Tag Archives: Blue Ant Media

The Brigade: Race to the Hudson paddles into the past on Cottage Life

I’ve made no bones about my love of Canadian history on this website. From slightly fictionalized stories in Frontier to documentary series like Future History, 1491: The Untold History of the Americas and even The Other Side, I love it all. But would a program retracing the route of The York Factory Express, the 19th-century fur trade route, pique my interest?

Heck yeah.

Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life, the eight-part The Brigade: Race to the Hudson, follows 750 miles of the 2,600-mile fur trade route linking waterways from the coast of Oregon, through two states, four Canadian provinces, two mountain ranges and five river systems before ending on the icy shores of Hudson Bay in Manitoba. As an added bonus, the series cast 10 participants and placed $500,000 to split at the finish line. The catch? Working together as a team, just like the traders of the past, is key. And, with 750 miles of the route to cover in 28 days—from Castlegar, B.C., to York Factory—the task proved to be tough.

In last week’s debut, we were introduced to the participants, told no modern-day things like GPS or cell phones were allowed, and headed out. Food and other key supplies were planted along the way and the only way out was to quit or be medically evacuated. And, with military veterans, noodlers and folks used to the outdoors, spirits were high. But, as the miles passed by, bugs descended and dehydration became a concern, reality set in. This was going to be immensely difficult.

In Tuesday’s newest instalment, concerns surrounding Vincent are swirling. Will he be the first to go? Meanwhile, reaching the first cache successfully bolsters everyone’s spirits and gives them some much-need energy via vittles. But some bright yellow helmets hint at the white water coming up and navigational mistakes threaten to derail the team.

And while there is a cache of cash at the end of this journey, this isn’t Survivor or The Bachelor. People aren’t voted off. You have to work together to survive, success and cash in.

The Brigade: Race to the Hudson airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Preview: Witches of Salem scares up the historical case on T+E

I can always rely on Blue Ant Media’s T+E to bring me scary stories through Canadian docudrama programs like Haunted Case Files, Scariest Night of My Life and Paranormal Survivor. Now they’re going back in time to bring a frightening story to modern-day.

Produced by Saloon Media in association with Talos Films, Witches of Salem debuts Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT as part of “Creep Month” on the specialty channel. The four-parter recalls the Salem witch trials that occurred in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 were accused and 19 were found guilty. Witches of Salem relies on historical documents and court records to tell the story, with help from sociologists, psychologists and cultural historians.

A group of girls sit in church.What sets this apart from other Salem witch trial programming that I’ve seen before is the legwork done setting the scene. While most, if not all, past programs dive right into the screaming and writhing experienced by Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, Witches of Salem describes what life was like at the time both socially and religiously. That goes a long way to explaining why the trials happened in the first place. I’ve been to Salem and read the court documents surrounding the case, and T+E’s project gets it right factually. And, as well-versed in the case as I am, the show is scary as heck. I credit that to an excellent cast led by Nick Biskupek as the creepy Reverend Samuel Parris, eerie camera work, special effects and downright disturbing soundtrack.

Definitely check this out. Preferably with all of the lights on.

Witches of Salem airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on T+E.

Images courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Production is underway for marblemedia’s new fine arts competition series Landscape Artist of the Year

From a media release:

Following their wildly successful art competition series, Blown Away, Marblemedia has been commissioned by Blue Ant Media and CBC for a brand-new fine arts competition show, Landscape Artist of the Year Canada, for its Makeful channel.

Filming began on Friday, September 20th, and will continue to run through September 30th. The new series will see professional and amateur Canadian artists vie to win the title of Landscape Artist of the Year in this new Makeful competition series. Each episode features a different landscape painting challenge. Time-lapse segments ensure viewers don’t miss any of each artist’s progression from blank canvas to finished work.

Landscape Artist of the Year Canada is a four episode, 60 minute series that will visit stunning areas in Canada. Both the host and art expert judges will be revealed closer to the date on Makeful, scheduled for early 2020.

This new series is based on the original British television hit competition series of the same name, Landscape of the Year, which was created by Storyvault Films, and distributed by Banijay Rights on Sky Arts in the U.K.

Blue Ant and marblemedia are co-producing the series, having bought the rights from Banijay Rights.

Matt Hornburg, executive producer for marblemedia and Sam Linton, head of original content for Blue Ant will produce the series, with showrunner Carly Spencer (The Bachelor Canada, Hockey Wives, Back in Time for Winter, and Never Say Goodbye).

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Blue Ant Media unveils its 2019/2020 programming slate of new and returning original series

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media unveils its 2019/2020 schedule of new and returning Canadian original productions for some of its most popular channels, T+E, Cottage Life, Smithsonian Channel, and Makeful. Haunting paranormal programming, cottage and outdoor lifestyle series, intriguing documentaries, and creative competition series dominate the schedule, with several programmes available for licensing globally by Blue Ant International. Overseen by Sam Linton, Head of Original Content, Blue Ant Media, the new and returning series start hitting airwaves in fall 2019, with the majority of programs being world broadcast premieres.

