TV and Film News In Brief – Netflix raising subscription rates in Canada

Netflix is raising its subscription rates in Canada, even as the consumer choice streaming landscape gets more crowded. A standard plan, which allows users to watch content on two screens at a time, will jump $3 to $13.99/month. Premium plan subscribers, who can watch up to four streams at a time in ultra HD 4K video, will also pay $3 more at $16.99/month. The basic plan, which doesn’t offer high-definition video and allows just one stream, will rise a dollar to $9.99/month. Netflix says the higher prices will take effect immediately for new subscribers, while existing subscribers can expect an email notification. The last Canadian price hike, of about a $1 per plan per month, was in Aug. 2017. Netflix says the move will help fund original content, in addition to platform improvements.

CTV is boosting its online content with the launch of CTV Movies and CTV Throwback, two new free, ad-supported, digital-only offerings available on CTV.ca and the CTV app. The network says the launch is the first step in CTV’s evolution as a destination for entertainment on digital platforms. CTV Movies will offer uncut movie titles ranging from classic films like 1953’s From Here to Eternity and Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver to action titles like 2012 and Men in Black. New film titles will be launched each month. CTV Throwback features television series spanning the last five decades from all 11 seasons of 1970s/80s sitcom The Jeffersons to more recent series like Community and Rescue Me. Current CTV series remain locked to cable subscribers only.

TVA has confirmed that its Dance Revolution series, the new dance competition format created by Quebecor Content and Fair-Play, will be back for a second season in 2019. Since September, near 1.4 million Quebec viewers have tuned in weekly with market share of over 37 per cent during its last few weeks on the air. TVA says Dance Revolution was the uncontested #1 new show in Quebec in 2018. A key element in the show’s enormous popularity is its use of revolutionary technology using 128 cameras, offering 360-degree views.

Crave’s first original series Much Studios Presents: Mike On Much In Conversation With… debuts Friday, Dec. 21 with eight episodes, ranging in length from 30-45 minutes. The series, an adaptation of the Mike On Much podcast, joins Crave’s new “From the Interweb” Collection – also launching Dec. 21 – which features other titles inspired by web series or podcasts like HBO’s Pod Save America, 2 Dope Queens and High Maitenance. Hosted by writer, director, and producer Mike Veerman, Arkells frontman Max Kerman, and JUNO-nominated director and pop culture aficionado Shane Cunningham, each episode of Much Studios Presents: Mike On Much features long-form interviews, candid conversations, and cringe-worthy comedic segments. Celebrity interviews featured include Alessia Cara, Jared Keeso (Letterkenny), Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who), Leon Bridges, Nile Rodgers, Noel Gallagher, Sting and Shaggy. Preview the first three episodes here.

Taylor Kitsch

Taylor Kitsch (True Detective, Waco) is set to star in an eOne/HBO co-production from writers John Barcheski (Sons of Anarchy) and Robert Munic (Ice), with Matt Shakman (Game of Thrones) on board to direct. Kitsch, Shakman, Barcheski and Munic will also executive produce. The untitled drama follows the story of Chris Klug (Kitsch), a drug dealer left in a temporary vegetative state by a bad batch of dope, who discovers someone close to him was trying to take him out.

Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering

eOne has struck a two-year, first-look deal with documentary filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick. The agreement with their company Chain Camera will see Toronto-headquartered eOne control worldwide rights and serve as the studio on projects stemming from the partnership. The duo’s most recent film, Netflix Original The Bleeding Edge, delves into the multi-billion dollar medical device industry. Their previous effort was award-winning The Hunting Ground which explored sexual assault on college campuses.

Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee has formed new narrative and documentary television prodco Swimsuit Competition, which Bee says is looking for great ideas from those flying under the radar, or whose work has been underestimated. The company has signed a first-look deal with TBS to develop original content. Kristen Everman, producer of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” and The Rundown with Robin Thede has been named head of development.

Thunderbird Entertainment Group has opened its new production hub in Ottawa. Atomic Cartoons Ottawa will work on high quality animation projects, under the leadership of Chris Wightman. One of the first productions at the new studio will be animated series The Last Kids on Earth, based on the New York Times best-selling book series by Max Brallier, for Netflix. The new production hub will also focus on growing Thunderbird’s factual footprint in Ottawa, where segments of its hit series Heavy Rescue: 401 are already produced. The company went public in November and released its Q1 2019 financial highlights last week, reporting revenue of $14.36 million and net income of $1.46 million with adjusted EBITDA of $4.2 million.

Sarah Dodd

Cardinal executive producer Sarah Dodd has been chosen as the mentoring showrunner who’ll lead the inaugural Scripted Series Lab for The Pacific Screenwriting Program (PSP). The intensive training initiative will provide support and career-advancement opportunities for active and aspiring screenwriters from across B.C. This year’s participants are Petie Chalifoux, Shawn Tolleson, Todd Ireland, Michael Orlando, Kat Sieniuc and Corey Liu. Prior to Cardinal (CTV/Hulu), Dodd was an executive producer and showrunner on Zixx: Level Three (Cartoon Network/YTV), and head writer and producer on The Saddle Club (ABC/YTV). PSP is a collaboration between Netflix, CMPA-BC, the Writer’s Guild of Canada (WGC) and Creative BC.

Telefilm Canada says extensive renovations to repair damage caused by heavy rainfall in August are now complete and its Toronto office has reopened. Since mid-October, Toronto employees had been working both remotely and from temporary offices.

The Comedy Network says it will stream all 11 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, starting Saturday, Dec. 22. In the midst of its 12th and final season, the channel will air the series non-stop through the holidays, wrapping up on Sunday, Jan. 6.

CTV Vancouver, TSN 1040 (CKST-AM), 94.5 Virgin Radio (CFBT-FM), 103.5 QMFM, and BNN Bloomberg Radio (CFTE-AM) kick off the annual Toy Mountain campaign in support of The Salvation Army this week. Beginning Thursday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 a.m. PT through Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. PT, community members are invited to drop off new, unwrapped toys at Surrey’s Guildford Town Centre. Throughout the two-day campaign, CTV Vancouver personalities including weather specialist Marke Driesschen and community host Krissy Vann will deliver live-on-location updates on CTV Morning Live, CTV News At Noon, CTV News At Five, and CTV News At Six. 103.5 QMFM’s The Nat and Drew Show, 94.5 Virgin Radio’s Jonny, Holly, and Nira, and TSN 1040’s Sekeres & Price will also be on location.

Farah Nasser, Susan Hay, and Anthony Farnell

Global News is partnering with the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive for the 12th consecutive year, which will once again culminate with the broadcast of Toy Drive Live on Dec. 6 from the CF Shops at Don Mills in North York. The event will feature a live broadcast of Global News at 5:30 with anchor Farah Nasser, joined by fellow anchor Susan Hay and meteorologist Anthony Farnell on location. Members of the public attending Toy Drive Live are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy to support the initiative. Donations can also be made by dropping off toys, gift cards and monetary donations to any City of Toronto fire station. Though the demand for toys is great for children of all ages, teens are especially in need.


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