Longtime collaborators Jennica Harper (JANN, above right) and Nelu Handa (SORT OF, above left) will co-showrun Season 3 of the popular, hit CBC original comedy, RUN THE BURBS. Created by writer and actor Andrew Phung (KIM’S CONVENIENCE) and filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon), RUN THE BURBS follows the Phams, a young, bold Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest, while changing the way we think about contemporary family values and life in the burbs. The series is produced by Pier 21 Films and distributed by Fifth Season. Season 3 of RUN THE BURBS is slated to broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem in Winter 2024, the first two seasons are available to stream now on CBC Gem.
Jennica Harper steps in after showrunning three seasons and a holiday special of the Jann Arden CTV comedy JANN. Nelu Handa has written and produced on the previous two seasons of RUN THE BURBS. Harper and Handa have a history of collaborating and worked together on all three seasons of JANN. They take over RUN THE BURBS from Season 2 showrunner Anthony Farrell.
Harper and Handa bring a slew of accolades and comedy experience to the RUN THE BURBS team. In 2021, Nelu Handa won a Canadian Screen Award for “Best Writing” on the BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW. Her script for SORT OF was nominated for a Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award for “Best Comedy”. She earned a Peabody Award for her contribution to the ground-breaking first season for SORT OF. Jennica Harper has won two Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards including “Best Comedy” script for JANN and “Best Tweens and Teens” script for kids’ comedy SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED.
Creator and star Andrew Phung shares, “I’m so pumped to be working with Jennica and Nelu on Season 3. I’m a big fan of Jennica’s work, and she brings such joy and relatability to the writer’s room. She leads with such a calming presence. I’ve worked with Nelu for the past two seasons of RUN THE BURBS, and have loved every minute of it. She’s so thoughtful and hilarious, and her experiences have greatly added to the development of the show and its characters. I’m truly honoured and so excited that they are co-leading the show together.”
Jennica Harper shares Phung’s enthusiasm stating, “I’m thrilled to be joining the RUN THE BURBS team, showrunning alongside Nelu. We’ve got a built-in trust, and share a lot of comedic instincts. Andrew and Scott, the creators, have been so welcoming to ‘the new kid.’ I’m honoured they’re trusting Nelu and I with their baby.
Season 2 was incredible. It told culturally specific yet super relatable stories, the characters deepened, and yet the whole season really amped up the funny. The goal for Season 3 is to have fun paying off a bunch of storylines started last season. Andrew and Camille are both working their dream jobs — but what does that mean for their work/life balance?”
Nelu Handa continues, “I’m excited to be taking this next step in my career on a show that I’ve come to love for two seasons. I’ve learned a lot from our past showrunners Anthony and Shebli Zarghami, they both exemplified strong leadership and created a really great work culture, traditions I’m aiming to continue in this role. Jennica’s an incredible person and has been a mentor for many years, so getting the chance to work alongside her is like a dream come true.
I’m proud of the stories we get to tell. Exploring the experiences of a modern Canadian couple with rich cultural backgrounds is both very rewarding personally and relatable to so many viewers who are excited to see themselves reflected on Canadian television.”
In addition to CTV JANN’s three seasons and a holiday special, Jennica Harper has written and produced a wide range of TV genres, from dark crime dramas to kids’ multi-cam comedies. She was a Writer and Co-Executive Producer on the light mystery series THE SPENCER SISTERS (CTV), the medical adventure drama SKYMED (Paramount+/CBC), horror-comedy cult favourite THE ORDER (Netflix), and critically acclaimed thriller CARDINAL (Hulu/CTV), among others.
Nelu Handa has written for multiple seasons of award winning comedy series including: JANN, SORT OF, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW, ODD SQUAD, THE BEAVERTON, TALLBOYZ, and A Little Late with Lilly Singh. She’s written for RUN THE BURBS since the first season and served as writer/Co-EP on season two.
