolet, Alain Chicoine, and Mélanie Viau are exclusive producers. (KOTV Productions)

ROAST BATTLE CANADA – CTV Comedy Channel
The previously announced ROAST BATTLE CANADA has been renewed for a second season in advance of its series debut. Based on the format from ViacomCBS International Studios Distribution, the eight, half-hour episode series builds on the success of Bell Media’s French-language version, ROAST BATTLE: LE GRAND DUEL, which is consistently a top-ranking series for Z. The English-language adaption, ROAST BATTLE CANADA, sees two pairs of Canadian comics faceoff in each episode, hurling ruthless jokes at each other in hopes of coming out unscathed and crowned the victor by a distinguished panel of judges. Presiding over each episode are megastar comedian Russell Peters; writer, producer, actor, and all-around funny person, Sabrina Jalees (CAROL’S SECOND ACT); and Season 1 ROAST BATTLE semi-finalist K. Trevor Wilson (LETTERKENNY). Actor and comedian Ennis Esmer (CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING) serves as host. (Just For Laughs and Counterfeit Pictures)

SHORESY – Crave
From the team behind the smash-hit series LETTERKENNY comes its first official spin-off, SHORESY. Created by, written by, and starring Jared Keeso, directed by Jacob Tierney, and produced by New Metric Media in partnership with WildBrain and Play Fun Games, in this new series, Shoresy joins a senior triple hockey AAA team in Northern Ontario on a quest to never lose again. (New Metric Media)

SURREALESTATE – CTV Sci-Fi Chanel
One-hour drama SURREALESTATE is about a team of real estate specialists who investigate, discover, and correct unconventional problems that make certain properties difficult to sell. Tim Rozon (WYNONNA EARP) is Luke Roman, of The Roman Agency; an agency with the talent for flipping “metaphysically engaged” properties – a.k.a haunted houses. (Blue Ice Pictures)

THUNDER BAY – Crave
THUNDER BAY is a four-part Crave Original documentary series based on the groundbreaking podcast from CANADALAND, Thunder Bay. The gripping investigative series is produced and also hosted by Anishinaabe journalist and award-winning writer, Ryan McMahon, who is on a quest to uncover the truth in the recent deaths of multiple Indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ontario – a city known as the homicide and hate crime capital of Canada. McMahon’s investigation sheds light on the history of racism in Thunder Bay, and examines the failings and the injustices of its social systems and institutions. The series unravels the country’s complicated relationship with colonialism, examining the consequences of the broken system in which some can thrive, while many others, disproportionally struggle to survive. Produced, written, and hosted by Ryan McMahon. Directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. (Series is also produced by eOne)

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SECRETS (working title) – Discovery
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SECRETS (working title) is a ground-breaking, four-part, factual documentary series using modern archeological tools, techniques, and innovative science to unlock centuries-old mysteries and immerse viewers deep within the secret Underground Railroad routes that spanned North America. (Attraction)

UP THE DISH – CTV Life Channel
UP THE DISH features multiple, high-caliber chefs reworking classic recipes and presenting a variation of each iconic dish. Each half-hour episode starts with a classic version of the featured dish, followed by an alternate version, a vegan or vegetarian option, and culminating in an over-the-top, show-stopping final version, such as a five-star presentation or a tasty dessert. (Gusto Worldwide Media)

WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! – Crave
Previously confirmed WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! is a smart, playful six-part documentary series about the end of the world. Drawing together science, psychology, pop culture, and philosophy, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! meets our fascination with the apocalypse head-on. Stuart Henderson and Gordon Henderson are executive producers. (90th Parallel Productions)

New English-Language Documentaries and Specials:

