Piazza Entertainment announced today production is underway on the new original drama series SKYMED for CBC and Paramount+, the streaming service for ViacomCBS. Created by Julie Puckrin, the serialized character-driven series features an ensemble cast of young talent including Natasha Calis (Nurses), Ace (Aason) Nadjiwon (Batwoman), Morgan Holmstrom (Siberia), Praneet Akilla (Nancy Drew), Thomas Elms (The Order), Mercedes Morris (Between), Kheon Clarke (Riverdale), Rebecca Kwan (Taken), Braeden Clarke (Outlander), and Aaron Ashmore (Killjoys). The series is now in production, filming in Manitoba and Ontario. SKYMED, produced by Piazza Entertainment in association with Paramount+, CBS Studios and CBC, will premiere in 2022-23.
Life, death, and drama at 20,000 feet, SKYMED weaves together intense character journeys and high stakes medical rescues as we follow the triumphs, heartbreaks and tribulations of budding nurses and pilots flying air ambulances in remote Northern Canada. Theyâ€™re all in over their heads, and on their own, with no one to rely on but each other.
â€œThis show was inspired by the real-life experiences of my sister and brother-in-law, who met flying air ambulances in the north,â€ says Puckrin. â€œTogether with a talented team of writers, we created relatable characters full of hope, compassion, and resilience. I am thrilled to be working with such an incredible and diverse cast to bring these exciting, emotional stories to life.â€
â€œJulie has brilliantly imagined these characters who are not only dealing with demanding, high-pressure circumstances, theyâ€™re also dealing with the ups and downs of their lives as they come into their own,â€ said Vanessa Piazza, Executive Producer, Piazza Entertainment. â€œWe are proud to partner with Paramount+, CBS Studios and CBC and look forward to introducing these characters to audiences.â€
SKYMED is produced by Piazza Entertainment. The series is created by Julie Puckrin who also serves as Executive Producer along with Vanessa Piazza and Ron Murphy. Steve Adelson serves as pilot director. From Manitoba, Kyle Irving and Lisa Meeches serve as Executive Producers for Eagle Vision. Jennica Harper and Nikolijne Troubetzkoy serve as Co-Executive Producers. Outside of Canada, the series will be distributed internationally by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.
Sean Baek entered my television viewing world through Killjoys, that most excellent space adventure created by Michelle Lovretta. His character, Fancy Lee, made an immediate impact with fans and, by the show’s end, he was just one of many fan faves on that fine program.
Since then, Baek has turned in memorable roles on The Expanse, Coroner, Private Eyes, Nurses and Utopia Falls. His latest gig? On Omni’s Sunday night drama, Blood & Water: Fire & Ice, as villain Norris Pang.
Airing Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET, this season follows disgraced former Vancouver cop Michelle Chang (Selena Lee)â€”now a Toronto-based private detectiveâ€”as she hunts down Norris Pang (Baek), the man who has kidnapped her daughter. Pang is also the mastermind behind a money-laundering scheme happening at the Xie familyâ€™s casino, where Anna Xie (Elfina Luk) is attempting to expand the family business.
We spoke to Sean Baek about his acting origin story, playing a baddie and, well, his facial hair.
Before we get into Blood and Water: Fire & Ice, I was going through your bio and saw that you were part of the Stratford Festival. Did you always want to be an actor?Â Sean Baek: Yes.Â My parents took me and my older brother and sister to a movie theatre. My formative years were spent in South Korea and I can’t remember if I was four or five or six. We all went to the movie theatre and there was this film about a family that gets separated due to poverty. I didn’t understand the entire movie, but I remember just being glued to the screen, obviously, because it was a young family, there were young kids in the cast. I was mesmerized.
Fast forward a few years, and I actually auditioned for a training program [at Stratford] called the Birmingham Conservatory. For five months, six days a week from 10 to 6 every day, you delve into classical theatre and classical theatre performance. You would have teachers from the UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, people who’ve worked with Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen and all the legends as well. The first time I auditioned for it, I didn’t get in, but the second time was back in 2005 and I got in. I was one of 10 actors that got selected from across Canada.
Those five months were the best time of one of the best times of my life personally because I’ve met a lot of great friends, but also professionally because I learned so much. I already had nine years of acting under my belt, small to medium-sized theatres and film and TV credits here and there. But, I’ve always loved Shakespeare and I wanted to expand my knowledge. A little bit of luck had something to do with it too, but I put in a lot of hard work.