A CBC original series, RUN THE BURBS is Executive Produced by Laszlo Barna, Nicole Butler, Karen Tsang and Vanessa Steinmetz (for Pier 21 Films), Andrew Phung, and Scott Townend. Jennica Harper and Nelu Handa serve as Executive Producers, writers and showrunners. Co-executive producer is Jay Vaidya. Jessica Daniel is the Series Producer. Season 3 writers include Andrew Phung, Scott Townend, Jennica Harper, Nelu Handa, Jay Vaidya, Sara Peters, Angelica Mendizabal, and Mandeq Hassan.
The British mystery genre is where I live. When I’m not watching and covering Canadian TV, I’m streaming light crime dramas from across the pond on AcornTV and BritBox. From Whitstable Pearl to Vera, Harry Wild to Murder in Suburbia, I love them all.
Consider The Spencer Sisters, debuting Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, as Canada’s foray into the genre.
Like the above, The Spencer Sisters features crimes being committed in a fictional small town—Alder Bluffs, Ont.—two female leads at the helm to solve them, a generous dose of humour and, when they happen, bloodless murders. It’s an irresistible formula for success that is even more pronounced thanks to its leads, Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber. The pair crackle with chemistry from the get-go, playing acclaimed mystery novelist Victoria Spencer (Thompson), mom to hot-headed former police officer Darby Spencer (Farber).
“It starts with character,” Thompson says when asked what attracted her to the shot-in-Winnpeg series. “I really liked the character and I love comedy and the comedic elements to this. This is a really good time for this show.”
Created by Alan McCullough (Private Eyes. Rookie Blue) and co-showrun and executive-produced by McCullough and Jenn Engels (Sort Of, Transplant), Friday’s debut “The Scholar’s Snafu,” finds Darby returning to Alder Bluffs after she quits her big-city police force in frustration. For Darby, who looked up to her late cop father, this was all she wanted to do. Dejected, and with nowhere to stay, Darby returns home where it only takes one backhanded comment from Victoria to let viewers know this mother-daughter relationship isn’t rosy. Unlike their characters, who are pretty bristly in the debut, Thompson and Farber connected immediately.
“She was attached to the show before I was,” Farber says. “We did a chemistry read on Zoom and then we met in Winnipeg, had dinner and clicked immediately. We have a similar sense of humour and we’ve both worked for a long time, we have a lot in common.”
The friction between mother and daughter continues throughout the first season. Darby is struggling with her failure as a cop, moving back home and being forced to acknowledge why she has avoided seeing her mother for so long. And Victoria, who has never agreed with Darby’s career choice, wants to be part of her daughter’s life and finds a way to do it through their partnering to solve crimes committed in the community.
“They do learn to get along more, but no, [that friction] never goes away,” Farber says with a laugh. “It’s realistic in that sense. You can think you’ve moved through or on from an issue, but you haven’t.”
The Spencer Sisters airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
The Pacific Screenwriting Program (PSP) announced today that award-winning writer and showrunner Jennica Harper (JANN, SkyMed, The Order) has been selected as the Showrunner in Residence for the 2023 Scripted Series Lab. The BC-based PSP is also celebrating an important milestone, as the program heads into its fifth successful year fostering and creating opportunities for the next generation of screenwriters in Canada.
Since 2018, the PSP with the support of its partners Netflix, The Canadian Media Producers Association, the Writer’s Guild of Canada and Creative BC, has attracted top writing talent from the province and, through its varied programs, has created opportunities for emerging writers to contribute to the country’s thriving film and television industry. Vancouver, often referred to as ‘Hollywood North’, is known for its service production and although the industry is booming, the vast majority of what is produced here is written elsewhere. Thanks in part to the PSP, there is now a place for BC’s world class storytellers to grow and thrive in an industry that is so important to the province.
“Over the past five years, the PSP has built a vibrant screenwriting community in BC and across the country,” says Stéphane Cardin, Public Policy Director for Netflix in Canada. “It’s been rewarding to see the success of so many past participants and we’re looking forward to seeing how far this next group of screenwriters will go in their careers.”