A.RTIFICIAL I.MMORTALITY – Crave Original Documentary
Directed by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Ann Shin, A.RTIFICIAL I.MMORTALITY was selected as the Opening Night film at the 2021 Hot Docs Festival, and explores the latest technological advancements in AI, robotics, and biotech to pose the tempting question: if you could live forever through AI, would you? Inspired by the transhumanist movement and facing the reality of death as her father suffers from dementia, Shin begins an investigation into the complex world of digital cloning through AI. The film explores these questions with visionaries including: Nick Bostrom, author of Superintelligence; Hiroshi Ishiguro, developer of his own uncannily realistic clone Geminoid; Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human; Ben Goertzel, founder of Singularity.net who coined the term Artificial General Intelligence; and Deepak Chopra, who is creating his own A.I. mind twin. (Fathom Film Group)

BAM BAM: THE STORY OF SISTER NANCY – Crave Original Documentary
BAM BAM: THE STORY OF SISTER NANCY is a feature music documentary that explores the wild story behind how Sister Nancy’s hit song “Bam Bam” became the most sampled reggae vocal of all time, and uncovers a decades-long deception. From Nancy’s unprecedented entry into the male-dominated 80s Dancehall scene in Kingston, Jamaica, to her courageous fight to control her music, Sister Nancy’s story is not only one of resilience but also one of celebration. Ultimately, this is an inspirational music documentary about a woman dusting herself off after being held back by an industry known for silencing female artists and hell-bent on empowering others – with her music and knowledge to make a difference. Proving to all that good music, no matter what can’t be stopped! Directed by Alison Duke. Produced by OYA Media with Ngardy Conteh George and Alison Duke serving as producers. Executive Producer is Moss Raxlen. (OYA Media Group)

THE BONES – Crave Original Documentary
THE BONES is a stunning, cinematic exploration of the high stakes business of dinosaur bone trading, where obsessive collectors compete with museums, scientists, and high-end auction houses to own a piece of the past. It’s a story of intrigue; an illicit caper at the collision of science and commerce. Directed by Jeremy Xido. Produced by Ina Fichman, Intuitive Pictures. Co-Producer, Stefan Pannen, Berlin Producers. Executive Producers are Ina Fichman, Thomas Campbell Jackson, and Jared Moshe. (Intuitive Pictures)

BUFFY SAINTE MARIE: POWER IN THE BLOOD – CTV and Crave Original Documentary
For more than 50 years, Buffy Sainte-Marie has been a star. Her songs are legendary, her impact undeniable. One of Canada’s most-respected Indigenous leaders, she’s a pioneer of music and activism, and has left an indelible mark on the world. The film tells Buffy’s incredible story through exclusive access, rare archives, insightful interviews, and great music. The 90-min documentary BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: POWER IN THE BLOOD celebrates Buffy’s extraordinary achievements, dispels myths, sets the record straight, and illustrates that in a time of chaos and division, we’ve never needed Buffy more than now. (White Pine Pictures & Eagle Vision, developed in association with Wolfwalker)

FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Crave Original Documentary
Sometime in the 1960s, in sunny Sacramento, two Filipina-American sisters got together with other teenage girls to play music. Little did they know their garage band would evolve into the legendary rock group Fanny, the first all-women band to release an LP with a major record label (Warner/Reprise, 1970). Despite releasing five critically-acclaimed albums over five years, touring with famed bands from Slade to Chicago, and amassing a dedicated fan base of music legends including David Bowie, Fanny’s groundbreaking impact in music was written out of history…until bandmates reunite 50 years later with a new rock record deal. With incredible archival footage of the band’s rocking past intercut with its next chapter releasing a new LP today, the film includes interviews with a large cadre of music icons, including Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, Bonnie Raitt, The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine, Todd Rundgren, The Runaways’ Cherie Currie, Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, and The B52’s Kate Pierson. Fighting early barriers of race, gender, and sexuality in the music industry, and now ageism, the incredible women of Fanny are ready to claim their hallowed place in the halls of rock ‘n’ roll fame. FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK recently had its World Premiere at the 2021 Hot Docs Festival, where it took home the coveted Audience Choice Award. Directed by Bobbi Jo Hart. (Adobe Productions International Inc.)

