Jeopardy host Alex Trebek revealed Wednesday that he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In a video posted to Jeopardy’s YouTube channel, the Sudbury, ON native says while the prognosis is normally not encouraging, “I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working, and with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease. Truth told, I have to, because under the terms of my contract I have to host Jeopardy for three more years.” Trebek, 78, has helmed Jeopardy since 1984 and hosted more than 7,000 episodes of the enduring quiz show, holding the Guinness World Record for “the most gameshow episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program).” Trebek started his broadcasting career at the CBC in 1961, working nights while finishing a philosophy degree at the University of Ottawa. His first turn as a host was on the show Music Hop in 1963. He went on to host high school quiz show Reach for the Top, a weekly skating program, and Canadian game show Strategy, before moving to the U.S. in 1973. Read the full story here.
Corus Entertainment is launching a 24-hour Adult Swim channel in Canada. Beginning Apr. 1, ACTION will undergo a complete rebrand to become Adult Swim. The new channel will mirror its U.S. counterpart, featuring Adult Swim original series Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, and The Eric Andre Show, in addition to animated hits Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, and American Dad. Adult Swim programming previously airing on the Cartoon Network and under the TELETOON at Night programming block, will shift to the new channel. Both Cartoon Network and TELETOON’s schedules will shift focus to round-the-clock, family-friendly content for all ages. Since Turner’s launch of Adult Swim in the U.S. in 2001, it’s become the #1 network with adults 18-34 and held that position for 14 years.
ACTRA-produced, award-winning short film Reel Women Seen has been released on ACTRA National’s YouTube channel ahead of International Women’s Day 2019 this Friday, for use as an advocacy tool. The eight-minute film highlights some of the gender inequalities in Canadian film and television and stars a host of Canadian actresses, including Jennifer Podemski (Cardinal, Hard Rock Medical), Gabrielle Rose (A Dog’s Purpose, Maudie), Kristin Lehman (Altered Carbon, The Killing) and Saara Chaudry (The Breadwinner, Holly Hobbie), among others. Directed by Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1) and written by Elvira Kurt (Baroness Von Sketch Show), Real Women Seen is a comedic look at the reality of under-representation, female stereotypes and ageism within the industry, supported by stats from ACTRA’s most recent Women In View report. Among the inequities highlighted, the film points to 29 Canadian television series earmarked for the highest level of public funding. Just 17 of those series hired female directors. That translates to 14 women directors out of 84, and just 33 female-directed episodes of a total of 293. When you take film and TV into account, combined, only 22 per cent of Canadian screenwriters are women, and 17 per cent of directors. Read the full story here.
Noreen Golfman has been named the 2019 ACTRA National Woman of the Year. ACTRA bestows the honour annually on a member who excels in both artistic and advocacy achievements, and who uses her passion to support ACTRA members and women within the audiovisual industry as a whole. Golfman is vice-chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation, co-chair of Business and Arts Newfoundland Labrador and chair of the board of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. She is also the founding director and chair of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF). Read the full story here.
Sandra Oh, Colm Feore, Rick Mercer, and Lorraine Pintal, are among this year’s 2019 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards recipients. Oh, who is just coming off a Golden Globe win for her role in BBC America drama Killing Eve, is the winner of the 2019 National Arts Centre Award; Colm Feore (The Umbrella Academy, 24, House of Cards) will be honoured with the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award – Film; comedian Rick Mercer receives the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award for Broadcasting; and Quebec actress Lorraine Pintal, artistic director of Montreal’s Theatre du Nouveau Monde, will be recognized with the Artistic Achievement Award – Theatre.
Boat Rocker Media has made an undisclosed financial investment in L.A.-based talent management and production company Untitled Entertainment. Financial details weren’t disclosed. Untitled will continue to operate under its own senior leadership team. The move is the latest in a series of Boat Rocker acquisitions, including Matador Content, Fremantle’s Kids & Family division, and majority ownership in Insight Productions, which is behind The Amazing Race Canada, and other Canadian franchises of popular reality shows.
