Kew Media Group has parted ways with Chief Financial Officer Geoff Webb and announced a strategic review, following what the publicly-traded content producer and distributor says were “inaccurate reports” regarding the company’s working capital. Webb had been Kew’s CFO since March 2017 and according to the Toronto-headquartered company’s website had taken “a leading role in the company’s multi-faceted finance, banking, corporate development and other operations.” In a press release issued Dec. 11, Kew announced that its Board of Directors had formed a special committee of independent directors, chaired by David Fleck, “to examine strategic alternatives for the Company” that could include “a sale of part or all of the company, a merger, or other business combination…” Michael Corrigan, former Senior Executive Vice-President and CFO at Metro Goldwyn Mayer, has been appointed interim CFO. Read more here.
Rogers cable will drop AMC, home of original shows like Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead, as of Jan. 1. Rogers says customers who pay for AMC individually will no longer see the charge on their bill, while those who subscribe through Ignite TV will be able to replace it with another channel. The two companies have so far been unable to reach a carriage agreement, and while they continue to negotiate, the CRTC requires cable companies to inform customers of programming changes at least 30 days in advance.
APTN and Rogers have struck a three-year deal that will see the Indigenous broadcast network air NHL games in Plains Cree. Six games will air this season, starting with the Jan. 19 meetup between the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks. Sportsnet and APTN made Canadian broadcast history this past Mar. 24 when they teamed up on the the first Cree-language NHL broadcast. They’ll use the same broadcast team going forward including Saskatchewan broadcaster Clarence Iron on play-by-play, NHL alum John Chabot as game analyst, Juno Award-winning musician Earl Wood as studio host, and Cree-language advocate Jason Chamakese as studio panelist. Read more here.
Kawhi Leonard’s return to Toronto resulted in a new record for the most-watched regular season NBA game. According to Numeris data supplied by TSN, the Los Angeles Clippers win over the Toronto Raptors attracted an average audience of nearly 1 million viewers, and reached nearly 3.2 million viewers Dec. 11. Leonard was presented with his championship ring during a pre-game ceremony, during which audiences peaked at nearly 1.5 million viewers. Live streaming starts for the game were up +61% compared to TSN’s previous highest Raptors game this season. The game also attracted major engagement on TSN’s social media platforms, with more than 4 million impressions and nearly 400,000 video views on Instagram, and more than 1.5 million video views on Twitter.
CBC will ring in the New Year with Canada’s New Year’s Eve – Countdown To 2020, broadcast live on CBC and streaming on CBC Gem, Dec. 31 at 11 p.m. ET, CT, MT and PT, 11:20 p.m. AT and 11:30 p.m. NT. Rick Mercer returns as host of the annual special, which will capture events taking place in Whitehorse, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Niagara Falls, Montreal and St. John’s, featuring musical performances from Bryan Adams and indie pop band Walk off the Earth in Niagara Falls; Tyler Shaw in Edmonton; hip-hop duo Heartstreets in Montreal; folk singer William Prince in Winnipeg; singer/songwriter Alan Doyle and folk band The Dardanelles with Tom Power in St. John’s; and alt country band Diyet & The Love Soldiers, joined by the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, in Whitehorse.
Global’s winter schedule kicks off Jan. 6 with the world premiere of all-Canadian medical drama, Nurses, which follows five recent graduates beginning their careers at a downtown Toronto hospital. Debuting Jan. 7, Dick Wolf delivers new spinoff series FBI: Most Wanted, focused on hunting and capturing the notorious criminals on the Bureau’s Most Wanted list with the help of the Fugitive Task Force. On Feb. 6, no-nonsense political drama Tommy debuts with Edie Falco playing the first female chief of police for Los Angeles. Rounding out Global’s new series this winter is Season 9 of Undercover Boss, premiering Jan. 8.
CTV is set to introduce five new series throughout January and February, headlined by new Rob Lowe drama 9-1-1 Lone Star (Jan. 19) and family drama For Life (Feb. 11) from executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. CTV2’s schedule will be anchored by Season 2 of America’s Got Talent: The Champions, and new Maggie Lawson and Jason Biggs comedy Outmatched (Jan. 23). Other new series include the premiere of Flirty Dancing (Dec. 29) on CTV, in which complete strangers are taught a dance routine and then meet for the first time on a blind date. Musical drama Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist makes its two-hour debut Feb. 16, following a whip-smart computer coder forging her way in San Francisco.
