Tag Archives: Saloon Media

Saloon Media announces the greenlight of Witches of Salem for Travel Channel and T+E

From a media release:

Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Media company, announces the greenlight by Travel Channel (US) and T+E (Canada) of The Witches of Salem, a new four-part docudrama series about America’s infamous 17th-century witch trials. The series will be produced by Saloon Media in association with Talos Films, Travel Channel, and T+E.

The Salem witch trials is one of the most gripping real-life dramas in history. It began in February 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. In just 220 days, 200 were accused and 20 were executed. It was a period of mass hysteria that opens a window into the darkest side of human nature.

The Witches of Salem (4 x 60’) draws on extensive historical documents and court records to bring this gripping drama to life. Sociologists, psychologists, and cultural historians also illustrate how communities are still susceptible to the same hysteria today.

The Witches of Salem is Executive Produced by Michael Kot, Julie Chang, Julian P. Hobbs and Elli Hakami. Executive in Charge for Travel Channel is Charles Nordlander and the Head of Original Content for T+E is Sam Linton. The series is produced by Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Media company, in association with Talos Films, Travel Channel (US), and T+E (Canada). International content distributor Blue Ant International Ltd has exclusive worldwide rights to the series.

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator.

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Danielle Bryk renovates her family’s getaway in The Bryk Cottage

When Danielle Bryk agreed to renovate her family cottage, she had no clue that—partway through the project—cameras would arrive on the scene to capture everything for a television show. She’d been consulting on the renovation of sister Terry and brother-in-law Norman’s dilapidated, outdated Georgian Bay property but Norman had been running the project. Then a television producing job came calling and Norman had to leave.

“He said, ‘Oh god, you need to take over. You need to help Terry out,” Bryk (Home to Win) says over the phone. “I’m the resident renovator in the family, so I couldn’t really refuse.” Then, totally by coincidence, Cottage Life came calling and asked if Bryk had any projects on the go. She mentioned the cottage reno and they jumped on board.

The Bryk Cottage, debuting Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life, isn’t your typical renovation series. This is a true documentary that, over the course of six episodes, shows Bryk organizing and executing the project under the watchful eye of Terry. Episode 1 introduces the folks involved and expectations; Terry and Norman bought the property years ago and it’s served as a homey getaway for the burgeoning family. Now it’s time for an upgrade. Terry has high-end plans for the home and it’s up to Bryk to keep costs down and the project on schedule.

“My sister is such a great sport,” Bryk says. “She has no filter. We finished filming one bit and she said, ‘Great, I’m probably going to come off as a total b-word!’ I said, ‘Dude, you knew they were rolling!’ She is a great sport and she knows it does make for great TV.” It certainly does.

But aside from the siblings butting heads over materials and budgets, The Bryk Cottage is educational. Constructing a passive building is explored for Terry and Norman. Bryk first heard of the concept about 20 years ago in a book by Sir Terence Conran. The idea of keeping a home heated or cooled passively stuck with her and she jumped at the chance to capture and utilize the sun’s heat to its full advantage through the use of windows and insulation. She recalls filming The Bryk Cottage through the winter and the building being nice and toasty thanks to just a small space heater the drywall guy was using. The Bryk Cottage is educational and entertaining, but it’s also telling a story many can relate to.

“The crux of all this is family and of connection,” Bryk says. “It’s so important these days to carve out spaces and time to do that kind of thing. To me, it’s the only thing that matters.”

The Bryk Cottage airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Blue Ant Media greenlights Life Below Zero: Canada

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with BBC Studios to be the first to license the series format rights for the international hit Life Below Zero. In the U.S., the series recently celebrated its 100th episode on the National Geographic Channel, being one the most-watched programs, where it takes up the largest portion of the channel’s programming lineup. BBC Studios production arm in Los Angeles first launched the series in 2013.

Blue Ant Media’s newly acquired Saloon Media is starting production this month on Life Below Zero: Canada (8 x 60 minutes). The new documentary series is being shot on location in Canada with a focus on Canadian people and stories and is set to air on the Cottage Life channel in 2020. A special 30-minute, sneak peek documentary episode will premiere on the channel this April.

Based on BBC’s successful format, Life Below Zero: Canada is an observational documentary series about people who live off the grid in remote regions of northern Canada. The series follows a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, including first nations, giving viewers an unfiltered glimpse into their rugged day-to-day activities that range from makeshift problem solving to traditional survival practices. From long, dark, frozen winters, to sweltering, bug-infested summers, these Canadians grapple with deadly weather and limited resources to find food, water, and shelter.

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. From our production houses around the world, we create content for multiple genres including factual, factual entertainment, short-form digital series and kids programming.

