November 13, 2010

Liveblog | The 25th Annual Gemini Awards

As an experiment this year, I thought I’d liveblog the 25th Annual Gemini Awards.  I livetweeted the 24th Gemini Awards Broadcast Gala last year.  I’m one of the few Canadians to give a flying poop about this sort of thing.  It’s an illness.  I need a woman.  Barring that, I need an excuse to give a flying fig about the Toronto Maple Laughs.

What I’m really looking forward to tonight is Ed the Sock’s This Movie Sucks!, since it promises to be new, but the Geminis make for fun viewing.  The Geminis really are the Bizarro Emmys.  Also, the Broadcast Gala’s 90 minutes long.  Unlike the Emmys, the Geminis don’t fuck around.

I have a personal interest in the Gemini Awards this year, since I’m following two shows in two categories: Pure Pwnage for Best Comedy Program or Series, and Durham County for Best Dramatic Series.

Also, the Broadcast Gala realized it can’t subsist on a diet of Mike Reno and Theo Tams, so this year features Elvis Costello, Feist and some off-key hobo.  Cory Monteith is the host.  Monteith promises to be funnier than Ron James, and Cory Monteith isn’t a comedian.

Granted, the Gemini Awards won’t be cool this year.  The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television would have to stop giving out 100 awards a year for that to happen.  At least I’m not liveblogging the Genie Awards.  That’s the real dead zone when it comes to Canadian awards shows.

Click Here for the Liveblogging – begins 8:00 PM EST

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August 23, 2010

News: The Legend of White Fang complete series set out September 14, 2010

On September 14, 2010, Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar Group will release a complete series set of The Legend of White Fang.  This story has previously been mentioned by TVShowsonDVD.com.

The Legend of White Fang originally aired in Canada on Family Channel, while HBO aired the series in the US.  The Legend of White Fang was produced when Cookie Jar was known as CINAR.

I remember The Legend of White Fang from its Global run, sometime in the mid-1990s.  For a show mainly aired as CanCon-mandated filler, the series was surprisingly decent.  Pierre Berton was even The Legend of White Fang‘s historical consultant.

Truth be known, The Legend of White Fang was a bit boring at times, a problem CINAR shows often had in the 1990s.  I’d still take The Legend of White Fang over Sharky & George, The Smoggies and…ugh…C.L.Y.D.E.

What gets me is how Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar Group sell this set.  The box set front cover image is of a generic posterized husky.  The cartoon did not look that good.

Also, Mill Creek and Cookie Jar have this habit of passing off unrelated items from the Cookie Jar archives as “extras.”  Seriously, what do Busytown Mysteries, Flight Squad and The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures have to do with a loose Jack London book adaptation?

This isn’t even a new phenomenon.  Mill Creek and Cookie Jar pulled this stunt with the Dark Oracle series set.  It’s annoying.

Here are the opening credits to The Legend of White Fang.  You can see YTV logos and a horrible Canadian flag animation circa 2000 plastered over the credits.  The show got around.

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August 22, 2010

News: The Red Green Show‘s Global seasons on DVD November 2010

On November 2, 2010, The Red Green Show‘s fourth through sixth seasons will be released on DVD through Acorn Media, under the title The Red Green Show: The Toddlin’ Years.  The title shows up on quite a few retail sites, including amazon.ca, amazon.com and DeepDiscount.com.

The Red Green Show: The Toddlin’ Years is also mentioned in an Acorn Media wholesalers’ listing.  I don’t think the title has been formally announced at this point.  The November 2 street date, of course, is subject to change.

The Red Green Show “rebooted” itself as The New Red Green Show for its three seasons on Global.  Despite the fact that The Red Green Show had to pay its way on Global, to the point of selling its own advertising, the Global era is when the show started to take off.  Despite the modifier “new,” The New Red Green Show‘s formulae and running jokes were by and large set by 1994.

