TV & Film News – NFB/ONF Creation raising concerns over re-appointment of NFB commissioner Claude Joli-Coeur

NFB/ONF Creation, which represents more than 250 freelance Canadian filmmakers who have worked with the public producer and distributor, has concerns over the re-appointment of NFB commissioner Claude Joli-Coeur for a second three-year term. While Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez lauded NFB’s progress in reaching its gender parity goals, filmmakers from NFB/ONF Creation say in the past 16 years, there has been a 56% decline in funding for films, while spending in administration, marketing and executive salaries has steadily risen. You can watch a narrated presentation on the group’s position here.

The CRTC has denied Videotron’s attempt to be exempt from certain licence conditions related to the incoming national set-top box-based audience measurement system. Videotron maintains that the measurement system being developed will only slightly improve Numeris’ current system and do little to help broadcasters make more effective programming and scheduling decisions or monetize advertising more effectively. Videotron also argues that it owns the data in question and this should remain the case, saying that while the data from the set-top boxes could meet the needs of independent programming undertakings, it could also serve as an opportunity for Videotron to diversify its revenues to be able to continue investing in its network. The commission received interventions in opposition to the application from Rogers, Blue Ant Media Inc., Pelmorex Weather Networks, CBC, the Independent Broadcasters Group and Groupe V Média. The CRTC is extending the deadline for the implementation of the measurement system to Jan. 15, 2020.

The CRTC has approved Paris-based REVEL TV for distribution in Canada. Entertainment law firm Lewis Birnberg Hanet, LLP is the acting Canadian sponsor of the channel. The English-language 4K television service features millennial-focused lifestyle, music and entertainment programming that is 4K UHD native.

Insight TV, the Netherlands-based 4K UHD HDR broadcaster and producer of native UHD content, has announced a distribution deal that will see its Canadian launch on Telus Optik TV.  Insight TV is distributed in Canada by Ethnic Channels Group Ltd. The deal expands Insight TV’s North American reach significantly. Its original series include Travel With a Goat, Road to Gymkhana, GRiD, Droners, King of the Hammers, THRU, and Breaking Limits, among others. Insight TV is currently available on free preview on TELUS Optik TV (channel 965).

Telefilm Canada has earmarked more than $4 million a year across all of its programs to fund feature films by writers, directors and producers from Indigenous communities. The projects are assessed by an external all-Indigenous jury. Three of the eight projects receiving funding this year fall under the Talent to Watch program in partnership with On Screen Manitoba and the Adam Beach Film Institute. Find the full list here.

Crave and OUTtv have announced a partnership that will see the debut of a Canadian adaptation of Rupaul’s Drag Race entitled Drag Race Canada. Crave and OUTtv will become the Canadian broadcast and streaming homes of future seasons of Rupaul’s Drag Race, airing day and date with the U.S. broadcast; new series Rupaul’s Drag Race UK, airing day and date with BBC Three; and the new Crave Original Series. Past seasons will also be available on Crave and OUTtv. Rupaul’s Drag Race first premiered in 2009 and has earned nine Emmy Awards over its 11 seasons. Produced by Blue Ant Studios, Drag Race Canada casting begins this summer with production to begin this fall in Ontario. The host and judges will be announced at a later date.

DHX Media and King Bert Productions (Sick Note, The Midnight Gang, The Queen and I) are preparing to start production on new live-action series Malory Towers, greenlit by CBBC, the BBC channel for children aged 6-12, and DHX Television’s Family Channel. Malory Towers is based on the iconic book series of the same name by Enid Blyton and follows 12-year-old Darrell Rivers as she leaves home for the first time to attend an all-girls’ boarding school. Principal photography begins this month in Toronto and will shift to the UK in September. The series is expected to premiere on CBBC and Family Channel in 2020.

Stephen Moyer, Kari Matchett, and Darren Mann

SEVEN24 Films and Lark Productions have announced casting for new CBC drama Fortunate Son. Inspired by a true story and created by showrunner Andrew Wreggitt (Pure, Borealis), the series is a spy drama set in the social and political chaos of the late 1960s. Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs, 2 Hearts) plays Ruby Howard, an American who fled to Canada as a fugitive from the law, who helps smuggle Vietnam War deserters and draft dodgers across the Canadian border. Darren Mann (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) plays deserter Travis Hunter, while Stephen Moyer stars as CIA agent Vern Lang. The cast als includes Kacey Rohl (Arrow, Hannibal), Rick Roberts (This Life, Designated Survivor), Patrick Gallagher (Night at the Museum, Glee), Ty Olsson (War for the Planet of the Apes, Supernatural), Alex Nachi (1991, Clash) and Zoé de Grand’Maison (Riverdale, Orphan Black). FORTUNATE SON is filming in Calgary and the surrounding areas including Drumheller, Tsuu T’ina First Nation Reserve, and High River. Set to premiere in winter 2020 on CBC and CBC Gem, NBCUniversal has secured international distribution rights.