The Scripted Series Lab, PSP’s flagship program offering, guides six up-and-coming BC-based screenwriters in a writer’s room as they develop an original series. Steered by Harper, this year’s cohort includes Tanvi Bhatia, Kaylyn Johnson, Toby Marks, Kay Shioma Metchie, Kurt Mungal and Andrey Summers. Participants will receive valuable mentoring on their original pilot, workshops and information sessions with additional industry experts to help them evolve their skills and build careers in this dynamic and ever-changing entertainment industry. Many past participants are working in rooms for series on Netflix, CBC, Apple TV+, Amazon and more.
“We are honoured to have Jennica Harper as this year’s showrunner for the Scripted Series Lab,” says PSP Chair Brian Hamilton. “Jennica is a hugely respected leader in BC’s screenwriting community and mentorship is something that comes naturally to her. We can hardly wait to see what she develops with this year’s exciting cohort of new voices!”
Harper is showrunner and co-creator of the award-winning comedy series JANN (CTV/Hulu) starring Jann Arden, which has run for three seasons and recently launched a holiday special. Jennica has written in a wide range of genres, from dark crime dramas to kid’s multicam comedies, and credits the Canadian industry for not asking her to “pick a lane.” She was a writer and co-executive producer on the upcoming light procedural The Spencer Sisters (eOne/CTV), medical adventure drama SkyMed (Paramount+/CBC), horror-comedy cult favourite The Order (Netflix), and critically acclaimed thriller Cardinal (Hulu/CTV), among others. Jennica has won two WGC Awards for best script, one for kid’s comedy Some Assembly Required, the other for the pilot script of JANN.
“I’m thrilled to be collaborating with these brilliant writers,” says Harper. “There’s nothing more exciting than a room full of creative minds with varied points of view and interests coming together to break stories. I can’t wait to get started.”
The Pacific Screenwriting Program is a collaboration between Netflix, CMPA, the Writer’s Guild of Canada and Creative BC.
When Jann Arden met Charlie Kerr at a dinner party in Vancouver last year, she immediately wanted him to play Nate, the younger boyfriend of her fictional self, on the third season of CTV’s Jann. However, the pair almost didn’t cross paths that night.
Arden was staying at a cottage owned by Kerrâ€™s father on Bowen Island, B.C., and Kerrâ€”who fronts alt-rock band Hotel Mira and has appeared on TV shows such as iZombie, The Magicians and Supernaturalâ€”says he was worried the iconic singer-songwriter would think he was just â€œanother actor-musician … with ulterior motives to collaborate with herâ€ if he turned up at a dinner they had both been invited to. So he initially declined to go. In the end, a friend convinced him to attend the gathering, but he â€œpurposely wore ratty clothingâ€ so it wouldn’t look like he was trying to impress anybody.
Little did Kerr know, Arden was already impressed with him.Â
â€œI sat down and [Jann] already knew who I was and started talking about music,â€ Kerr says. â€œI had a song that was doing well on the radio at the time and we were kind of relating to each other on that. And then the subject of her TV show came up, and she started talking about this character Nate, and I think she even said [he was] â€˜kind of somebody a bit like you,â€™ and I was like, â€˜Well, Iâ€™m an actor; Iâ€™d love to audition.â€™â€
Soon after their encounter, Arden began championing Kerr to play Nate. In response, the Vancouver native started an intense workout regimen to change his appearance because, as he explains, the character is â€œa star in an action TV show, and I have the body of a 13-year old girl.â€
Following a lengthy audition and network approval process, Kerr finally landed the part. â€œBetween going to that dinner and filming, I think it was like seven months,â€ he says.
Last week, Nate made his debut on the show. Matched with Jann through a celebrity dating app, the TV starâ€”who plays a fantasy action hero called Dark Cupidâ€”at first, appears to have little in common with her. For one thing, heâ€™s a younger manâ€”to the horror of Nora (Deborah Grover), who protests both his age and gender. For another, heâ€™s grounded and isn’t into relationship drama, which makes him wary of Jannâ€™s over-the-top antics when they run into Cynthia (Sharon Taylor) on their first date. But despite this rough start, the episode ends with Nate making pancakes in Jannâ€™s kitchen after spending the night, indicating there might be hope for this odd couple after all.
We spoke to Kerr, who is currently recording new music with Hotel Mira, about what viewers can expect from Nate in coming episodes.
