May 7, 2011

News: Almost Heroes, Single White Spenny to debut June 2, 2011 on Showcase

Almost Heroes and Single White Spenny will debut June 2, 2011 on Showcase, kicking off a Thursday night comedy lineup.  Almost Heroes will air at 9:00 PM ET/PT, followed by Single White Spenny at 9:30 PM ET/PT.  The two shows will be twinned with Curb Your Enthusiasm and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

More on the Single White Heroes


January 29, 2011

News: Testees complete series DVD to come out in 2011

Testees, Kenny Hotz and Derek Harvie’s 2008 Showcase/FX sitcom, has earned a two-disc series set in 2011, through Entertainment One Home Video.  The show stars Jeff Kassel and Steve Markle as Ron and Peter, two human guinea pigs testing products for TESTICO.

Kenny Hotz is long-tenured guinea pig Larry, while Joe Pingue carves a niche as obnoxious schemer Nugget.  Kim Schraner appears as bar owner Kate…at least until she’s written off midseason, presumably to make room for more Nugget.

Testees fans might remember this URBMN article, which debunked rumours of a Canada-only second season.  FX Productions and Blueprint Entertainment originally produced the series, and Blueprint has since folded into Entertainment One.  I’d consider Testees‘ cancellation official now.

Both and eOne Home Video’s site give the release date as April 26, 2011. has it as February 22, 2011.  I assume the date is wrong, but hey, the Testees DVD is out.  That’s more than I can say for Less Than Kind right now.


October 28, 2010

News: Sugar Sammy and Dan for Mayor Season 1 on DVD Jan. 18, 2011

Both Sugar Sammy Live in Concert: Direct from Montreal and Dan for Mayor‘s first season will be released on DVD by Video Service Corp., on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.  Dan for Mayor‘s season set contains two discs, while Sugar Sammy Live in Concert has one.

More About Super Paki for Mayor


August 4, 2010

News: My Life ME to debut on French Télétoon September 2010

My Life ME, an anime-style Canada/France co-production, will debut on the French version of Télétoon September 2010, according to Teletoon publicist Megan Dunkley.  The English-language version is currently set to air in the fall of 2011.  Programming schedules, of course, are subject to change.

My Life ME has been in development since 2006, part of a slate that included The Dating Guy, Punch and Best Ed.  It will be the fourth cartoon from the 2006 slate to debut on Teletoon.

My Life ME has changed its international distributor since going into production in 2008.  Original distributor TV-Loonland AG filed for insolvency back in November 2009.  Classic Media has since picked up international distribution, licensing and merchandising rights for the show.

My Life ME differs from Teletoon’s upcoming non-Japanese anime The Amazing Spiez! in that there’s an actual manga pedigree, albeit of the original English-language (OEL) variety.  Russian-born Canadian Svetlana Chmakova is responsible for Dramacon and Nightschool.

I admittedly don’t know how properties are developed at the cable/network levels.  I realize shows die in development all the time.  Still, Best Ed came and went in the spring of 2009.  Punch! aired at the start of 2008.  The Dating Guy will debut this fall.  That’s a long wait from development to finished product.

I hope My Life ME will be more Azumanga Daioh than 6teen for manga fans.  The last thing Teletoon needs right now is another niche show catering to teens.  I’ll still support My Life ME over, say, Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 and Johnny Test.


July 15, 2010

News: 18 to Life to air on The CW starting August 3, 2010

Let’s keep this short and sweet.  Michael Seater/Stacey Farber sitcom 18 to Life will air on American networklet The CW.  A two-episode block will air from 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT every Tuesday for six weeks, starting August 3, 2010.

18 to Life was originally set for both ABC and CBC.  ABC bowed out after the pilot, leaving CBC to go it alone.  An average of 553,000 viewers watched 18 to Life in first run on CBC earlier this year.

I’m a bit surprised The CW will air 18 to Life, even if it is filler for a relatively minor program service.  18 to Life hasn’t drawn great ratings for CBC Television.  Then again, The CW’s normal summer ratings suck, and The CW needs a low-cost summer strategy beyond reruns of The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl.

I like how American sites and magazines note how four Canadian shows will grace American network prime-time schedules this summer.  It’s cheaper for an American network to buy a Canadian program than to launch an American one.  American cable’s learned to live with this reality for years, and it still puts out series like White Collar and True Blood.  What’s the big deal?


June 21, 2010

News: TV Land Canada to become Comedy Gold

I mentioned the Canadian version of TV Land in my piece about travel + escape earlier this month.  Well, CTVglobemedia has done something about TV Land.  Starting August 2, 2010, TV Land will be rebranded Comedy Gold.

Comedy Gold will focus on sitcoms from the 1970s to the 1990s…which somehow includes SCTV.  Don’t ask me to figure that one out.  Comedy Gold’s inaugural lineup also includes The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Murphy Brown and Night Court.