THE GRIZZLIE TRUTH – Crave Original Documentary
From the team behind Finding Big Country and The Carter Effect, THE GRIZZLIE TRUTH follows basketball superfan (and the film’s director) Kat Jayme on a quest for truth and redemption for her hometown NBA team, the Vancouver Grizzlies…who mysteriously disappeared after just six seasons. Through Kat’s unwavering devotion, this documentary explores the unique and remarkable story of how Vancouver won an NBA franchise against all odds, only to lose the team in record time. This is the untold story of the gone, but far from forgotten, Vancouver Grizzlies. Full of heart and humour, THE GRIZZLIE TRUTH is much more than a sports story; it’s a mystery, a comedy of errors, and an underdog epic. (Grizz Films in partnership with Uninterrupted)

JUST FOR LAUGHS STAND-UP – CTV Comedy Channel and Crave
CTV Comedy Channel and Crave are back in Montréal this summer for the triumphant return of the Just For Laughs Festival, shooting six stand-up specials that feature a diverse mix of comedy’s “who’s who” and future stars. (Just For Laughs)

KINGS OF COKE – Crave Original Documentary
People often think about Miami when it comes to cocaine, but Montréal may have been the biggest drug kingdom of them all. By the 70s, Montréal, the infamous party town, was engulfed in mayhem. The city had become known as the bank robbery capital of North America with more heists than New York or Los Angeles. Then, a brazen group of thieves moved into the drug trade, smuggling cocaine on a global scale. This 90-minute, true crime documentary chronicles the path to power of one of Montréal’s most influential and violent gangs, the infamous West End Gang, and the cops and journalists who pursued its three leaders. It’s an unlikely rise and inevitable fall, but more importantly, it’s a largely forgotten and underreported story, even for the most seasoned of true crime fans. KINGS OF COKE is produced by Michael Kronish and directed by Julian Sher. (Connect 3, Urbania Media)

NAKED – Crave Original Documentary
A documentary feature film about the gender binary. What is it, how does it manifest itself in our minds and our lives – and how can we go beyond? NAKED follows individuals and communities, experts, and artists around the globe who right now are radically and joyfully redefining gender as we know it. Together, we explore their vision of a future beyond the gender binary. Directed by Stephanie Weimar. Executive Producer is Michael McMahon. Producers are Kevin McMahon and Felicity Justrabo. (Primitive Entertainment)

ONE BIG RECIPE HOLIDAY SPECIAL – CTV Life Channel
ONE BIG RECIPE is all about cooking for family and friends and so are the holidays! Chef Kimberly Lallouz offers her take on holiday favourites in this seasonal one-hour special episode. Her first course is a Moroccan spiced beet latke with lightly dressed greens and crème fraiche. Next, whole fennel is braised tender, gratinéed and spiked with apple chutney. Entrees include a one-of-a-king turkey breast ‘buche de Noel’ roulade and a juicy, beefy espresso-red wine spiked brisket roast. Along with her main course come her unique, single-serving stuffin’ muffins, two sauces, sugar snap peas and watermelon radishes. Viewers won’t want to leave without seeing her sweet hostess gifts – white chocolate brittle-bark and perfect sugar cookies. (Gusto Worldwide Media)

OSCAR PETERSON – CTV and Crave Original Documentary
There are very few other musical artists that have had reverential and lauded careers that have sustained over six decades, and still remain top of mind as a giant and legend amongst jazz musicians. Oscar Peterson, or simply “O.P” by his friends, or “the King of inside swing,” is easily considered one of the greatest and most prolific jazz pianists, featuring a career that included thousands of worldwide concerts and the mentoring of hundreds of protégées. The documentary features exclusive interviews with Billy Joel, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and Ramsey Lewis, and is directed by acclaimed director Barry Avrich (DAVID FOSTER: OFF THE RECORD). (Melbar Entertainment Group)

