Tag Archives: W Network

Canada Says Yes to the Dress

Turns out Canadian ladies love ruching, drop waists, sweetheart and bling on their wedding dresses too. So I learned watching (while checking the spelling of “ruching”) the first two episodes of Say Yes to the Dress Canada, debuting Wednesday on W Network.

And while I may have been surprised by the excitement, tears and drama generated during wedding dress fittings–complete with eye rolls and judgyness from the bride-to-be’s entourage–it wasn’t new to bridal stylist Joseph Spencer.

“The bride is the most important thing,” Spencer explains. “We listen to the bride and get her feeling. We know when she turns in the mirror what she’s feeling in the gown, even though her mother, sister, friend or brother isn’t interested in it or are negative. When a dress is right and they come out, it’s magical. They’re wearing the gown, the gown is not wearing them, they glow and the crying starts.”

Spencer, in the business for over 40 years, and Rachelle Pollari, co-owner of Amanda-Lina’s Sposa Boutique in Woodbridge, Ont., serve as the backbone of Say Yes to the Dress Canada, the series’ advisors and supporters through the girls’ journey to find the perfect frock for their wedding day. W Network’s iteration of the series doesn’t deviate from the U.S. franchise in its structure–future brides seek out the perfect dress and take a twirl in front of family and friends–but Pollari notes one big difference: money.

“There are a lot more girls who have a budget in mind rather than in the U.S.,” Pollari explains. “Price in the U.S. is almost no object. In the U.S. I’ve seen prices from $5,000 to $10,000 to $15,000. We carry that range, but we find the Canadian girl is more conservative and wants to have a dress that looks like $10,000 but cost $1,500.” That can be a challenge for Pollari and her staff, but they try their best to facilitate a bride’s requests, including combining two dresses into one.

“Show me a picture and I’ll make it!” she laughs. The ladies who travel from across the country in Season 1 include Canadian Olympic bobsledder Emily Baadsvik; Sharon, whose 88-year-old matron of honour and grandmother weigh in on her choices; two best friends who shop for dresses together; and a bride who has gone through 50 dresses prior to visiting the Pollari’s boutique.

Wednesday’s first two back-to-back episodes, “Men on Deck” and “Preconceived Notions,” are entertaining fare, the former featuring male friends and family members who weigh in on the brides’ choices while the latter boasts brides who entered the shop thinking they wanted one thing only to waver when it comes to the big decision. The gals all leave after saying “yes” to the dress, ensuring their wedding dreams will come true.

Say Yes to the Dress Canada airs Wednesdays at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET on W Network.


Link: Say Yes to the Dress and the glory of frock opera

From John Doyle:

Now me, I haven’t been to a wedding in years. But I do enjoy the bridal shopping experience every week.

It is totally true. On a regular evening when I’ve done the dishes and finished the ironing, I’ll relax with an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. (Sometimes it’s Four Weddings Canada, which is outrageous, simmering with snark, but that’s another story.) The SYTTD franchise is one of reality television’s great triumphs. There’s a genius to it. Continue reading.


Harris and Talbot battle budgets and property costs on Love It Or List It Vancouver

Todd Talbot wants to go on the record with a pitch for a new series starring he and Jillian Harris for W Network. He even leans in close so my iPhone records it loud and clear.

“I think there is a better show out there with the stuff that hasn’t aired,” he says with a mischievous smile. “We have been gunning for it. For the record, whoever is listening, we’re game!”

In the meantime, the duo will stick with the formula that has made them household names with the W Network crowd, Love It Or List It Vancouver, returning tonight with a new season. Once again, Harris and Talbot descend on Vancouver homeowners who are looking for a major change. Will they heed Harris’ advice and renovate their family home or will they side with Talbot and sell the joint and find a new abode? While the structure of Love It Or List It Vancouver hasn’t changed, Harris says the flavour and tone certainly has.

“Now that we kind of have a grasp on things this is more organic and the camera style is looser. I think people are going to be able to relate to it even more,” she says. “The first two seasons we were trying to figure out the formula.”

“I’ve been having to deal with you,” Talbot counters to his co-star. “It’s taken me a year to do that!” The snappy back and forth between  the feisty Harris and acerbic Talbot is entertaining as heck, and serves as a balance to the stresses of watching homeowners agonize over staying put or moving somewhere new. Those stresses are shared by interior designer Harris and real estate agent Talbot, who must struggle within the confines of limited renovation budgets (she) or an exploding housing market driving more and more Vancouverites to the suburbs (he).