The Red Green Show: The Toddlin’ Years is formatted like The Red Green Show: The Infantile Years, with three 24-episode seasons on a total of nine discs.  The price is the same as The Infantile Years – $99.99 US/$124.99 CDN.  As I said in my piece on The Red Green Show: The Infantile Years, this release is just for the hardcores.

I honestly don’t get the “Infantile/Toddlin’” way of selling the early years of The Red Green Show.  The show’s format never underwent any major changes over 15 seasons.  Who’s the target market for The Red Green Show: The Toddlin’ Years?  Are the hardcore fans that snobby that $100 US for three seasons of television is acceptable?  I don’t get it.  I blame PBS for this.

 
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July 12, 2010

News: Rookie Blue renewed for second season

Filed under: Newsosky,The Glory Day of URBMN — Tags: , , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 10:25 pm
After three episodes, Rookie Blue has been given an early second-season order by both Global and ABC.  The Tassie Cameron series has been given the order after strong overall ratings over three weeks.

In Canada, Rookie Blue debuted to what Global terms “2.1 million viewers,” though the preliminary viewership was closer to 1.8 million.  The show followed this up with 1.4 million viewers on Canada Day, and 1.7 million viewers on July 8.

Meanwhile, American figures are strong enough that Rookie Blue is ABC’s highest-rated new summer drama series in six years.  It’s Canada’s most popular crossover hit since Flashpoint, which is produced by…Tassie Cameron.  Imagine that.

Canwest is being disingenuous about the “critics’ accolades” it mentions in the Rookie Blue press release.  Metacritic gives the show a 52/100, with a user score of 5.1/10.  The critics are more kind to ABC’s Boston Med and BBC America’s The Choir.

I’m actually surprised Rookie Blue has staying power.  Meanwhile, The Bridge has died over at CBS.  Gee, I wonder why a well-promoted Thursday night show has better traction than a show CBS can’t wait to burn off on Saturday nights?  Americans must not get The Bridge.  Yeah, that’s it.  That sounds like a plausible enough excuse for failure.

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News: Canwest to debut new shows and pilots for 2010-11, 2011-12 seasons

Etan Vlessing pretty much spilled the beans on June 29, but Canwest recently announced its 2010-11 production slate.  The newly announced shows are as follows:

Blackstone (January 28, 2011)
Combat Hospital (2011-12)
Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will* (Spring/Summer 2011)
King (Spring 2011)
Single White Spenny (Spring/Summer 2011)
Untitled Belleville Brothers Project* (Spring/Summer 2011)
XIII (Spring 2011)

Backdoor pilots include:
Befriend & Betray (Spring 2011)
Jack of Diamonds (Spring 2011)
Rave Squad (Spring 2011)

Previously announced programming:
Endgame (Spring 2011)
Lost Girl (Fall 2010)
Shattered (Fall 2010)
The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (Winter 2011)

*working title

In addition, Rookie Blue has already debuted, while Haven will debut July 12, 2010 on Showcase.  Rookie Blue is a hit, albeit more on Global than on ABC.

Blackstone has already been announced for APTN, but airdates on APTN haven’t been given yet.  I really don’t count Blackstone as a “new” show for Canwest, since Canwest is giving Blackstone a second broadcast window.

I’m curious to know why both Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice have new shows.  Single White Spenny will be produced by Breakthrough Films & Television.  Howard Busgang has been mentioned in relation to the series.

Both John Morayniss and Kenny Hotz will executive-produce the new Hotz series for E1 Entertainment.  The show may or may not be called Prize or Punishment.  Spenny’s trying to be Larry David, while Hotz is being his usual tasteless self.  Sounds about right.

Based on Canwest’s 2010-11 slate, I get the feeling most of the shows will be offloaded to Showcase.  Showcase wants to be a mainstream drama channel now, so it’s beefing up its drama holdings.  I don’t know why Combat Hospital is even on this list, as it won’t debut for another year.

