May 22, 2014

TV News/Media Releases | Bell Media/Shaw Media News Roundup (May 20-22, 2014)

Bell Media
Motive was renewed for a thirteen-episode third season on CTV. (May 21, 2014)

Bitten was renewed for a ten-episode second season on SPACE. (May 22, 2014)

Played (Bell Media loves its six-letter show titles) was cancelled after its lone season on CTV. (May 22, 2014)

Corner Gas: The Movie was announced, as well as an adjoining Kickstarter campaign that is currently wildly successful. Questions have been raised about Corner Gas: The Movie‘s reliance on government arts funding, as well as the ethics of using Kickstarter to fund Corner Gas: The Movie‘s marketing campaign.

As an aside, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: The End of the End‘s release is scheduled for the end of 2014. (May 20, 2014-ongoing)


Shaw Media
Global’s Rookie Blue claimed over 1.3 million viewers for its fifth-season premiere. (May 21, 2014)

Non-profit organization Innoversity will hold the 2014 Shaw Media Broadcaster Showcase. The event is free with registration, and will take place at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram and Bluma Appel Salon. (May 20, 2014)

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May 6, 2014

Media Release | Rookie Blue’s Fifth Season Premieres May 19 on Global

From a May 6 media release (which, in the headline, confuses Rookie Blue‘s fifth-season premiere with its ET Canada special):

Explosive New Season Premieres in Canada First!

ET Canada Goes Behind the Scenes with ET Canada Presents Rookie Blue: Behind the Badge on May 15 at 9 pm ET/PT

Rookie Blue moves to a new day in July on Wednesdays beginning July 2 at 10 pm ET/PT

Hot on the heels of its extended episode order of Rookie Blue, Global brings the fifth season of its original drama to Canadians on Monday, May 19 at 10 pm ET/PT. The cliffhanger finale saw Andy, Nick and Sam’s torrid love triangle crack, and two lives hanging in the balance. The adrenaline-fueled Season Five premiere begins where the finale left off and continues the red-hot momentum through its 11-episode run.

“With four hugely successful seasons under its belt, Global’s Rookie Blue is a driving force in Canadian television,” said Barb Williams, SVP, Content, Shaw Media. “After a chilling finale that kept fans talking for months, we are so excited for the series to heat up screens again with the most exhilarating ride along yet.”

The Season Four finale saw Sam Swarek and Chloe Price shot in the line of duty and in critical care at Memorial Hospital. As the shell-shocked officers of 15 Division struggle to put the pieces of their lives back together – and as Andy McNally and Sam work to find their way back to each other – Andy is tasked with training a challenging new rookie under the watchful eye of a tough new Inspector. And while the officers will have to learn that life doesn’t always have a fairy-tale ending that certainly doesn’t mean there’s no happily ever after.

Before the thrilling new season debuts, viewers go behind the scenes of 15 Division in the exclusive half-hour special ET Canada Presents Rookie Blue: Behind the Badge airing on May 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global. An exclusive sneak peek will be available online at ETCanada.com and GlobalTV.com on May 13. Host Cheryl Hickey goes on the set of the critically acclaimed series, interviewing the stars of the show and gets the inside scoop on what true-blue fans can expect this upcoming season. The special features sit down interviews with leading lady Missy Peregrym, her co-star Gregory Smith, and viewers meet a new rookie played by Matt Murray. Never-before-seen audition tape footage is revealed, along with a Season Five sneak peek.

But that’s not all – GlobalTV.com takes viewers into the squad car with Rookie Blue: Stakeout, a nine-part web series that takes them through the unexpected changes shared between the officers while they’re stuck in close quarters with nothing to do but watch and wait. As sleep deprivation and sugar highs set in, their guards inevitably go down allowing viewers to explore the different sides to the characters they know so well. It’s the ultimate police bonding experience.

In keeping with last season’s theme of ‘change’, 15 Division welcomes two new characters who shake up the familiar dynamic. Inspector John Jarvis (Oliver Becker, Rent-A-Goalie) strolls into 15 Division with a serious agenda. He wants the real story: is this a division full of heroes or a minefield full of screw-ups? Seamlessly flipping from pleasant to menacing, Inspector Jarvis is a political spin-master of epic proportions. He’s out to shake things up and make his mark. Also new to the team is 15 Division’s brand-new rookie, Duncan Moore aka “Selfie” (Matthew Owen Murray, Degrassi: The Next Generation). He is the very picture of a fresh-faced millennial: confident, eager to impress, and excellent at pointing out mistakes – particularly other people’s mistakes. But when Duncan struggles to fit into the group at 15, the officers soon have their hands full with this challenging and well-connected new recruit.

Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym), Sam Swarek (Ben Bass), Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith), Chris Diaz (Travis Milne), Traci Nash (Enuka Okuma), Gail Peck (Charlotte Sullivan), Nick Collins (Peter Mooney), Chloe Price (Priscilla Faia), Oliver Shaw (Matt Gordon), Marlo Cruz (Rachel Ancheril), Noelle Williams (Melanie Nicholls-King), Steve Peck (Adam MacDonald), and Holly Stewart (Aliyah O’Brien) all return for Season 5.

