Tag Archives: Omni

Multicultural TV for All Canadians

From a media release:

OMNI Television announced today that it has filed an application with the CRTC to operate a new national multilingual and multicultural channel called OMNI Regional, the first of its kind in Canada. The national channel would be comprised of four feeds: Pacific, Prairies, and East, which would mirror OMNI’s local stations in those regions, and ICI Quebec, made possible due to a strategic partnership with Montreal ethnic television station International Channel/Canal International (ICI) to serve French-language ethnic communities in the province of Quebec. If approved by the CRTC, OMNI Regional would have priority access to basic TV packages (pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act).  Today’s local OMNI stations in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver would continue to operate as free over-the-air channels, as would ICI’s local station in Montreal.

As part of its proposal, OMNI Television is committing to bringing back four daily newscasts in Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi, making it the only national ethnic programming service in Canada to provide daily newscasts, seven days a week, in multiple languages.

OMNI Television’s proposal also includes the following:

  • A commitment to devote 80% of OMNI Regional’s schedule to ethnic programming – a 20% increase over current – and maintaining the requirement to devote 50% of the schedule to third-language programming;
  • A commitment to devote a minimum of 40% of OMNI Regional’s annual revenues to the production of Canadian programming;
  • A commitment to maintain local daily current affairs shows in Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi languages;
  • The creation of a national cultural affairs series produced in Alberta that is designed to showcase important cultural and social contributions from Canada’s ethnocultural communities;
  • A commitment to re-establish in-house production in all of the markets served by OMNI’s OTA stations; and
  • The creation of four regional feeds that comprise the national network will be specifically tailored to ethnic Canadians living in B.C., the Prairies, Eastern Canada and Quebec by including English and French-language ethnic programming as well as third-language programming produced by local independent producers that reside in those regions.

OMNI Television expects the CRTC to post its application for public comment shortly.


Set visit: Cameras roll on new episodes of Blood and Water

I’m constantly amazed when I visit the set of a television show. Take Blood and Water, for instance. It’s easy to walk by the nondescript building in Toronto’s Liberty Village, steps away from a GO Transit platform, and have absolutely no clue cameras are rolling.

Yet that’s where Omni’s police drama—as it did for Block 1—is camped out for 18 days of production on-set and some location before completing filming in Vancouver. The warren of hallways and open spaces in the former Inglis factory (Lost Girl filmed there too) serves as the Vancouver Police Department where Det. Jo Bradley (Steph Song) is working her latest case.

Picking up a year after the events of the first eight episodes, Jo has got a new partner in Det. Evan Ong (Byron Mann) and new boss in Lt. Barron (Aidan Devine). Song says things get interesting for Jo during the next set of stories—referred to as Block 2 rather than Season 2 due to the way funding was spread out—because of her history with one cop and thoughts about the other. What is obvious about Jo is she’s in a better place than we last saw her. Not that Jo is hopping on stage to perform standup anytime soon, but her personal life isn’t as dour.

A poster in the Vancouver Police Department set.
A poster in the Vancouver Police Department set.

There is, however, another crime to keep Jo and Evan busy in the Mandarin, Cantonese and English-speaking series.

“This block takes place in Ghost Month, and is tied to the first block because a ghost isn’t necessarily a physical manifestation of somebody who is dead,” creator, writer and executive producer Diane Boehme says. “We’re going to play with that. It’s also about what haunts you. It’s regret, it’s the thing you did that you shouldn’t have done or the thing that you should have and the things that remain unresolved. All of our characters are wrestling with that.” Ron Xie (Oscar Hsu) is also back and dealing not only with the loss of his sons, but a power struggle within his company.

Ghost Month isn’t the only thing haunting the cast: the challenge of learning Mandarin and Cantonese is a constant spectre hovering over many. Dialect coaches help the actors and actresses with pronunciation and to ensure the correct phrasing is used.

“I wish they just wrote everything from the first block, because I still have those lines locked away somewhere,” Loretta Yu says with a laugh. “It’s definitely a challenge because I’m working in three languages this year. It’s been stressful, but really good, and I’m up for the challenge.”


Principal photography on second block of Omni’s original Blood and Water begins

From a media release:

OMNI Television today announced the start of production on eight new half-hour episodes of original crime drama series, Blood and Water. Produced in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, Blood and Water stars Steph Song (Everything’s Gone Green) and follows a wealthy Vancouver family struck with grief after the death of their two sons. Produced by Breakthrough Entertainment, principal photography begins today in Toronto.

In the next eight episodes, Detective Jo Bradley (Steph Song) – newly returned to the Vancouver Homicide Squad following her cancer scare – is thrust back into the Xie family orbit along with new partner, Detective Evan Ong (Byron Mann), a decorated police hero formerly of the Guns and Gangs Unit. Following the death of his two sons, Ron Xie (Oscar Hsu) faces a power struggle when his company is held under siege by his former partner and his partner’s son, played by new cast member, Telly Liu (The Man with the Iron Fists).

Also, returning for the second block are Elfina Luk (Helix), Oscar Hsu (The Girlfriend Experience), Fiona Fu (The Man in the High Castle), and Loretta Yu (Between). Joining the cast are Byron Mann (The Big Short, Hell on Wheels), Aidan Devine (The Girlfriend Experience, October Gale), and Telly Liu.

Written by Diane Boehme, Al Kratina, Dan Trotta and Simu Liu, Blood and Water is directed by Gail Harvey (Murdoch Mysteries, Lost Girl, Heartland) and Carl Bessai (Rehearsal, Sisters & Brothers, Fathers & Sons). Executive Producers are Ira Levy, Diane Boehme, Michael McGuigan, Malcolm Levy, Nat Abraham and Peter Williamson. Al Kratina and Dan Trotta are Co-Executive producers and Paula J. Smith and Ben Lu are Producers.


Link: Asian-Canadian Cop Series ‘Blood And Water’ Renewed for Second Season

From Patrick Frater of Variety:

Asian-Canadian Cop Series ‘Blood And Water’ Renewed for Second Season
Asian-Canadian cop drama series “Blood And Water” has been green-lighted for a second season, while the first shows are still on the air.

Shot in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and directed by veteran Canadian director John L’Ecuyer, the first 8 episodes of the series play in the prime time Sunday night slot on Rogers Media’s OMNI Television in Canada. Continue reading.