Tag Archives: Discovery

Canada’s Worst Driver and Tougher Than It Looks crash onto Discovery

With the 13th season of Canada’s Worst Driver arriving Monday night on Discovery, I can’t help but wonder if the series can do more for the driving industry. Like Mike Holmes has done uncovering bad builders and lax rules in the housing industry, should Canada’s Worst Driver do the same for driving schools?

On its surface, Canada’s Worst Driver—back at 10 p.m. ET with Andrew Younghusband behind the wheel—continues to spotlight drivers from across the nation who shouldn’t be on the road in the first place. These are folks with bad habits all the way to the downright dangerous and I’ve gone from solely blaming those drivers to the including the people who have taught them. For me, Canada’s Worst Driver ceased to be fun to watch years ago because the contestants seem to be getting worse rather than better. Over 500 names were submitted for Season 13 before producers whittled the group down to eight who are ensconced in the CWD facility.

Once there, they go through a bevy of tests designed to not only entertain (or in my case frighten) viewers but also present the correct way to perform each tested task. The group includes Breanna, a 19-year-old who is, thanks to being involved in a car accident when she was younger, is convinced she’s going to die behind the wheel of a car; Joe, a reckless lad who has floors it at every opportunity and keeps his lawyer employed solely to defend his tickets; Ashley, who can’t drive without crying and was nominated by former CWD contestant Jillian; Shayne, who drives half the posted speed because he was hit by a car while walking; Melanie, who is convinced she can’t do anything; Adam, whose love of driving was derailed by one accident; Julie, who has been in 16 accidents thanks to distracted driving; and Travis, the most timid man behind the wheel of an automobile. All are determined to be better, safer drivers.

Clearly, some of this season’s contestants have major stress issues because of past traumas and are, hopefully, addressing those with a doctor. But all are shown simply not knowing what the rules of the road are. Again, how were they given licences to be behind the wheel of a vehicle that can kill themselves or others if they don’t know what to do at a stop sign?

Much more enjoyable for me is Season 2 of Tougher Than It Looks? which finds Younghusband taking on some of the oddest, strangest tasks in the world.

Monday’s back-to-back instalments, like in the first go-round, put Younghusband’s brain and body up for injury at our expense as he spends 24 hours trying to master something. Learning to ride the waves or a skateboard leads to the usual bumps and bruises on the road to success but being a rodeo clown (in Episode 2) could get you killed. But, unlike Canada’s Worst Driver, Tougher Than It Looks? puts the onus on Younghusband to do the work and, usually, get hurt. The Newfoundland native is game to do anything and it’s his positivity and sense of humour that makes Tougher Than It Looks? so easy to watch.

It’s entertaining to observe Younghusband learn how difficult it is to master balance, first in the controlled environment of a wave rider to the February chill of surfing the surging waves of Lake Huron. As for dropping into a skateboarding half-pipe? Let’s just say concrete and wood are harder than water.

In advance of Canada’s Worst Driver and Tougher Than It Looks? is the debut of Last Stop Garage at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET. The program spotlights the men and women who operate CRB Automotive, a family-owned garage in North West River, Labrador. Using the backwoods resourcefulness needed to get things done far away from the big city, the crew fix and build just about anything for anyone in their remote town of 553 residents.

Last Stop Garage airs Mondays at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Canada’s Worst Driver airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Tougher Than It Looks airs Mondays at 11 and 11:30 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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Link: ‘Frontier’ creators say ‘Game of Thrones’-style chaos coming

From Bill Brioux of The Canadian Press:

Link: ‘Frontier’ creators say ‘Game of Thrones’-style chaos coming
By his own admission, former “Republic of Doyle” star Allan Hawco is, in terms of casting, not exactly front-tier on “Frontier” — and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

The St. John’s-based series about fur trappers and colonial clashes in ferocious, pre-confederation Canada returns to Discovery for a second season beginning Wednesday (production partner Netflix shows the series worldwide at a later date). Continue reading.

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Frontier’s Greg Bryk on Cobb Pond’s Season 2 journey and how Paul Gross saved his life

Fifteen years ago, Paul Gross saved Greg Bryk’s life. I was on the phone with Bryk to talk about Season 2 of Frontier—Discovery’s historical drama about the history of the Canadian fur trade returning Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT—when I mentioned Men with Brooms came out 15 years ago.

“He saved my life,” Bryk says of Gross, who wrote, starred and directed the feature film. “I was going to go to law school. I had babies and I couldn’t pay any bills and I was walking away from it all. And then he cast me in Men with Brooms and threw me a lifeline. He was incredibly generous with his time and was kind of the rogueish older brother that I never had.”

