Tag Archives: Bell Media

Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber cast as dynamic mother and daughter duo in CTV original series, The Spencer Sisters

From a media release:

CTV and Entertainment One (eOne), together with Buffalo Gal Pictures, today announced that award-winning television and film actress, director, and producer Lea Thompson (Back To The Future, CAROLINE IN THE CITY) and acclaimed Canadian actress Stacey Farber (VIRGIN RIVER, SCHITT’S CREEK) will headline the upcoming CTV Original procedural series, THE SPENCER SISTERS.

Created by Alan McCullough (PRIVATE EYES, ROOKIE BLUE) and executive produced and co-showrun by McCullough and Jenn Engels (SORT OF), the lighthearted 10-episode, one-hour series centres on a hot-headed former police officer Darby Spencer (Farber) and her estranged, internationally renowned, mystery novelist mother, Victoria Spencer (Thompson). Despite opposite personalities, differing sensibilities, and a complicated history, they embark on the unlikeliest of ventures: becoming partners in a private detective agency. THE SPENCER SISTERS is set to begin production next month in Winnipeg, with broadcast slated for 2023. Additional details are to be announced at a later date.

As one of the titular characters, Victoria Spencer (Thompson) is an intelligent, charismatic, and renowned best-selling author of mystery novels, who is suffering from crippling writer’s block. When her estranged daughter Darby returns home, Victoria seizes the opportunity to reconnect with her. After the two work to solve a crime together, Victoria is inspired by the experience – and the possibility of a mended relationship with her daughter – to sit behind the keyboard once more.

Darby Spencer (Farber) is a smart, opinionated, and passionate woman who follows in her late father’s footsteps and becomes a police officer – much to Victoria’s stark disapproval. Carrying an innate intellect and the natural intuition of an experienced detective, Darby’s career aspirations come to a halt when she impetuously quits her job as a police constable after an unjust reprimand. About to turn 30 and in a dead-end relationship with a cheating boyfriend, she returns home, where to her surprise, she finds she may have more in common with her mother than she thought.

Talent biographies for the leading actresses are as follows:

Lea Thompson
Lea Thompson is actress, singer, and director, continuously honing her craft for over 40 years. She is best known for starring in the iconic Back To The Future films. Thompson has also starred in All The Right Moves with Tom Cruise, George Lucas’s Howard The Duck, John Hughes Some Kind Of Wonderful, and Red Dawn. Thompson won the People’s Choice award for the title role in the NBC sitcom CAROLINE IN THE CITY. Her acting credits are many, including Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway, THE JANE DOE MYSTERIES, 102 episodes of the Peabody award-winning series SWITCHED AT BIRTH, and many telefilms and Sundance indies. Some of her directing credits include THE GOLDBERGS, Chuck Lorre’s CBS comedy MOM and YOUNG SHELDON, RESIDENT ALIEN, Greg Berlanti’s, STARGIRL, and STAR TREK: PICARD. Lea is perhaps most proud of her feature directorial debut The Year Of Spectacular Men, which her daughter Madelyn Deutch wrote, scored, and starred in, along with Lea and her other talented daughter Zoey Deutch. She has been married to their father, director Howard Deutch for 33 years. She is represented by Gilbertson Entertainment, Innovative Artists and Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich & Gellman.

Stacey Farber
Stacey Farber is known for her compelling performances in numerous hit TV series— both dramatic and comedic. She recurs as grief-stricken Tara in the Netflix chart-topper VIRGIN RIVER and played villainous Leslie Larr in The CW’s breakout SUPERMAN & LOIS. She can also be seen in the award-winning comedies SCHITT’S CREEK (CBC/Pop TV), GRACE AND FRANKIE (Netflix), and 18 TO LIFE (CBC) as well as UnREAL (Lifetime), THE BRAVE (NBC), DIGGSTOWN (BET+), CHICAGO JUSTICE (NBC), SAVING HOPE (CTV/Ion TV), and ROOKIE BLUE (GLOBAL/ABC). For seven years, Stacey portrayed the fan-favourite character Ellie Nash in DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION (CTV). She is represented by The Characters Talent Agency, Manager Christina Gualazzi and A3 Artists Agency.

A CTV Original series, THE SPENCER SISTERS is produced by eOne together with Buffalo Gal Pictures with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Bell Fund, and is distributed internationally by eOne. The series is executive produced by McCullough and Jenn Engels, who are both co-showrunners. Jocelyn Hamilton serves as Executive Producer for eOne. Phyllis Laing and Jennifer Beasley are executive producers for Buffalo Gal Pictures.

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Blink49 Studios and Bell Media strike long-term pact with world-renowned entertainer Lilly Singh

From a media release:

Blink49 Studios and Bell Media announced today they are partnering with world-renowned entertainer Lilly Singh and her company Unicorn Island Productions on a unique first-look global scripted and second-look unscripted deal.

