Tag Archives: Insight Productions

Top Chef Canada returns for its ninth season on April 19

From a media release:

Top Chef Canada, the #2 program on Food Network Canada last spring and growing significantly year over year*, makes its triumphant return April 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada. The ninth season welcomes 11 fearless professional chefs from across the country, each bringing an unbelievable range of culinary styles, technical skill, and diverse breadth of flavours. This season’s competitors have their sights set on earning the title of Canada’s Top Chef, along with a cash prize of $100,000 provided by Interac Corp. and a luxurious Lexus RX Hybrid Electric SUV.

In the past year, the hospitality industry has faced adversity, forcing businesses to adapt and innovate quicker than ever before. This year’s competitors emerge with strong, fresh perspectives, and this incomparable season confronts and rises above the obstacles. The chefs contend with the pressure of the competition while facing weekly challenges featuring plant-based cuisine, celebrating local and seasonal ingredients, and a new twist on long-standing Top Chef Canada challenge Restaurant Wars, pivoting to Takeout Wars.

This season introduces a roster of new culinary voices with diverse backgrounds, all possessing a shared fiery passion for food. The professional chefs set to compete for the title of Canada’s Top Chef are:

Galasa Aden, 27 (Calgary, Alta.)
Andrea Alridge, 30 (Vancouver, B.C.)
Emily Butcher, 30 (Winnipeg, Man.)
Aicia Colacci, 40 (Montreal, Que.)
Siobhan Detkavich, 21 (Kelowna, B.C.)
Jae-Anthony Dougan, 34 (Ottawa, Ont.)
Alex Edmonson, 28 (Calgary, Alta.)
Erica Karbelnik, 30 (Toronto, Ont.)
Josh Karbelnik, 30 (Toronto, Ont.)
Stéphane Levac, 41 (Kentville, N.S.)
Kym Nguyen, 34 (Vancouver, B.C.)

Visit foodnetwork.ca/shows/top-chef-canada for full biographies and exclusive cast videos.

In order to cook another week in the competition, the chefs must impress the revered Top Chef Canada judging panel comprised of chef, cookbook author and host Eden Grinshpan, chef and owner of The McEwan Group, head judge Mark McEwan, and resident judges: powerhouse restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, food writer and personality Mijune Pak and renowned food journalist and critic Chris Nuttall-Smith.

During this season’s high-adrenaline Quickfire and Elimination Challenges, culinary personalities and Canadian icons joining the Top Chef Canada judging panel are: entrepreneur, chef and owner of Impasto, Stefano Faita; media personality and host of STROMBO Radio on Apple Music Hits, George Stroumboulopoulos; chef and owner of Kamuy, Paul Toussaint; Grand Slam Tennis Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, Daniel Nestor; chef, author and social advocate Suzanne Barr; chefs and owners of Pai Northern Thai Kitchen and Kiin, Nuit Regular and Jeff Regular; chef and owner of Feast Café Bistro, Christa Bruneau-Guenther and many more.

Top Chef Canada is the homegrown version of the hit Emmy® Award-winning NBCUniversal Series Top Chef and is produced by Insight Productions Ltd. in association with Food Network Canada. Executive Producers are John Brunton and Mark Lysakowski, and Executive Producer and Showrunner is Eric Abboud.


The Black Academy partners with Insight Productions to produce live awards show telecast

From a media release:

Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, Scarborough natives and co-founders of The Black Academy, alongside Shannon Farr and Lindsay Cox of Insight Productions, today announced a partnership to produce a live award show honouring established and emerging Black talent. Brothers and actors Anderson and James are executive producing the national telecast, alongside John Brunton, Farr, and Cox from Canada’s preeminent award show production company. The telecast will feature award presentations, performances, and tributes, and will showcase Black talent from across Canada. In addition, The Black Academy and Insight announced a search for a Black showrunner and production crew, and a skills development programme. Interested applicants can submit their résumés to BlackAwardShowResumes@insighttv.com beginning today. The relationship between Anderson, James, and Insight Productions pre-dates the creation of The Black Academy to when they began co-developing a project in 2019.

The live telecast is one of several initiatives created by The Black Academy to break down barriers of discrimination and combat systemic racism. The award show stems from Anderson and James’ long-standing commitment to their community and an awareness of the lack of opportunities to showcase Black talent in Canada. Anderson and James continue to call on corporate Canada, government entities, and individuals to meet this challenge. The awards will celebrate both Anglophone and Francophone Black talent across film, television, music, sports, and culture. Award categories, juries, and the submission process will be announced at a later date.

