Tag Archives: Bell Media

Preview: CTV’s Transplant kicks off Season 3 in shocking style

When we last left Bash, his career and those around him were at a crossroads. He was offered a job in the new trauma OR, but his mentor, Jed, left the hospital. Mags, meanwhile, aimed to change her residency, June was about to get a new roommate in the almost stepsister she didn’t know she had and Theo’s life was on the line following a helicopter crash.

So, yeah, there is a lot to address when the award-winning Transplant returns this Friday on CTV. Here’s what the network released as the official synopsis for “Fracture,” written by creator Joseph Kay and directed by Stefan Pleszczynski.

Bash’s decisions lead to conflict with the new Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Neeta Devi (Rekha Sharma). Mags (Laurence Leboeuf) struggles to save a patient who thinks the system gave up on her. June (Ayisha Issa) has trouble with her new roommate – who happens to be her almost-step-sister – and gets a work proposal from Novak (Gord Rand). Theo (Jim Watson) has trouble adapting.

And here are some non-spoilery tidbits I picked up while watching a preview:

Bash and Amira become Canadian citizens
A month after the events of the Season 2 finale, we meet up with Bash and Amira, who are nervously waiting in a government office to begin the citizenship process (no word on how long they’d been waiting for an appointment), when a woman has difficulty breathing and Bash leaps to action. As an aside, I’m very impressed with Sirena Gulamgaus’ acting chops. She wasn’t a newbie actress when she started on Transplant, but her growth as a performer has evolved over the past two seasons.

We’re introduced to Dr. Neeta Devi
Played by Rekha Sharma—who has been so great in Yellowjackets—Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Devi dramatically enters York Memorial on the heels of a shocking chain reaction accident.

Theo fights to survive
Spoiler alert! Jim survived the helicopter crash. But now the real test begins; can he make his way to safety in Ontario’s unforgiving North? And if he does, how will what happened affect him?

A memorable guest gig
Veteran actor Joe Cobden (This Life, Bellevue) turns in one heck of a performance as a man who confounds Bash with his post-op demeanour. First responder series like Transplant rely on killer casting to supply episodes with engaging characters dipping in and out of York Memorial and Cobden nails his gig.

Are Mags and Bash … a thing?
There are lots of longing looks between the two during the first half of Friday’s return, but nothing to suggest anything intimate might have occurred in the last month.

Transplant airs Fridays at 9 p.m. Eastern on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


Cynthia Loyst celebrates 10 seasons on The Social

The first season of The Social is memorable to Cynthia Loyst for a couple of reasons. Back when it launched in September 2013, Loyst was, as she describes, “a sleep-deprived new mom pumping my breasts backstage between rehearsals.” And, secondly, there was a chemistry between the hosts at that time—Melissa Grelo, Lainey Lui, Loyst and Traci Melchor—she noticed right away.

With Season 10 of The Social returning this week at 1 p.m. ET on CTV Grelo, Lui and Jess Allen, Loyst looks back on the past nine seasons.

Congratulations on your upcoming 10th season of The Social.
Cynthia Loyst: I cannot believe it’s the 10th season of The Social. I was literally pregnant when we were doing auditions for this show. And then when we launched the show, I was a sleep-deprived new mom who was pumping my breasts backstage in between rehearsals and things. So we’ve come a long way. I have this boy who’s going into Grade 4.

Back when you were doing the auditions and you were pregnant, what were your thoughts at the time? Were you thinking, ‘What were they thinking when they asked me to do this? Or what was I thinking when I agreed to do this?’
CL: Well, it’s interesting because there were rumours of a show being developed that was kind of going to be a Canadian version of The View for a long time prior to this. Even when I was doing the audition, I was like, ‘Well, is this thing even going to happen?’ But then it seemed like it was becoming more of a reality. And I thought, ‘Well, there’s no way they’re going to hire me,’ because the timeline was such that I would’ve been just after giving birth. So I thought, ‘I’m probably out of the running,’ But then I got the call and was told that I was going to be part of the cast. I was shocked. I went through a variety of emotions. I was shocked. I was elated. And then I was terrified.