Popular paranormal programming dominates T+E’s new slate. New series include Hotel Paranormal (world broadcast premiere), a series that brings encounters with hotel-lurking paranormal entities to life. The previously announced series, The Witches of Salem (Canadian premiere), also joins the schedule as a four-part series about the mass hysteria surrounding America’s 17th-century witch trials. Returning favourites include Haunted Hospitals (season two, Canadian premiere), and Paranormal 911 (season two, Canadian premiere).

The love of all things cottaging and the outdoors feature heavily on Cottage Life’s new programming grid. New series include the previously announced series, Life Below Zero: Canada (world broadcast premiere), the Canadian version of the hit BBC Studios format. Additionally, a new short-form digital web series Cottage Coach (world premiere), sees DIY expert Adam Holman give useful how-to tips with a cottage lifestyle vibe. Returning series include viewer favourite Hope For Wildlife (world broadcast premiere) who is back for an impressive tenth season of rehabilitating animals. Meanwhile, even freakier weather gets the spotlight on season two of The Weather Files (world broadcast premiere).

The honourable way of the samurai leads Smithsonian Channel’s new schedule with the premiere of Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (Canadian premiere), a new docudrama series that highlights Japan’s Golden Age of the Samurai. Also new is High Maintenance (Canadian premiere), a series that takes a look at the death-defying work of the crews who keep our roads, bridges, and highways safe.

The competition series Landscape Artist of the Year Canada (world broadcast premiere), showcasing the unique work of talented artists who vie for the coveted title, heats up Makeful’s schedule. Handmade Hotels (world broadcast premiere) also returns for a second season of even more creative short-term rentals.

For a full list of programming highlights, please see below.

T+E

New Original Series 

Hotel Paranormal (8×60’; HD) (spring 2020) (world broadcast premiere)
Real-life accounts, dramatic recreations, and expert insight, bring encounters with ghosts to life in this new thrilling series. Every year, millions of people book hotel rooms. But most are unaware that some hotels hold dark secrets connected to a tragic past. Get shivers as guests and staff alike recall their spooky occurrences on camera. Produced by Saloon Media, part of Blue Ant Studios. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

The Witches of Salem (4×60’; HD) (October 2019) (Canadian broadcast premiere)
The Salem Witch Trials is one of the most gripping real-life dramas in history. It began in February 1692. A group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil. Then, they started accusing local women of witchcraft. In just 220 days, 200 were accused and 20 were executed. It was a period of mass hysteria that opens a window into the darkest side of human nature. This four-part documentary series draws on historical documents and court records to bring this gripping drama to life. Sociologists, psychologists, and cultural historians also illustrate how communities are susceptible to the same hysteria today. Produced by Saloon Media, part of Blue Ant Studios, in association with Talos Films, Travel Channel, and T+E. Distributed by Blue Ant International. (previously announced)

Returning Series 

Haunted Hospitals (season two; 13×60’; HD) (winter 2020) (Canadian broadcast premiere)
Hear the chilling stories of paranormal activity inside hospitals, nursing homes, and morgues. In each episode, doctors, nurses, and patients give first-hand accounts of the supernatural, such as deceased patients who come back from the grave. Dead doctors who insist on tending to their patients. Spirits who stalk corridors to warn of impending danger. As the personal stories unfold, the mysteries behind the troubled souls and hauntings become more alive than ever. Produced by Bristow Global Media.

Paranormal 911 (season two; 13×60’; HD) (spring 2020) (Canadian broadcast premiere)
Each year, first responders rush to over 250 million 911 calls in North America. But what happens when these emergencies lead to paranormal encounters? Find out in season two of Paranormal 911. Hear the first-person accounts of first responders who came face-to-face with the supernatural. Produced by Bristow Global Media.

COTTAGE LIFE

New Original Series

Life Below Zero: Canada (8×60’; HD) (spring 2020) (world broadcast premiere)
Long, dark, frozen winters. Sweltering, bug infested summers. Canadians who live ‘off the grid’ grapple each day with limited means to find food, water, and shelter. Life Below Zero: Canada captures the rugged day-to-day trials of Canadians who live in the remote Canadian north. Find out how they survive in the most unforgiving environments using various means, from makeshift problem solving to traditional survival skills. This is the Canadian version of the hit BBC Studios format Life Below Zero. Life Below Zero: Canada is produced by Saloon Media, part of Blue Ant Studios. (previously announced.)