Rookie Blue is executive produced by award-winning Tassie Cameron (Flashpoint), Russ Cochrane (The Listener), Ilana Frank (The Eleventh Hour, Would Be Kings), David Wellington (The Eleventh Hour, Would Be Kings) and John Morayniss (Klondike, Haven). Rookie Blue is a production of IFC Films and leading indie studio eOne, who also distributes the series internationally.

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Media Release | Remedy Renewed for Second Season

From a May 1 media release:

Viewer’s pulses race once again as Shaw Media announced today that Global’s hit medical drama Remedy has been green lit for a second season. Remedy had a strong first season, averaging nearly 1 million viewers each week (2+). Commissioned by Shaw Media’s original content team and produced by Indian Grove Productions, a total of 10 episodes have been ordered and production is set to begin in Toronto and Hamilton later this year.

Remedy is a proven hit and solid performer for Global, and we’re delighted to be able to watch these characters grow even further with a second season,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media.

The high stakes, prime-time medical drama once again follows the Conner family’s trials and tribulations, while zeroing in on the distinct ‘upstairs/downstairs’ dynamic of a downtown hospital. Remedy continues to go beyond the OR and the ER to reveal the compelling community who together make the healing happen.

The series follows Griffin Conner, son of the Acting Chief of Staff, and brother to the strong and resourceful Sandy, an ICU Nurse, and the highly disciplined, perfectionist Melissa, a General Surgeon. Season 1 saw Griffin, a med school dropout having left in a haze of disgrace, forced to return to Bethune General Hospital as its newest orderly. Working “downstairs” alongside a cast of colourful characters, Griffin gets a new perspective on a world he thought he knew.

From creator and showrunner Greg Spottiswood (King), Remedy stars Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint, Galaxy Quest, Just Shoot Me!) as Acting Chief of Staff and family patriarch Allen Conner, Dillon Casey (Nikita, The Vow, MVP) as his son Griffin, Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries, Primeval: New World) as his General Surgeon daughter Melissa, and Sarah Allen (Jozi-H, Murdoch Mysteries) as his eldest daughter, and ICU Nurse, Sandy.

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April 29, 2014

Media Release | March to the Pole Begins Production

From an April 23 media release:

Documentary Team Follows Injured Canadian Veterans on the 2014 True Patriot Love Expedition to the Magnetic North Pole

Film to Premiere Later This Year on HISTORY

Shaw Media and Muse Entertainment announced today the start of production on March to the Pole, a documentary following four injured Canadian soldiers trekking into the High Arctic as part of their recovery. The soldiers are members of the True Patriot Love North Pole Expedition Team embarking on the largest expedition to the Magnetic North Pole in history. The film is slated to air later this year on HISTORY Canada.

“At HISTORY, we honour Canadian veterans with original documentaries, telling the firsthand stories of the men and women who have experienced war,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media. “We are proud to be working on March to the Pole with outstanding organizations like the True Patriot Love Foundation and Muse Entertainment to give voice to Canadian veterans who have recently seen combat.”

The Canadian veterans, who are recovering from physical and mental injuries sustained during tours of duty, are paired with some of the country’s top business leaders for the two week trek to the Magnetic North Pole. They are also joined by Canadian women’s hockey Olympic champions Caroline Ouellette and Geneviève Lacasse. The team left from Ottawa on Saturday, April 19 for Resolute Bay, Nunavut, where they spent three days preparing for the trip. Yesterday the team was dropped off 100 kilometres away from the Magnetic North Pole to begin their trek.

March to the Pole is produced by Muse Entertainment and Canadian Adventure Productions, in association with Shaw Media and HISTORY Canada. Jesse Prupas of Muse Entertainment serves as Producer, along with Ben Webster of Canadian Adventure Productions, who is also leading the production crew on the trek.

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April 15, 2014

Upfronts 2014 | The Gloryosky Guide to the 2014-15 Canadian Television Upfronts

It’s almost Canadian television upfront time again, where major Canadian media conglomerates sell advertisers on the merits of their programming. This article will be updated as dates, venues, and times for the upfronts are finalized.

Bell Media (CTV): Thursday, June 5, 2014 (location withheld by request)
CBC Television (English): Thursday, May 29, 2014; Canadian Broadcast Centre; morning
Channel Zero (CHCH): Thursday, June 12, 2014; Real Sports Bar and Grill; early morning
Rogers Media (City): Tuesday, June 3, 2014; time and venue TBA
Shaw Media (Global): Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Unless otherwise noted, all English-language Canadian television upfronts are held in Toronto, Ontario. Upfront events are not public events; they are by invitation only.

Update (May 30, 2014): Due to scheduling conflicts with the Ontario election of June 12, 2014, the Channel Zero/CHCH upfront will be bypassed this year.