When I read that Jann would be dating an action star that she meets on a celebrity dating app, I thought the character would be somewhat silly or over-the-top. But Nate is serious and no-nonsense. How did you approach playing him? CK: I know quite a lot of people kind of like him, who have been on and off sets and want to be treated like theyâ€™re normal and kind of want a break from all the glitz and glamour and stuff. That was the main thing that I was thinking about, that Nate is so well known for this part that is nothing like him, and he just wants people to love him for him and show that heâ€™s not just one thing, and I think a lot of people can relate to that. I think thatâ€™s a pretty human quality. One of my other favourite things about Nate is he means really well, and sometimes heâ€™s being insulting and doesnâ€™t know it. Being a movie star, being pampered on set, whatever it is, leads to kind of a lack of awareness. Those are the main things about Nate that I wanted to portray: He means well, heâ€™s very loving, but he has a very strange life thatâ€™s led to a bit of lack of awareness.
When we spoke to co-creators Jennica Harper and Leah Gauthier, they mentioned that they had to age you because Nate is supposed to be 38 and youâ€™re several years younger than that. What did that involve? CK: I think my body transforming was a big part of it. I also grew out a beard, and my hairâ€™s super long. I look pretty different than I usually look. And trying to have that maturity wherever I could as well in the performance. One thing Iâ€™ve noticed about people growing up and getting to a certain age, is they donâ€™t sweat the small stuff as much. If youâ€™re playing someone younger, everythingâ€™s the end of the world. Youâ€™re incredibly dramatic at every single moment of conflict, and I think a way to kind of play maturity is to understand that some things arenâ€™t that important and roll with the punches a bit, so I tried to do that as well.Â
Itâ€™s common to see relationships between older men and younger women in movies and on TV shows, but itâ€™s still rare to see the reverse. Did it excite you to be a part of an onscreen pairing that bucks that trend? CK: Itâ€™s one of my absolute favourite things about it because itâ€™s an age gap that no one would blink an eye at if the genders were reversed. If Larry David had a girlfriend on his show that was a similar age gap, it wouldnâ€™t even be a plot point, and to be a part of something going the other direction and making people think and pointing out the hypocrisy of that was really appealing. Itâ€™s really exciting to me to be a part of anything that makes people think or challenges something.
When Nate goes on his first date with Jann, he sees some red flags that initially make him think he doesnâ€™t want to see her again, but then he stays the night. What made him change his mind? CK: [Jannâ€™s] honesty, authenticity. He mentions how sick of anything vapid he is at this point. So when Jann gets real with him about what sheâ€™s going through, I think thatâ€™s what really hooks him, and I can relate to that. I think weâ€™ve all fallen in love with or become more interested in somebody once theyâ€™re vulnerable with us.Â
What was it like to work with Jann Arden? CK: I think the entire thing was just a dream come true. I never thought Iâ€™d get to be a part of an ensemble comedy, especially one this strong. Jann championed me from the beginning. I owe her a lot. But the entire cast and crew is just remarkably fun to work with. I couldnâ€™t believe my job was going to work to make people laugh. Thatâ€™s so absurdly cool. And sheâ€™s so talented and sheâ€™s such an awesome leader, and she has kind of hand-picked and curated who she works with in a way where you always feel safe, you always feel taken care of, and honestly, I just loved being a fly on the wall on that set because everyone was so goddamn funny.