Spearheaded by Singh and Polly Auritt, Head of Development at Unicorn Island Productions, Carolyn Newman, Executive Vice President, Global Scripted and Virginia Rankin, Executive Producer for Blink49 Studios, the deal will focus on creating and producing compelling television content that showcases underrepresented communities.

Projects developed under the pact will be executive produced by Singh, Auritt, Newman and Rankin with Blink49 Studios handling production and the worldwide distribution.

Named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment list, Fast Company’s Most Creative People and as one of the most influential people on the internet by TIME, Lilly Singh is a multi-faceted entertainer, actress, producer, writer, creator and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a leading force in the digital world having amassed a global audience of more than 38 million followers across her social media channels. This year, Singh was a judge on CityTV’s Canada’s Got Talent, was part of the star-studded cast for the DreamWorks Animation action-comedy The Bad Guys and launched her book club Lilly’s Library that spotlights South Asian stories for everyone. Up next, she will headline the new Disney+ comedy series The Muppets Mayhem alongside several Muppet stars. Singh is also a co-owner of Angel City FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Blink49 Studios is a content venture with Endeavor Content as its anchor investor and lead strategic partner. Focusing heavily on a creative-first approach, Blink49 Studios is dedicated to partnering with best-in-class writers, creators and producers, as well as aggressively pursuing IP in Canada and throughout the world. The indie studio is committed to applying significant resources to support new and diverse Canadian voices.

ABOUT BLINK49 STUDIOS

Co-founded in 2021 by industry veterans CEO John Morayniss, Non-Executive Vice Chair Patrice Theroux, COO Jeff Lynas and CFO Nelson Kuo-Lee, Blink49 Studios is a full-service indie studio focused on the development, production, and monetization of premium scripted and unscripted content for a global market. Headquartered in Toronto with offices in Los Angeles, Blink49 Studios was formed in partnership with its anchor investor and lead strategic partner Endeavor Content. With a combined experience of innovative deal-making and strong relationships in the creative community, Blink49 Studios takes a content-first approach by partnering with best-in-class writers, creators, producers, and talent as well as supporting new and diverse voices.

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TV, Eh? Podcast Episode 249: Bell Media’s Upfront Announcement

This week, Greg and Amy go through debuts and returns on the Canadian TV calendar.

Then, we cover the latest Canadian TV news, including CTV announcing the cast of its new comedy, Shelved, and AMI announcing its Accessible Writers’ Lab.

We close out the podcast by looking at CTV’s upfront announcement, which includes, literally, almost 100 titles.

This episode is brought to you by tap water through a Brita filter and Minute Maid lemonade.

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Ins Choi to lead story room for first-ever comedy cohort of CFC’s Bell Media Prime Time TV Program

From a media release:

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Bell Media are pleased to welcome award-winning playwright, actor and Kim’s Convenience co-creator, writer and executive producer Ins Choi as Executive Producer in Residence of the first-ever comedy cohort of The Bell Media Prime Time TV Program.

The comedy cohort, which will run from October 2022 to the end of March 2023, has been designed for writers specifically looking to gain experience in comedy writing and engage in a collaborative comedy series story room. The comedy cohort is an offering for Black, Indigenous and/or racialized creators in Canada, to celebrate and amplify a diversity of underrepresented voices and stories so they can ultimately be seen and heard on screens in Canada and around the world. Throughout the first half of the program, the writer residents will work as a team with Choi to develop an original new series. The selection process for the six writers who will be invited to participate in this cohort is currently underway; their names will be announced in early August.

Ins Choi is best known for his debut play, Kim’s Convenience, which was a nominee for the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, won the Best New Play Award and the Patron’s Pick at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival, and toured across Canada with Soulpepper. Choi adapted Kim’s Convenience into a TV series of the same name with Thunderbird Entertainment, where he served as a writer, executive producer and co-creator. The fan-favourite series ran for five seasons on CBC, was picked up by Netflix, and won multiple awards, including the Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Series in 2018.

Choi’s select theatre acting credits include Banana Boys, lady in the red dress (fu-GEN); Hamlet, The Odyssey (Stratford Festival); and Death of a Salesman, Alligator Pie (Soulpepper). He is currently developing many other creative projects, including his play, Bad Parent, which is being produced for fall 2022 by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, and Soulpepper.

The Bell Media Prime Time TV Program is recognized industry-wide for training emerging and mid-level TV writers and has played a vital role in the development of new and diverse television series. The program has attracted some of Canada’s most prolific and successful showrunners to lead the story room as Executive Producer in Residence, including Bruce Smith, Michael MacLennan, Brad Wright, Dennis Heaton and Shelley Eriksen. Learn more about the program here.