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Blue Ant Media grows originals slate with six new commissions for its roster of Canadian specialty channels

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international content producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today six new original commissions as well as a raft of digital content to air on its platforms in Canada, including Cottage Life, T+E and Makeful. The announcement supports Blue Ant Media’s ongoing commitment to the creation of Canadian series, also showcased through the company’s last round of Canadian original commissions and recent acquisition of Saloon Media announced earlier this year.

For Cottage Life, production has started on a brand new, documentary series, The Bryk Cottage, in which designer and contractor Danielle Bryk rebuilds her family cottage from the ground up. The channel will also see a new season of Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast that introduces four never-before-seen Australian vets to viewers. Additionally, new digital content featuring Cottage Life fan favourites, The Brojects, will roll out on Cottage Life’s online platforms. Slated to premiere on T+E, See No Evil delves into murder mysteries with surveillance video and gritty recreations, and fan favourite series Paranormal Survivor will return for a fifth season. The Makeful channel will see two new original series including Coolest Places to Stay, a documentary series about the current trend of turning everyday homes into short-term rentals, as well as Landscape Artist of the Year, a Canadian format of the popular British fine art competition series.

Blue Ant Media’s original programming slate includes:

The Bryk Cottage (6×30’;HD) is a documentary series that follows designer and contractor Danielle Bryk as she takes viewers on the real-life rebuild of her family’s old dilapidated cottage into a stunning vacation home that the entire family can cherish for generations. In this new documentary series, Bryk and a team of local Georgian Bay contractors undertake to complete this ambitious project. The Bryk Cottage is produced by Saloon Media and distributed by Blue Ant International. Danielle Bryk will appear at the Spring Cottage Life Shows in Toronto and Ottawa in March 2019.

Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast (10×60’;HD) Fan favourite series Bondi Vet has been revamped and will introduce four new Australian vets from across the continent Down Under who offer a myriad of exciting animal stories, ranging from the exotic and wild to our favourite domestic creatures. Meet exotic animal expert Dr Peter Ricci, emergency specialist Dr Alex Hynes, private practice owner Dr Lewis Hunt and recent graduate Dr Danni Dusek as they continue Bondi Vet’s tradition of telling great stories about Australia’s unique population of pets, and the lengths that dedicated vets will go to care for them in their hour of need. This new commission is the product of a treaty co-production between Saloon Media in Canada and WFTN in Australia. Bondi Vet will be broadcast on Channel Nine in Australia and will premiere exclusively in Canada on the Cottage Life Channel in Spring 2019.

See No Evil, Season 5 (16×60’; HD) tells spine-chilling stories of murderers caught on tape. Using genuine CCTV and other secured surveillance footage from a variety of sources, each episode will seamlessly mix elements of real footage and gritty recreations to give viewers a shocking front-row seat to the darkest depths of our not-so-secret lives. See No Evil is co-produced with Saloon Media in Canada and Arrow Media in the UK. See No Evil will premiere on T+E in Canada in spring 2019 and on Discovery ID in the U.S.

Paranormal Survivor, Season 5 (10×60’; HD) is the latest season of the popular series about spirits that features survivors of harrowing supernatural experiences who share their hair-raising tales on screen. Produced by Our House Media, each episode will take a deep dive into the eerie encounters, depicted with a mix of real testimonials and dramatic re-creations. The series will air on T+E in Spring 2019 and is distributed by Blue Ant International.

Coolest Places to Stay (working title) (6×30’;HD) is an exciting new documentary series that explores the trend of regular people turning their homes into short-term rentals for travellers on the go. In each episode, self-taught house flipper and design enthusiast, Katie Herbert, explores unique spaces that centre around a common theme to discover interesting and unusual approaches to crafting the perfect respite for vacationers and locals alike. Coolest Places to Stay is produced by Architect Films and will air on Makeful during the channel’s freeview in April 2019. The series will be distributed by Blue Ant International.

Landscape Artist of the Year aims to uncover new artistic talent in a competition open to both professional and amateur artists in Canada. The original series, which is a fan favourite on Makeful, is coming to Canada and modelled after the UK format, which will see one talented competitor be crowned Canada’s Landscape Artist of the Year. The group of painters take on different landscape painting challenges, which showcase their unique artistic talents. Throughout the painting sessions, expert judges circulate among the artists, assessing their talents and skills and each week a winner will be chosen to progress to the semi-final. Time-lapse segments ensure viewers will not miss a moment in each artist’s thoughtful and creative progression from blank canvas to finished work. The UK format is distributed by Banijay Rights.

