Tag Archives: Sphere Media

Award-winning CTV original drama Transplant concludes with Season 4, beginning October 6

From a media release:

As TRANSPLANT returns for an all-new season, which finds everyone at York Memorial Hospital encountering bold emotional medical cases while facing personal upheaval and unexpected new beginnings, CTV announced today that the acclaimed original drama will conclude following its upcoming fourth season. The award-winning series returns to CTV’s fall schedule, airing Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app, for an exciting conclusion to Bashir “Bash” Hamed’s (Hamza Haq, Viking) emotional journey to start his life over again, beginning Oct. 6. Consisting of 10 one-hour episodes, TRANSPLANT is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group.

“I’d always intended a four-season window into Bashir’s life as he completes his medical residency for a second time, sets down roots in Canada, and learns to shed some of his past, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to tell his complete story,” said Joseph Kay, TRANSPLANT Creator, Executive Producer, and Showrunner. “This series is a labour of love for the great many of us who make it, and we’re excited for people to keep finding it for years to come. Thank you to our partners at Bell Media and Universal International Studios for the unyielding support.”

“From the beginning viewers embraced Bash’s story and the incredible world Joseph created, and we’re incredibly proud to have been part of the journey,” said Justin Stockman, Vice-President, Content Development & Programming, Bell Media. “As Season 4 brings this story to a fulfilling end, we want to thank the extraordinary cast and crew, and our partners at Sphere Media and Universal International Studios, for bringing this unforgettable series to life.”

Currently filming in Montréal, Season 4 of TRANSPLANT finds Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Haq) on the precipice of finishing his residency at York Memorial and officially re-qualifying as a doctor. With his future uncertain once again, Bash and his sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus, CHAPELWAITE) are Canadian citizens now, but are still trying, with everything they have, to build a life in their adopted country.

TRANSPLANT stars Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed; Laurence Leboeuf (SHORESY, 19-2) as Dr. Magalie “Mags” Leblanc; Ayisha Issa (POLAR) as Dr. June Curtis; Jim Watson (DESIGNATED SURVIVOR) as Dr. Theo Hunter; Rekha Sharma (YELLOWJACKETS) as Dr. Neeta Devi; Sirena Gulamgaus as Amira Hamed; Torri Higginson (DARK MATTER, THIS LIFE) as Claire Malone; Kenny Wong (PRETTY HARD CASES) as Arnold De Luca; Sugith Varughese (KIM’S CONVENIENCE) as Dr. Aajay Singh; and Gord Rand (ORPHAN BLACK) as Dr. Mark Novak.

Since its debut in 2020, TRANSPLANT has routinely ranked as a Top 20 series on CTV and has remained the most-watched Canadian drama series each broadcast year. To date, the series has amassed 23 Canadian Screen Award nominations, and has been honoured with 15 wins, including two wins for Best Dramatic Series and three consecutive wins for Hamza Haq in the Best Lead Performer, Drama Series category.

Seasons 1 through 3 of TRANSPLANT are available for streaming on CTV.ca and the CTV app, currently available with no subscription or sign-in required until Oct. 6, as well as on Crave. Exclusive videos are available throughout the season on @CTV and @TransplantCTV social channels, and on CTV.ca and the CTV app, providing viewers with exclusive digital content including behind-the-scenes moments, interviews with the cast, and more.

In the premiere episode of Season 4, titled “Crete” (Friday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app), Bash (Haq) and Mags (Leboeuf) team up to save a John and Jane Doe found in the woods. A fully qualified surgeon now, June (Issa) sees her old mentor in a new light. Suspended from the hospital, Theo (Watson) longs for the action while treating patients virtually. Devi (Sharma) makes a budget cut decision, which will have major consequences for the Emergency Department.

Writers on Season 4 of TRANSPLANT include Joseph Kay, who is also Executive Producer and Showrunner; Rachel Langer (EP); Kinana Issa (Executive Story Editor); Ahmad Meree (Executive Story Editor); and Basheer Amin (Junior Story Editor). Directors are Stefan Pleszczynski, who also serves as Executive Producer, Chloé Robichaud, Jeanne Leblanc, Caroline Labréche, and Samir Rhem.

