Tag Archives: Featured

Preview: Season 2 of Animal Planet’s Pets & Pickers offers services to low-income pet families

I would do anything for my cat. Homer, who is 13, may get on my nerves with his early-morning requests to feed him or plaintive meows to be let outside when I’m in the middle of a Teams meeting, but I love the little guy.

That love of animals is at the heart of Pets & Pickers, a truly unique series on Animal Planet. Returning Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern—and available to watch for free thanks to Bell’s free preview of their specialty channels right now—Pets & Pickers follows the folks at Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) Animal Hospital in Richmond, B.C., who have a groundbreaking way to fund often-expensive medical care for pets: a thrift store. It’s in the RAPS thrift store that staff sort through abandoned storage lockers for items that can be sold or auctioned off. All money raised pays for vet care and surgeries.

Saturday’s return kicks off with 11-year-old Tigger, a cat who has received some scratches to his face and muzzle that have hindered his breathing. While he’s under anesthesia, Dr. Regan discovers Tigger is missing teeth, and has additional swelling and infection.

Meanwhile, thrift store manager Karen—whose team has raised over $1 million to offset vet costs—is up to her shoulders in new items in two storage bins. Smaller items like an old lamp can pull in $40, while a box of vintage comic books can command upwards of $200. It all counts and quickly adds up to $2,000.

Back at the hospital, Tigger receives x-rays that uncover a possible answer to how he received his facial scratch and more serious issues. Thankfully, Tigger gets the treatment he needs, owner Rose is thrilled to have him back and appreciative that the bill has been covered by RAPS.

Equal parts Storage Wars and The Incredible Dr. Pol, Pets & Pickers is a fun and emotional ride.

Pets & Pickers airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET on Animal Planet.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.


2023 WGC Screenwriting Awards winners announced

From a media release:

In a funny, lively ceremony held this evening at Koerner Hall in Toronto, the winners of the 27th annual Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards were announced. The first in-person WGC Awards ceremony since 2019 (due to COVID-19 precautions), tonight’s gala brought together hundreds of Guild members, industry professionals, and fans—all in celebration of the Canadian screenwriters behind the programming and films viewers enjoy in Canada and around the world.

Some winners of 2023’s top prizes include Clement Virgo (Brother), Marsha Greene (The Porter, pictured above), Kurt Smeaton (Children Ruin Everything), Jason Sherman (My Tree), and Veronika Paz (Astrid & Lilly Save the World). Special awards were also presented to Laura Good, winner of the Sondra Kelly Award, and Adrian Morphy, who was awarded the Jim Burt Screenwriting Prize for his script The 300 Year Old Man. Susin Nielsen, creator and showrunner of Family Law, received the Showrunner Award—the prestigious final prize of the event.

The ceremony was hosted by Vance Banzo, a Saulteaux/Cree comedian, actor, writer, and member of award-winning sketch comedy troupe and series TallBoyz. Awards were presented on stage by showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell (Shelved, Run the Burbs); actress Paloma Nuñez (Shelved); actress and screenwriter Emma Campbell (The Next Step); writer/actor/producer Amanda Joy (Son of a Critch, Amelia Parker); showrunner Emily Andras (Wynonna Earp); writer and producer JP Larocque (Sort Of, JANN); actor and screenwriter Sugith Varughese (Transplant, Fraggle Rock); Amir Kahnamouee (previous WGC Jim Burt Prize winner); and screenwriter and producer Ken Craw (Heartland).


The Guava Juice Show, “Adventure 9000″ Written by Christine Mitchell

Children Ruin Everything, “Road Trips” Written by Kurt Smeaton

My Tree, Written by Jason Sherman

The Porter, “Episode 104” Written by Marsha Greene (pictured above)

Brother, Written by Clement Virgo

Written in the Stars, Written by David Elver

Dino Ranch, “Wings Over Dino Ranch” Written by Ben Joseph & Mike D’Ascenzo

Second Life, Written by Darrin Rose

Astrid & Lilly Save the World, “One Rib” Written by Veronika Paz

Adrian Morphy for The 300 Year Old Man

Laura Good

Susin Nielsen


Debra Salmoni brings her interior design know-how to Scott’s Vacation House Rules

Cottages have come a long way since the days my family rented one in Sauble Beach, Ont. That one boasted mismatched wallpaper, a bedroom with a lamp so creepy we put it in a closet, and a dodgy septic system. Nowadays, if you’re planning to rent your cottage out, you need to really ramp it up.

Enter Scott McGillivray and Debra Salmoni.

Returning for Season 4 this Sunday on HGTV Canada, Scott’s Vacation House Rules finds the pair leading the charge to turn dodgy into drop-dead gorgeous. With his real estate and contracting skills and her 12 years of interior design expertise, everything they touch has a wow factor as well as bringing in the highest rental income possible.

It all begins Sunday when the pair help Scott’s best friend, Blake, renovate his run-down property.

We spoke to Debra Salmoni about her start on HGTV Canada, and her tips for those looking to design their own properties for maximum impact and income.

