Tag Archives: Frantic Films

Backyard Builds returns to HGTV with more impressive and attainable renovations

When I last spoke to Sarah Keenleyside and Brian McCourt, their fledgling series, Backyard Builds, was set to debut. They had joined their fellow HGTV Canada designers and builders on Home to Win but that hadn’t been broadcast yet either. They were nervous, and excited, for both projects. Now the duo is back for the sophomore go-around on their renovation series.

“To call this a family is an understatement,” Keenleyside says over the phone alongside McCourt. “The whole HGTV crew takes you under their wing. Brian and I still pinch ourselves sometimes. We’re like, ‘Dude, we’re working with Scott McGillivray and Sarah Richardson!’ These are the people we used to watch and now we’re their peers.”

Backyard Builds returns Thursday with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT with Keenleyside and McCourt once again blowing up bad-looking backyards and turning them into something amazing. And while the transformations are truly impressive—a family full of energetic boys sees their yard turned into a basketball court—the projects add value to the home and aren’t outrageously expensive for the homeowners. Last year, I wrote that the pair are almost criminally good-looking but know their stuff, are articulate, don’t talk down to viewers and have fun. That continues in Season 2, but McCourt says the projects have changed this time around.

“The projects were fun and whimsical [in Season 1] but didn’t relate to the viewer on a practical sense,” McCourt says. “This season we’ve done a lot more practical backyards and really dove into low-maintenance ideas for homeowners.” That’s a tall order when your episode clients vary from big and small families to single guys, but they relished the challenge. In Thursday’s second episode, the pair and their renovation team descend on a small bungalow owned by a dude looking to have space in the yard to entertain. The desert-like landscape and stubborn tree stump provided a challenge for McCourt but he triumphed and, with Keenleyside’s keen design flair, the homeowner ended up with a sweet outdoor pub-themed oasis.

“We have some really strong backyards this season,” McCourt says. “We did an outdoor kitchen with an outdoor pizza oven with two structures—one is a lounge and one is a secondary prep space—and in between we actually suspended a pergola. It’s really something special.”

Backyard Builds airs Thursdays at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

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Preview: Baroness von Sketch Show deals more hilarity in Season 3

Hot on the heels of Baroness von Sketch Show‘s well-deserved Canadian Screen Award wins and continued kudos from American attention thanks to IFC picking the program up, the funny Canadian ladies are back for Season 3 on Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Once again, writers, stars and executive producers Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen simply nail it with hilarious characters and dead-funny views in sketches both timely and evergreen. While some Canadian periodicals write lazy columns decrying a lack of funny at the CBC, I say the network has never been stronger because of Baroness, Still Standing, Schitt’s Creek, Mr. D and Kim’s Convenience. (The jury is still out on 22 Minutes, thanks to behind the scenes shakeups.)

The return episode, “Is that you Karen?” bursts out of the gate with immediate laughs, as two ladies who haven’t seen each other in 20 years reconnect in the oddest and most ludicrous of ways. And that’s before the revamped opening credits roll. Then, in the rat-a-tat roll out of sketches, viewers get reflections on the rites of spring (with three of the four ladies dressed as dudes), the dangers of accepting a ride home from a co-worker, rogue cops and what could happen when the barista gets the name wrong on your coffee cup.

Whenever I speak to folks about the television shows Baroness von Sketch almost always comes up. There’s a reason for that. With tight writing, stellar performances (MacNeill’s over-the-top physical comedy is a standout) and truly relatable topics, the baronesses are hitting a comedy home run every week.

Baroness von Sketch Show airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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CBC renews Baroness Von Sketch Show for Season 4

From a media release:

CBC has renewed its award-winning, all-female original sketch comedy series BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW from Frantic Films for a fourth season (10 x 30). Created by and starring Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen, the new season will begin production in Toronto this September for launch on CBC in 2019.

The renewal announcement comes just ahead of the premiere of Season 3 on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app and cbc.ca/watch on Tuesday, September 18 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT).

Since its debut in 2016, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW has been recognized with 15 nominations and 10 wins to date, including Canadian Screen Awards for Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series (2017, 2018), Best Writing, Variety or Sketch Comedy (2018) and Best Performance, Sketch Comedy (2018) for the ensemble. Additional award wins include a 2018 ACTRA Toronto Award for Outstanding Performance – Ensemble and a 2018 Canadian Comedy Award for Best TV Show.

Fast paced and irreverent, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW celebrates the absurd, mines the embarrassing and satirizes our daily lives. Shot entirely on location, this single-camera comedy series takes a fresh look at our navel-gazing, contemporary culture. From marriage equality to screen addiction, Airbnbs to ultrasounds, this satirical sketch show captures the banalities and absurdities of modern life.

A CBC original series, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW is produced by Frantic Films.  Drawing on 16 years of comedy experience and multiple collaborations, the award-winning, talented team of Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen are the writers, stars and executive producers. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Michelle Daly is Senior Director, Comedy, Scripted Content; Greig Dymond and Karen Tsang are the Executives in Charge of Production.

The series is also broadcast on IFC in the U.S. Season 3 will premiere on IFC on Thursday, November 8 at 9 p.m., with IFC also picking up Season 4 for U.S. audiences in 2019.

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Link: Kew Media snaps up six companies

From Nico Franks and Jonathan Webdale of C21Media:

Link: Kew Media snaps up six companies
KMG has secured a private placement of US$20m from current shareholders and new investors ahead of its IPO, with the price of the acquisitions pegged at US$104.1m. The business expects to bring in revenue of US$218.3m in the 2017 fiscal year.

KMG is set to take full ownership of London- and LA-based CMC and in Architect Films, Bristow Global Media, Media Headquarters Film & Television and Our House Media – all of which are based in Toronto – plus Alex Gibney’s Frantic Films in Winnipeg. Continue reading. 

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