PAR-LAY – THE FRED VANVLEET STORY – TSN
An original documentary profiling the inspiring story of the Toronto Raptors star, this feature biopic charts VanVleet’s rise to prominence as a basketball star, and the unwavering belief in himself, as he blazes his own unique path to becoming an NBA Champion. Set to premiere on Canada’s Sports Leader TSN in the fall of 2021. (UNINTERRUPTED Canada, Par-Lay Content)

RESIDENT ORCA – Crave Original Documentary
In the summer of 2018 killer whale Tahlequah makes international news headlines, when she carries her dead calf for more than 17 days and 1000 miles in an unprecedented show of mourning. What would make a mother whale go to such lengths? RESIDENT ORCA tells the story of the mysterious decline of Tahlequah’s clan, the Southern Resident Killer Whales, and the team of scientists working to uncover not only what is killing them, but also how to prevent their imminent extinction. Co-directed and co-produced by Simon Schneider and Sarah Sharkey Pearce. (Everyday Films)

TRIUMPH: ROCK & ROLL MACHINE – CTV and Crave Original Documentary
Known simply as Triumph, this rock-trio dominated radio and MTV in the 80s, and were the envy of the touring business with even Michael Jackson taking a page out of their live show book. But despite being one of the world’s biggest rock bands, the trio split at the height of their fame and seemingly disappeared without explanation to their fans or media. Set to a mesmerizing visual backdrop of spandex, 80s hair, and explosive pyro, TRIUMPH: ROCK & ROLL MACHINE reveals a deeper story about fame and the human condition as the band reunites for what might be the very last time they play music together. Directed by Sam Dunn and Marc Ricciardelli. (Banger Films in association with Revolver)

WILFRED BUCK – Crave Original Documentary
WILFRED BUCK is a hybrid feature documentary centering on a Cree elder who’s dedicated his life to unearthing and sharing Indigenous star knowledge. Weaving together his harrowing past and his present life with sky stories, this cinematic film explores colonization’s attempts to extinguish Indigenous ways of knowing, the values of interrelationship that shape Indigenous science, and how this worldview paves a healthier path forward for our planet. Directed by Lisa Jackson. Executive producers are David Christensen, Nicholas de Pencier, and Jennifer Baichwal. (Door Number 3 in association with the National Film Board)

New French-Language Series:

The following new series will come to Noovo, Canal Vie, Z, Canal D, Crave, and Vrak in Fall 2021 and early 2022, with additional titles to be announced for 2022 in the coming months.

BIENVENUE À LA SHOP! – Z
This documentary series immerses viewers in the fascinating world of custom classic car restoration. It follows a dedicated team that works on fixing up cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, as well as boats and appliances. BIENVENUE À LA SHOP! introduces viewers to a tight-knit clan with no shortage of business. (Anémone Films)

CAMPUS – VRAK
This fall, VRAK presents a new series for young adults. Following a tragic incident, seven students try to get through the ordeal by sticking together: Alex, Cédric, and Yasmine, a polyamorous trio; Yandou, a recently arrived immigrant from Senegal; Béthanie, a free-spirited young woman with a secret; Myriam, a social justice warrior; and Taylor, who is haunted by past mistakes. They form close bonds, like a family of choice. Their daily lives are marked by a sense of togetherness but also by stress from their post-secondary studies, along with multiple love affairs and their efforts to speak out against abuse. Through thick and thin, these young adults strive to keep their close-knit gang together. (Duo Productions)

CLUB SOLY – Noovo
Arnaud Soly brings his unique brand of comedy to Noovo. The Discovery of the Year at the most recent Gala Les Olivier, and his accomplices Katherine Levac, Virginie Fortin, Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais, Julien Corriveau, Richardson Zéphyr, and Anas Hassouna, review the latest news stories and media trends while examining the ways we respond to and comment on them. They will also be joined by celebrity guests. Led by Rafaële Germain, the writing team includes Arnaud Soly, Julien Corriveau, LeLouis Courchesne, and Suzie Bouchard. (Encore Télévision)