Let’s go from the stage to the screen. Let’s talk about Blood and Water: Fire & Ice. Creator Diane Boehme told me how COVID-19 messed up the production schedule. Can you give me the backstory of how you became involved? It sounds like your character was one person in one iteration of the show and then ended up being the Norris Pang who we’re seeing now. Â SB: We were filming in February of 2020 and into March. I was cast as this one character at the time named Norris Morris, and it was more of a hands-on sort of bad guy, this henchman type. Before we knew anything, production was shutting down. I was playing this character, and then the actor playing the main character in the first blockâ€”because he was from elsewhereâ€”due to travel restrictions [could not return].Â
It was a hair-pulling experience for everybody involved, to say the least. During the hiatusâ€”we had to stop filming from the middle to the end of March until the producers figured out, ‘OK, we’re going to block out these days and weeks to finish filming’â€”they had to rejig. They amalgamated my original character and the other character, so it became Norris Pang. He became this dude who does everything and anything possible to fulfill his goals.Â
As an actor, I’m assuming you like to play a variety of characters, but I love it when you’re sinister and Norris is a sinister guy.Â SB: Thank you. My wife said after she saw it, ‘Oh wow, the creep factor is high.’ I was like, ‘Well, I get paid to do what I have to do.’ It’s fun to explore that dark side of humanity. That’s the fun part because you get to explore the psyche of this fictional character.Â
How do the hair and the facial hair play into the building of a character like Norris?Â SB: The reason why I tend to have my beard is that when I shave I look a lot younger than my actual age. There was a period of my career, between the early to mid-thirties until my early forties when I was old enough to play young dads just like other colleagues. But I couldn’t because clean-shaven I was too old-looking to be in college, but I was too young-looking to be a dad.
I went through a lot of frustrating time periods like that. Now I go out for dad roles and characters who have kids a lot. That’s the reason why I tend to have that beard, just so that I can look the age that I am.
Blood and Water: Fire & IceÂ airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET on Omni.
Like with everything else, there’s been a lot of uncertainty surrounding network television, from when a series is premiering or returning, if at all.
Well, Private Eyes fans, fear not. Matt (Jason Priestley) and Angie (Cindy Sampson) are back and in fine formâ€”Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Globalâ€”so much so that if you close your eyes, things almost seem normal again.
Fresh off its Golden Screen Award win for Canada’s most-watched comedy or drama, your favourite detective duo is on the case for a fourth season. Also fresh? Angie’s new haircut. Just saying.
Back to that distraction, though. Sabrina (Katie Boland) simply wants to connect with her newfound dadâ€”until things take a turn when guest star Erica Durance (Saving Hope) turns up. And if her appearance wasn’t enough, it gets even more complicated as Shade and Angie continue to cast not-so-subtle longing glances at one anotherâ€”especially since Tex (Brett Donahue) is still in the picture.
But it’s the seventh episode that’ll have you reaching for the popcorn, thanks to appearances from Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, the prettiest star on HGTV Canada, Scott McGillivray, and golf pro Mike Weir. Priestley directs that star-studded hour, while Episode 3 marks Sampson’s directorial debut. It’s safe to say the rest of the season (and the upcoming fifth instalment) looks bright. Shade(s) optional.
Private Eyes airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.
Link: Michelle Lovretta talks wrapping up Killjoys
â€œWhen I look at that beautiful shot, of all of our wonderful dorks standing in a row on a hill, what makes me so happy is I wouldnâ€™t necessarily have known the exact list of people who would be there. And I think that whatâ€™s joyful to me is a lot of them are people that I didnâ€™t know I was going to get to know as well as I did. And to see them standing there as equals with everybody else really was the fun of writing television versus writing a feature or writing a novel. You are able to pivot and take some new directions, and take advantage of collaboration, and thatâ€™s a part of it that I love.â€ Continue reading.
From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:
Link: Killjoys creator Michelle Lovretta on saying goodbye
“It really is incredibly daunting having to contemplate how to end all five seasons. I think the way through it is remembering how you started. Ideally, when you first create something, you donâ€™t do it for anybody else. You donâ€™t dream it up hoping for a sale. You donâ€™t even tell anyone the details for a long while. You just hold these precious, weirdo little imaginary friends in your head and heart and tell yourself a story thatâ€™s just for you, and ultimately, thatâ€™s how I approached the finale.” Continue reading.
From Maureen Ryan of IGN:
Link: Killjoys series finale ending explained by creator Michelle Lovretta
“I always like to tell a story and find a story through the characters. And obviously, I think it’s pretty evident that I have fallen pretty deeply in love with these characters from the very first frame and the very first page. So to me, it was always important that I had a direction of where they would personally end up. I always knew that Johnny was going to be departing on his own adventures. I always knew that Dutch and D’avin we’re going to have to sort of renegotiate what they wanted out of their lives.” Continue reading.Â
Killjoys: Thom Allison Says Goodbye To Pree, Hello To Whatâ€™s Next â€“ Interview
â€œAll the Killjoys fans have been smart and loving and thereâ€™s been no trolling or meanness that Iâ€™ve experienced. They have been generous and sweet and interested in the show. Theyâ€™ve noticed details in the choice of costume or in the characters and Iâ€™ve loved that engagement. Iâ€™ve never had that experience in that kind of way. There were a lot of first for me (with Killjoys).â€ Continue reading.
From Heather M. of TV Goodness:
Link: Final thoughts from the Killjoys team
â€œWhat I loved about the show so much, much like my life and the lives of my friends and everybody who worked on the show, is that weâ€™re just off on another mission. Weâ€™re off to do something else. Weâ€™re still doing our thing and weâ€™re connected by these threads to our past.â€ Continue reading.