The Black Academy and Insight Productions are committed to hiring a Black crew and senior staff and to offering skills development for multiple positions in advance of pre-production. Résumés from those who have a particular passion for live events and award shows are now being accepted at BlackAwardShowResumes@insighttv.com. The skills development programme will have a separate submission process and will train select emerging behind-the-scenes creatives and crew in collaboration with a community partner and The Black Academy. Details on this programme to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Black Academy’s award show is executive produced by Shamier Anderson and Stephan James of The Black Academy. John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, and Shannon Farr are the executive producers for Insight Productions. Additional executive producers include Daniel Abrams and Norbert Abrams.

Shamier Anderson, Stephan James, Lindsay Cox, and Shannon Farr discuss The Black Academy and the award show with moderator Kathleen Newman-Bremang at the CMPA’s Prime Time 2021 Online conference. Registered delegates can stream the panel at cmpa.ca/prime-time beginning February 2nd at 9 a.m.

Shamier Anderson – Co-Founder & Co-Chair, The Black Academy/Executive Producer
Shamier Anderson (Stowaway; Bruised; Invasion) is a Scarborough-born actor, producer, and writer and the president of Borough Bredd Productions. Anderson was named a TIFF Rising Star (2019) and recently sold his story, Super High, to New Line Cinema. Anderson will executive produce the film which stars Andy Samberg, Common, and Craig Robinson. In 2016, Anderson co-founded B.L.A.C.K with his brother Stephan James. Alongside his brother, he is the co-chair and co-founder of The Black Academy, a division of B.L.A.C.K, which aims to combat systemic racism while honouring, celebrating, and inspiring Black talent in Canada. Anderson was recently appointed to the Canadian Academy’s board of directors and is an ambassador for the Academy’s Equity & Inclusion Fund.

Stephan James – Co-Founder & Co-Chair, The Black Academy/Executive Producer
Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk; Homecoming; Race) is an Emmy®-, Golden Globe®-, and NAACP Image Award-nominated and Canadian Screen Award-winning Canadian actor from Scarborough, ON. James is the inaugural recipient of the CSAs’ Radius Award, given to a Canadian film or television professional who is making waves internationally, and a TIFF Rising Star (2015). In 2016, James co-founded B.L.A.C.K with his brother Shamier Anderson. Alongside his brother, he is the co-chair and co-founder of The Black Academy, a division of B.L.A.C.K, which aims to combat systemic racism while honouring, celebrating, and inspiring Black talent in Canada. James was recently appointed to the Canadian Academy’s board of directors and sits on the Academy’s Equity Committee.

Lindsay Cox – Senior Vice-President, Insight Productions/Executive Producer
One of Canada’s preeminent showrunners, Cox has overseen and produced 18 editions of The JUNO Awards, as well as The Canadian Screen Awards, Canada’s Walk of Fame, The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration (viewed by one in 3 Canadians), Stronger Together Tous Ensemble, Young Artists for Haiti, Music Without Borders, Canada Day 150! From Coast to Coast to Coast, Canada’s New Year’s Eve Countdown, Battle of the Blades, and Every Child Matters: Education through Reconciliation, among others.

Shannon Farr – Vice President, Insight Productions/Executive Producer
Farr divides her time between Los Angeles and Toronto, and works in both scripted and unscripted. She oversees Insight’s U.S. office and drives the creation, development, financing, and production of original projects for multiple platforms in the U.S., Canadian, and international markets. Farr co-created and produced the prime-time drama Falcon Beach for ABC Family and Global Television, the comedy series The Jon Dore Television Show; and the award-winning comedy series But I’m Chris Jericho!, among others.

About The Black Academy
Canadian actors and brothers Shamier Anderson and Stephan James co-founded The Black Academy in response to the scarcity of forums celebrating Black talent. The organization is dedicated to breaking down barriers of discrimination and combating systemic racism in Canada. The Black Academy is dedicated to breaking down barriers of discrimination and combating systemic racism in Canada. By celebrating and showcasing established and emerging Black talent, The Black Academy will elevate and inspire Black talent across the country for generations to come. A permanent, year-round, and national operation, The Black Academy is a division of the not-for-profit B.L.A.C.K Canada. The division was launched in 2020 and is based in Toronto. In addition to co-chairs Anderson & James, the board of directors includes: Vanessa Craft (TikTok Canada); Alica Hall (Nia Centre for the Arts); Wes Hall (Kingsdale Advisors/the BlackNorth Initiative); Jennifer Holness (Black Screen Office); Divya Shahani (Miller Thomson LLP); Tonya Williams (Reelworld).

Website: www.BlackIsNow.com; Social Media: Instagram: @BLACKISNOWCANADA

Image courtesy of Nicole De Khors.


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.