When I speak to somebody that’s part of the HGTV Canada family, I get their backstory. But I was doing some research into you and read the story that Seneca College did on you. HGTV Canada literally called you out of the blue because they saw you on Instagram. Is that true?
Debra Salmoni: Yes, yes, pretty much. My husband [Dave Salmoni] has been on television. He did a show in 2015, and his makeup artist is actually the one who put my name forward randomly to a casting director. The casting director was looking for a designer for Scott McGillivray’s new show. I guess they were on set together at another project, and all of a sudden this casting director messages me on Instagram and was just like, ‘I would love to talk to you about this opportunity.’ And I thought it was spam.

They followed up a few times. And then, finally, I replied ‘Is this serious?’ We had a conversation, and it went really, really well. I met with Scott on set to do a camera test, and see how we worked and our chemistry together. And then, like a week later, it was, ‘You got the part!’ [Laughs.] And then, two days after that it was, ‘We’re filming tomorrow.’ Within six weeks I was on TV filming with Scott. I’d never done television before. No desire to be on television. It’s really serendipitous

Cottages have come such a long way from when my family rented one when I was a kid. If you want any kind of income, you really need to update it and think of a cottage kind of as a second home.
DS: Domestic travel and cottages have come such a long way. Before, we used to get two weeks’ vacation, and you would go to the cottage by the lake and you would spend two weeks with your family, and that was it. You would shut it down and you would go back home. Our lifestyles have changed. We can work remotely, we get six weeks of vacation, it’s all different. These properties need insulation. They need running water. Getting the bones and the structure of these homes is very, very important.

And it’s a huge part of the show, and it’s the unsexy part of the renovation. It eats up a lot of the budget. So, to anyone who wants to renovate their cottage outside of a quick of some paint and accessories, you have to get the bones of your property right. Before you start investing in new kitchens and putting down new floors and buying new furniture, otherwise there’s going to be water damage, you’re gonna have foundation cracks, and you’re gonna have some of these serious issues because the cottages were not built for year-round use.

I want to talk about that intimate relationship between a homeowner or a cottage owner and an interior designer. Can you just talk about that relationship and how important it is?
DS: I own my own design studio as well. With homeowners on the show, I only get a little bit of time with them to go through their wishlists. They send me their wishlist, we talk, we meet, we go through all of those details, and then, basically, they step away and it’s in our hands. With my personal clients, some of them are like, ‘Deb, you do your thing. We’ve worked together for so many years, I trust you entirely.’ But other clients like to be very involved in the process, and I love when they’re involved because yes, you’re right, I have to dig deep into their lifestyle. So when we’re selecting a bathtub, it’s the size of the bathtub. Are the kids gonna be bathing in here? Is it just for you? Are you even a bath person or do you prefer a shower? Do you wanna have a bench in there? For vanities, do you like to have one big vanity? Do you want to have separate vanities? You really dig deep into the lifestyle of your clients so you can completely customize the house to their needs. And that’s when they walk in and they’re like, ‘Wow, Deb nailed it.’

Going back to Blake’s cottage in the Sunday debut. I really loved the multipurpose, red-checked stool. I feel like, if you’re renting out your property, everything has to be really solid.
DS: The minute a client tells us we’re planning on renting there is function, durability, wear and tear to consider. When it’s just your own property, you’re going up there maybe a week, and then it stays dormant for a month, and then you go up for another week. There’s not much wear and tear. But when you’re renting out these properties, the hope is that its back-to-back renters. You have two days of cleaning everything, getting it set up in another two weeks. Everything gets hardcore wear and tear. You want to make sure that you’re picking materials that are durable.

Scott’s Vacation House Rules airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Images courtesy of Corus.


Must Watch Canadian TV Shows in 2023

Although it’s not often talked about, Canada has produced some of the best TV series in recent years. While they sometimes get overlooked because American and British shows dominate the global market, once you delve deeper, they don’t disappoint. 

These TV shows have something to offer just about everyone. Whether you enjoy quirky comedies or gripping dramas, you’ll find something you like. Keep reading to learn about some of the must-watch Canadian TV shows in 2023. 


Whether we’re playing games on our phones or listening to a podcast about our favourite series, entertainment plays an important role in our lives. Casino games are some of the most popular games in the world, so it’s not surprising they also make an appearance on TV shows. One of Canada’s most famous programs is named Casino, and it’s based on a true story guaranteed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The main character is tasked with building a new casino, and he has to do so while dealing with various forces, including high-powered officials. It’s so good, most viewers won’t want to stop watching until they’ve finished all of the episodes.

When not watching this series or others, fans may want to test their skills on their own. Smartphones have made it easy to play popular casino titles while on the go or from the comfort of home. Thanks to the arrival of the casino industry in the online world, today you can enjoy classic titles such as roulette or blackjack and their new adapted versions, or delve into any imaginable theme with slots. Undoubtedly, a big step that has allowed to improve the user experience in the sector.