New DIY Online Content for Cottage Life

Coming Spring 2019, there will be a plethora of brand new original DIY-themed content for the Cottage Life website financed in support from the Canadian Media Fund. This includes 30 short form videos, 70 non-video content items and 15 episodes of a web series featuring the Brojects, Kevin and Andrew Buckles, produced by Farmhouse Productions, with some of the webisodes in partnership with Timber Mart.

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. From our production houses around the world, we create content for multiple genres including factual, factual entertainment, short-form digital series and kids programming. Our distribution business, Blue Ant International, offers a catalogue of 3,000+ hours of content, including the largest 4K natural history offering on the market. Blue Ant Media’s international channel business offers a portfolio of media brands such as Love Nature (International), ZooMoo Networks (International), Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada), Blue Ant Entertainment (International), Blue Ant Extreme (International) and HGTV (New Zealand). Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with operations in Los Angeles, Singapore, Auckland, Dunedin, London, Washington, Sydney, Beijing and Taipei.

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Blue Ant Media acquires Toronto-based Saloon Media as part of ongoing production expansion in North America

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international content producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today its acquisition of Saloon Media, a Toronto-based production company specializing in globally relevant factual television. Saloon Media’s Michael Kot (CEO), Steve Gamester (Executive Producer), Paul Kilback (Executive Producer) and Betty Orr (Head of Production) will join the Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit, which includes NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). The purchase is a key step in the expansion of Blue Ant Media’s North American production business, which will see the media company rapidly expanding its original content business in the Canadian and US markets. The news arrives on the heels of yesterday’s senior executive appointments to Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit in Canada and in the U.S.

Saloon Media, based in Toronto (Canada) and launched in 2013, is a leading factual television and digital content producer. Its recent credits include the CSA-nominated series Mummies Alive for HISTORY (Canada), Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Yesterday (UK); the 10-part broadcast and web series Tornado Hunters for CMT; the long-running returning series See No Evil, co-produced with the UK’s Arrow Media for DISCOVERY ID US; the eight-part series, Hunting Nazi Treasure for HISTORY (Canada), American Heroes Channel (U.S.) and More4 (UK); and international service work for several series and specials including The Kennedys, a six-part CNN mini-series in partnership with Raw TV in the UK.

Prior to launching Saloon Media, Michael Kot served as Senior Vice-President Factual for eOne, overseeing and executive-producing original factual programming for the company’s television group and Vice-President Original Factual Content for Canwest channels, including Global Television, HISTORY, Mystery, National Geographic Canada and IFC. Kot was also responsible for leading programming, acquisitions and the general operations of BBC Canada.

Steve Gamester has worked as a broadcaster, development executive and series show runner. His recent productions include Hunting Nazi Treasure, Mummies Alive, Perfect Storms, Miracles Decoded and Museum Secrets, all multi-part series that have broadcast around the world. He is currently producing 9/11 Kids, which examines the hidden impacts of 9/11 on American society. From 2005 to 2009, he was a Production Executive of Original Programming at Canwest and Alliance Atlantis, and oversaw more than 300 hours of programming for HISTORY, National Geographic, Showcase and Global Television. Gamester’s productions have been nominated for over 20 Canadian Screen Awards.

Paul Kilback is a multi-award-winning Series Producer, Director and Editor with over 20 years of experience filming and editing documentaries. He has produced and/or directed scores of television projects including: Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, Greatest Tank Battles, Museum Secrets and Hunting Nazi Treasure. More recently, he completed the critically acclaimed Tornado Hunters series and is currently putting the finishing touches on a soon-to-be-released, four-part true crime special.

Betty Orr, Head of Production, has over 20 years of television and film production experience, ranging from producing award-winning television series such as Kids in the Hall to her critically acclaimed feature film, CUBE. Prior to joining Saloon when it launched in 2013, Orr worked with Entertainment One, Cineflix, Decode Entertainment (DHX Media), Jim Henson Productions and CBC on various television projects, including young adult scripted comedies, docudrama series, documentaries and Movie of the Weeks.

Sam Sniderman, EVP, Global Production, Blue Ant Media oversees the production, finance and business affairs teams at Blue Ant Media, which include Saloon Media (Toronto), NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). Sniderman is formerly the Global Chief Operating Officer and MD, Film and Entertainment at Pulse Films (a Vice Media company). In these roles, he was responsible for the commercial performance of Pulse’s TV, film and branded content output and helped to guide Pulse through rapid growth, including scripted and unscripted commissions from Channel 4, Sky Atlantic and ITV. He also spearheaded the financing and distribution of award-winning theatrical feature films like 20,000 Days on Earth (Nick Cave), Who Is Dayani Cristal (Gael García Bernal) and Shut Up and Play the Hits (LCD Soundsystem).

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