I think Showcase is treated better than Global.  It sure gets the lion’s share of Canwest’s homegrown drama content.  That doesn’t surprise me.  Cable rot is turning Showcase into a haven for reruns of the XIII miniseries and Beyond Loch Ness, but Showcase is launching more original series than ever.  It’s a strange dichotomy.  I wonder why Showcase hasn’t launched a Loch Ness series yet.

Addendum (July 12, 2010) | The media release for Blackstone, which has just been released, states that the show will air on both APTN and Showcase come “early 2011.”  No word on whether Blackstone will be simulcast.

Further Addendum (November 29, 2010) | Changes to Shaw Media’s (formerly Canwest’s) lineup will be underlined.  Info is from Shaw Media publicist Jessica Gold and, in the case of Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice’s shows, showcase.ca.

Untitled Belleville Brothers Project is somehow still Untitled Belleville Brothers Project.  It’s also been known as Masters of the Plazaverse and The Strip.  The name changes are confusing.  I’ll be surprised if the show doesn’t debut as Untitled Belleville Brothers Project.

Further Addendum to the Further Addendum (December 20, 2010) | According to this press release, Blackstone will debut Friday, January 28, 2011 on Showcase…at 11:00 PM ET/PT.  It will not be simulcast with APTN, as if Showcase giving Blackstone a timeslot of death hasn’t made this obvious.  The listing has been updated to reflect this change.

   
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June 1, 2010

Upfronts: Canwest sets debuts for Shattered, Haven and Lost Girl

As announced today at a Canwest press conference, Shattered will debut on Global as part of the 2010-11 fall season lineup.  It will be one of seven new shows in Global’s lineup, and the only Canadian show to make its fall schedule.  Hi, ACTRA!

Shattered is a cop drama starring Callum Keith Rennie as a homicide detective with multiple personality disorder.  It will air Fridays at 9:00 PM ET/PT.  The show was originally meant for Showcase’s 2009-10 season.  Canwest must have faith in the show, even considering the Friday timeslot.

As for cable fall debuts, Haven will air on Showcase Diva starting September 2, since a female-oriented digital cable channel is the best place for a show based on a Stephen King novel.  Lost Girl will debut on Showcase three days later, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

I’m just going to link to the specialty debuts as regards reality fare.  It’s not that I’m lazy, but the two most hyped reality shows (Wipeout Canada and Top Chef Canada) air in the spring of 2011.

Canwest’s lineup has a few holes in it.  Where the hell are The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour and Producing Parker?  I’ll find out tomorrow, as I will attend the Canwest upfront video presentation.

Also…Cra$h & Burn on Showcase Diva?!  That makes as much sense for Showcase Diva as Haven.  Canwest just slays me at times.

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April 30, 2010

News: Kevin Newman to step down as Global National anchor Aug. 20, 2010

Kevin Newman recently announced on his Twitter account that August 20, 2010 will be his last day as Global National anchor.  Newman has anchored the half-hour newscast since its debut on September 3, 2001.

Newman has been active in television broadcast news since 1981, initially in an on-air role for Global Toronto’s Sportsline.  Newman’s anchor credits include ABC’s World News Now (1994-97), Good Morning America (1996-99) and CBC’s Midday (1992-94.)

Newman’s Twitter post mentions “rest and renewal,” a sentiment The Canadian Press parrots.  I honestly think Newman means this.  He’s managed morning, afternoon, evening and late-night news shifts, picking up two Geminis, two Emmys and a Peabody in the process.  What’s left for the 50-year-old to do?

I don’t think Newman should return to news anchoring.  CTV News is too stuffy for his personable approach.  Nothing can save CBC News, now that it’s embraced superficiality.  American television news is mediocre at best.

Either Kevin Newman’s leaving Global at just the right time, or he’s leaving North American network journalism at the right time.  He’s a talking head, but a damned professional one.  Personally, I’ll miss Newman.