Thunderbird Entertainment Group is reporting what it’s calling a “transformational” second quarter ended Dec. 31. During the quarter, the company strengthened its balance sheet by raising $15M in new equity capital and completed a listing on the TSX Venture Exchange. At quarter’s end, the company had over $20M in cash. During the quarter, a record 17 TV series were in various stages of production. Consolidated revenue for Q2 2019 was $11.6M, compared to $52.2M in Q2 2018. The majority of the decrease was related to the company’s decision to not renew its multi-season service agreement to produce Man in the High Castle. While the series generated significant revenues, Thunderbird says profit margins were small and management decided to redirect resources to the creation of owned IP programming and other core operations. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.4 million and $5.6 million, compared to $3.7 million and $8.9 million for the comparative periods of fiscal 2018, a decrease of $2.3 million and $3.3 million respectively.
TVA Group recorded net income attributable to shareholders in the amount of $9 million or $0.21 per share in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with net income attributable to shareholders of $9.2 million or $0.21 per share in the same quarter of 2017. For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, adjusted EBITDA was $50,383,000, compared with $66,381,000 in the previous year, a 24.1 per cent decrease. There was a 34.9 per cent unfavourable variance in adjusted EBITDA in the Broadcasting & Production segment and an 18.1 per cent decrease in the Magazines segment, due mainly to lower advertising revenues. The Film Production & Audiovisual Services segment grew its adjusted EBITDA by 3.1 per cent, mainly as a result of higher volume of activities and the increased profitability of soundstage and equipment rental and postproduction, partially offset by reduced activity in visual effects.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Shaw Rocket Fund (SRF) have struck a new partnership to fund the production of Canadian digital animated series for young audiences that encourage the use of new technology. The CMF-SRF Kids Digital Animated Series Program will have a total budget of $3.3 million. It will fund 75 per cent of a project’s eligible costs to a maximum of $525,000, with the CMF contributing two-thirds of funding and Shaw Rocket Fund providing one-third of the funds. Read more here.
CBC reporter Chris Glover has written about last week’s incident in a Toronto comedy club that saw actor Boyd Banks, a stranger to Glover, kiss and lick his neck while doing a live hit. “I decided to go to police because I know this shouldn’t happen to anyone else,” writes Glover, who said he could hear the shame in Banks’ voice when he apologized in an interview with CBC Toronto. “I hope this embarrassment serves as a lesson to others to think before they act. I know I was at a comedy event, and he thought at the time it was a joke, but nothing about this is funny.”
One Caribbean Television is now available to Bell Fibe TV subscribers on Channel 2481 in Canada. Apart from weather coverage, One Caribbean carries news, sports, travel, lifestyle and entertainment programming, along with Caribbean carnival coverage. The launch of the channel, which is on preview until early April, comes with a new slate of programs, including Secrets of the Caribbean (travel), Island Eats (lifestyle), Prime Time Caribbean (news) and Rhythm & Buzz (entertainment).
HGTV Canada kicks off its Spring lineup on Mar. 11, including new seasons of Property Brothers, Backyard Builds, Sarah Off The Grid, Love It or List It Vancouver, and Masters of Flip. Starting Sunday, Apr. 7, Bryan and Sarah Baeumler take viewers on a Bahamian adventure in new Canadian original series Island of Bryan.
Big Brother Canada returns to Global for a seventh season on Mar. 6. Among the 14 new houseguests is former Edmonton radio host Chelsea Bird, 30, who was part of layoffs at Virgin Radio Edmonton (CFMG-FM) last November; Toronto poet and DJ Maki; and former WHL goalie Damien Ketlo, who played with the Regina Pats, Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Colorado Eagles, among other teams.