COUPLES À BOUTTE – Canal Vie
Following the hits MÈRES À BOUTTE and CÉLIBATAIRES À BOUTTE, this series chronicles the journeys of people who are going through relationship difficulties, or have decided to break up. All couples face problems, for a wide variety of reasons: money, domestic chores, infidelity, children’s education, communication, or sexuality. Nevertheless, being in a relationship is still viewed as the ultimate success symbol. Featuring Kim Rusk and Marie-Ève Piché (Maman Caféine). (Sphère Média)

ESCOUADE POILUE – Canal Vie
A few years ago, Anne-Caroline Coutu decided to quit her job as a sales clerk to pursue a career in animal entertainment for people who need it at schools, daycares, and long-term care centres. Her animals, including a miniature pony, all live in her home and help her bring joy to those around her. (Productions ToRoS)

QUI A TUÉ MARIE-JOSÉE? – Crave
Marie-Josée Saint-Antoine, a Quebec model living in New York, was stabbed in her Manhattan apartment on June 18, 1982. The New York Police had few clues. One name cropped up repeatedly: Alain Montpetit, a major TV and disco star in Quebec. Although he was never accused, he put a halt to his career and then died of a drug overdose. Forty years later, a team revisits the evidence in this murky case to find out what happened to Marie-Josée. (Attraction Images)

LE JOUR J – Canal Vie
In this eye-opening magazine show, Julie Snyder offers a rare glimpse inside her private world. After raising her two kids in a huge hundred-year-old house, the host and producer is preparing to box up 15 years of her life. She has to renovate her large heritage house in Outremont, decorate her new condo to better suit her lifestyle, and dispose of treasures she has collected over the years. With the help of real estate agent Georges Bardagi and designers Jacinthe Piotte and Nicola Tardif-Bourdages, Julie will downsize from 10,000 to 2,500 square feet! (Productions ToRoS)

LE PUNCH CLUB – Z
Z presents a new improv competition showcasing some of Quebec’s most popular comedic stars. Inspired by the league of the same name, this improv show combines the energy of a rap performance with the excitement of a wrestling match. Richardson Zéphir and Ève Côté serve as the commentary team, while Tammy Verge conducts interviews with the performers. Featuring Marie-Soleil Dion, Virginie Fortin, Mehdi Bousaidan, André Robitaille, LeLouis Courchesne, Marie-Ève Morency, Michelle Desrochers, and Vincent Bolduc. (St Laurent TV)

LES SŒURS DUFOUR-LAPOINTE: D’UN RÊVE À L’AUTRE – Canal Vie
This documentary series explores the daily lives of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, three exceptional athletes dealing with the doubts and challenges that all of us have to face at some point. During the year of filming, the three women experienced some exciting developments that left them with some tough decisions to make. (KOTV)

L’HOMME QUI AIMAIT TROP – Noovo
This winter, viewers will be introduced to a new drama by Anne Boyer and Michel d’Astous, with a cast that includes Patrice Godin, Hélène Florent, Fanny Malette, and Nadia Kounds. The series tells the story of Marc-Alexandre, who suffers a terrible accident. In the hospital, while hovering between life and death, those close to him discover a disturbing secret: unknown to all, Marc-André is leading a double life with another wife and family. He even has a young lover. How could this be possible? And what if it wasn’t an accident at all? (Duo Productions)

…MOI NON PLUS! – Noovo
Catherine-Anne Toupin and Vincent Leclerc stars in this comedy-drama set in the world of Quebec media and politics. The pair play Sarah, a down-on-her-luck politician, and Christian, a commentator viewed as her biggest critic, who co-host a radio show. Through their fiery debates, they develop an attraction for each other, which throws a wrench in their life and career plans. The cast also includes Pierre Curzi, Christiane Pasquier, Frédéric Pierre, Alice Pascual, Shelby Jean-Baptiste, Sarah-Maxine Racicot, and Dylan Walsh. The series is based on an original idea by Catherine-Anne Toupin, who scripted it along with Karina Goma. (Encore Télévision)

