Tag Archives: Michael Shanks

Link: Saving Hope’s Michael Shanks on directing and the show’s new focus

From Christy Spratlin of The TV Junkies:

Saving Hope’s Michael Shanks on directing and the show’s new focus
“I think for the remainder of the season we aren’t going to see much in the area of romantic entanglements for Charlie and Alex, but for the other characters we will see that amp up a bit. I think by getting rid of that love triangle aspect on the show they have given themselves some breathing room for some great storylines for the other characters. And the show has become better because of it.” Continue reading.


CTV orders Season 5 of Saving Hope

From a media release:

– Eighteen new episodes have been ordered for CTV’s 2016/17 broadcast season from ICF Films and Entertainment One with production on Season 5 set to begin Spring 2016 in Toronto –
– New episodes from SAVING HOPE’s current fourth season return in a new Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT timeslot beginning January 7 on CTV and the CTV GO app –
– Love is in the air for SAVING HOPE as Season 4 will conclude with a special two-hour finale event on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and the CTV GO app –
– New episodes of SAVING HOPE continue to be available the day before their broadcast premieres on CraveTVTM, with the first three seasons also streaming now –

CTV confirmed today that is has ordered 18 new episodes for a fifth season of hit original series SAVING HOPE (@SavingHopeTV), from Ilana Frank’s ICF Films and Entertainment One (eOne) for CTV’s 2016/17 broadcast season. The most-watched Canadian drama this fall will begin production in Spring 2016 in Toronto and will see the return of series leads Erica Durance as Dr. Alex Reid and Michael Shanks as Dr. Charlie Harris. The Season 5 order comes as Season 4 episodes are set to return in a new Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT timeslot beginning Jan. 7 on CTV and the CTV GO app. The season will conclude with a special two-hour finale event on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and the emotional and dramatic two-hours will culminate in a shocking moment viewers won’t want to miss.

The #1 Canadian drama series this fall, SAVING HOPE currently averages 1.3 million viewers in its Thursdays at 9 p.m. timeslot on CTV. Also the most-watched Canadian program among the key adult demos this fall, SAVING HOPE has seen a 16% increase in the key A18-34 demo, as well as a 63% increase in F18-34 over its third season.

Returning for Season 5 of SAVING HOPE is 2013 Canadian Screen Award nomineeErica Durance (SMALLVILLE) as Dr. Alex Reid; Michael Shanks (STARGATE SG-1) as Dr. Charlie Harris; 2013 Canadian Screen Award-winner Wendy Crewson(BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) as Dr. Dana Kinney; Benjamin Ayres (LESS THAN KIND) as Dr. Zach Miller; Julia Taylor Ross (ROOKIE BLUE) as Dr. Maggie Lin;Michelle Nolden (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE) as Dr. Dawn Bell; Huse Madhavji (CALL ME FITZ) as Dr. Shahir Hamza; and Kim Shaw (THE GOOD WIFE) as Dr. Cassie Williams.

SAVING HOPE is back in January with an all-new episode entitled “All Down the Line” (Thursday, Jan. 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and CTV GO). With Dr. Dana Kinney (Wendy Crewson) back from Paris, Dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance) enlists her help to save Lorenzo (Stefano DiMatteo, KILLJOYS), a hot-tempered chef suffering from oral cancer. Her concerns over her friend’s own treatment (or lack there-of) quickly bubble to surface however, when their patient refuses medical attention in favour of pursuing the opening of his restaurant. Meanwhile, Dr. Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks) has his hands full juggling the spirit of a restless single mother, while working to save her life after a DIY treehouse accident. The episode also features guest star Stacey Farber (DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION) as Dr. Sydney Katz.

SAVING HOPE is produced by ICF Films with eOne in association with CTV, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. ION Television in the U.S. has also renewed the series for a fifth season.

SAVING HOPE is executive produced by Ilana Frank and John Morayniss and co-executive produced by Linda Pope, Trish Williams, Noelle Carbone, and Patrick Tarr. Adam Pettle is Executive Producer and Showrunner. All distribution rights are handled by eOne.