The role of Alexander “The Juggernaut” Yount was the first of many, many memorable characters Bryk has played over the year. Whether it’s alpha werewolf Jeremy Danvers on Bitten, the Jack of Knives on Wynonna Earp or Grady on Mary Kills People, Bryk has amassed an IMDB page packed with memorable characters. We spoke to Bryk about his acting choices and what’s to come for Cobbs Pond, business associate/lover to Montreal businessman Samuel Grant (Shawn Doyle), in Season 2 of Frontier.

They say that the clothes make the man. Is that true for Cobbs Pond?
Greg Bryk: He has the best wardrobe. The best. When [series creators] Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie approached me, they had another character they were interested in me for. I was under option for Bitten at the time and that part was recast. A few weeks later, Bitten was cancelled and I was no longer under option. Rob called me, and I remember being in a parking lot in the Distillery District [of Toronto]. ‘Greg, hear me out on this. We have a character. So far we haven’t written a line for him yet. We have no idea what he could become or will become. He’s a cross between this real-life assassin-gunfighter that exists—historically from Boston—and Oscar Wilde.’ I’m like, ‘Done. Let’s have an adventure.’

We literally created this character from scratch and when I first walked in and I saw the fox hat. When [costume designer] Michael [Ground] handed me the hat I had everything I needed to know about this character. There is such a playful malevolence about him and the idea of sexuality and femininity and being placed in that historical context but to be this completely complicated and contemporary man, in a lot of ways, was a fascinating adventure. We found moments throughout Season 1—some dark, horrific moments and moments of real longing and being lost—and that arc/descent accelerates during Season 2. Cobbs goes to some places that I was so thrilled to get to be able to take him and really explore what love means to this character, what loyalty means, what ambition means, what greed means, what savage revenge means … all the while spinning in the most beautiful clothes one could ever hope to dress themselves in.


“When the lights go up and the camera goes on, it’s like a cage opens and the lion hunts the zoo.”


It sounds like you personally had a hand in creating Cobbs.
They fleshed the character out in very broad strokes and allowed me to bring so much of myself to the character. I’m really lucky in that a lot of directors and showrunners that I have worked with trust me to personalize the work and bring elements of myself to the character. There are things this year that happen with Cobbs and parts of monologues that are straight camera roll and they just let me go into myself. There are a couple of scenes which are shocking and brutal and violent but also incredibly vulnerable. It’s me transferring an experience I had being in love with this girl when I was in Grade 5—that first love—and they let me drag Cobbs into my longings and my wants and my vulnerabilities. But, also, this strength emerges in Cobbs this year where he is a force to be reckoned with.

There are some moments that are absolutely crazy. There are places Cobbs goes that I think the audience—who enjoyed him in the first season as this glitter who was thrown into a very dark world—will be slack-jawed at some of the things that will happen. He’s quite, delightfully, mad.

You’ve created memorable characters throughout your acting career. Where does that come from?
I’m a very cautious, almost timid, person in real life. I like routine. I stay in my house with my kids and my wife and my dogs. I literally walk the same path every day and I like that. In the real world, I like to control as much as I can. But in my work, it’s the chaos, man. I’m fearless. There is nothing I won’t reveal about myself or someone else and I don’t ever apologize for anything that I do. I am utterly without censure when the cameras roll and I think it saves my life. I became a father in theatre school and I had to learn to compartmentalize. Discovering myself as an artist was walking in step with being a husband and a father. There have always been these parallel tracks. I can happily live away from that live wire in the middle, but goddamn it I love to dance on it. When the lights go up and the camera goes on, it’s like a cage opens and the lion hunts the zoo.

Frontier airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

 

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Discovery announces 2017/18 original programming slate; Canadian hits headline network’s 2017 fall lineup

From a media release:

Discovery, primetime’s most-watched entertainment specialty network in Canada among total viewers and key adult demos, announced its 2017 fall lineup today, headlined by an unrivaled 2017/18 original Canadian programming slate. Discovery’s primetime schedule continues to be underpinned by an unprecedented array of wildly popular homegrown programs for fall and winter, produced both in-house and in partnership with some of the country’s most successful independent production companies. In all, Discovery features six brand new programs joining 13 returning original series to headline its schedule for the 2017/18 broadcast year.

