Tag Archives: Industry News

CBC announces two new comedies

From a media release:

CBC is announcing initial details for two new original half-hour comedy series featuring Kim’s Convenience stars Andrew Phung and Nicole Power – RUN THE BURBS and STRAYS – with both shows set to launch during the upcoming 2021-22 broadcast season.

Created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon), RUN THE BURBS is a new original comedy about a young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs, featuring Phung as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids. The series has been in development since May 2020 and is produced by Pier 21 Films, with additional details to be announced later this spring.

STRAYS follows the upbeat and enthusiastic Kim’s Convenience character Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) as she embarks on a new career in Hamilton, Ontario alongside an ensemble cast including Frank Cox O’Connell (Soulpepper Theatre), Tina Jung (Suits, Second Jen), Nikki Duval (Workin’ Moms), Kevin Vidal (Workin’ Moms), Tony Nappo (Pretty Hard Cases), Paula Boudreau (Workin’ Moms) and Emily Piggford (The Sounds, Warigami). Created by Kevin White (Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek) and produced by Thunderbird Entertainment, the series has been in development since July 2018 and is currently in production. More details will be announced later this spring.

“As our comedy slate continues to evolve, we are thrilled to continue working with Andrew and Nicole and offer audiences two new comedies to look forward to starring these incredible talents they have come to know and love,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. “Both of these series were planned to join Kim’s Convenience on our comedy lineup this upcoming year, to reflect how many young Canadians are forging new lives outside of urban centres in Canada. We look forward to watching Andrew and Nicole as they explore these new stories.”

RUN THE BURBS and STRAYS join original comedy SORT OF as new additions to CBC’s award-winning comedy slate this upcoming broadcast season. Created by Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), SORT OF stars Baig as a gender fluid millennial trying to live their most authentic life.

CBC will confirm series renewals and additional new original series for the 2021/22 broadcast season later this spring.


Blue Ant Media and Content Catalyst Fund kickstart creative engine for female-generated unscripted content

From a media release:

International producer, distributor and channel operator, Blue Ant Media and Content Catalyst Fund (CCF), a development and funding company recently launched by producer and media executive Julie Bristow, jointly announced today that they are joining forces to develop female-generated, unscripted programming for the global marketplace. Together, the two companies will combine their collective expertise and resources to develop, produce and distribute series and documentaries for domestic and international markets.

As part of this deal, CCF will identify unique and inspired unscripted ideas for development and production across several genres including lifestyle, crime and high impact documentary series. Blue Ant Studios, the global production arm of Blue Ant Media, will produce projects in collaboration with CCF and Julie Bristow as Executive Producer. Blue Ant International will serve as the preferred global distribution company.

Laura Michalchyshyn, CCO and co-president, Global Content Production, Blue Ant Media said: “Partnering with CCF and Julie Bristow offers us a unique opportunity to bring new voices and projects to Blue Ant Media and the world. Not only will this joint venture allow us to grow the unscripted side of our business, specifically in popular genres like lifestyle, docu, reality and format programming, but it will also position us at the forefront of progressive, brilliant new content created by women. The partnership gives us access to seasoned and up-and-coming creative talent and inspired content development.”

Julie Bristow, Founder, Content Catalyst Fund said: “CCF’s curation and development expertise, and the production and distribution clout of Blue Ant Media, offers female creators a powerful new opportunity to turbocharge their ideas and roll them out internationally. This announcement is just the beginning: CCF plans to bolster its executive production capacity with talent that will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that includes buying and selling exciting projects in North America and around the world. This will allow us to give our new pipeline of female-generated, unscripted programming the very best start in life.”