Saving Hope celebrates with a holiday episode

Christmas is upon us, and the folks over at Saving Hope have given fans one heck of a present: a special holiday episode. Yup, Thursday’s newest instalment, “Shine a Light,” combines an ice storm, ugly sweaters, family, wayward spirits, an injured Santa and a dose of miracles into a feel-good story that’s unique to the series. As co-writer Fiona Highet says, creating an episode of Saving Hope for the holidays means dropping ongoing storylines—such as Dawn’s sexual assault and Maggie’s near-death experience—from the mix so the episode can air out of sequence from the series.

Before we talk about “Shine a Light,” I want to chat about this season overall. There have been some really strong episodes and storylines, particularly Dawn’s sexual assault and the marathon bombing that led to Maggie chatting with Charlie.
Fiona Highet: The show has so much heart, you want to take people where you know they’ll be moved. The trick in a story like the bombing one is to position our characters in it rather than have patients come into the ER. We positioned Maggie into the race and then took the unusual step of having her speaking to Charlie. That opened up Charlie’s world wider than it’s been.

Did Adam Pettle really push the writers’ room this season to explore those boundaries?
With the addition of new characters, every episode so far has served a lead character, a guest star and a new character. That’s three angles to come at rather than two, which is much harder. That construct really challenged us. We needed bigger stories. The cast is playing more like an ensemble than they ever have. I wouldn’t say that Adam specifically said anything, but we’ve moved away from the love triangle and have said, ‘Now what? What obstacles can we put in everyone’s way?’

OK, let’s talk about “Shine a Light.” How does it feel to have a writing credit on something that will live on and be broadcast every holiday season?
I was so excited, and it’s not even because Patrick Tarr and I are the Christmassy-ist. He and I were already lined up to write Episode 12, and that’s the one it turned out to be. I’ve written with him before and he and I just clicked, so I knew this was going to be good. I was really excited to be writing it for a couple of reasons. One, as you say, it has a life outside of the show, but it also comes with its own challenges. We couldn’t use the new cast members or serial information. All of the stories and drama around Charlie and Alex were gone. We have to play Dawn as though she has not come through this experience … those things seemed to be more challenging than they were once we were in it.

Were there certain items on the Christmas episode checklist that you felt needed to be addressed?
I had to do a little research. I could picture M*A*S*H and Christmas in The Swamp, but not much else. I very consciously watched some Grey’s Anatomy and some ER Christmas episodes to see what they did and what they were talking about. There is always a kid on the verge of life and death. There was certainly conscious thinking around story balance and structurally saying, ‘We cannot go from this child waiting by the tree to the guy whose genitals hurt.’ That was much harder than I thought it would be.

We knew we wanted to cover ugly Christmas sweaters because it’s funny, we knew it would be funny to put Dana and Shahir together because we don’t often see them together and we knew we could give them some of the anti-Christmas sentiment and they would play it with exactly the right touch.

You spoke earlier about doing research for this episode by watching holiday episodes of Grey’s and ER. Are there holiday episodes, TV movies, movies or specials you watch during the holidays?
I can’t not watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. My kids are 13 and 11, so they’re too old for it but I’ll drag them back in every year. Elf is a modern classic and I’m a fan of a more recent movie called Arthur Christmas. My family has a funny tradition—I don’t even know how it started—of watching Gene Kelly movies at Christmas, the big musicals, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing Anchors Aweigh even though it has nothing to do with the holidays. I’ve also come around to the Love Actually phenomenon.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.


Saving Hope returns to its roots for Season 4

If this is the final season for Saving Hope, fans will be happy on one front. Erica Durance and Michael Shanks were mum when asked directly if the current season will be its last, but they did acknowledge CTV’s homegrown medical drama is returning to its roots.

“Charlie and Alex become mature adults,” Shanks says of Hope Zion’s central doctors. “One of the reasons the love triangle [with Daniel Gillies’ Dr. Joel Goran] ended is because that story only has legs for so long. To be playing CW love triangle stuff with the level of angst that they write … why is Charlie getting into another fist-fight with Joel?! It became time for these characters to move forward.”

Things have moved forward significantly in Thursday’s return, “Sympathy for the Devil.” Eleven months have passed since Joel was blown to smithereens. Alex (Durance) leaves baby Luke for her first day back at Hope Zion and it doesn’t take long for her to become embroiled in drama both in and outside of the operating room. The headstrong, brilliant doc finds herself competing with one of the hospital’s newest hires, Dr. Patrick Curtis (Max Bennett), over how to treat a car crash victim. Then Alex tackles her next case: a man named Tom Crenshaw (Rookie Blue‘s Travis Milne) who was convicted of murdering his wife. And while Alex and Tom connect on the operating table, the accused killer turns to Charlie for help. Shanks explains almost every ghost who has interacted with Charlie has been well-intentioned and a resulted positively.