And was there chemistry between the hosting panel back then? Was it immediate?
CL: There were a bunch of different people who auditioned. The producers threw us in different combinations and configurations and the very, very first test group was the original four of us who were actually hired. There was really good chemistry, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. But looking back, it was clear that there was a kind of electricity with that first initial four. And clearly, other people felt it too, because my understanding is they went through a bunch of different combinations and then they showed them to test audiences to see what people really were resonating towards. And so I think part of that was what was immediately picked up on.

You can’t fake chemistry on television.
CL: We didn’t know each other all that well, but there was a mutual respect right away. And even though we didn’t come from necessarily different political backgrounds, a la The View, we were definitely very different women. We’re not the type of women who would necessarily be thrown together and have come together naturally. For whatever reason though, I think there was just a combination of stage of life, experience level, and I think passion for hot topics and a willingness to speak out that brought out some kind of interesting magic and alchemy.

What were your expectations during that first season?
CL: I think my expectations were just to stay treading water. I couldn’t really think beyond the end of the day. Because I was sleep-deprived and because I was this new mom, everything felt very new and I don’t remember thinking that it would last past the season, but I don’t remember thinking it wouldn’t last past the season. I was just kind of like, ‘Let’s keep this thing as long as we can.’

Can you walk me through the process of how the content of an episode of The Social is decided?
CL: Every evening or afternoon, we get a lineup of pitches. Our producers and us have contributed anything that comes across our feed that we feel passionate about or excited about. And somebody assembles that into a short list. Sometimes it’s as many as 40 pitches and they have links attached to them. We go through them, we pick our topic, like six or seven, and we send that in. Then the producers meet early in the morning before we are part of that and hammer out what they think will be our hot topic topics from segments one, two, and now three. And then we meet all together in person and we kind of hash it out around the table. During the pandemic, it was all on a Zoom call or on a phone call.

Sometimes we’re able to immediately go, ‘OK, yeah. That lineup is amazing. Let’s run with it.’ And other times it’s quite a struggle. It might be that we feel it’s too much of a personal ask to go down a certain road. Or it might be that there’s a topic in the news that we feel like we don’t have enough information about. We don’t feel comfortable, let’s shelve that for tomorrow. Those are the types of discussions that we have at any given point in time.

Segments four and five now are lifestyle segments, so those are planned way in advance. It might be an author, a celebrity, a chef, or a fashion person. The show was conceived as feeling like you’re either going through a magazine or surrounded by a really interesting dinner party. It feels like that’s sort of spirit and energy of the show.

What is it that you particularly look for when all these pitches are brought to you or all these segment ideas? What gets you excited?
CL: My background is in sexual health and I’m a sex educator and that’s what I did first. I was producing for documentary series about sexuality. Relationships and love are big to me and I’m a parent, so I feel like whenever there’s something that kind of comes up in the parenting realm, often ignites something in me and I think a lot of our viewers. But then sometimes there’s unexpected stuff that comes up in the news, where you’re just like, ‘Even if I don’t immediately have an opinion or thought about it, I know it’s an important thing to delve into.’ And so then it becomes this sort of puzzle of doing research quickly to come up with something that’s articulate and thoughtful without just being like news. Because we aren’t the news.

We come after the news. But we aren’t news and that’s not what we’re supposed to be. We’re trying to add to an insight or a personal take or something that maybe people wouldn’t have thought of related to maybe a news topic. So it’s always different things that ignite. And sometimes I’ll read something and think, ‘Oh, I’m not that interested.’ But then in the meeting, someone will say something and they’ll spur on some kind of inspiration towards it.

Is there a standout moment for you or two over the last nine seasons?
CL: We obviously had a really hard time, like everyone else did, during the pandemic. It was hard doing a TV show where you’re used to communicating in real-time and having an audience and a connection. So that was a real challenge, but I think something beautiful came out of it. After the murder of George Floyd, the conversation immediately became, rightly so, about Black lives. And we had Tyrone Edwards from eTalk on the show and it was a moment that went viral.

He was so emotional and spoke from the heart and it was just an unforgettable moment and a really important one, I think, for viewers most of all to see that. I think it helps change a conversation and illuminate things that maybe hadn’t been seen on daytime TV before.