HGTV Canada’s winter programming sees Kortney and Dave Wilson kick off the New Year with new series Making it Home with Kortney & Dave, premiering Jan. 22. The duo will help homeowners achieve renovation goals by teaching them new skills and completing big transformations. Drew and Jonathan Scott return with new episodes of Property Brothers beginning Jan. 6. Starting Feb. 3, five new powerhouse real estate agents are featured in new Corus Studios original series Hot Market, showcasing Ontario’s most lavish properties for sale. On Feb. 18, HGTV Canada designer Samantha Pynn and master builder Sebastian Clovis are back for a new season of $ave My Reno. Also returning is the highly anticipated reboot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, with 10 brand new episodes starting Feb. 16.
Emma Hunter (Mr. D, The Beaverton) will host new culinary competition series Fridge Wars (6×60), premiering Feb. 27 on CBC. An original Canadian format produced by the public broadcaster, the show pits two celebrity chefs against one another with a challenge to create extraordinary meals using only the ingredients taken from the ordinary fridges of Canadian families. The improvised dinners must win over two families who act as judges to determine which chef wins each battle. Canadian chefs facing off this season include Matt Basile vs Massimo Capra; Nadia G vs Rodney Bowers; Shahir Massoud vs Wallace Wong; Shane Chartrand vs Joshna Maharaj; La-toya Fagon vs Julie Miguel; and Nicole Gomes vs Dustin Gallagher.
Chloe Wilde (ETALK) is the host of new Crave Original Series Healthy Is Hot. From Bell Media Studios, all six episodes will start streaming on Crave Jan. 10. Developed from Wilde’s highly successful blog, podcast, and Instagram of the same name, Healthy Is Hot is set to inspire new resolutions for healthier living as viewers settle into 2020. The series showcases Wilde’s journey– from Vancouver Island to Ottawa and Toronto – as she tackles fears, indulges in new foods, gives back to charity, and more.
Lainey Lui (The Social, ETALK) will host new Crave Original Series Cravings: The Aftershow. From Bell Media Studios, the companion series premieres Jan. 12 at 11 p.m. ET following the debut of the first two episodes of HBO’s new series The Outsider. Each Sunday, Lui and a rotating panel of guests – including her television-loving friends – will dive into the subject series with candid takes and post-show analysis.
Discovery stars airing new episodes of Heavy Rescue: 401, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT, beginning Jan. 7. Fourteen new episodes feature compelling extreme winter wrecks and roadside rescues on Ontario’s notorious 400-series highways – extending from Windsor in the west to the Québec border in the east. Heavy Rescue: 401 has been a Top 5 series on Discovery across all seasons among the key A25-54 demo.
Hollywood Suite will present the world television premiere of Queering the Script Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. ET. The feature-length documentary explores the rising power of fans shaping representation on television, the relationship between fandom and activism, and what lies ahead for visibility and inclusiveness. The film will also air nationally on OUTtv Jan. 10. Among the queer relationships in shows that are examined are Xena: Warrior Princess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost Girl, The 100 and Carmilla. Queering the Script is a Hollywood Suite Original Documentary produced by Shaftesbury Films.
The Documentary Organization of Canada’s sixth annual awards event in Toronto saw P.E.I. filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes take home the BMO-DOC Vanguard Award for emerging creatives. Anne Pick, who co-runs Toronto’s Real to Reel Productions, received this year’s Rogers-DOC Luminary Award.
TIFF is out with its Top 10 Canadian features & shorts list of 2019. Its top-ranked features include And the Birds Rained Down (Il pleuvait des oiseaux) from Louise Archambault (Quebec); Anne at 13,000 ft, Kazik Radwanski (Ontario); Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone (Quebec); Black Conflux, from Nicole Dorsey (Newfoundland/Quebec); and The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, from Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn (BC). Find the full list here.
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