“With this one, we don’t know,” he teases. “There is a bit of a raised eyebrow.”

Meanwhile, Zach (Benjamin Ayres) is struggling to deal with Goran’s death, going so far as to put his life on the line by entering a quarantined area to help a sick patient rather than take the time to don a hazmat suit.

“For all of the fans of Zach, this is going to be a really big year for him,” Durance says. “He really gets to unpack some emotional stuff and deal with the guilt that he feels.”

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.


Review: Explosive Saving Hope season finale kills off character

When I figured Alex would have to make her final choice between Charlie and Joel, I never imagined it would come the way it did during the Saving Hope season finale.

Spoiler warning: turn back now if you haven’t seen Wednesday’s game-changing episode.

Sure, it was a given that Alex would end up going into labour at the same time she was writing her surgical boards, as the two most important events in one person’s life usually happen at the exact same time on television. And sure, it was clear something terrible was going to happen given the ominous white horse Charlie kept seeing all around the hospital. But Joel essentially self-sacrificing himself for Zach and getting blown up by the bomb post-surgery? Certainly didn’t see that one happening.

It was predictable, but I’ll admit that it was funny seeing Alex tell herself she’d be able to get through the surgical boards before delivering her baby. There’s absolutely no way I could write any test, let alone an oral surgical board exam, knowing I was inches away from popping a baby out. Erica Durance certainly sold the labour scenes extremely well, but no more so when she screamed at Maggie not to break her baby during the actual delivery. Also deserving serious props was Maggie for ditching the test with one to go to deliver her BFF’s baby.

After missing out on what sounded like a really cool surgical experience to Joel, Charlie wasn’t really up to anything too exciting at the hospital. Instead, what was so intriguing was how he kept seeing the white horse running around the halls, something I wasn’t sure had significance for an earlier episode or not. He had said he hadn’t been sleeping well and that he had a bad feeling, so I wasn’t sure if the horse vision had shown up before another bad incident or if Charlie was just a big equestrian fan. But when Charlie did declare his bad feeling I was on high alert for each of the characters.

Obviously, the birth of Alex’s baby could’ve easily been one where Charlie’s bad feeling came from. And for a few minutes it did look like there was a life-threatening complication. But when the birth of Luke went smoothly, I knew it was going to be either Zach or Joel’s life in danger. For some reason I pegged Zach as the one who’d end up hurt somehow, even going so far as to suspect he’d be in a car accident when Joel tricked him into leaving the dangerous surgical procedure to remove the bomb from the middle of the resident base bomb expert (how ironic, as they said). And the surgery generally seemed to be going ridiculously well, given how difficult it was to get the thing out from the bones of the soldier. Right up until Joel had the bomb in his hands I figured everything would be OK, although I did wonder why no one was on hand to either defuse or get rid of the bomb immediately after it was pulled from the soldier’s abdomen.

But then the horse appeared, and suddenly it all made sense. I jumped a mile when the bomb went off and needed a minute to comprehend that the show had actually just killed off such a serious main character—one of which was about to propose to Alex, nonetheless.

As much as I’ve absolutely loved the presence of Daniel Gillies throughout the show’s run, this past season has certainly made me feel like Joel and Alex were meant to be best friends more than lovers. Meanwhile, it was clear Alex’s heart still belonged to Charlie, particularly so at the very end of the season. So in the end if someone had to die, I think it was the right choice to have it be the sweet and beautiful Joel, whose death will certainly shake up everyone’s emotions at the hospital—none more than Zach.

How will Zach cope with survivor’s guilt? And will baby Luke end up being Joel’s after all? Those are two questions we’ll be taking with us until Saving Hope returns for another season.


  • Anyone else hope Dawn and the two-finger guitar player start hooking up? Just me? OK.
  • Team Shalex t-shirts forever.
  • I wish we could be given a full list of the paternity pool and whom everyone was betting on.
  • How is Team Joel doing? Remember, you’re all in this together.

Thoughts? Let us know through the comments below or via @tv_eh.