New to Discovery’s production slate are character-driven series LAST STOP GARAGE, airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23; ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD (Winter 2018); and HELLFIRE HEROES (Spring 2018). These series are complemented by one-of-a-kind original specials, including the Exploration Production Inc. (EPI)-produced SATURN: INSIDE THE RINGS (Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT), featuring DAILY PLANET’s Dan Riskin, as well as the cutting-edge mystery solver from Discovery’s popular “DRAIN” series, DRAIN ALCATRAZ, coming this November.

Following the network’s first foray into original scripted drama last fall, Discovery features the exclusive and thrilling world debut of FRONTIER’s second season, airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 18. Featuring international film star and Canadian Screen Award nominee Jason Momoa (Justice League), the new season sees new alliances threatening to topple the established power dynamic, as loyalties shift and old wounds fester.

But first, the Fall 2017 schedule kicks off with Season 23 of Discovery’s flagship series DAILY PLANET currently enjoying its most-watched year in series history continuing to go where no one else dares. Kicking off a new season with “Boldly Go Week”, airing Monday, Aug. 28 through Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, the original series currently reaches more than 1.4 million viewers each week, and continues to win its 7 p.m. ET timeslot versus other Canadian entertainment specialty channels among key adult demos.

The 2017 fall season follows a highly successful broadcast year for Discovery’s original Canadian programs, which featured the debut of HEAVY RESCUE: 401 in January as the #1 original Canadian series launch of the season on entertainment specialty television, followed by last fall’s world debut of the network’s new scripted series FRONTIER. In 2016/17, Discovery was also home to the most-watched unscripted specialty series in Canada among A18-34 and A18-49, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER.

Winning three of seven nights per week in primetime among A25-54 viewers – more than any other entertainment specialty network – Discovery also claims four of the Top 10 series on entertainment specialty television in the current broadcast year withCANADA’S WORST DRIVER, HEAVY RESCUE: 401, GOLD RUSH, and HIGHWAY THRU HELL.

Looking forward to Discovery’s 2017/18 original programming slate, below are key programming highlights in chronological order:

Fall 2017 Original Programming Highlights

  • Internationally recognized winner of the Canadian Screen Award for Best News or Information Series, DAILY PLANET returns for its 23rd season – Monday-Friday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT beginning Aug. 28.
  • Top 10 Entertainment Specialty program HIGHWAY THRU HELL returns for Season 6 – Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 5.
  • Investigating the stories and science behind major aviation crashes, Season 17 of MAYDAYFridays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 8.
  • Exploring the genius of flight technology with the aid of high-end CGI is Season 4 of MIGHTY PLANES Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 10.
  • Long-time international favourite, HOW IT’S MADE returns for Season 30 –Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 11.
  • Traveling the world to explore how everyday objects can be deconstructed and reimagined in incredible ways, MADE BY DESTRUCTION returns for Season 2 – Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 11.
  • **NEW SPECIAL** As its final act, Cassini – the largest interplanetary spacecraft NASA has ever built – will dive into Saturn’s atmosphere, collecting unprecedented science to end its 13-year mission orbiting the ringed jewel of the solar system. The one-hour special SATURN: INSIDE THE RINGS(Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) unveils the engineering of the mammoth spacecraft, while shining a light on the team that responsible for a range of incredible discoveries.
  • As new alliances threaten to topple the established power dynamic, loyalities shift and old wounds fester in the thrilling second season of FRONTIER (Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 18), headlining Discovery’s fall schedule with a six-episode broadcast event.
  • **NEW SERIES** LAST STOP GARAGE (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23) follows the often hilarious antics of CRB Automotive, the sole auto repair shop at the end of the only road left before hitting the most remote North American wilderness.
  • Discovery’s most-watched original series among key adult demos, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23) enters its 13th season.
  • Season 2 of TOUGHER THAN IT LOOKS (Mondays at 11 p.m. ET and 11:30 p.m. ET/8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23) stars CANADA’S WORST DRIVER’s Andrew Younghusband in search of wildly different experiences in each episode.
  • **NEW SPECIAL** The world’s most infamous prison was also its most inescapable. But why? Many have tried to solve this mystery, but none have searched beneath the waves…until now. DRAIN ALCATRAZ (November 2017) uses cutting-edge CGI and sophisticated technology to “drain” the seas and scrub the sediments, revealing once and for all why Alcatraz was so difficult to escape.
  • **NEW SPECIAL** Inspired by the best-selling book from author and DAILY PLANET co-host Dan Riskin, MOTHER NATURE IS TRYING TO KILL YOU (Fall 2017) takes viewers on a lively romp through the underbelly of the natural world. With a unique combination of animation and live action footage, Mother Nature has never looked so twisted. The one-hour special brings to life the sordid tales of insects, animals, and creatures behaving in such shocking fashion that viewers will surely never think of nature in the same beautiful, pleasant way again.
  • Long-running international hit MIGHTY SHIPS (December 2017) sets sail on a new high-stakes voyage for Season 10, taking viewers on the journey and below the surface to explore places and technologies that are usually off-limits to land lovers.