Cottage Coach (digital series; 6×7’) (fall 2019) (world premiere)
Cottagelife.com DIY expert Adam Holman coaches viewers on how to tackle cottage issues in this exclusive new short-form series. From fixing a broken pipe to replacing a rotten deck board, each episode offers essential tips. And in true cottage lifestyle form, Adam mixes in some fun in the process. Fishing anyone?

Returning Series

Hope For Wildlife (season 10; 10×60’; HD) (summer 2020) (world broadcast premiere)
Fan-favourite wildlife advocate Hope Swinimer and her team are back. This season, the team continues to rescue animals in need. They use her Halifax-based wildlife refuge to rehabilitate them. Once they are strong enough, the team releases the animals back into the wild. Produced by Arcadia Content. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

The Weather Files (season two; 8×60’; HD) (spring 2020) (world broadcast premiere)
This season of The Weather Files puts the most unusual and freakish weather on the planet in the spotlight. First-person testimony and actual footage combined with scientific insight give viewers an in-depth and up-close and personal look at the dangers of extreme and unusual weather. Produced by Saloon Media, part of Blue Ant Studios. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL 

New Original Series

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (6×60’; HD) (winter 2020) (Canadian broadcast premiere) This series follows the life of legendary samurai, Date Masamune, an iconic figure, known as the One-Eyed Dragon, who fought alongside the three founding fathers of Japan. Together, these warlords led fierce armies of samurai against each other to unite the nation. This series brings this extraordinary era to life. It shows how powerful warriors, master swordsman, and lethal ninjas came together in deadly battles to create Japan’s golden age of the Samurai, a period that still resonates today. Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan is produced by Cream Productions.

High Maintenance (8×60’; HD) (winter 2020) (Canadian broadcast premiere)
From subways to bridges to power dams, High Maintenance is about the hard-working crews who do the death-defying work to keep these structures safe. The series features engineering feats including the Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Stations in Niagara Falls, the Montreal Metro, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in California. Each episode profiles two such structures or systems – and the brave, behind-the-scenes workers who run them. Co-produced by Frantic Films and Kew Media Distribution.

MAKEFUL 

New Original Series

Landscape Artist of the Year Canada (4×60’; HD) (winter 2020) (world broadcast premiere)
Professional and amateur Canadian artists vie to win the title of Landscape Artist of the Year in this new Makeful competition series. Each episode features a different landscape painting challenge. Expert judges determine the winner of each competition until the best landscape artist remains. Time-lapse segments ensure viewers don’t miss any of each artist’s progression from blank canvas to finished work. Based on the UK format distributed by Banijay Rights and originally produced by Storyvault Films. Landscape Artist of the Year Canada is produced by marblemedia. (Previously announced.)

Returning Series 

Handmade Hotels (season two; 6×30’; HD) (spring 2020) (world broadcast premiere)
Viewers get to peek inside even more unique and charming short-term rentals in season two of this series with host and professional house flipper, Katie Herbert. In each episode, Katie explores three unique spaces that showcase the creativity of homeowners and give viewers inspiration on how they can add artistic touches to their own homes. Produced by Architect Films. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

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Preview: Makeful’s Handmade Hotels explores luxury rentals

Unless I’m travelling for work, I refuse to stay in a hotel. I much prefer Airbnb for the convenience, homeyness and prices to what hotel chains offer. And, after watching Handmade Hotels, Katie Herbert has opened my eyes when it comes to booking a hotel for a group.

Debuting Tuesday with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Makeful, Herbert takes viewers on a journey to see a trio of short-term rentals designed for larger groups. A renovation specialist who isn’t afraid to think outside the box in her day-to-day gig, Herbert knows a unique design when she sees it. And Handmade Hotels has plenty to offer when it comes both whimsy and wow factor.

After a bit of a history lesson—short-term rentals date back to boarding houses of the 19th century when workers and their families came to the city and needed somewhere to stay when they weren’t on the job—Herbert visits the first location, a home dating from 1880. After renovating it for her family, homeowner Abigale now offers it as a short-term property for up to nine guests. One of the unique and eye-catching items in the property is a clawfoot tub in the kitchen with a very cute story behind it. As Herbert says, that tub is just the type of item to garner attention when folks search online for somewhere to stay and makes for a great conversation piece.

Herbert’s next stop is a 6,000-foot place, The Darling Mansion, that can easily host 10. Among the highlights in Tanya’s former doctor’s home turned art spaces are antiques and visual curiosities, a room called “The Opium Den” with open shower, and “The Magic Carpet Ride,” boasting a bed suspended from the ceiling.

Upcoming instalments spotlight hidden rooms, eco-friendly homes, tiny homes and historic properties, all part of the short-term rental market.

Handmade Hotels is the latest original production from Blue Ant Media and it’s the perfect fit to a brand offering great homegrown shows like Blown Away, Great Canadian Cottages and Brojects. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Handmade Hotels airs Tuesdays at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Makeful.

Images courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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