Anything else?
CL: I have this gigantic crush on Jason Momoa from Game of Thrones and Aquaman. He came on the show, and one of the producers, unbeknownst to me, had assembled a little montage of me talking about Jason Momoa. She played it for him on the show, much to my mortification, but he was a great sport about it. I wanted to climb out of my own skin and maybe hide behind the couch.

The Social airs weekdays at 1 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


TV, Eh? Podcast Episode 251: Moonshine and the Lisa LaFlamme debacle

After a little break, where not a lot was going on, Greg and Amy go through debuts and returns on the Canadian TV calendar.

Then, we cover the latest Canadian TV news, including CBC renewing Moonshine for Season 3; ET Canada giving Sangita Patel co-hosting duties; Boat Rocker teaming with Jay Baruchel; AMI-tv’s fall schedule; and the CTV/Lisa LaFlamme debacle.

This podcast brought to you by coffee and Harvey’s Sussex Best.


Season 2 of CTV original comedy Children Ruin Everything Premieres Sept. 19

From a media release:

Following a successful first season, CTV Original comedy CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING returns for its second season, Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app, beginning Sept. 19. Created and executive produced by Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (SCHITT’S CREEK), and set and filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, Ont., CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING stars Meaghan Rath (BEING HUMAN) and Aaron Abrams (BLINDSPOT) as parents Astrid and James, who are still trying to do it all as they discover all of the little ways that raising kids has reshaped their world.

In Season 2, a new baby enters Astrid and James’ already hectic lives, leaving the family feeling even more strapped for time, sleep, and space. It feels like at every turn, from the new baby needing their own bedroom, to an aging home that needs fixing up, the Berney family may have outgrown city living. In a moment of exhaustion, James considers the once unthinkable: it might be time to move away from the city to find a home with a little more space. But for Astrid, the idea of moving away from her family, and the job she only just returned to, does not land well.

Returning cast starring alongside Rath and Abrams are Logan Nicholson (BLUES CLUES AND YOU) and Mikayla SwamiNathan as Felix and Viv, James and Astrid’s adorable eight-year-old son, and five-year-old daughter who continue to suck the life out of their parents, one tantrum at a time; Ennis Esmer (BLINDSPOT, SCHITT’S CREEK) as James’ best friend and colleague Ennis, who is always happy to remind James that having kids was a huge mistake; Nazneen Contractor (RANSOM, HEROES REBORN) as Astrid’s close-to-perfect sister Dawn; Dmitry Chepovetsky (KILLJOYS, DEPARTURE) as Bo, Dawn’s eccentric husband; Darius Rota as Dawn and Bo’s brazen 10-year-old son Corey; Veena Sood (CORNER GAS ANIMATED, THE INDIAN DETECTIVE) as Astrid and Dawn’s over-sharing mother Nisha, who has been enlisted to help with childcare as Astrid returns to work; and Lisa Codrington (LETTERKENNY, THE LAKE) as James’ ambitious boss who is plotting to take over the corporate office of the mid-sized grocery chain where they work.

Confirmed to guest star on the series’ second season are Kim Coates (BAD BLOOD, SONS OF ANARCHY) and Aaron Ashmore (GINNY & GEORGIA, KILLJOYS); with Anna Hopkins (THE EXPANSE, SHADOWHUNTERS) reprising her role as “Disaster Mom”.

On the Season 2 premiere of CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING, titled “Sleep” (Monday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app), after a bout of sleepless nights with their new baby, Astrid and James are at their wits’ end. With a transfer to a different department at work looming, Astrid is feeling the pressure to stay sharp, and keep up with her younger colleagues. To get more sleep, Astrid and James have to brave sleep training or the even more daunting challenge – finding the space to give the baby his own room in a house full of family and stuff, with not a square inch to spare. The episode is written by Kurt Smeaton and directed by Melanie Orr.

Season 1 of the CTV Original series was the biggest debut for a Canadian comedy among the A25-54 demo since 2019 (CTV’s JANN). The series also ranks as CTV’s #1 new comedy of the 2021-22 broadcast season. Season 1 is currently available for streaming with no subscription or sign-in required on CTV.ca and the CTV app, and is also available on Crave. Season 1 of CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING also airs on The Roku Channel in the U.S.

CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING is from award-winning New Metric Media and is created and executive produced by Kurt Smeaton (SCHITT’S CREEK, KIM’S CONVENIENCE), and executive produced by one of television’s premier comedy writers Chuck Tatham (MODERN FAMILY, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT), multiple Canadian Screen Award-winner Mark Montefiore (LETTERKENNY, WHAT WOULD SAL DO?), and Meaghan Rath, with Alyson Richards (The Retreat) serving as producer. Melanie Orr (THE PARKER ANDERSONS, THE HARDY BOYS), Peter Huang (WORKIN’ MOMS), and Peter Wellington (KIM’S CONVENIENCE, SAVING HOPE) direct this season.


Acclaimed drama Transplant returns for Season 3, joining CTV fall schedule beginning September 23

From a media release:

CTV announced today that TRANSPLANT is back for a riveting third season airing Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app, beginning September 23. Following a sophomore season of accolades and critical acclaim, which saw the CTV Original continue as the most-watched Canadian drama series, TRANSPLANT joins CTV’s Friday night lineup as part of the upcoming fall schedule. The series is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group. The translated French version of the series, TRANSPLANTÉ, is also set to air on VRAK.

Filmed in Montréal, Season 3 of TRANSPLANT finds Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq, MY SALINGER YEAR) continuing on his journey to start over, but with each new milestone comes a new challenge. While pursuing Canadian citizenship for both himself and his younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus, ORPHAN BLACK), Bash closely examines who he is becoming in his adopted country. Bash is still being asked to repeatedly prove himself, and while he and his colleagues work to move forward following the dramatic conclusion of Season 2, everyone finds themselves looking to adapt to change and understand how they fit in, both within and beyond the walls of York Memorial Hospital. The first two seasons of TRANSPLANT are available for streaming now on Crave, CTV.ca, and the CTV app.

Joining the cast as a series regular is Rekha Sharma (YELLOWJACKETS) as Dr. Neeta Devi, the new Chief of Emergency Medicine who comes to York Memorial Hospital with big ideas.

TRANSPLANT was the most-watched Canadian drama series with total viewers and in all key demos throughout its second season, averaging 1.1 million viewers. The series also continues to receive critical acclaim and recognition, receiving nine 2022 Canadian Screen Award nominations, and taking home eight awards including second consecutive wins for Best Drama Series and Best Lead Actor, Drama Series for Hamza Haq; and first-time wins for Best Lead Actress, Drama Series for Laurence Leboeuf, and Best Supporting Actress, Drama for Ayisha Issa.

Season 3 of TRANSPLANT stars Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed; Laurence Leboeuf (19-2) as Dr. Magalie “Mags” Leblanc; Ayisha Issa (POLAR) as Dr. June Curtis; Jim Watson (DESIGNATED SURVIVOR) as Dr. Theo Hunter; Sirena Gulamgaus as Amira Hamed; Torri Higginson (DARK MATTER, THIS LIFE) as Claire Malone; Kenny Wong (PRETTY HARD CASES) as Arnold De Luca; Sugith Varughese (KIM’S CONVENIENCE) as Dr. Aajay Singh; and Gord Rand (ORPHAN BLACK) as Dr. Mark Novak.

Writers on Season 3 of TRANSPLANT include Joseph Kay, who is also Executive Producer and Showrunner, Rachel Langer (EP), Shelley Eriksen (Co-EP), Tamara Moulin (Supervising Producer), Laura Good (Supervising Producer), Carmine Pierre-Dufour (Consulting Producer), Kay Issa (Junior Story Editor), Abdul Mallik (Junior Story Editor), and Ahmad Meree (Junior Story Editor). Directors are Stefan Pleszczynski, who also serves as Executive Producer, Wiebke von Carolsfeld, Kim Nguyen, Sharon Lewis, Eric Tessier, and Peter Stebbings.

Cultural consultants on Season 3 of TRANSPLANT, providing valuable insight and feedback on scripts and character development, include Dr. Khaled Almilaji, Kay Issa, Ahmad Meree, Manar Shab, and Eli Shankji.

TRANSPLANT is created by Joseph Kay who also serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner. For Sphere Media, Executive Producers are Bruno Dubé, Jocelyn Deschênes, Josée Vallée, Rachel Langer, and Stefan Pleszczynski; and Sarah Timmins is Co-Executive Producer.