Tag Archives: Corus Studios

Family Law’s Jewel Staite: “In the beginning, I was concerned that she wouldn’t be likable”

The folks at Family Law are in a pretty sweet position. With Episode 7 set to air this Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Global, a second season has already been filmed and in the can; we’re just waiting to find out when they’ll be broadcast. Having a second season already completed is rare in television and led to some nerves for Jewel Staite.

Staite—who has starred on Canadian projects like The Detectives, Motive and Stargate: Atlantis and U.S. projects like Blindspot, The Magicians, The Killing, Wonderfalls and, of course, Firefly—was nervous about how viewers would take to the show and her character, Abby.

When we first meet Abby, she is at her lowest point. A recovering alcoholic, Abby has moved out of her family’s house and moved back in with her mother. As a condition of her probation to return to her legal duties, Abby works at the firm owned by her estranged father, Harry (Victor Garber), alongside half-brother Daniel (Zach Smadu) and half-sister Lucy (Genelle Williams), leading to plenty of drama and laughs.

We spoke to Jewel Staite about filming Family Law and crafting a complicated character like Abby.

We’re getting near the end of Season 1 of Family Law, and a second season has already been shot and in the can. That’s a pretty unique position to be in. How does it feel?
Jewel Staite: It’s pretty amazing. It shows that the network has a lot of faith in the show and is very behind it. We have felt supported, and the writers have felt supported by them and it’s great. Now, obviously, because it’s now on the air, things are a little bit more real. [Laughs.] We are open to public opinion now and it’s not just a show that we made in secret for us. Now, all we really want is a Season 3.

Are comedic performances in your background? From the eye rolls to physical comedy, your performance is a joy to watch.
JS: Thanks, I appreciate that. I don’t get to do a ton of comedy, so when I do I like to have a lot of fun with it. Luckily, the people around me on the show, including [creator] Susin Nielsen, really like the idea of going for the humour in scenes.

In the audition process, I tried to stand out by making it funny and making Abby a little quirky in how she was written. I’m grateful that they appreciated that and agreed with me that that was the route to go with her. Some of her behaviour is a little unlikable, and I thought, ‘How can I make this person more acceptable to the audience in her actions and the things that she says?’

Making a lead character tough to cheer for is a tall order.
JS: Exactly. I think, in the beginning, I was concerned that she wouldn’t be likable. I remember having this conversation with my husband where I said, ‘I just hope people like her.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but if you go that route, you’re never going to approach it with honesty.’ I thought, ‘That’s completely right.’ It shouldn’t matter, and I should stick to making her as honest as possible, even if it means that, sometimes, she’s unlikeable and her behaviour is a little ugly.

Comedic moments aside, Family Law doesn’t shy away from tough conversations and scenes. When we meet Abby, her daughter, Sofia, is so embarrassed by her mother’s behaviour, and the larger themes of the show are dysfunctional relationships.
JS: Yeah, it is. And it’s real. It’s an entertaining show in that there are a lot of fun, shocking moments and some laughs, but the reality is these people are going through hard times, especially Abby. It’s a heartbreaking time for her; she misses her kids a lot, she has screwed up her life and sometimes feels like she’s never going to get it back on track. She is so desperate to get her family back. There are a lot of sad moments.

And then the cases that we deal with are really sad. There is a lot of tough subject matter in these episodes, but it’s a great juxtaposition. The goal was to make the audience laugh and cry in every episode. [Laughs.] It’s beautifully written and tugs at the heartstrings.

The dialogue and conversations these characters have are very believable. Susin Nielsen chalked a lot of that up to the relationship between the writers and the cast.
JS: As an actor, it’s so much easier to prepare and to remember the lines when it feels naturally conversational. Our writers are very gifted in that respect because we’re not improv-ing any of that stuff; everything is on the page and it flows beautifully. The characters surprise you with the things that they do and the things that they say but, at the same time, the way the characters are written and fleshed out, you feel like you are getting to know them very quickly.

The chemistry on this show was there from the very beginning. I don’t know if that was because the casting director [Maureen Webb] is amazing—because she is—or if it was just luck because we all just get each other. We’re on the same page and we have the same work ethic. We don’t rehearse a ton—we move very fast when we are shooting this show—and it keeps us on our toes and the day interesting. My favourite scenes are with the family because it feels so natural.

Family Law airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

Images courtesy of Corus.

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Preview: History’s Big Timber hits the water in Season 2

Debts and detonations. That’s a key message delivered in Thursday’s Season 2 return of Big Timber on History.

The reality series once again rides alongside logger Kevin Wenstob and his team of family and staff as they work deep in the heart of Vancouver Island. This time the stakes are even higher than before. Aside from pulling down and shipping timber—and the dangers and drama associated with that—mounting debts at the mill, and possible bankruptcy, cause Kevin and his crew to forge into uncharted waters. Literally.

During the last timber season, Kevin purchased a new claim and heads there … with a little help from his mini ‘dozer and grader. With snow too deep to cut much-needed red cedar, Kevin is on the financial ropes, especially after receiving some mail from the government. As with many documentary series of this type, drama is presented via situations like the aforementioned two problems—usually just before a commercial break and often ad nauseam—and I have to bite my tongue and soldier through the storytelling trope to get to the good stuff.

Thankfully, Big Timber is full of good stuff—like Kevin plotting to use a beloved old boat in the timber process—and I’m looking forward to watching the full season.

Big Timber airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.

Image courtesy of Corus Studios.