APTN’s CAUTION: May Contain Nuts will launch its fifth season on Mar. 8 with six virtual reality (VR) sketches featuring well-known characters and worlds from the popular sketch comedy series. Dylan Pearce, an experienced 3D VR director, worked with Mosaic Entertainment and CAUTION’s writing team to create the interactive fan experience. Three of the VR sketches will be exclusively available on aptn.ca/vr. As part of the launch, APTN and select Indigenous radio stations are distributing VR goggles to fans. The sketches will also be available in 360-degrees on the CautionTV YouTube channel.
Super Channel will premiere the second season of Canadian Mennonite drug drama, Pure, on May 28, on Super Channel Fuse. Each episode will also be available on Super Channel On Demand, the day following its linear broadcast premiere. The six-episode sophomore season of the Super Channel original production, which was shot on location in Nova Scotia, stars Canadians Ryan Robbins (Arrow, The Killing) and Alex Paxton-Beesley (The Strain, Murdoch Mysteries), with Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, American Pie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) joining the cast as a recurring guest star.
Super Channel has acquired the UK comedy series, Damned, from Lionsgate. The six-episode first season will premiere Mar. 27 on Super Channel Fuse, followed by the six-episode second season, which will premiere May 8. Each half-hour episode of Damned will also be available on Super Channel On Demand, the day following its linear broadcast premiere. Starring Jo Brand (Getting On) and Alan Davies (Bob & Rose, Jonathan Creek), Damned is a dark comedy series based around the lives of two jaded social workers.
Citytv is introducing new, original series Hudson & Rex and The Murders to Monday nights, beginning Mar. 25. Hudson & Rex, produced by Shaftesbury and Pope Productions Ltd., in association with Citytv and Beta Film, is a 16-part police-procedural set in St. John’s, NL. The series follows the partnership between Major Crimes detective Charlie Hudson (John Reardon) and his partner, Rex, a German Shepherd. The Murders, produced by Muse Entertainment, in association with Citytv, and distributed internationally by APC and NBCUniversal, is an eight-part police drama, set in Vancouver. Created by Canadian showrunner Damon Vignale, The Murders features an episodic case of the week that follows Kate Jameson (Jessica Lucas), a rookie homicide detective searching for redemption in her work after her negligence causes a tragedy. Full episodes will be available on Citytv.com next day, post-broadcast, as well as on Rogers on Demand and the Citytv App for iOS, Android, and fourth-generation Apple TV.
Accessible Media Inc.’s (AMI) newest series What Happened to Holly Bartlett, debuts Thursday, Mar. 28, at 9 p.m. ET on AMI-tv. Bartlett, a 31-year-old Dalhousie University grad student who was blind, was found unconscious under the MacKay Bridge in Halifax early one morning in March 2010. She died in hospital the next day from blunt force trauma and hypothermia. While local authorities determined Holly’s death was accidental, there remain unanswered questions about how she may have died. Each of the six episodes, hosted by orientation and mobility specialist Peter Parsons, include interviews with family and friends, computer animation and dramatic recreations, to explore the various theories about what may have happened. Companion podcast What Happened to Holly Bartlett, hosted by journalist Maggie Rahr, will be available on Apple iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher and other podcast apps immediately following each new television episode. The series can be watched post-broadcast on demand at AMI.ca or via the AMI-tv app.
Eastlink Community TV will premiere documentary Somebeachsomewhere: Horse of a Lifetime on Sunday, Mar. 10. Often referred to as the “Wayne Gretzky of harness racing,” Somebeachsomewhere was raised and trained in Truro, NS and is the most-decorated champion horse associated with Atlantic Canada. Somebeachsomewhere died on Jan. 15, 2018 and became the first non-human inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame this past November.
The Pacific Screenwriting Program (PSP) is launching a fellowship that will award five mid-level B.C. writers with full registration, flights, and accommodation to attend the Toronto Screenwriting Conference, May 4-5 Screenwriters are invited to apply by Mar. 31.
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