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. We own and operate numerous production companies in North America and Asia-Pacific under the Blue Ant Studios banner, creating content for broadcasters and streaming platforms in multiple genres including factual entertainment, natural history, documentary, adult animation and drama. Our distribution business, Blue Ant International, offers a substantial catalogue of content, including one of the world’s largest 4K natural history offerings. Blue Ant Media operates channels under nine brands including Love Nature, Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada) and more. Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with eight international offices in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, London, Dunedin, Washington and Beijing. Blueantmedia.com

About CCF
Content Catalyst Fund is a mission-driven, for-profit business dedicated to catalysing the creation of commercially viable content for an underserved global market by powering female creators and investing in their ideas. CCF partners with female creators and producers to advance their projects from inception through to full monetisation of content. The company invests strategic, business and creative power in the best ideas, with the aim of ensuring that they are realised in the shortest possible time frame. http://contentcatalystfund.com/


Wapanatahk Media launches to focus on original and authentic Indigenous stories

From a media release:

Wapanatahk Media, co-owned and headed by Indigenous producers Tania Koenig-Gauchier and Shirley Mclean, launches today in partnership with Great Pacific Media, the Factual and Scripted Division of Thunderbird Entertainment. Wapanatahk Media’s vision is to create an array of top-quality production content, for broadcasters and streaming platforms that tell original and authentic Indigenous stories. The studio also prioritizes the training and employment of BIPOC peoples in the television industry.

Wapanatahk Media’s first green-lit series, Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet, goes into production in April 2021 and will feature a training program to mentor up-and-coming Indigenous filmmakers. The 9×30 series follows the adventures of Métis veterinarian Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she keeps rural Alberta’s pet and animal population healthy and thriving, all while learning more about her recently confirmed Métis bloodline. The series will employ Indigenous production staff in Vancouver and Alberta, and sponsor apprenticeships throughout the summer of 2021. The series is scheduled to air on APTN and Cottage Life in 2022.

Tania Koenig-Gauchier is a Métis (Cree) television producer whose family originates from Northern Alberta. She has more than 20 years of experience in broadcasting and independent production. She has worked as a producer for CTV, APTN and CBC, and has a background in business management, marketing and promotions for television. Tania is very excited to be partnered with Great Pacific Media (Thunderbird Entertainment), as they mentor her in the development and licencing of content for mainstream broadcasters and streaming platforms. Tania’s passions are creating opportunities for emerging Indigenous talent and in telling authentic Indigenous stories. Most recently, she spent five years in the position of manager of programming (western region) at APTN.

Shirley Mclean is a talented and respected storyteller, who has strong links to the creative communities of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, crew and producers. She is of Tlingit and Tagish descent from the Dakl’aweidi Killer Whale clan and is a member of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation in the Yukon. Her extensive history in broadcasting spans two decades. Currently, she is working on various productions at Great Pacific Media as a series producer, director, story editor and story producer. Prior to this, she spent eight years with APTN as a national reporter/producer in their Whitehorse bureau. Throughout her career, she has worked as a story producer, director and reporter for Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon, CBC North, and the national news magazine series called First Story for CTV in Vancouver.

Wapanatahk Media develops and produces top-quality unscripted, scripted, digital and animated content for broadcasters and streaming platforms, with a focus on telling original and authentic Indigenous stories and providing training and hiring opportunities for BIPOC employees in the television industry. Wapanatahk Media is co-owned and headed by Indigenous producers Tania Koenig-Gauchier and Shirley Mclean.


OUTtv and Fuse announce premiere date and cast for Shine True

From a media release:

OUTtv, the world’s first and Canada’s only LGBTQ2+ television network and Fuse, the leading Latino-owned and managed media brand, announced today the premiere date and cast for new original series, Shine True.

Previously announced (with the working title Clothes Minded), Shine True is a co-production from OUTtv, Fuse Media and VICE Studios (Flee, Dark Side of the Ring, 1994). The series tracks the journeys of trans and non-binary young adults leading up to a big life event. Shine True is hosted by Canadian transgender musician, artist, activist and life-coach Lucas Silveira (The Cliks) and gender non-conforming influencer, activist and model Richie Shazam. Gender expression can be challenging to navigate for trans and non-binary young adults. In each episode, Lucas Silveira and Richie Shazam, along with mentors and role models, guide someone who is trans or gender non-conforming as they explore their inner identity and passions, which they convert into authentic self-expression and the ability to “Shine True.”