Cultural consultants on Season 4 of TRANSPLANT, providing valuable insight and feedback on scripts and character development, include Ahmad Meree, Kinana Issa, Bahar Ahmadi, and Kutaiba Hajirah

TRANSPLANT is created by Joseph Kay who also serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner.


Banff World Media Festival unveils 2023 Rockies Gala recipients

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce this year’s exciting lineup of the Rockies Gala recipients. The intimate and glitzy in-person awards show will take place at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada on Tuesday, June 13th at 6:30pm MT.

Hosting the Festival’s flagship honours is actor, singer, musician and comedian Craig Robinson. Executive Producer and star of Peacock’s Killing It, Robinson is best known for his portrayal of ‘Darryl Philbin’ in The Office and has starred in films including Knocked Up, This is the End, Hot Tub Time Machine, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Morris from America, Tragedy Girls, Dolemite is my Name!, Timmy Failure, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, Songbird, and The Bad Guys. He also starred in his own sitcom, Mr. Robinson, as well as Ghosted and hosted The Masked Dancer. Headlining venues and festivals across the country, Robinson does both solo acts and full sets with his band, “The Nasty Delicious.”

Rockies Gala Awards to be bestowed include:

INCLUSION AWARD: Garcelle Beauvais (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Presented by A+E Networks, the Inclusion Award recognizes an individual whose efforts and vision in media champion and reflect the diversity of the world in which we live.
Past honourees include: Danielle Brooks, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Murray, Elizabeth Vargas and Vivica A. Fox.

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT: Alanis Obomsawin (Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Rocks at Whiskey Trench, The People of the Kattawapiskak River)
The Career Achievement award recognizes the extraordinary career of someone that has had a significant impact on the screen-based industries.
Past honourees include: Dan Rather, Christine Baranski, Larry King, Ed Asner, William Shatner, James Burrows and David Attenborough.

IMPACT AWARD: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, World of Wonder
Presented by The Hollywood Reporter, this award is bestowed annually to an individual or group that has made a significant and impactful contribution to screen-based entertainment.
Past honourees include: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Shore, accepting on behalf of The Good Doctor; Anthony Anderson, accepting on behalf of black-ish; Justin Simien accepting on behalf of Dear White People, and Bela Bajaria.

Presented by Lionsgate, the Innovative Producer Award recognizes the entrepreneurial excellence and achievements of an independent producer in TV/digital media.
Past honourees include: Sinking Ship Entertainment, Wattpad Studios, Scott Brothers Entertainment, New Metric Media, Wolf + Rabbit, Don Carmody, marblemedia and Eagle Vision.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Sharon Horgan (Bad Sisters, Catastrophe)
Presented by Variety, The Award of Excellence acknowledges exceptional achievement through a body of work over an extended period of time.
Past honourees include: Paul Feig, Jeremy Podeswa, Kenny Ortega, Eugene Levy, Carol Mendelsohn and David E. Kelley.

Separately, the coveted CREATIVE VOICE AWARD which is bestowed on an executive or creative talent that has created outstanding work that breaks through, inspiring and connecting global audiences will be presented virtually to Jennifer Podemski (Future History, Little Bird, Empire of Dirt, above) on Sunday June 11th as part of this year’s prestigious Indigenous Screen Summit, which honours and celebrates the talents and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis storytellers and creators within the screen industries.

Additional awards to be presented at the Rockies Gala ceremony in person on Tuesday June 13th include:

SIR PETER USTINOV COMEDY AWARD: The award recognizes a creative talent who has made an outstanding comedic contribution to the media industry.
Past honourees include: Kenan Thompson, Sean Hayes, John Cleese, Tracey Ullman, Bob Newhart, Tantoo Cardinal, John Candy, Bill Hader and Ana Gasteyer.

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: The Program of the Year award is presented to an outstanding, acclaimed, ground-breaking, and/or highly rated program from within the last calendar year that not only has earned critical and audience success, but which also is provocative and has made an impact beyond the entertainment industry.
Past recipients include: It’s a Sin, This is Us, Handmaid’s Tale, Making a Murderer and Surviving R. Kelly.

