Stingray Digital Group has made an unsolicited, hostile-takeover bid for U.S.-based multi-platform video and music network Music Choice. The offer is currently under review by the network’s unitholders including Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Sony Corporation of America, Warner Media, Arris and Microsoft, and remains open for acceptance until Aug. 31. The move comes on the heels of Stingray’s commercial services division, Stingray Business, announcing the acquisition of Novramedia, a Toronto-based software/hardware developer focused on digital media solutions for industries from finance to hospitality and healthcare. Meantime, Stingray’s acquisition of Newcap Radio parent Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited (NCCL) for $524,297,181 remains pending. The CRTC commenting period is set to close Sept. 4.
Mr. D has wrapped production on its eighth and final season in Halifax. Created, written and starring comedian Gerry Dee, the show launched in 2012 following an unsatisfied social studies teacher yearning to teach Phys Ed. The series earned Dee a Canadian Screen Award in 2013 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing leading Comedic Role. Dee already has a new show in development with the public broadcaster.
DHX Brands, the brand management and consumer products arm of DHX Media, has signed nine new consumer products licensees for its Teletubbies brand in South Korea. The news follows the recent launch of the new Teletubbies series in South Korea on the country’s leading public broadcaster KBS and on streaming services Naver TV and Naver Junior. DHX Media’s distribution arm has signed 19 new broadcast and streaming agreements internationally for the new series, bringing the total number of platforms to 54, spanning more than 100 territories worldwide.
Thunderbird Entertainment, the Vancouver-based multi-platform entertainment company behind Kim’s Convenience, is set to go public following closure of a deal that will see publicly-traded Golden Secret Ventures acquire 100 per cent of the shares of Thunderbird via a reverse takeover. Subject to all necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals, the transaction is expected to close by Oct. 1. On a consolidated basis, for the nine months ended Mar. 31, Thunderbird generated (unaudited) revenues of $131 million, net income of $3.7 million and adjusted EBITDA of $8.3 million. The current production slate for the Thunderbird group of companies includes roughly 20 projects with aggregate budgets in excess of $150,000,000 including factual series High Arctic Haulers for the CBC and Netflix original animated series The Last Kids on Earth.
CTV has acquired The Conners, the spin-off of this year’s hit revival Roseanne which was swiftly cancelled by ABC in May following a racist Tweet from its star Roseanne Barr. The Conners will anchor CTV’s new Tuesday night lineup, starting Oct. 16, with a press release saying Dan (John Goodman), Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), Darlene (Sara Gilbert), Becky (Lecy Gorason), and D.J. (Michael Fishman) “are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before” after a sudden turn of events. Roseanne made its Canadian debut on CTV on Mar. 27, drawing 2.2 million viewers and nearly 27 per cent of total audience share, the second-highest broadcast debut of the year behind Young Sheldon. Read more here.
Netflix is one of the partners in The Pacific Screenwriting Program, a new initiative that will combine industry mentorship, workshops and bootcamps to help writers establish a career in B.C.’s screen industry. Supported by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), Creative BC, Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), Lark Productions, BRON Studios, Omnifilm Entertainment and Skybound Entertainment, its first offering is the Scripted Series Lab, a full-time, 14-week curriculum for six committed writers that will prepare them for entry-level series writing. The program is set to launch in Jan. 2019, in conjunction with the opening of a bricks and mortar location in downtown Vancouver. Read the full story here.
Bell Media’s The Harold Greenberg Fund has announced the first selections for its newly-created BC Shorts Program. Developed in partnership with Creative BC, it’s designed to finance short films from B.C. filmmaking teams, showcasing new creative visions and furthering the careers of writers, producers, and directors as they move towards feature filmmaking.
TIFF is organizing a rally Sept. 8 in downtown Toronto as part of its Share Her Journey campaign to help women take meaningful steps towards equality in the film industry. The rally will be streamed online for supporters outside Toronto. More info here.
CTV has announced another season of culinary competition series Masterchef Canada for the 2018/2019 broadcast season. Season 6 casting is now open with production set to begin this fall in Toronto on 12 new episodes from Proper Television. Bell Media says Season 5 averaged 1.2 million total viewers weekly.