Speaking of funny, Nate stars in a fantasy TV series called Dark Cupid, and there were several campy scenes from the show included in last weekâ€™s episode. Were those as fun to film as they were to watch? CK: That was an absolute joy, and it was something I was pretty nervous about because I had the whole body language and voice kind of picked out, and I didnâ€™t know if other people would find it as funny as I did. And the first thing we did was a big table read on Zoom and my first lines are as Dark Cupid, so I started doing the voice and the breathing and stuff and everybody was cracking up, and it was the first time I was able to breathe and be like, â€˜OK, Iâ€™m probably not gonna get fired.â€™ So doing that and people digging it, it was such a joy. It was kind of like getting to be in a Marvel thing or a superhero thing.Â
From talking to Jennica and Leah, I know that Nate plays a major role in the rest of the season. What can you preview about his journey in upcoming episodes? CK: He really integrates with the rest of the cast, and I think we get to see just more and more of how human he is and how he enjoys the simple things. I got to work with Patrick [Gilmore] for an entire episode and that dynamicâ€™s really, really fun. I think just as time goes on, you get to see how much of a goofball he is, you get to see the best parts of Jann that appeal to him, why theyâ€™re an unlikely match.Â
Do you have a favourite episode coming up? CK: This weekâ€™s episode, 305, is a lot of fun. It has a lot of rad, funny moments. And the finale is really cool. Getting to be a part of something with Tegan and Sara wasâ€”I never got to meet themâ€”but being involved with them whatsoever was incredibly exciting because The Con was one of my favourite records growing up, so that was a bit of a starstruck moment for me, and an honour.Â
Jann airs Mondays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca and CTV app.
In Jannâ€™s world, COVID doesnâ€™t exist. During the third season of the hit CTV comedy series, serially self-absorbed Jann (Jann Arden) and her family are dealing with 99 problemsâ€”including Jannâ€™s lack of funding for a new album, Maxâ€™s (Zoie Palmer) new relationship with her biological father Marty (Ron Lea), and Noraâ€™s (Deborah Grover) continuing battle with Alzheimerâ€™sâ€”but a worldwide pandemic isnâ€™t one of them.
â€œWe want our show to be, first and foremost, entertaining, and it didnâ€™t seem like the right kind of show to be actually addressing a serious worldwide pandemic,â€ says Jennica Harper, series co-creator, co-executive producer, and showrunner. â€œSo we donâ€™t do that. You can escape for a hot 19 to 20 minutes in our world.â€
While viewers likely appreciate a weekly break from the pandemic, Harper and co-creator and co-executive producer Leah Gauthier couldnâ€™t escape the realities of COVID while creating the new season. Social distancing forced the showâ€™s writing staff, including new addition and â€œinstant fitâ€ JP Larocque, to plan and pen all eight of the seasonâ€™s episodes over Zoom; and once filming began in Calgary, safety regulations dictated everything from the number of people who were allowed on set to the ways cast and crew could interact with each other.
â€œNo one was allowed to sit in a car with each other, and you have to eat a snack outside, so youâ€™re on a snowbank by yourself,â€ says Gauthier, adding that the conditions led to â€œa weird kind of tired that Iâ€™m sure people can relate to now that weâ€™ve been doing it for so long.â€
Luckily, everyoneâ€™s dedication to the rules meant no one got sick during production, and the cast and crew were able to gather together for the showâ€™s premiere party in Toronto a few weeks ago, allowing Harper and Gauthier to see Larocque in person for the first time.
â€œIt was just so nice to see their face in real life,â€ says Gauthier. â€œWe formed a connection over Zoom, but itâ€™s so much better when you finally get to meet the people youâ€™ve been working with.â€
We chatted with Harper and Gauthier about their approach to writing Season 3, their newfound love of spoilers, and what we can expect from Jannâ€™s new love interest, Nate (Charlie Kerr), who makes his debut in Mondayâ€™s episode.
Youâ€™ve talked about the way COVID impacted your writing process and production. Did it change any of the storylines you wanted to include this season? Jennica Harper: I feel we were incredibly fortunate because Season 2, as you know, ends with a huge event, the Tunies. Last season, we just threw everything out there, huge galas, just all kinds of events, episodes that had tons of people. Even our school episode in Season 2 was pretty huge by COVID standards, there were so many extras, all the kids. So I felt really fortunate that our conversation about what we wanted to do with Season 3 was, pre-COVID, already a more down-to-earth, character-based season, with intimate stuff between the characters we already care about, family stuff. That was already our goal, so thank God for that because to do something like a Season 2, we would have been really rethinking.