MONTRÉAL SOUS SURVEILLANCE – Canal D
This new documentary series takes viewers behind-the-scenes of public security. Starting from the security operations centre, it explores various Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal CIUSSS service points, ranging from a hospital to a vaccination clinic, as well as youth centres and emergency services available to the public. Viewers will witness the human dramas that the centre’s agents deal with on a daily basis. (Attraction Images)

PEUR DE RIEN! – Z
Accompanied by a celebrity guest, Babu heads for a town in Quebec in search of the province’s greatest daredevils. Together, they identify three candidates, who will do everything in their power to impress the judges. However, only one will mount the top of the podium and be crowned “the town’s greatest daredevil!” (Attraction Images)

PRÉSUMÉ INNOCENT: L’AFFAIRE MICHELLE PERRON – Canal D
Marie-Claude Savard and Sébastien Trudel launch a new investigation into a legal case that gripped Quebec in 1987. Michelle Perron was found dead in her car near her workplace, her body brutally stabbed. Her husband, director Gilles Perron, was on the scene. He was accused then found innocent of the murder. The killer’s identity remains a mystery 33 years later. Marie-Claude and Sébastien revisit this murky case in the hope of revealing the truth behind the gruesome murder. (Trinome & Filles)

PROCHAIN STAND-UP: CLASSE DE MAÎTRE – Z
A dozen promising participants from the first season of Noovo’s hit show PROCHAIN STAND-UP pursue their stand-up apprenticeship under the watchful eye of P-A Méthot. Each comic will be asked to take part in two different shows, where they perform an original routine based on a specific instruction devised by their mentor. At the end of the show, the audience will choose their favourite comedian. (Juste pour rire TV)

QUI SAIT CHANTER? – Noovo
Hosted by comedian Phil Roy, QUI SAIT CHANTER? is the Quebec version of the world’s most popular musical gameshow, I CAN SEE YOUR VOICE. Each week, Roy accompanies contestants through every round of this exciting, variety-style gameshow. QUI SAIT CHANTER? is the only show where you can win by discovering people with and without talent! Canadian singer Roxane Bruneau and Rita Baga (CANADA’S DRAG RACE and BIG BROTHER CELEBRITÉS) serve as regular panellists. The series has been adapted in 16 markets around the world. (Productions ToRoS)

SYNDICS – Noovo
This documentary series provides a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes of a fascinating but little-known profession: bankruptcy trustees. Each story of debt featured on the show shines a light on human nature and our relationship with money through the trustee offices and their advisors, the personal lives of the people involved, and the real-life situations that unfold. With its highly authentic and intimate approach, the show makes it impossible to remain indifferent to these deeply affecting accounts. (PIXCOM)

VIRAGE – Noovo
Noovo’s first drama series, VIRAGE, showcases a standout cast including Charlotte Aubin, Émile Schneider, Marie-Thérèse Fortin, and Sylvain Marcel. It tells the story of a three-time Olympic medallist who retires and breaks up with her boyfriend at the same time. Left with nothing, the athlete discovers that life is not a race whose outcome you can control, and must get used to living without striving to win. The series draws inspiration from the true story of Marianne St-Gelais—who serves as series consultant—and several Olympians. It is scripted by Kim Lévesque-Lizotte and Marie-Hélène Lebeau-Taschereau, with additional contributions by Louis Morissette. (KOTV)

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Aaron Abrams joins CTV original comedy Children Ruin Everything in lead role, with Ennis Esmer and Nazneen Contractor joining cast

From a media release:

CTV, Canada’s most-watched network, together with award-winning independent production company New Metric Media, announced today that Aaron Abrams (BLINDSPOT, HANNIBAL) has been tapped for one of the leading roles in the new half-hour CTV Original comedy CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING, joining previously announced lead Meaghan Rath (BEING HUMAN, HAWAII 5-0). In addition, Ennis Esmer (BLINDSPOT, SCHITT’S CREEK) and Nazneen Contractor (RANSOM, HEROES REBORN) have also signed on to join the cast.