“It has gotten ridiculously expensive to live in Vancouver,” Talbot admits. “You almost become numb to the pricing. You don’t even bat an eye at a million dollars. The biggest challenge is faced by those families with young kids who are moving out of their condo and into a detached house because those homes have skyrocketed in price. They want to move out of the densified downtown and into a family neighbourhood and the cost barrier there is ridiculously high.”

The solution? Income suites in homes and laneway housing, the former of which aren’t always legal and the latter a mini-house built where a garage used to be on a century-home’s property. Or people are staying put and renovating. Enter Harris, who has her own challenges to face.

“I think a lot of people come on the show because they want to renovate,” she says. “But there is only so much that I can do with their limited existing space, so they move.”

“My biggest challenge this season are the fricking character homes,” she continues. “The homeowners want to have them renovated and sometimes it’s just cheaper to knock them down and start over again. We have so many off-camera conversations with the homeowners to tell them that, and they don’t care. They want us to renovate.”

Sounds like just the sort of stuff we’d love to see on the proposed show Talbot is hoping for.

Love It Or List It Vancouver returns Monday at 10 p.m. ET on W Network.


Video: First look at Say Yes to the Dress Canada

From W Network:

It’s the one dress she’s dreamed about her entire life. And everyone has an opinion about it.

Between budget and bling, taffeta and tantrums, not to mention the comments and criticisms of an entourage that can turn any bride’s fantasy into a nightmare, Say Yes to the Dress Canada brings all of the tears, cheers and surprises to the screen, with our own Canadian flair.

Say Yes to the Dress Canada debuts Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 10 p.m. ET on W Network.


Bad boy Brit food critic gets slice of Canadian TV pie

Giles Coren has been a restaurant food critic for The Times for over 20 years, so it’s pretty safe to say he’s sampled some pretty good–and bad–stuff. He’s therefore the natural fit to star in not one, but two, new Canadian series debuting back-to-back Tuesday night on W Network.

The first is Pressure Cooker, a cooking competition show from former CBC executive Julie Bristow and her Bristow Media Company. Each week, four Canadian home cooks face off against one another in timed battles using items used not only from the show’s ample pantry but ingredients grabbed from a moving conveyor belt. Every contestant must choose a minimum of items from the belt which have to be used in the final dish. Adding another level of stress are guest sous chefs of the celebrity stripe. Graham Elliot (Masterchef), Nadia G. (Bitchin’ Kitchen), Rocco DiSpirito (Top Chef, below with Coren), Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes) and Hugh Acheson (Top Chef) are just a sampling of the high-profile chefs who drop by to help the competitors chop, blend, mix and offer counsel (they cannot take over for the competitor) as the ingredients roll in and the time rolls down.


Coren scribbles notes madly into a notepad while the cooking is going on, sometimes muttering something to Pressure Cooker host Anne-Marie Withenshaw, before tasting each dish and declaring a winner. Each episode’s grand prize winner heads home with a massive haul: one year of fresh groceries from Walmart.

“I’m amazed that everyone has been able to put a plate of food in front of me so far,” Coren says with a chuckle. “It’s fun to see the competitors use the belt. Someone is running down the belt and they have to choose between salmon and chicken. And then they grab chocolate and say, ‘Oh shit, what am I going to do with chocolate?!'”

Coren’s dry sense of British humour is served in pinches on Pressure Cooker; it’s ladled on during Million Dollar Critic. The premise of that program–from Temple Street Productions and Coren–sends him (above with his assistant Julia) on a weekly mission to various North American cities where he eats at five restaurants. After noshing at each, Coren then decides which place will receive a glowing review from him. As the title of the show suggests, a kind word from Coren can mean $1 million in revenue from flocking patrons.

His first stop? Toronto, where he samples fare from high-end eatery Opus, Pakistani plates at King Place, platters of meat at Small Town Food Co., Mexican at Agave y Aguacate and off-beat stuff like geranium soup and crickets at The Atlantic. Aside from his critique of the local food, Coren welcomes a couple of guests too. Robyn Doolittle, the former Toronto Star reporter who uncovered the video of Mayor Rob Ford doing something naughty, dines with Coren at Small Town Meat Co., though the edited chat only mentions Ford in passing and focuses more on the fact Doolittle is vegetarian. And Ford himself is featured in a short clip as he welcomes Coren to City Hall before taking him down to Queen St. to grab a hot dog where they’re surrounded by media.

“I want to bring my knowledge of what restaurants should be like to a wider audience, to TV,” he says. “In this show it’s not all about the food. It’s about the cool environment and the revival of an area. I think of lot of food TV is pompous, and I want this to be travel and food and sexy people.”

Pressure Cooker airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on W Network.

Million Dollar Critic airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on W Network.