GRAND JURY PRIZE: The Grand Jury Prize is chosen by the esteemed Rockie Awards International Program Competition Grand Jury, including: Mo Abudu (CEO, EbonyLife Media), Alice Dickens-Koblin (SVP, Head of Unscripted Programming, Starz), Peter Gal (Chief Creative Officer, Television, DreamWorks Animation), Cynthia Kennedy (VP, Distribution, Incendo & Quebecor Content), Mark Linsey (Managing Director, Scripted, BBC Studios), Jacqueline Sacerio (EVP, Co-Head of Scripted Development, eOne), Beatrice Springborn (President, UCP & Universal International Studios). The Grand Jury’s deliberations focus on the highest scoring projects as scored by the global jury, comprising more than 150 senior industry professionals. Past recipients of the Grand Jury Prize include: I May Destroy You, Fleabag, Big Little Lies, Planet Earth II, Sharp Objects and Help.

In addition, the Rockie Awards International Program Competition, featuring 141 nominees from 29 countries across 27 categories, will take place the evening before the Rockies Gala on Monday June 12th at 5:30pm MT. This year’s competition will be co-hosted by Crystle Lightning and MC RedCloud.


Netflix announces new limited series Tall Pines with creator and co-showrunner Mae Martin

From a media release:

  • Netflix today announced a limited series order for TALL PINES, a thriller from Mae Martin. Martin will also play a leading role in the show.
  • Logline: TALL PINES is a thriller set in a bucolic but sinister town that explores the insidious underbelly of the “troubled teen industry” and the eternal struggle between one generation and the next.
  • Format / Episodes: 8 episode Limited Series
  • Creator / Co-Showrunner / Executive Producer: Mae Martin (Mae Martin: SAP, Feel Good, The Flight Attendant)
  • Co-Showrunner / Executive Producer: Ryan Scott (Servant, Treadstone, Fear The Walking Dead)
  • Executive Producers: Ben Farrell, producing through his company, Objective Fiction (Feel Good, The Gold), Hannah Mackay (Peep Show, Year of the Rabbit), Jennifer Kawaja (Sort Of, The Porter, Cardinal), Bruno Dubé (Transplant, The Sticky)
  • Production Company: Sphere Media
    • Mae Martin: “Tall Pines is a story I’ve been dying to tell for years, and I’m beyond excited for people to see what we have in store! It’s going to be an insane roller coaster and so different to anything I’ve done before. Very very grateful to Netflix for supporting it, and I can’t wait to get going.”
    • Ben Farrell, Chief Creative Officer, Executive Producer, Objective Fiction: “Tall Pines is a truly gripping, intergenerational mystery thriller. Objective Fiction is delighted to be partnering with Netflix and Sphere Media to bring Mae Martin’s latest creation to the screen.”
    • Jennifer Kawaja, President English Scripted, Executive Producer, Sphere Media: “This is a fantastic project and Sphere is thrilled to be part of the team, with Netflix and Objective Fiction, producing work with a unique Canadian voice at its center.”
    • Danielle Woodrow, Director, Content – Canada, Netflix: “Tall Pines is a wildly entertaining story that explores the complex and sometimes twisted relationship between teens and adults. We’re thrilled to be working with a singular talent like Mae and bringing their unique voice to one of our first commissions for Netflix Canada.”

About Sphere Media

Sphere Media is one of Canada’s preeminent scripted content companies. In current release are several multi-award award-winning series – half hour Peabody notable dramedy Sort Of (CBC/HBO Max/Sky/Viaplay), currently nominated for a Rockie award and multiple Canadian Screen Awards; Primetime Emmy and Indie Spirit nominated 1920s period drama The Porter (CBC/BET+); and International Emmy nominated Transplant (Bell Media/NBC/NBCU), both also nominated for multiple CSA’s.  Other recent credits include Variety Top 25 Trickster (CBC/Sky/ AMC), critically acclaimed Cardinal (Bell Media/BBC/Hulu) and 19-2 (Bell Media). They are currently in production with new seasons of Sort Of, and Transplant as well as The Sticky, a limited half hour series with Blumhouse and Amazon. 

About Objective Fiction

With bases in London and Los Angeles, Objective Fiction is a leading producer of distinct and celebrated scripted stories for the screen. Productions include multi-award-winning Feel Good for Netflix; Year of the Rabbit for IFC; Toast of Tinseltown, Eric, Ernie and Me and Witless for BBC; The Larkins for ITV; Peep Show, Toast of London, GameFace and Fresh Meat for C4, and via Tannadice Pictures, The Gold for BBC/Paramount+. Objective Fiction is part of Objective Media Group, an All3Media company.