I can understand TV Land Canada’s rebranding to Comedy Gold.  Originally a Craig Media entity, TV Land Canada was absorbed by both CHUM Limited and CTVglobemedia.  It serves little purpose as part of the CTVgm stable, considering it’s a digital cable channel set up to air reruns.  Why license the TV Land name from MTV Networks?  It’s easier and cheaper to refit the channel as a Comedy Network spinoff.

Fitting Canadian content onto this channel is going to be tough.  Canada has shit all in the way of “classic sitcoms.”  There’s King of Kensington, The Newsroom and…what, exactly?  Hangin’ In?  Twitch City?  Maniac Mansion?  Flappers?!

I hope Comedy Gold includes a few Canadian sketch comedy shows.  You Can’t Do That on Television and Whatever Turns You On deserve a reairing.  Kids in the Hall and CODCO haven’t been on The Comedy Network in a while.  I also hope Comedy Gold airs the 30/90/45-minute SCTVs in full, instead of the thirty-minute cutdowns TCN strip-aired to death back in the late 1990s-early 2000s.

Comedy Gold could be good if CTVglobemedia gives the channel some attention.  The channel could be The Comedy Network’s non-trashy little brother.  Having said that, I expect Royal Canadian Air Farce reruns within a year.


June 15, 2010

APTN News: Blackstone to make series; Wolf Canyon‘s fate up in the air

As mentioned on APTN’s Twitter account, Blackstone will receive an eight-episode season.

Neither APTN nor Prairie Dog Film & Television have officially announced the series order, aside from APTN’s Twitter post.  No time or date has been set for Blackstone‘s series premiere.

Blackstone was one of the potential series in APTN’s Pick a Pilot project.  In my opinion, it is the best pilot to come out of that project.

Blackstone‘s pilot has good dramatic tension and incites controversy.  I’ve wanted for this show to become a series since it first aired.  Blackstone focuses on political corruption at a First Nations reserve, which is a tough subject to handle without being alarmist or heavy-handed.

I hope Blackstone isn’t watered-down from its pilot.  I’m honestly looking forward to it more than any other Canadian drama of 2010-11.  Blackstone has the potential to really mean something.

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 (December 20, 2010) | A new press release gives two dates for Blackstone‘s debut.

Blackstone‘s pilot will screen on APTN Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 9:00 PM ET, with the second episode airing February 1, 2011.  I don’t consider the pilot notable, as APTN has used it as filler for more than a year now.

Showcase will debut Blackstone Friday, January 28, 2011, at 11:00 PM ET/PT.  The 11:00 PM airtime tells me Showcase has no faith in the show.  Believe me, this is not Cashing In.  I think Blackstone will surprise a few people.

Wolf Canyon‘s fate is less clear than Blackstone‘s.  According to Wolf Canyon co-creator and writer Tim Stubinski, APTN has passed on Wolf Canyon as the sole first broadcaster of the series.

This doesn’t mean Wolf Canyon is dead.  Tricon Films and Television currently distributes the property, and is trying to sell other broadcasters on its merits.

APTN might air Wolf Canyon in a shared-first-window or second-window capacity.  In layman’s terms, APTN will team up with another network/cable channel or air Wolf Canyon secondhand.  Stubinski chalks this decision to “economics.”

Wolf Canyon made a killing at the 2010 Leo Awards.  The show won five of seven Leos, winning in every category it was nominated in.  The Leos apply to shows and films shot in British Columbia.

I’m sure Wolf Canyon will find another broadcaster.  Kevin Sorbo has his fans, while the Leos help the show’s cause.  WC even has a respectable rating on IMDb.  This show will find a home.

Keep in mind, Blackstone hit big at the 2010 Rosie Awards, winning in five categories.  The Rosies are to Alberta what the Leos are to British Columbia.  Whatever APTN’s doing, it’s working.


June 2, 2010

Upfronts: Updates on The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour, Testees and Pure Pwnage

Not much to report on Day Two of Canwest’s upfronts, except that I talked briefly to Natasha Dunkley at the video presentation and pilot screenings.  Dunkley is the publicity coordinator for Canwest’s dramatic channels, which includes Showcase.

According to her, The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour will air in the winter of 2011, with no date yet specified.  This pretty much confirms what Metro Halifax reported on May 28.

As for whether Testees or Pure Pwnage will get second seasons, that’s apparently up to the production teams to decide.  Testees fans will have longer to wait for a second season, almost a year after FX’s John Landgraf stated that the show would continue airing in Canada.

It’s tough to speculate on Testees.  Either the show is dead, or it’s the male comedic version of Paradise Falls.  Both scenarios are possible in Canadian television.  The industry is funnier than Derek Edwards.

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