In Season 3, we tried not to do any huge events that had a lot of extras. So, for example, a big event would be going to a big mountain resort. We go to Kananaskis Lodge in Episode 5, which is big in scale and scope and beauty, but we never have 200 people in a room. Itâ€™s not necessary. We did scale in different ways this season. Another big factor was looking at stories between the characters. We have a lot more stories happening at Jannâ€™s cottage, weâ€™re bringing people to her, rather than her always at Max and Daveâ€™s [Patrick Gilmore] and elsewhere. Noraâ€™s back with her, sheâ€™s hired Trey [Tenaj Williams], Treyâ€™s now around all the time. Cale [Elena Juatco], of course, is in her breakdown mode, so sheâ€™s great fun to have around without having to be at big events, sheâ€™s in our domestic world now. So it was already storywise what we had been talking about, but it was also a very conscious choice to spend more time at Jannâ€™s cottage, which is a wonderful set that we own, that we control, and doesnâ€™t mean you have to have 20 people walking by in the background.
A lot of things changed in Jannâ€™s life at the end of last season, such as her firing Cale, breaking up with Cynthia, and asking Nora to live with her. What were your goals for her character in Season 3? JH: The theme of the season was kind of starting over and new beginnings, and so thatâ€™s what we were looking for in bringing Trey in, and then as we get into the season, we get into Jann considering dating again and dating a man. So really it was about Jann being a woman who is kind of going back to basics. In terms of romance, realizing she deserves to be happy and maybe she should be looking for love, and in terms of her career, realizing she should really pursue the album that she wants to write thatâ€™s from the heart, that is more her than any of the stuff she did with Cale. So sheâ€™s got to figure out new ways to take control of her own life in this season.
Leah Gauthier: Jann still has so much to say. I mean maybe the world thinks sheâ€™s aged out of relevance, but sheâ€™s like, â€˜Iâ€™m actually going to do a bunch of stuff for myself going forward.â€™
This is a serialized show, but it also depends on the comedy of Jann always being a little self-absorbed and making bad choices. How do you decide where her character should grow and where she should stay stuck? LG: Thatâ€™s a good question because it sort of is just this collaborative experience when we write that Jann will absolutely shut something down almost immediately if sheâ€™s not willing to go there. Sheâ€™s not going to waste anyoneâ€™s time. But there is a collective feeling or understanding when we hit the nail on the head in terms of her self-absorbed nature. Mostly, if it reads like itâ€™s in her best interest, and no one else really gets hurt, but sheâ€™s gonna do what sheâ€™s gonna do for herself, thatâ€™s kind of a comfortable zone for us. And itâ€™s always pretty funny especially if we throw in a physical comedy aspect to that as wellâ€”which is why we definitely put her upside down in a dumpster later this season. So thereâ€™s that coming, get ready. We want to keep her not completely self-actualized because that is the person that she is. Like weâ€™re not going to make her completely whole at this point because then we run out of story.
JH: I agree. The way I have started to think about it, so many episodes in, is that she can be as selfish as we want if she doesnâ€™t really realize the harm sheâ€™s doing to other people. And I think thatâ€™s it. There is a sort of innocence and naivete to her narcissism. We have sometimes been compared to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Obviously, weâ€™re not going to complain about that comparison, but I do feel that Larry David is kind of more of an asshole.
LG: So lovable.
JH: Larry David?
LG: I love him, I love him.
JH: Well, I love him, too, but I think the thing is, heâ€™s righteous, he has to be right. If something is ridiculous to him, he has to prove that. Itâ€™s more of an intellectual thing or something. But with Jann, she is from the heart, man. For me, when she gets up from that support group [in Episode 302], where sheâ€™s supposed to be listening to advice about her mother, and sheâ€™s just like, â€˜Oh, my God, thank you so much for helping me solve my problem.â€™
LG: â€˜This is very helpful!â€™
JH: â€˜This is so helpful!â€™ She is truly in her own head and just an innocent, right? Sheâ€™s just like, â€˜Iâ€™ve got a great idea, and Iâ€™m gonna go now.â€™ And I donâ€™t think that she is really aware of her selfishness. Thatâ€™s how I read her.