Image courtesy of Joseph Sinclair.


Vivek Shraya’s How to Fail as a Popstar moves from stage to page to screen, with production underway on adaptation from Sphere Media and CBC

From a media release:

CBC and Sphere Media announced today that production is underway on How to Fail as a Popstar, a CBC Gem original series based on award-winning artist, author, and musician Vivek Shraya’s debut theatrical work of the same name, a one-person performance reflecting on the power of pop culture, dreams, disappointments, and self-determination. The series stars Shraya, Adrian Pavone (Star Trek: Discovery, Grand Army), and Chris D’Silva (Slumberland, The Handmaid’s Tale) as Vivek at various stages of life. Written by Shraya, the comedy series is directed by Vanessa Matsui (Midnight at the Paradise, Ghost BFF) with Shraya co-directing one episode, with filming to continue in Toronto for three weeks. The series will premiere on CBC Gem later in 2023.

How To Fail as a Popstar is a coming-of-age, eight-episode limited series about a queer brown boy with a huge voice doing everything he can to become a Popstar – as told by the queer trans femme that boy becomes, looking back on how and why that dream was never realized.

The cast includes Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves (Sort Of, Y: The Last Man, Star Trek: Discovery), Nadine Bhabha (Letterkenny, This Hour Has 22 Minutes,Terror Train), Arwen Humphreys (Murdoch Mysteries, Run the Burbs), Eric Johnson (Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, American Gods, Vikings), Vanessa Matsui (Ghost BFF, Letterkenny, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments), and introducing ​​Aayushma Sapkota in her first role.

Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. Her album Part-Time Woman was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, her music was featured on the acclaimed CBC and HBO Max show Sort Of, and her best-selling book I’m Afraid of Men was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel.” She is also the founder of the award-winning publishing imprint VS. Books, which supports emerging BIPOC writers.

The stage play How to Fail as a Popstar was written and created by Vivek Shraya and directed by Brendan Healy. The original production was commissioned and produced by Canadian Stage, Toronto, Ontario.

How to Fail as a Popstar is produced by Sphere Media with the financial participation of the TELUS Fund, the Bell Fund, and the Shaw Rocket Fund. In June 2020, the project was selected as one of the recipients of development support from the CBC Creative Relief Fund, a fund created by CBC to provide immediate support to Canadian creators at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by Vivek Shraya, executive producers are Bruno Dubé, Jennifer Kawaja, Elise Cousineau, Caroline Habib, Laura Perlmutter, Vivek Shraya, and Vanessa Matsui.


Preview: CBC’s The Porter is an important story of Black history in Canada

The first thing that struck me about The Porter, CBC’s newest series—debuting Monday at 9 p.m.—was the sound. The flick of a lighter, the crackle of a tobacco cigarette igniting, the scrape of glass on a wooden bar. Then, it was the colour of the clothing, a peacock of brights, followed by the music. This, I told myself, was going to be different. And I was right.

Co-created by Arnold Pinnock and Bruce Ramsay, showrun by Marsha Greene and Annmarie Morais, and based on true events, The Porter delivers a rich and dramatic look at the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal—known at the time as the Harlem of the North—the key characters who live in it and the relationship the community has with the train line between Montreal and Chicago.

The eight-episode journey begins in Montreal in 1921 and follows train porters Junior Massey (Aml Ameen) and Zeke Garrett (Ronnie Rowe, Jr.). While Zeke fights the railway to change how Black porters are treated by unionizing them, Junior takes advantage of the existing structure to pursue money and power through gambling and bootlegging. Meanwhile, Junior’s wife, Black Cross nurse Marlene (Mouna Traore), and club performer Lucy (Loren Lott) are set on different paths to a better life after an awful tragedy.

In CBC’s press material for The Porter, series creator, executive producer and writer Pinnock, an avid reader and history buff, first came across the story of the sleeping car porters and the first Black Labour Union. It resonated with him, and the first seeds of The Porter grew in his mind.

I’m a history buff as well, and a series like The Porter not only tells a story from Canada’s past but an important Black story from this country’s past. The Porter has been grabbing a ton of headlines for its storytelling, creative team, cast and crew. So, is it worth the hype? Absolutely.

The Porter airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.