Abrams stars as “James”, a supportive and loving husband to Astrid (Rath) and father of two. Positive but anxious, James loves parenting with Astrid but misses the freedom of his pre-kid life. Esmer joins the cast as “Ennis”, James’s co-worker and best friend who wants as few responsibilities as possible, and Contractor plays “Dawn”, Astrid’s successful, blunt, and mildly pretentious sister.

Created by Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (SCHITT’S CREEK, KIM’S CONVENIENCE), CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING is about living with the worst roommates of all: young children. Astrid (Rath) and James struggle to find a balance between being ‘Mom and Dad’ to two kids, and being who they were before offspring. CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING explores the hilarious and varied ways kids can tear down your life and, if you’re lucky, replace it with something you have to admit is pretty okay, too.

Aaron Abrams has appeared in several regular and reoccurring roles for television including MASTERS OF SEX, THE L.A. COMPLEX, LONGMIRE, THE OATH, ROOKIE BLUE, SLINGS & ARROWS, BLINDSPOT, and HANNIBAL. Winner of a FilmOut award for Best Supporting Actor in the critically acclaimed film Closet Monster, Abrams has also starred in the hit sci-fi film Code 8 and in his award-winning drama Nose To Tail. He has written and produced several films, including The Lovebirds, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae. Abrams is repped by Buchwald, Luber Roklin Entertainment, and The Characters Talent Agency.

An ACTRA Award and Canadian Comedy Award nominee, Ennis Esmer’s television credits include SCHITT’S CREEK, YOU ME HER, RED OAKS, THE LISTENER, PRIVATE EYES, DARK MATTER, MAN SEEKING WOMAN, LOST GIRL, and most recently he portrayed the billionaire criminal mastermind turned FBI consultant “Rich Dotcom” on the hit series BLINDSPOT. On the silver screen, Esmer can be seen in the indie Clara, which screened at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Other independent film credits include How To Plan An Orgy In A Small Town, Big News From Grand Rock, Dirty Singles, Sex After Kids, and the breakout hit Young People Fucking. Esmer is repped by The Characters Talent Agency and Berwick & Kovacik.

Nazneen Contractor has appeared in many popular television series such as THE BORDER, 24, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, COVERT AFFAIRS, HEROES REBORN, CHICAGO JUSTICE, and the Frank Spotnitz drama RANSOM, as well as voicing the character “Synara San” in STAR WARS RESISTANCE. Nominated for a Golden Nymph Award at the Monte Carlo Television Festival, Contractor also starred as Rima Harewood in the record-breaking Paramount feature film Star Trek Into The Darkness as well as the upcoming film Spiral. Contractor is repped by The Characters Talent Agency, Gersh, and BMK-ENT.

Meaghan Rath is repped by Hess Entertainment, The Kohner Agency, and attorney Jerry Longarzo.

Alongside Smeaton, one of television’s premier comedy writers, Chuck Tatham (MODERN FAMILY, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) joins multiple Canadian Screen Award-winner Mark Montefiore (LETTERKENNY, WHAT WOULD SAL DO?) and Rath as executive producers, with Beth Iley (KILLJOYS) serving as producer.

Bell Media Distribution is the international rights holder for CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING, and New Metric Media is the series’ exclusive Sales Agent. The series is produced by New Metric Media in association with CTV, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund.

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MasterChef Canada heads to Italy (virtually, of course)

This season of MasterChef Canada has been like no other. By now, the teams will have gone outside for some kind of challenge. I’m assuming that to ensure everyone stayed safe, this didn’t happen. But, rather than missing that part of the show, I’ve relished staying in the studio and focusing on tough tests on-set.

The toughest so far took place on Sunday, as the remaining contestants were faced with Italian-themed challenges in a Pressure Test to eliminate at least one.