About the CFC
The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is a charitable cultural organization that drives the future of Canadian storytelling. Our intensive, hands-on programs in film, television, and entertainment technologies empower, shape and advance opportunities for Canadian creators and entrepreneurs working in screen-based industries. Learn more at cfccreates.com.

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Award-winning actor Michael Greyeyes joins directing team for CTV Comedy Channel’s original series, Acting Good

From a media release:

CTV Comedy Channel announced today that award-winning actor, director, and choreographer Michael Greyeyes is tapped to direct five episodes of the brand-new original series, ACTING GOOD. Loosely based on the life of Anishinaabe stand-up comedian and series co-creator, Paul Rabliauskas, production on the half-hour scripted comedy is currently underway in Winnipeg and surrounding areas, and is set to premiere later this year.

Joining Greyeyes as directors for the debut season of ACTING GOOD are writer, director, and video artist Darlene Naponse (Anishinaabe), as well as series co-showrunners Amber-Sekowan Daniels (Anishininew) and Eric Toth.

ACTING GOOD stars Rabliauskas as Paul, a witty but sensitive comic who returns home to the fictional Grouse Lake First Nation after a botched attempt to move to the big city. Also joining the cast is actor, comedian, and series co-showrunner Pat Thornton, who stars as Brady, the “only white guy on the rez.” The homegrown lineup of cast and crew also features Billy Merasty (Elijah) as voice of the rez and radio DJ, Roger Laughingstick, Roseanne Supernault (THE DRIVE) as reformed bad girl and band councillor, Jo. Gabriel Daniels (The Ice Road) joins the cast as big-hearted Dean, along with series producer Tina Keeper (NORTH OF 60) as the family matriarch Agnes. And in their debut acting roles, Avery Claudia Sutherland stars as Jo’s rebellious daughter Chickadee, comedian Cheyenna Sapp as Paul’s, on-again-off-again girlfriend, Rose, Jason Mason as overzealous band constable Lips, and writer, poet, and radio host Rosanna Deerchild as First Nation Grouse Lake chief, Deedee.

About Michael Greyeyes:
Michael Greyeyes is a multi-hyphenate talent – an actor, director, choreographer, and scholar whose diverse career from stage to screen spans over 25 years.

Greyeyes recently starred in the thriller Wild Indian, directed by Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr, which premiered in competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. He garnered a Film Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award nomination for his leading performance. On television, Greyeyes returns for Season 2 of RUTHERFORD FALLS. He also received a Film Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award for his role in the series, marking a historical moment as he becomes the first Native Actor with two nominations in the same year for the awards.

His film work includes the role of Traylor in Blood Quantum and Sitting Bull in Woman Walks Ahead, co-starring Jessica Chastain. He has appeared in numerous other feature films such as The New World, directed by Terence Malick, Skipped Parts, Sunshine State, directed by John Sayles, Passchendaele, directed by Paul Gross, and Dance Me Outside, a cult-classic directed by Bruce McDonald.

As a director, he has created numerous theatre works including Bearing, a searing dance opera that premiered at the 2017 Luminato Festival in Toronto, A Soldier’s Tale, from thine eyes, and wrote Nôhkom. Greyeyes was nominated for a Dora Award for his direction on Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit, a full-length evening of Indigenous opera featuring two librettos in Cree and Sami.

He is Nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. He graduated from Kent State University with a Master’s Degree in the Fine Arts at the School of Theatre and Dance and is also a graduate of The National Ballet School where he went on to join The National Ballet of Canada company. In 2010, Greyeyes founded a Canadian non-profit theatre organization, Signal Theatre, a company that explores intercultural and transdisciplinary live performance. He serves as the Artistic Director for the theatre.

About Darlene Naponse:
Darlene Naponse is an Anishinaabe writer, director, and video artist from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, ON. Her films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, TIFF, and imagineNATIVE Film Festival. Her film Falls Around Her opened imagineNATIVE Film Festival in 2018, and took home the Audience Choice Award. Naponse’s fourth feature film, Stellar, in which she wrote, directed, and produced, just wrapped production.

ACTING GOOD is set in the fictional remote fly-in Grouse Lake First Nation, a world that lives by its own set of rules. The series location is inspired by Rabliauskas’ own isolated community of Poplar River First Nation.

ACTING GOOD is produced by CTV Comedy Channel, in association with Kistikan Pictures Inc., with the participation of Canada Media Fund and Bell Fund. Producers are Tina Keeper (Kistikan Pictures) and Jennifer Beasley (Buffalo Gal Pictures) with Phyllis Laing (Buffalo Gal Pictures) as Executive Producer and Paula J. Smith as Supervising Producer. Paul Rabliauskas is Executive Producer and writer, with Amber-Sekowan Daniels, Pat Thornton, and Eric Toth as writers and co-showrunners.

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