Super Channel Heart & Home will debut Hallmark Channel series When Hope Calls this August. The spin-off of When Calls the Heart is the first-ever streaming series for Hallmark Movies Now in the U.S. and is currently in production outside North Bay, ON. When Hope Calls stars Morgan Kohan and Jocelyn Hudon, who were introduced as Lillian and Grace, in the When Calls the Heart holiday movie The Greatest Christmas Blessing. When Hope Calls is produced by WHC Season 1 Productions Inc. and distributed by All Canadian Entertainment Inc.

IDW Entertainment, SEVEN24 Films, Space (soon to be rebranded as CTV Sci-fi), and SYFY have announced that Wynonna Earp will live to see a fourth season. Crave has signed on as a new production partner and streaming platform, along with Cineflix Studios which will co-produce, while Cineflix Rights will handle international sales for all four seasons. Production is slated to begin later this year with SEVEN24’s Jordy Randall and Tom Cox, in addition to Cineflix’s Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock, executive producing, along with Todd Berger and Rick Jacobs. Season 4 is expected to debut in Summer 2020 on Space in Canada and SYFY in the U.S. Seasons 1-3 will begin streaming on Crave in the fall. 

Stephan James

Golden Globe-nominated Canadian actor Stephan James narrates new Discovery doc Make It To The Moon, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Premiering July 14 on Discovery and Discovery Science, and July 20 on CTV, it will also be available to Crave subscribers the same day. In anticipation of the premiere, Canadian podcast Our Fake History will also release three special episodes (July 2, 16, 30) on the moon landing. Produced in association with Entertainment One (eOne), and hosted by teacher and historian Sebastian Major, the episodes explore the many conspiracy theories surrounding the moon landing. 

Bailee Madison

Hallmark Channel has renewed Good Witch for a sixth season. Shot in Hamilton, ON, Hallmark also confirmed that Bailee Madison will be exiting the series. Madison has starred as Grace Russell since the show’s launch in 2015. Good Witch airs on the W Network in Canada.

CBC Sports and Sportsnet ONE are teaming up to provide daily coverage of the Calgary Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races, from July 5-14, with CBC’s coverage available to audiences outside of Canada via live streams of all events at cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app. The CBC broadcast schedule includes an encore presentation of the Parade on July 6 and nightly wrap-up shows recapping the top performances, with live afternoon and evening coverage over the final weekend (July 13–14). Sportsnet ONE will carry live afternoon coverage of the rodeo and live nighttime coverage of the chuckwagon races, with select broadcasts also available on Sportsnet. Full broadcast and streaming schedules are available at cbcsports.ca and sportsnet.ca. CBC’s coverage begins Friday at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) at cbcsports.ca and 9 a.m. MT on CBC (in Alberta only) with the Stampede Parade, hosted by CBC Calgary’s Doug Dirks and Angela Knight. Heartland’s Graham Wardle reprises his role as sideline reporter along the parade route, while co-star Amber Marshall is this year’s Parade Marshal.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has announced that 53 live games will air this season across Sportsnet, TSN and NBA TV Canada. The full Canadian broadcast schedule can be found here. NBA Canada Managing Director Dan MacKenzie says coming off the Toronto Raptors’ historic victory in the NBA Finals, the popularity of basketball across the country is at an all-time high. WNBA All-Star 2019 will take place July 27 in Las Vegas and is set to air on Sportsnet and TSN.

Mercedes Stephenson

Global News is extending the current season of its national political affairs program The West Block through the summer months as part of enhanced network election coverage. Host Mercedes Stephenson says while the House isn’t in session, the show will go off the Hill, and have candid conversations with MPs before the intensity of the election ramps up into the fall. The show airs nationally every Sunday morning and Sunday night on Global Television (10 a.m. PT/MT, 11 a.m. CT/ET, 12 p.m. AT) and Sunday night (11:30pm local time), is broadcast every Sunday on all Global News Radio news-talk stations, is available as a podcast on most major podcast platforms and can be viewed online via full episodes and clips on Globalnews.ca.


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