Following the Red team’s win last week, Blue team members Andrew, Jen, Mai, Andre and Barrie were welcomed by Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael, who informed everyone that one member from Jeremy’s winning squad would participate in the Pressure Test too … and he had to pick who. Whoa. I think if I was Team Captain and as confident in my skills as Jeremy is, I would put myself forward rather than someone else. Jeremy, instead, put Andy into the line of fire.

The two-part Pressure Test began with Chef Michael calling his son, Chef Oscar Bonacini, into the MasterChef Canada kitchen. And, whereas Oscar spent four months learning how to make hand-made pasta in Italy, the competitors had mere minutes to observe Oscar’s masterclass in creating three shapes of pasta (dimpled, braided, and curled), each more intricate than the one before it. Head-to-head battles ensued, with teams facing off to make one pasta and a traditional sauce to go with it. Red team’s Andy doled out the pairings this way:

Capunti with tomato sauce: himself and Barrie

Lorighittas in butter herb sauce: Mai and Andre

Trofie and pesto sauce: Jen and Andrew

The 25-minute deadline was definitely a challenge, though fresh pasta takes less time to cook. Everyone started in a frenzy, mixing the semolina flour with water to get just the right hydration and consistency. The sudden curveball that Barrie had experience making pasta threatened to derail Andy’s plan; Mai was confident she would beat Andre, but her Lorighitta looked less delicate than Oscars; and Jen opted to use her hands to shape the Trofie rather than use a fiddly bench scraper. With just minutes before the deadline, Andre’s water wasn’t boiling, Andy’s sauce seemed to have too much garlic and cheese added too soon, Andrew was bruising his basil in the blender, and Jen was taking too long prepping her basil with a mortar and pestle.

Andrew and Jen were up for judging first and Chef Alvin pulled no punches. Andrew’s pasta was inconsistent and his sauce was brown, but it had a nice flavour; Jen’s pasta was more consistent but small, but her sauce was delicious. Andrew got the win and moved to the gallery. Andre and Mai were next, judged by Chef Claudio. Though Andre’s pasta looked the most authentic, it wasn’t cooked all the way through; Mai’s pasta was pillowy and cooked to perfection but the sauce’s flavours weren’t as bright. Mai triumphed and moved to safety. Finally, Barrie and Andy presented to Chef Michael. Barrie’s pasta looked good and his sauce was vibrant, inviting, and on point; Andy’s pasta was within the size variance allowed and his sauce was darker and richer, and Chef Michael hinted there was an issue with it. The winner in the final round was Barrie’s better sauce.

But the episode was only half over. For the next test, Andre, Andy, and Jen created a Secondi, and a choice of making Eggplant Parmigiana, sautéed veal, or Chicken Cacciatore. Jen was tasked with making the veal, Andre the chicken, and Andy the eggplant. Andre plotted a fried chicken twist to the classic dish, Jen used rabbit instead of veal, and Andy an elevated baba ganoush.

Because of the teasers before the episodes rolled out, I knew an extra twist in the 60-minute test was coming. It arrived in the form of an added dish. Now the trio had to make a Contorno—a side dish—to accompany the Secondo. With just 30 minutes to go, I would have started crying, put down my apron, and walked out the door. Instead, Jen opted for a simple vegetable side dish, Andre a buttermilk-dressed salad, and Andy an orange and fennel salad.

Andy, who got emotional at the end of the cook, was judged first. Chef Claudio deemed the eggplant “sensational” and Chef Michael the fennel salad “beautiful.” Jen’s rabbit and wine sauce was a tad overdone, according to Chef Michael, but Chef Alvin said her veggies were flavourful. Andre’s fried chicken pop Cacciatore was a hit with Chef Claudio, and his frisée salad was “pleasant” but underwhelming according to Chef Alvin.

In the final judging, the chefs gave a nod to Andy, sending him to safety in the gallery. That left Jen and Andre in the bottom and, ultimately, it was Jen who left the competition.

MasterChef Canada: Back to Win airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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