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Links: Nurses, Season 2

From Melissa Hank of Postmedia:

Link: Nurses preps for return on Global, after over a year of waiting
The timing for Global’s homegrown medical drama Nurses couldn’t have been better. The series scrubbed in last January and wrapped up its first season in March 2020 — just before the reality of working in a hospital would upend anything we’d seen before on TV. Continue reading.

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Nurses’ Tiera Skovbye
I may have interviewed Nurses‘ star Tiera Skovbye more than any other performer. Thankfully, the delightful Vancouver-based actress is extremely kind and generous, and speaking through Zoom video turned out to be the ideal format to discuss the coming season of Nurses. Continue reading.

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Corus Studios’ original series Big Timber makes its debut October 8 on History

From a media release:

Beginning Thursday, October 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, HISTORY® offers an inside look into the logging industry through the eyes of a rambunctious sawmill company. In Big Timber (10×60) logger Kevin Wenstob and his team, go to extremes to keep the family sawmill, and their way of life, alive. Deep in the heart of Vancouver Island, Kevin has invested $1.5 million on a remote timber claim high up the steep, rugged slopes of Klitsa Mountain. Home to some of the best lumber in the world, Kevin supplies his customers with the top-quality red and yellow cedar, fir, and rare hemlock that cannot be found anywhere else.

The team logs on rugged mountain cliffs where slopes reach angles as steep as 60 degrees. The weather is unforgiving, turning from scorching hot to torrential rain in a heartbeat, and snow comes early at this altitude. On top of everything else, Kevin’s equipment continues to get weathered by the harsh conditions and he is constantly concerned about equipment breakdowns.

With a thousand truckloads of timber waiting up top for him, he could make millions if he succeeds in getting them all down. However, it’s a huge gamble, and if he fails he could lose everything his family has worked for, he risks a hefty fine for any logs he leaves behind. It’s a constant battle to complete his mission and stay alive, but they’re up for the fight.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Corus Studios announces three new docu-series ahead of MIPTV

Today, Corus Studios, a division of Corus Entertainment, introduces three new docu-series for international sale at MIPTV in Cannes. The company continues to grow its slate of distinct original series developed for its portfolio of Lifestyle channels, which feature an array of genres including travel and escape, fashion, automotive, cultural and factual content. New original series available at the international market this year include, Big Rig Warriors (10×30), Rust Valley Restorers (8×60), World Without (9×60) as well as previously announced new original shows Island of Bryan (13×60) and STITCHED (12×60). Additional broadcast details will be announced at a later date.

Newly greenlit original series available at MIPTV are as follows:

Big Rig Warriors (10×30) – Automotive/Docu-series
During the week they earn a living travelling North America’s highways behind the wheels of their big rig trucks. But in their downtime, they meet on tracks where they drive on their own terms – and usually at dangerously fast speeds. Follow five dynamic truckers and the families and friends who support them during the exciting racing season, amid exhaust, roaring engines and burning tires, on their quest to cross the finish line and be crowned the “fastest.” Whether they’re drag racing on the streets of cities or country towns, competing on traditional racing tracks, or going head to head in oval races in Las Vegas, they all share a common obsession: They race big trucks. And they race them fast. Produced by Attraction Images in association with Corus Studios for HISTORY®.

Rust Valley Restorers (8×60) – Automotive/Docu-series
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is one of the most unique car communities in the world, also known as “Rust Valley.” It can’t be missed: acres upon acres of old and abandoned cars; a junkyard as far as the eye can see. And at its heart is a remarkable restoration shop run by a team of colourful and charismatic characters who use their impressive skills and experience to restore, trade and sell classic cars – transforming piles of rust into collectible car treasures. Produced by Mayhem Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for HISTORY®.

World Without (9×60) – Pop History/Docu-series
This mind-bending and innovative series examines the butterfly effect of removing key individuals, ideas, inventions and influences from a given nation’s history in order to highlight what that country has contributed to global culture and human history. In each episode, the series imagines the world without a specific country – the United Kingdom, U.S.A., Italy, China, Germany, France –as their game-changing leaders, innovations and social-political achievements are erased from our shared timeline. What transpires? Global catastrophe, societal upheaval and chaos. Produced by Cream Productions in association with Corus Studios for HISTORY®.

Previously announced greenlit original series starting production this spring include:

Island of Bryan (13×60) – Travel/Renovation/Docu-series
Can two parents with four school-age kids drop out of their busy lives, move to a tropical island paradise for eight months and rebuild and restore a rundown beachfront resort? Contractor Bryan Baeumler and his wife Sarah are about to find out. It’s a huge personal and financial gamble, but they’re ready to take the renovation ride of their lives. After more than 10 years of building a construction empire, Bryan and Sarah are about to embark on an unforgettable family adventure thousands of miles from home. Will they turn a ramshackle resort in the Bahamas into a luxurious boutique retreat and make it a buoyant business venture? Is paradise really all it’s cracked up to be? Produced by Si Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for HGTV Canada.

STITCHED (12×60) – Fashion Competition Series
The deadlines are tight, the expectations are high and the judges are hard to please. STITCHED is a fierce original fashion competition series where a new wave of fashion designers match wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every high-style-meets-high-stakes episode, four competitors face off in dramatic themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Facing the oh-so-sharp resident judges and a new guest judge per episode, designers create ambitious outfits inspired by unique materials and concepts under tight timelines. In the end, one designer rises to the top with a couture-level creation that earns them the $10,000 prize. Fashion model Kim Cloutier hosts alongside style expert Joe Zee and ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Craft. Produced by FORTÉ Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for SLICE™.

At MIPTV, Corus Studios will be represented by Rita Carbone Fleury, who will be overseeing the global sales of Corus’ original content slate.

 

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