The half-hour series premieres on OUTtv in Canada and on Fuse in the U.S on Monday, March 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The first season cast is made up entirely of young people from Canada and the U.S. They are (listed in alphabetical order, with their pronouns):

  • Azul (they/them) — confronts generational trauma and finds the “punk mariachi” within before their big art show.
  • Fran (they/them) — connects with their inner skaterboi, their Filipinx heritage, and surprises their girlfriend with a romantic date night for their first anniversary.
  • Jaden (they/them) — discovers ways to dress their new silhouette after recent top surgery, and then throws a New Moon party in Toronto to release the past.
  • Juan (they/them/he/him) — learns about queerness and gets in touch with his feminine side with a little help from the Latinx community in Georgetown, Ontario.
  • LaDon (he/him/she/her) — finds his inner diva on the south side of Chicago for a glamorous photoshoot with help from a drag legend.
  • Prism (they/them) — meets an inspiring fat activist in and surprises their friends with a name change party.
  • Ronnie (they/them) — gains a confidence boost and style upgrade to coincide with a new life chapter, inviting their Caribbean parents along for the ride.
  • T (he/him/they/them) — steps out of the bedroom studio in Toronto and onto the stage after conquering their fears of shopping and performing with a gender-bendy makeover.

To promote the series and drive viewers to tune-in via linear, the first episode will also be made available for free starting March 17 in Canada on OUTtvGo (outtvgo.com) and the U.S. on video-on-demand (VOD), as well as on select digital platforms including Fuse.tv.


Mad Samurai Productions options Eric Walters’ novel series The Rule of Three

From a media release:

Vancouver-based Mad Samurai Productions announced today the company has teamed up with writer Lynne Kamm (Transplant, 19-2) to acquire the exclusive television rights to award-winning Canadian novelist Eric Walters’ YA book series THE RULE OF THREE.

With over 400,000 copies sold in North America alone, THE RULE OF THREE novels include the three in the series, along with the spin off novel Fourth Dimension that takes place within THE RULE OF THREE universe. Walters is a bestselling author with more than 120 international awards for his work and is recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada.

THE RULE OF THREE begins with a bang – a catastrophic event permanently shuts down everything computerized worldwide, communication is cut-off, resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends. A fiercely independent teenage pilot bands together with their dysfunctional family and friends to protect their small suburban community against outside dangers and enemies within. Set in contemporary day, THE RULE OF THREE is a page turning drama-thriller that chronicles the difficult choices of a close-knit community as it struggles to adapt and survive a total global reset.

Developing alongside Executive Producer Matthew Cervi, Kamm is attached as EP/Showrunner and will write the pilot with Walters attached to consult.

Kamm is repped by Vanguarde Artists Management, Walters is represented at Transatlantic Agency.


Lynne Kamm brokers in unique. A versatile and prolific writer and producer, she creates both powerful one-hour dramas and standout half-hour comedies. LK is known for her boundary pushing episodes on the hit NBC/CTV series Transplant, the iEmmy nominated series 19-2, CBS Ransom and for writing some funny stuff on Hulu’s Letterkenny. Lynne has multiple original projects in development. Her work has garnered her a WGA nomination as well several Canadian Screen Award nominations.

Matthew Cervi of Mad Samurai Productions is an award-winning producer who has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years. Matthew’s past producing credits include the features The Colony, starring Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Zegers, Cruel & Unusual in partnership with Entertainment One and Juggernaut, starring Jack Kesy, Amanda Crew, David Cubitt and Peter McRobbie. Mad Samurai currently has multiple projects in development including THE RULE OF THREE project.

Eric Walters has written more than 100 novels and picture books and has won more than 100 awards internationally. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2015, the UNESCO Award for Literature in Service of Tolerance and The Christopher Award. Eric is a three-time winner of the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and four-time winner of the Red Maple Award. He received the prestigious Children’s Africana Book Award – Best Book for young children – for his book The Matatu presented in a ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. and most recently, has been nominated for the 2021 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the 2021 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award – the “Nobel Prize” for children’s literature.