TV & Film News – CBC’s The National drops four anchor format

Rosemary Barton, Andrew Chang, Adrienne Arsenault and Ian Hanomansing

CBC is dropping the four anchor format on flagship TV newscast The National amid its unpopularity with audiences. Adrienne Arsenault, Andrew Chang, Ian Hanomansing and Rosemary Barton were named co-hosts of a much-publicized revamp of the nightly broadcast in Nov. 2017, following the retirement of senior anchor Peter Mansbridge. Chad Paulin, executive producer of The National, said in a memo that the broadcaster listened to its audience and has introduced measures that will lead to a more consistent program. Arsenault and Chang will now co-host the broadcast Monday to Thursday, while Hanomansing will host Friday and Sunday. Barton, meanwhile, has been named the Ottawa Bureau’s chief political correspondent, contributing analysis and reporting across CBC’s platforms, in addition to hosting weekly political panel At Issue on The National. Read more here.

Canadian Heritage Min. Steven Guilbeault

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has announced that Minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, will be the opening keynote speaker at Prime Time 2020 in Ottawa. Joined by CMPA President and CEO Reynolds Mastin, the pair will discuss the current state of the screen-based industries and Guilbeault’s vision for the future of Canadian content creation. The fireside chat will take place the morning of Jan. 30. Prime Time 2020 takes place from Jan. 29-31 at the Westin Ottawa and Shaw Centre. As previously announced, the opening reception gala will feature the world premiere of the final season of CTV’s Cardinal.

The CAFTCAD Awards, celebrating Canadian Costume Design & Arts, has announced its 2020 nominees. Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events leads the nominations with four. Juul Hallmeyer, who is best known for his work on SCTV and CODCO, is this year’s Nobis Industry Icon Winner.


Radio-Canada and Productions Casablanca have announced that new series C’est comme ça que je t’aime will make its world premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). Written by François Létourneau and directed by Jean-François Rivard, the series was selected for the festival’s Berlinale Series program, Feb. 24-26, alongside other new series from around the world. C’est comme ça que je t’aime will stream in Canada on ICI TOU.TV EXTRA this March, while Cineflix Rights will distribute the show internationally under the title Happily Married.

Kew Media Group is under review for continued listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, following a temporary Cease Trade Order by the Ontario Securities Commission and withdrawal of the company’s audit reports for 2017 and 2018. The board previously announced a review following allegations of misconduct by its former Chief Financial Officer. Amid its troubles, UK prodco Two Rivers Media has bought out Kew’s stake in the company.

CMJ Productions will operate under the banner of its parent company, Montreal-based Attraction, going forward. The rebrand comes as the company continues to grow its English- language television footprint in North America and is working on several new commissions set to launch later this year. Attraction’s English-language content is now under one roof in Toronto, encompassing the production division (formerly known as CMJ), as well as the company’s advertising production group and roster of commercial directors, including Director X. The teams will collaboratively develop long-form content for both broadcast and branded clients. Nicole Hamilton, Head of Content and Business Development, will see her remit grow to oversee long-form factual content across Attraction’s English-language brands. Joey Case is promoted to Head of Development and Executive Producer.

Crave is evolving as a bilingual TV and streaming platform with plans to add 6,000 hours of new French-language content, starting Jan. 28. Bell Media’s Super Écran will also become available as a Crave add-on, in addition to French-language versions of 70 past and current HBO shows and select original HBO MAX series. Existing subscribers will be able to immediately access 5,000 hours of French-language content at no extra charge, including Crave Original Series Pour Toujours Plus Un Jour, Canal D’s Sur Les Traces D’un Tueur En Serie, and some of the current SHOWTIME programming. Netflix has also ramped up its investment in French content, opening its new French headquarters in Paris last week, and announcing 20 new French productions. Read more here.

Ethnic Channels Group has launched PeopleTV in Canada on Rogers’ IGNITE TV. Powered by the People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly newsrooms in New York and Los Angeles, network shows include People Now, Entertainment Weekly Cast Reunions, Couch Surfing, The Royal Report, and Reality Check. PeopleTV is now available on free preview on Channel 304. 

Wayne Cox

The Search for Canada’s Game Shows, a new six-part docuseries that debuted on GameTV last week, explores the heyday of Canadian game shows. Narrated by Wayne Cox, the host of Talk About, 2nd Honeymoon, and Acting Crazy, the series delves into the origins of Canadian game shows, starting with long-running panel show Front Page Challenge, and then takes viewers through the 1970s and 80s when Vancouver and Toronto were hotbeds of game show production giving birth to shows like Definition, The Mad Dash, and Bumper Stumpers. Read our feature story, here.

Sook-Yin Lee

Sook-Yin Lee is the host of Landscape Artist of the Year Canada – a Canadian adaptation of the Sky Arts UK series – that will bring together 18 professional and amateur artists, alongside 50 wildcard hopefuls to compete for the title and a $10,000 cash prize. The four-part, one-hour series makes its broadcast premiere Feb. 16 on Makeful during the channel’s eight-week free preview event, Feb. 3 – Apr. 5.

Netflix will stream Season 1 of marblemedia’s Restaurants on the Edge, starting Feb. 28 internationally and Mar. 14 in Canada. The original restaurant makeover docuseries, produced in association with OutEast Entertainment, invites viewers into restaurants in some of the world’s most stunning locations that haven’t been able to create an experience that lives up to the view. Each one-hour episode features a team of three experts who lead restaurant transformations spanning six countries – award-winning interior designer Karin Bohn, chef and social media influencer Dennis Prescott, and restaurateur and TV personality Nick Liberato (who also serves as executive producer on the series).

Jennifer Valentyne

Jennifer Valentyne is the face of W Network’s Movie Date, a series of segments that will complement broadcasts of the channel’s slate of original titles and theatrical movies, and serve as an extension of Hallmark Channel content. Timed with Hallmark Channel’s Love Ever After, W Network’s Movie Date launches Feb. 1 with special guest Anna Olson of Food Network Canada’s Great Chocolate Showdown.

OMNI Television airs its annual Lunar New year special Celebrating the Year of the Rat, Sunday, Jan. 26. Produced in Toronto in front of a live studio audience, the variety special airs at 6 p.m. ET/MT/PT in Mandarin, and 7 p.m. ET/MT/PT in Cantonese. Hosted by Wei Lee and Jie Yang in Mandarin, and Kenneth Li and Karen So in Cantonese, this year’s special includes performances from Northern Lights Southern Fists, Bamboo Kung Foo, Toronto Happy Laughing Association, Toronto Chinese Youth Orchestra, and Starlight Chinese Opera. among others. 

AWAE Fan Projects, a grassroots fan group aimed at resurrecting CBC/Netflix drama Anne with an E, has spent $1,000 to erect five digital billboards in downtown Toronto. Fans are unlikely to see the return of the series, which aired its third and final season on CBC before Christmas, and started streaming this month on Netflix. CBC president Catherine Tait has made it clear the public broadcaster will no longer partner with the streaming giant, asserting that its interests lie in fueling the growth of Canada’s own domestic industry.

Hollywood Suite will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster for live broadcasts of the EE British Academy Film Awards (Feb. 2 at 4:00 pm ET) and the Film Independent Spirit Awards (Feb. 8 at 5:00 pm ET) on HS00. The BAFTAs are considered a leading indicator of who might win at the Oscars, while the Spirit Awards are viewed as a cooler, grittier, younger sibling to the Academy Awards.

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