TV & Film News – Rogers’ Sportsnet confirms layoffs

Rogers’ Sportsnet has confirmed it’s making an unspecified number of layoffs. The cuts, said to be primarily off-air positions, follow last week’s sudden release of longtime Prime Time Sports host Bob McCown. “We are repositioning Sportsnet for the future,” reads a statement provided to Broadcast Dialogue from Sportsnet communications. “The way we deliver content and how audiences consume it is changing and we are adapting to ensure we are in a strong position for continued growth and success. This was a difficult decision, but was right for our business long-term. We want to thank our colleagues who are no longer with Sportsnet for their significant contributions to the business.” A spokesperson said Sportsnet won’t be getting into specifics of how many cuts are being made or what positions are affected.

Alex Robertson

Alex Robertson, former CHEK-TV Victoria sports director, will be inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in October. Robertson, who served in the position from 1974 to 2003, has been announced as the 2019 recipient of the Sid Thomas Media Award. Robertson produced over 14,000 stories over the course of his career, many featuring local athletes, coaches and teams. 

 

Crave’s July highlights include the resurrection of 1970s CHCH Hamilton-produced cult classic The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. 129 episodes of the widely-syndicated kids show will be available to stream July 19. Read more about Crave’s July programming, including the hotly-anticipated July 26 premiere of Hulu’s Veronica Mars reboot here.

LITTLEKENNY

Crave Original Series LITTLEKENNY, an irreverent, short-form animated extension of LETTERKENNY, premieres June 28. Recounting the origin story of The Hicks, Nathan Dales stars as young Daryl; K. Trevor Wilson as young Dan; Jared Keeso as young Wayne; and Canadian actress Kandyse McClure as the voice of Ms. Tricia. LITTLEKENNY will also stream on Bell Media platforms SnackableTV, CTV.ca as part of the SnackableTV collection (all six episodes drop on June 28); and samplings on Crave YouTube; TheComedyNetwork.ca; MUCH.com and MTV.ca. Additionally, Episodes 1 and 2 will be available as a sneak peek on the Letterkenny Problems YouTube channel June 27. Crave will host a LETTERKENNY Season 5 marathon June 30, followed by a Season 6 marathon on July 1. Another six-pack of LETTERKENNY is set to debut on Crave on Oct. 11, as production gets underway on Season 8 this summer.

Blue Ant Media has unveiled its 2019/2020 schedule of new and returning Canadian original productions for T+E, Cottage Life, Smithsonian Channel, and Makeful. Paranormal programming dominates T+E‘s slate. New series include Hotel Paranormal and four-part The Witches of Salem, and returning favourites Haunted Hospitals (Season 2) and Paranormal 911 (Season 2). Cottage Life’s schedule will feature Life Below Zero: Canada, the Canadian version of the hit BBC Studios format. Additionally, a new short-form digital web series Cottage Coach sees DIY expert Adam Holman give useful how-to tips on the cottage lifestyle. Returning series include Hope For Wildlife and Season 2 of The Weather Files. Smithsonian Channel’s new schedule is led by the premiere of docudrama series Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan and High Maintenance, a series that looks at the death defying work of the crews who keep roads, bridges, and highways safe. Competition series Landscape Artist of the Year Canada leads Makeful’s schedule. Handmade Hotels also returns for a second season featuring more creative short-term rentals.

Love Nature 4K has started production on new natural history trilogy Stormborn (working title) (3 x 50’; 4K and HD), produced by Scotland-based Maramedia. Stormborn tells the story of one dramatic breeding year in the wildlands of countries on the edge of the North Atlantic. The series will have its world broadcast premiere on Love Nature 4K’s linear and streaming video platforms internationally in 2020, followed by premieres on Smithsonian Channel, BBC Scotland, and ARTE in France and Germany. Blue Ant International will oversee the licensing of Stormborn. Production of the series will continue from now through November in various locations including Norway, Iceland, and the Shetland Islands.

Sportsnet has unveiled its 2019-20 national NHL broadcast schedule which features more than 150 English-language matchups across three marquee nights: Hockey Night in Canada (Saturdays), Rogers Hometown Hockey (Sundays) and Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey. All of Sportsnet’s national broadcasts will also be available to stream on Sportsnet NOW and Rogers NHL LIVE. Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey starts Oct. 2 with an all-Canadian opening night doubleheader pitting Ottawa vs. Toronto and Vancouver vs. Edmonton. The mid-week broadcast will air 34 NHL matchups, including 11 divisional showdowns and seven all-Canadian games. Hockey Night in Canada – Saturdays will feature 96 games this season, including 20 all-Canadian matchups. Rogers Hometown Hockey will premiere Sunday, Oct. 6, with the sixth season featuring 26 NHL matchups – all featuring at least one Canadian team.

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has entered into a multi-year partnership with C21 to produce its annual conference, Prime Time in Ottawa. Under the supervision of the CMPA’s Vice-President of Communications and Marketing Andrew Addison, C21’s Canadian division Content Canada, led by CEO Ferne Cohen, will program the conference and manage sponsorship sales with support from an international team based in C21’s London headquarters. The 25th anniversary edition of the event is set to take place Jan. 29-31. The national conference annually attracts 600 Canadian leaders from feature film, television, interactive media, broadcasting and telecommunications industries. 

Tamar Jacoba Dina

Women in Film & Television – Atlantic (WIFT-AT) has awarded Halifax-based filmmaker Tamar Jacoba Dina its 2019 All Access Pass Award (AAPA). The award is given annually to a deserving woman working in screen-based media, who is presented with an annual membership to WIFT-AT, a pass to nine Atlantic Canada film festivals, and mentoring opportunities at each festival by senior WIFT-AT members, in addition to $1,500 cash to offset travel expenses. Dina is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring contemporary issues through feminist perspectives in music, film, writing and visual art, and is currently completing her AFCOOP Film 5 short fiction piece Cockblock.


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