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April 9, 2010

News: CanCon Potrzebie – Rookie Blue, Living in Your Car, More

Sorry for lumping stories in like this.  I usually don’t, but Canadian television news hasn’t been this active since URBMN began talking about these shows back in 2008.  I’ve fallen behind a bit.  Apologies if you’ve read this before.


Rookie Blue, the cop show formerly known as Copper, will debut Thursday, June 24, 2010.  The show will air on both Global and ABC at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

Rookie Blue focuses on five newbie cops learning the ropes in the generic world of “big-city policing.”  It is unknown whether the show will contain vomiting.

Rookie Blue is an odd name for a show.  Copper, while generic, makes more sense.  I guess ABC and Canwest are banking on people remembering NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues.  This show has never had a good name.

Yeah, yeah, Cra$h & Burn, but that’s different.  See, the character’s named Jimmy Burn, and he’s an insurance claims adjuster.  The title fits the show.  What Canwest and ABC have done is swap ambiguities.  It’s like taking Cybersix and calling it A Girl and Her Panther.

I don’t have high hopes for Rookie Blue.  One doesn’t schedule a surefire hit in the middle of June.  At least the show’s out.  I hope it gets promoted.


Living in Your Car will debut on HBO Canada Friday, May 7, 2010, at 9:30 PM ET/MT.  The show follows Steve Unger (John Ralston), a business executive charged with fraud, obstruction and racketeering.  After cutting a deal to escape prison time, Unger loses everything aside from his sedan.  This explains Living in Your Car‘s title and premise.  See how this works, Canwest?

Here’s a ninety-second preview of Living in Your Car.  Star John Ralston might be more familiar to viewers as Derek Venturi’s father on Life with Derek.  He also played Ming the Merciless on the 2007-08 Flash Gordon reboot.  Ralston gets around.


Continuing with the subject of HBO Canada, NSI Canada has announced that Less Than Kind will get a third season.

It’s not a detailed story, and HBO Canada hasn’t formally announced a third season for Less Than Kind.  At the same time, I can’t see why the National Screen Institute would falsify the renewal of a show it helped develop.

Congratulations to Less Than Kind.  I thought the show would die after its second season.  It’s not often that I can write about a Canadian show’s renewal, rather than its untimely death.


Two upcoming shows in the pipeline: CTV/Bravo!/Showtime’s The Borgias and Showcase’s Lost Girl.  Lost Girl is set to debut “Fall 2010″ (*snort* heard that one before), while The Borgias will air in 2011.

Lost Girl is in production.  It’s about a succubus on a path to self-discovery.  The Borgias, which is still in pre-production, is about the Italian/Spanish House of Borgia and its path to self-destruction.  I’m sure sex will feature heavily in both shows.

The Borgias‘ cast includes Colm Feore, Jeremy Irons and Fran├žois Arnaud.  Director/screenwriter Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Ondine) will write and direct The Borgias‘ first two episodes.

The Borgias intrigues me.  I hate The Tudors with a passion, but this show might be different.  Neil Jordan might focus The Borgias more on politico-religious themes than trying to sex up history for a premium-cable audience.  As long as Fran├žois Arnaud doesn’t eat up scenery like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the show will do fine.

I’m not as sold on Lost Girl.  It comes across as a gender-swapped Blood Ties.  If the show is a detective drama WITH DEMONS!, I’m bailing.

Horror, fantasy and sci-fi themes are invading mainstream television with increased regularity.  Supernatural, The Secret Saturdays, Ugly Americans, True Blood, Dead Set, Being Human…it gets to be a bit much after a while.

I’m not saying Lost Girl will suck, but the show might get lost in the shuffle.  Add to that Canwest’s wanting to turn its cable channels into virtual Global clones…on second thought, I don’t want to think about that.  I value my sanity.  I hate Canadian television so much.

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