You introduce two new characters this season: Trey, who debuted in the premiere, and Nate, who first appears in Episode 304. Why did you decide to expand the cast? JH: I would say Iâ€™m not sure we should be adding a lot of characters to the cast in one sense because we have a lot of people that are great performers, and as it is, some of them donâ€™t get a lot of time, and weâ€™re constantly trying to juggle making sure we see enough of the people we already love. However, we did really feel like Jann needs help in her life, so we needed somebody coming in. And we talked about different forms of what kind of person that could be, but we ultimately landed on some kind of personal assistant. She doesnâ€™t want management, but she clearly needs somebody to help keep her life together, and so thatâ€™s where Trey came in. And I think the main thing we wanted with Trey was somebody who was obviously a rational, mature person to do two things: to offset Jannâ€™s instinctively bad choices and then also somebody who had a warmth and sort of a caring nature because we wanted to establish somebody who could be a friend and maybe even long-term a bit of a help to Nora along the way. So those are the two dynamics we really cared about with that character.
LG: We knew early on that Jann was probably going to attempt to get back out in the dating world, and then weâ€™d decided that she might dabble with men. And then Jann and I were actually away, we were on Bowen Island here in Vancouver, and we went to a property, and the owner of it had a son who was around who was an actor, and Jann immediately took a liking to Charlie Kerr, and she said to me, â€˜This guy could potentially be my boyfriend on the show.â€™ I said, â€˜OK, weâ€™ll have to field a bunch of comments about this age gap, but I see how this could actually be quite hilarious, and I like the little reversal with the older lady vibe.â€™ So there was a bunch of auditioning with Charlie, and he was a perfect fit. He kind of plays it a bit serious, which is perfect for Jannâ€™s out-of-control energy. Heâ€™s sort of stoic. So thatâ€™s how we found him, we found Charlie Kerr on an island.
JH: [His character Nate] doesnâ€™t put up with bullshit and games. Heâ€™s just not interested. Heâ€™s super mature for his age.
LG: Yeah, heâ€™s sober and celibate. He comes in saying, â€˜Im sober and celibate, and Iâ€™m not putting up with your craziness.â€™
JH: We also played the character a bit older than the actor. Iâ€™ll just say that right up front. We actually took pains to flag his age in the episode where we meet him because we kind of felt it was pushing it a little bit.
LG: Weâ€™re like, â€˜Grow a beard! Thatâ€™ll do it.â€™
So we have Nate coming up in the next episode. What can you tease about the rest of the season? JH: Well, you should know that Leah and I have become huge spoiler proponents.
LG: Yes. Love the spoilers.
JH: In this world, thereâ€™s so much great TV to watch that we actually sort of feel like anything that we can do that is going to pique somebodyâ€™s interest into taking a look, weâ€™re open to. Thereâ€™s a couple of things the network has asked us not to spoil, but for the most part, weâ€™re open books at this point.
Oh, wow, spoil away! JH: OK, well one thing I think is exciting is a coupleâ€™s weekend away with Jann and her new boyfriend Nate and Max and Dave, who are very excited to be away from the kids and have no responsibilities for a while. And Cale is going to have a storyline where she tries to confront her fear of failure by purposely failing.
LG: And Elena gets to sing, sheâ€™s an incredible singer.
JH: Yep, Cale sings. We finally got Elena Juatco singing on our show. We have I think a really fun story about questioning the idea of gender reveal parties. Jann and Nate go to basically a rich couple who run a gender reveal business and are kind of put on the spot, and Jann has to kind of take a stand against gender reveal parties. And Leah, do you want to [talk about Episode 307]?
LG: It involves some aggressive bird watching that ends up in some dumpster diving, and thereâ€™s a mystery to unfold. They also have to attend a funeral. Somebody dies.
JH: Thatâ€™s right. Somebody who weâ€™ve already met this season dies. Woo, look at us! Weâ€™re getting good at this.
Do you already have ideas for Season 4? JH: There has not been an official pick-up, but Jann, Leah, and I have done our early talk-through of story ideas for what we would want to do in Season 4. We have a kind of proposal to CTV for what we would like to do, and weâ€™re ready to hit the ground running.
LG: Thereâ€™s an aggressive cliff-hanger at the end of this season
JH: Yes, thereâ€™s a real question hanging in the air, so we really want to answer that.
Jann airs Mondays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca and CTV app.