Tag Archives: Insight Productions

Battle of the Blades Season 6 premiere postponed

From a media release:

As a precautionary measure in response to an individual on the Battle of the Blades production team testing positive for COVID-19, Insight Productions has temporarily halted all training and pre-production on the upcoming season to ensure the health and safety of the entire cast and crew. CBC fully supports this decision and, as a result, is postponing the October 15th live premiere of Battle of the Blades Season 6. CBC will provide additional scheduling updates as soon as possible.

A CBC original series, Battle of the Blades is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic.


Sixteen Canadian athletes hit the ice on Battle of the Blades

From a media release:

With socially distanced training underway, CBC today announced the elite 16  skaters making up the eight pairs for the upcoming new season of the hit live-competition series BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 6, 1×120, 6×60), featuring NHL, Olympic and professional hockey players who will perform on ice with World and Olympic figure skating partners in the hopes of winning the Season 6 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charity of their choice. This is the first time in the series’ history that three female hockey players, and three male figure skaters, have been part of the competition. Produced by Insight Productions, BATTLE OF THE BLADES launches its new season with a special two-hour premiere on Thursday, October 15 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

The Season 6 pairings are: 

  • Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart

  • Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje

  • Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford

  • Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill

  • Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski

  • Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg

  • Vanessa James and Akim Aliu

  • Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell

Also announced today is the return of Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean as host for Season 6, alongside a judging panel featuring beloved Olympic gold medallist in ice dance Scott Moir; multi-Olympic medallist in women’s ice hockey, and Season 5 runner-up, Natalie Spooner; and professional skater and choreographer Elladj Baldé. Four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returns to the series as the Elite Battle Expert, guiding a weekly masterclass and throwdown challenges designed to test the hockey players as they prepare to compete.

Episode tapings for the new season will all take place at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ontario, featuring a virtual audience. To generate excitement for the skaters on the ice and viewers at home, video screens in the arena will feature Canadians across the country watching and reacting to the live performances from their homes and communities. Fans interested in being part of the audience through a virtual video conference are encouraged to visit cbc.ca/battleoftheblades for more information.

The eight pairs stepping onto the ice and entering the competition on October 15 are:

Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart
A World Extreme pairs champion and four-time BATTLE OF THE BLADES fan favourite, Russian-born Canadian Afanasieva will perform with LaSalle, Quebec-born Stewart, a former NHL player for the Florida Panthers. Afanasieva and Stewart will be competing on behalf of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities – a national charity dedicated to helping kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation in an effort to provide inclusive play for kids of all abilities.

Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje 
A four-time Olympic medallist, including three gold and one silver medal in women’s ice hockey, Windsor, Ontario-born Agosta will perform with Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario-born Poje, a three-time World Ice Dance medallist, three-time Canadian Ice Dance champion, and two-time Olympian with partner Weaver, and Season 5 runner-up and dynamic duo with partner Spooner. Agosta and Poje are competing on behalf of the BC Children’s Hospital, a leader in general and specialized pediatric services, and the province’s foremost teaching and research facility for child health.

Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford
A four-time Olympic medallist, including three gold and one silver medal in women’s ice hockey, Ottawa, Ontario-born Botterill will perform with Winnipeg, Manitoba-born Radford, a two-time World pairs champion, Olympic team gold and Olympic bronze medallist with partner Duhamel. Botterill and Radford will be competing on behalf of The Canadian Cancer Society, a national, community-based organization of staff and volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.

Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill 
A former Canadian women’s ice hockey player for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, Moosomin, Saskatchewan-born Campbell will perform with Scarborough, Ontario-born Hill, a Canadian ice dancer and choreographer who also co-hosts CBC Sports’ YouTube series That Figure Skating Show with Dylan Moscovitch. Campbell will be competing on behalf of Do It For Daron, which supports education, awareness, and research initiatives at The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health that encourage young people to talk openly about mental illness and to ask for help when needed, while Hill will be supporting the Black Legal Action Centre, a non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario.

Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski 
A two-time World pairs champion, Olympic team gold and Olympic bronze medallist with partner Radford, Sudbury, Ontario-born Duhamel will perform with Polish-born Canadian Wolski, an Olympic bronze medallist in ice hockey and former NHLer with the Colorado Avalanche. Duhamel will be competing on behalf of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, whose mission is to raise funds for hospital Newborn Intensive Care Units to purchase life-saving equipment for premature and critically ill newborns, and provide scholarships to junior curlers, while Wolski will be supporting The Hospital for Sick Children’s Patient Amenities Fund, a source of assistance for families who have limited financial resources and whose child is being cared for by SickKids.

Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg
Professional skater and Dancing on Ice competitor Edwards, who grew up in Queen Charlotte on Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, will perform with Lethbridge, Alberta-born Versteeg, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks, and former Toronto Maple Leaf and Calgary Flame. Edwards and Versteeg will be competing on behalf of Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society, nurturing and supporting the strengths and resilience of Indigenous families, children, and youth.

Vanessa James and Akim Aliu
A six-time French pairs champion, 2018 Grand Prix Final champion and 2019 European champion, Toronto, Ontario-born James will perform with Nigerian-born Canadian Aliu, an NHL player formerly with the Calgary Flames. James and Aliu will be competing on behalf of The Time To Dream Foundation, which aims to make youth sports, including the game of hockey, more diverse, inclusive, affordable and accessible to all, regardless of race, gender and socioeconomic background.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell 
A three-time World ice dance medallist, three-time Canadian ice dance champion, two-time Olympian with Poje, and Season 5 winner with partner Sheldon Kennedy, Houston, Texas-born Weaver will perform with Bowmanville, Ontario-born Bickell, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks who competed in the NHL despite a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2016. Weaver and Bickell will be competing on behalf of The Bickell Foundation in support of the MS Society of Canada, providing services to people with multiple sclerosis and their families, and funding research to find the cause and cure for this disease.

The Season 6 host is Ron MacLean, a Canadian icon and multiple award-winning sports broadcaster for three decades, known for his roles on Hockey Night in Canada and Rogers Hometown Hockey. He is a two-time George Gross Award recipient, honouring excellence in sports broadcasting, and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2015, alongside Don Cherry. MacLean has been part of the BATTLE OF THE BLADES family since the beginning and brings his extensive knowledge of hockey and figure skating to the role of host once again, in addition to his comedic charm and ease of refereeing the pairs’ and judges’ comments.

Returning to the series for the sixth time, in the new role of Elite Battle Expert, is iconic figure skater Kurt Browning. Considered one of the greatest of all time, Browning was recently honoured with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Figure Skating Union. Browning has been inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, and was the first to land a quad jump in competition. He has contributed to CBC’s coverage of the Olympic Winter Games and World Figure Skating Championships as an analyst, and choreographed programs for dozens of skating stars, in addition to touring with Stars on Ice.

The Season 6 judges, returning each week, are: 

Scott Moir
A two-time Olympic gold medallist, Olympic silver medallist and two-time Olympic team medallist, Moir and his partner, Tessa Virtue, are the most decorated ice dancers in Olympic history. They are also three-time World champions and eight-time Canadian champions. Moir joined BATTLE OF THE BLADES last season to guest judge and audiences can look forward to his expertise and thoughtful comments throughout this season.

Natalie Spooner
A World champion, Olympic gold and silver medallist, Spooner is the unforgettable BATTLE OF THE BLADES Season 5 runner-up with Poje. She knows the journey, and exactly what the players feel in the moment when their music starts. In her role as judge this season, Spooner will share her enthusiasm for the series and a hockey player’s point of view.

Elladj Baldé
One of the most sought-after professional skaters in the world today, Junior Canadian champion and international competitor Elladj Baldé has risen to international status through hardship and with determination. Despite a competitive career that was halted by multiple concussions, Baldé has never stopped honing his skill and artistry. With his natural on-ice charisma, he knows what it takes to truly command an audience.

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic.


Big Brother Canada Season 9 casting underway

From a media release:

Global, a Corus Entertainment network, and Insight Productions, announced today that casting is officially underway for Season 9 of  Big Brother Canada. Set to debut on Global in 2021, Big Brother Canada is calling Canadians from every corner of the country to apply online for their chance to compete on one of the most revered reality shows ever made.

Beginning today, Canadians can apply online at bigbrothercanadacasting.ca for their chance to become a #BBCAN9 houseguest, competing in a series of grueling challenges in one of the most high-stakes social experiments ever. For the first time ever, casting for the new season of Big Brother Canada will be done completely virtually, foregoing in-person casting calls as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Fans can also nominate friends on social media by tagging @bigbrotherca and using #FutureHOH for a chance to get noticed by Big Brother Canada’s casting team.