Usually, CBC Television is first with its mid-May late May this year media day. CBC Television tends to release its fall schedule ahead of time; this year, CBC Television released the fall 2014-15 schedule (and the 2013-14 cancellations – blame CBC’s recent budgetary cutbacks for that one) earlier than usual, so CBC Television lays practically all its cards on the table weeks ahead of its media day. I don’t understand why CBC Television does this, but that’s its usual strategy.

Rogers Media, Shaw Media, and Bell Media focus most on their terrestrial program services. That reads as obvious, but having attended all three upfronts (Rogers Media in 2012 and 2013; Canwest/Shaw Media from 2010-12; Bell Media in 2012 and 2013), City, Global, and CTV are the top priorities. In particular, Rogers Media, Shaw Media, and Bell Media focus on their terrestrial program services’ prime-time schedules. Bell Media sets the majority of its time aside for CTV’s offerings, whereas Rogers Media and Shaw Media spread attention between their terrestrial and specialty offerings.

Bell Media actually tweeted CTV’s upfront date on Monday, April 14, 2014. Unless I’m bad at paying attention to other online marketing efforts, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a major Canadian media company promote an upfront save-the-date on Twitter. It’s a welcome trend; I hope it spreads.

CHCH’s 2014 upfront will feature the Tiny Talent Time revival in some way. That’s not much of a spoiler, as both the date and Tiny Talent Time‘s involvement were confirmed to me by CHCH marketing manager Rhonda Messieh on March 12, 2014. The Tiny Talent Time revival was announced during CHCH’s 2013 upfront, so the TTT revival has been a while in coming.

Corus Entertainment, Stornoway Communications, ZoomerMedia and Blue Ant Media do not participate in the annual upfront season, as far as I know.

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July 25, 2011

TV Review | The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour 1.1, 1.2

The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (Action: Pope Productions/Happy Funtime Productions, 2011) is a case study in Canadian television not meeting its potential.  Drunk and on Drugs stars actors from Trailer Park Boys, one of the rare Canadian television phenomena of the past decade.  Amy Sedaris and Jay Baruchel, two reasonably popular celebrities, appear in small roles.  In addition, Drunk and on Drugs is the late Maury Chaykin’s episodic television swan song.

Where does Shaw Media air Drunk and on Drugs, then?  The channel it was originally slotted for, Showcase?  No, Shaw Media burns it off on an obscure Showcase spinoff channel, in the middle of July, two episodes at a time.  That’s a shame, as The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is the best Canadian television I’ve seen so far this summer.

Robb Wells, Mike Smith and John Paul Tremblay play themselves, as they try to figure out why they’re in random predicaments (in a trashed motel room, inside a giant wooden penis) at the beginning of each episode.  Dr. Funtime (Maury Chaykin), who may or may not be a real scientist and/or Maury Chaykin, has created a blueberry-based hallucinogen that keeps the residents of Port Cockerton in line.

Wells, Smith and Tremblay are also kept in Port Cockerton, for reasons as yet unexplained.  Meanwhile, television executive K. Money (Amy Sedaris) is pissed off, as she tries to assemble hours of show footage into something remotely coherent.  I’m not sure what any of this means, if anything.

Wells, Smith and Tremblay play multiple characters throughout the show.  In lesser hands, Drunk and on Drugs would be a vanity project in the tradition of Single White Spenny and Good Dog.  Thankfully, The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is an ambitious attempt at weaving multiple narratives into a cohesive whole.  Based on the first two episodes, it actually succeeds on this level.

Even given the show’s more outlandish elements (the armless Papa Karlson’s Feetza Pizza, the DJs of all-gay radio station CGAY, the geriatric mob family, Dr. Funtime), Drunk and on Drugs is fairly tightly plotted.  If Trailer Park Boys is Danger Man/Secret Agent, The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is The Prisoner.  That’s not to say Drunk and on Drugs is as good as The Prisoner, just that the two shows inhabit the same plane of weirdness.  I’m interested to see how the remainder of Drunk and on Drugs pans out.

If you’re curious, the first two episodes of The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour are online at drunkandondrugs.com.  The episodes aren’t viewable outside Canada, but one can get around the geoblocking.  See?  Canadian television not meeting its potential.  I hope The Comedy Network doesn’t wrap a similar geofence around Picnicface.

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July 16, 2011

Interview | Kenny Hotz, Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will

This is another first for URBMN: YOUTUBE!  Granted, this is due to Posterous not liking big MP3 files, but what can you do.  Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will debuts Friday, July 22, 2011 at 10:00 PM ET, on Action.  I think I like my interviewing skills in this piece even less than the Yannick Bisson interview.


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May 31, 2011

Upfront Week: Murdoch Mysteries to earn 5th season; Shaw Media upfront news

Long day for me.  Let’s get right to what you love: highlights.

Murdoch Mysteries; Shaw fun inside

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