Additional NEW Original Series Coming in 2017/18

  • ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD (Winter 2018) takes viewers on an action-packed journey to discover an extraordinary Canadian way of life, meeting everyone from off-gridders whose sole source of resupply is the rail to the hardy crews who do whatever it takes to keep these extreme railroads running.
  • Character-driven docuseries HELLFIRE HEROES (Spring 2018) gets up-close-and-personal with firefighters who’ll do just about anything to keep their community safe in the bullseye of the forest fire danger zone, Alberta’s remote Slave Lake.

Additional Returning Original Canadian Series Coming in 2017/18

  • Last season’s most-watched Canadian program debut, HEAVY RESCUE: 401(Winter 2018) returns for a second season to follow Heavy Rescue operators as they keep some of North America’s busiest highways moving.
  • Following the adventures of the jade-mining Bunce Family in northern B.C. is Season 4 of JADE FEVER (Winter 2018).
  • Season 31 of HOW IT’S MADE (Winter 2018) returns for a second helping this broadcast year, continuing to look behind the scenes at how everyday things are manufactured during Season 31.
  • Returning to investigate more major aviation disasters is Season 18 of MAYDAY (Winter 2018).
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Discovery’s Daily Planet dives into Shark Week

Shark Week certainly knows how to make a splash with big-name hosts and special events. The American Chopper cast (remember them?!), Les Stroud, Craig Ferguson and Andy Samberg have all taken a turn hosting; this year it’s actor-producer-director Eli Roth. The tentpole event for 2017 takes place on Sunday when former Olympic medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps gets into the water for Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White. Me? I’m more interested in what the folks at Daily Planet are doing.

Daily Planet‘s Shark Week coverage airs Monday, July 24, to Friday, July 28, at 7 p.m. ET on Discovery and features hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto presenting truly compelling segments during special episodes of their nightly science series. One preview segment next week finds Tong in the water with the toothy critters.

“I’ve gone diving enough times with sharks that I don’t think my heart rate changed at all,” Tong says alongside her co-host after completing filming at Ripley’s for the day. “I was more concerned with getting the right shot than the fact there were these massive animals around me. I love them and they’re so beautiful.”

“This really drives home that we practice what we preach,” Riskin says of Tong jumping in the water with sharks. “We want to show that, for the most part, sharks are not vicious killers. We put the more valuable co-host in the water to prove that she wasn’t going to get hurt.” Debuting in 1988, Shark Week has become a must-see event thanks to show titles like Shark: Maneater or Myth?, Teeth of Death and Anatomy of a Shark Bite. This year boasts programs like Great White Shark Serial Killer Lives, Great Hammerhead Invasion and Shark VortexThose outrageous titles may attract eyeballs, but the truth about sharks is much more mundane.

“The truth is, we have lots of stories this week about people who are in the water with great white sharks without a cage and they’re fine,” Riskin says. “They know what they’re doing and they would never throw the kid from the Nirvana album into the water with a shark.” He adds these experts know how the predatory fish posture and communicate what their intentions are. The result? The charisma and fascination surrounding them is still there, but the fear drops. Segments that Tong and Riskin introduce on Daily Planet include “Touching Great Whites,” as Jean-Marie Ghislain and Martin Kochling leave their dive cages behind to swim with sharks off the coast of Guadalupe Island; “Liverless Sharks,” regarding the mystery surrounding sharks washing up on South African shores with their livers expertly removed; and “Dead Whale Feast,” which—from its description—could be the gross-out of the whole lineup.

“Marine biologist Choy Aming is on a whale carcass bobbing in the middle of the ocean and all of these different species of sharks start coming up and feeding on the carcass while he’s sitting on it,” Tong teases.

“It’s in the sun, it’s baking and it’s decomposing,” Riskin adds. “He said it was like standing on a school bus made of tissue paper and covered in olive oil. A carcass is full of calories and animals need calories. A carcass in the ocean; what a great place to be.”

Daily Planet‘s Shark Week coverage airs Monday, July 24, to Friday, July 28, at 7 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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