Wong & Winchester

This show debuted on January 17th of this year, making it the newest on this list. It brilliantly mixes crime and comedy and has become one of the most talked-about series this year. The story focuses on a seasoned ex-cop turned private investigator paired with an inexperienced newcomer who tests her patience. 

Despite their differing views on just about everything, the two must work together to solve new cases each week. The show covers a variety of themes and has great dialogue that’ll keep viewers both laughing and intrigued. 

Run the Burbs

The second season of this sitcom follows a multicultural Canadian family as they build their lives in the suburbs. It features a stay-at-home dad and a mom who runs her own business. Although many think moving to the suburbs will doom them to a life of boredom, this TV show proves that’s not always the case, especially when you’re determined to live life to the fullest. 

Comedian, writer, and actor Andrew Phung created the show with his best friend, filmmaker Scott Towsend. Get ready for lots of belly laughs while watching this series. 

Plan B

If you like time-travel stories, you won’t want to miss the TV series Plan B. It revolves around the life of Phillip, who sees travel as an escape from his life problems. He travels into the past, hoping to change it for the better and wondering if he can undo the damage he’s done to himself.

The name of the TV show comes from the company that employs the protagonist, which lets people go back in time to fix their mistakes. It’s an adaptation of the French-language sci-fi drama that’s been translated for English-speaking audiences.  

Sullivan’s Crossing

A renowned neurosurgeon is forced to leave her medical career behind after a scandal means she has to leave her job and home. That’s the story behind the gripping new drama Sullivan’s Crossing, which follows the life of Maggie Sullivan as she embarks on a new path after her career ends. 

She returns to her hometown in Nova Scotia, where she reconnects with her past and tries to navigate her new life. However, the appearance of a mysterious person in the town threatens to disrupt the tranquility she’d hoped to find back home. 

Red Ketchup

While this show hasn’t premiered yet, we recommend keeping an eye out for it if you’re a fan of animated series. It follows the story of a rogue FBI agent who’s shipped off to Antarctica on a fake mission. The series is based on the graphic novel series by Pierre Fournier and is sure to be highly entertaining.


Slasher: Ripper takes the franchise to a bloody great new level

What would Detective William Murdoch say? And would he be able to solve the crime? Those were the first two thoughts when I watched screeners of the first two episodes of Slasher: Ripper.

Returning Thursday at 9 p.m. ET to Hollywood Suite, Slasher: Ripper is the latest instalment of the gruesome, gory whodunit from creator-executive producer Aaron Martin and fellow executive producer Ian Carpenter.

Set in the late 19th century, and partly filmed on the backlot where fellow Shaftesbury project Murdoch Mysteries is created, Ripper catches up with a Toronto galvanized by fear. There is a vengeful killer on the loose slaughtering the city’s elite in horribly creative ways. Charged with solving the case is Detective Kenneth Rijkers (Gabriel Darku), who becomes increasingly desperate to connect the deaths before the body count gets any higher.

Toplining this tale is Eric McCormack, who dons 19th-century garb to play Basil Garvey, a supremely nasty tycoon who holds Toronto in his greedy grip. Easily the evilest character McCormack has ever played, Martin and Carpenter were positively giddy with his performance.

“Not unlike last year, when we brought David Cronenberg in [for Slasher: Flesh & Blood], we were looking for that type of person for that and [executive producer] Christina Jennings said, ‘I wonder if we can get him?’ He told me that as soon as he read one of his first lines of dialogue he said, ‘I have to do this part.'”

Complementing McCormack is Martin and Carpenter’s stable of Slasher performers in Paula Brancati as heiress Viviana Botticelli, Jefferson Brown as pimp Horatio Dixon, Lisa Berry as physician Dr. Melanda Israel, Jo Vannicola as newspaper editor Enid Jenkins, Steve Byers as man of God, Andrew May Jr., Sabrina Grdevich as Viviana’s sister, Venetia, Christopher Jacot as brothel owner Terrence Crenshaw and Salvatore Antonio as sex worker Salomé. And while all are familiar faces to the franchise, Martin and Carpenter ensure their characters are always unique.

“We like to give them a chance to play outside of the roles they are usually cast in,” Martin says. The result is performances that are mesmerizing and truly memorable. That goes for the acting chops provided by new faces alongside McCormack. Murdoch Msyteries‘ Clare McConnell goes against type as Regina Simcoe, Frankie Drake Mysteries‘ Sharron Matthews as housekeeper Gladys and Killjoys‘ Thom Allison as Georges Rondeau.

Written by Martin, Carpenter, Shelley Scarrow and Lucie Pagé, the eight-episode scripts are taut, enthralling, exciting and deliciously over-the-top. And, thanks to director of photography Scott McClellan and director-executive producer Adam McDonald, the setting is disturbing and very un-Murdoch.

“That backlot is beautiful,” Carpenter says. “We set some visual goals, and Scott and Adam shot the hell out of it. We wanted to get the dirt, the animals, the feces, the blood … it was really exciting.”

Slasher: Ripper airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Hollywood Suite.

Images courtesy of Shaftesbury.