Apply from the couch in three simple steps:

  1. Record a short video of yourself explaining why you have what it takes to be one of the next houseguests on Big Brother Canada
  2. Visit the official casting site at bigbrothercanadacasting.ca
  3. Upload a photo of yourself, along with your video and some basic information

To qualify, potential future houseguests must be 19 years of age by February 1, 2020 and submit their applications by November 15, 2020. For more information, including a full list of rules and eligibility, head to BigBrotherCanada.ca.

Airing exclusively on Global in Spring 2021, Big Brother Canada plucks a group of strangers from their homes, sequesters them from the outside world, and places them inside a house outfitted wall-to-wall with cameras and microphones that capture their every move. Competing for a grand cash prize, each week the houseguests battle in a series of challenges that give them power or punishment, voting each other out until the fate of the final two is decided by a jury of fellow houseguests.

Commissioned by Corus Entertainment, Season 9 of Big Brother Canada is produced by Insight Productions Ltd. in association with Corus Entertainment and Endemol Shine. Executive Producers are John Brunton, Erin Brock, Eric Abboud, Trevor Boris, and Arisa Cox.


Global Original Big Brother Canada greenlit for Season 9; host Arisa Cox named executive producer

From a media release:

Global, a Corus Entertainment network, and Insight Productions announced today the greenlight for Season 9 of Big Brother Canada, and the promotion of series Host Arisa Cox to Executive Producer. Commissioned by Corus Entertainment for Global, Big Brother Canada is produced by Insight Productions and helmed by Showrunner and EP Erin Brock.

“We have reached a turning point in history and as the fight against racism and issues facing Black, Indigenous and people of colour around the world have been pulled into the spotlight, Big Brother Canada is seizing this moment to become a leader in the reality TV world,” said Arisa Cox, Host and Executive Producer, Big Brother Canada. “Our top priority is bold, lasting change by embracing the rich diversity of Canada in front of and behind the camera. Both are vital. And as one of the biggest and best reality TV shows in the country, we have both the ability and the responsibility to do just that. I’m thrilled to join Erin and the producing team, and work together to ensure Big Brother Canada meets this moment.”

As an Executive Producer, Arisa now plays a critical role in all storytelling aspects of Big Brother Canada.  In partnership with Erin and the EPs, Arisa’s responsibilities now include key creative input on the show’s real-time storylines, casting and outreach, and increasing BIPOC representation across the board, among others. Global and Insight Productions are working together to implement anti-racism policies and procedures that foster a creative environment where equity, inclusion, and diversity can flourish on and off camera.

“Arisa Cox has been an integral part of Big Brother Canada, always armed with an arsenal of bold and bright ideas, thoughtful insights, and a deep passion for the show,” said Erin Brock Showrunner and Executive Producer, Big Brother Canada/Insight Productions. “We’re passionately committed to leading thought-provoking conversations, telling uniquely Canadian stories, and reflecting the diverse culture of Canada. Arisa has always demonstrated a fierce commitment to these ideals and I’m excited to elevate our partnership and to continue to make trailblazing content.”

Set to debut on Global in spring 2021, Big Brother Canada is one of the most internationally revered iterations of the Endemol Shine format. Pre-production for Season 9 includes a thorough review of current production practices and the development of new ones, anti-racism personnel policies, racial-equity training, and more. Additional announcements regarding Season 9, including casting opportunities, will be made at a later date.

Commissioned by Corus Entertainment, Season 9 of Big Brother Canada is produced by Insight Productions Ltd. in association with Corus Entertainment and Endemol Shine. Executive Producers are John Brunton, Erin Brock, Eric Abboud, Trevor Boris, and Arisa Cox.

Corus Entertainment’s Original Content team driving its slate of unscripted series is helmed by industry executive Lisa Godfrey as VP Original Content and supported by long-time TV veterans Krista Look (Director of Lifestyle) and Lynne Carter (Production Executive).


Big Brother Canada Season 8 ends production amid Covid-19 pandemic

From a media release:

Global and Insight Productions announced today that, in light of developments in Ontario on the fight against COVID-19, effective today Big Brother Canada Season 8 has ended production.

Big Brother Canada is a labour of love for so many, and even though it hurts to say goodbye to the season, it’s the right thing to do,” said Big Brother Canada Host Arisa Cox. “On behalf of the incredible people who put this show together, thank you to everyone who started this journey with us. Please take care and be safe!”

At this time, Big Brother Canada has no plans to resume production at a later date. After a truly unprecedented season, the show will take its final bow over two episodes Wednesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, April 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.