TV & Film News – CBC/BET+ co-production ‘The Porter’ picks up Emmy nod

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CBC and BET+ co-production, The Porter, has received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming (Windsor’s Christian Vincent). Succession led the nominations with 25, followed by Ted Lasso and The White Lotus (20), Hacks and Only Murders in the Building (17), and Euphoria (16). Lorne Michaels, who holds the record as the most-nominated individual in the history of the PrimeTime Emmys, received two nods for Saturday Night Live, while HBO series Station Eleven, which films in Ontario and is based on the novel by Canadian writer Emily St. John Mandel, received seven nominations. The 74th Emmy Awards will be broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater on Monday, Sept. 12. Find the full list of nominees here.

 

Netflix plans to acquire Sydney and Vancouver-based animation studio, Animal Logic to support the streamer’s animated film slate. Headquartered in Sydney, Animal Logic set up a second studio in Vancouver in 2015 and has worked on Hollywood blockbusters including Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, The LEGO Movies, alongside visual effects work including The Matrix, Moulin Rouge!, 300, and The Great Gatsby. The announcement builds on an already strong partnership between the two companies. Netflix beat second quarter expectations, reporting a loss of about 970,000 subscribers to end the quarter with a global total of 220.67 million. The streamer has also set early 2023 for the launch of a cheaper advertising tier. Netflix has signalled that its cheaper tier, which sees it up with Microsoft as its technology and sales partner, won’t include all of its licensed content.

Pinewood Toronto Studios has officially opened two, all-new, purpose-built stages. Upon completion of a further three sound stages currently under construction, the new development will be in excess of 200,000 sq. ft. of production space, of which 102,000 sq. ft. will be sound stages. Pinewood Toronto Studios is the largest purpose-built production studio in Ontario. On completion of the expansion,  production facilities at the site will have nearly doubled to 525,000 sq. ft. 

 

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has released its first report on the results of the DGC Census – a membership-wide voluntary self-identification questionnaire measuring age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability status, covering creative and logistical positions in all areas of direction, design, locations, accounting, production and editing. In total, 67.2% of members responded to the census with 3,865 completing the questionnaire. Among respondents, 82.8% of the DGC membership identified as Caucasian/White and 18.3% as BIPOC members, a significant underrepresentation compared to the population at large. Likewise, as DGC membership records indicate, the Guild membership is composed of 57.5% men and 42.4% women with 1.8% of all members identifying as transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming. Download the report here

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), in partnership with ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto, Miles Nadal JCC, and the Canada Media Fund (CMF), has opened submissions for the Accessible Writers’ Lab. Designed and led by Ophira Calof, the national lab for writers with disabilities and established showrunners/senior writers is an experiment exploring what an accessible TV writers’ room might look like. Right now, AMI says writers’ rooms, both in-person and virtual, are largely inaccessible for creatives with disabilities as evidenced in the recent Writer’s Guild of Canada Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report which showed that only 0.3% of Guild members identified as a person with a disability, and writers with disabilities only accounted for 1% of TV writers across Canada in 2019, despite people with disabilities making up approximately 22% of the population.

 

Corner Gas has launched a FAST Channel on Amazon Freevee in the U.S. The channel will air the franchise’s entire current catalogue, including the finale season of Corner Gas Animated. Created by comedian/writer Brent Butt, Corner Gas has developed a fan following across six seasons of the live-action series, four seasons of its animated series; and a feature film.

NFB and Tubi have signed a new distribution deal, which will bring NFB films to FOX’s free ad-supported video-on-demand platform, across Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Tubi is kicking off an ongoing relationship with the NFB with 29 titles and additional films to be added throughout the year. New and classic NFB works now available include: Angry Inuk, The Apology, A Better Man, Out of Mind, Out of Sight, The Rose Family, and Unarmed Verses.

 

Sphere Media has revealed Season 2 casting and production details for critically acclaimed CBC and HBO Max original comedy, Sort Of. Eight new half-hour episodes will premiere this fall in Canada on CBC and CBC Gem, and in the U.S. on HBO Max. Amanda Brugel (The Handmaid’s Tale) joins the ensemble cast this season, along with Raymond Cham Jr. (The Big Leap) and Scott Thompson (The Kids in the Hall). 

CBC and Lionsgate have announced the start of production on the second season of Mark Critch’s original comedy series Son of a Critch in St. John’s, NL. Produced by Project 10 Productions and Take the Shot Productions in association with CBC and Lionsgate Television, the second season will premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in winter 2023. On July 30, the creators and cast of Son Of A Critch will participate in a panel at the ComedyPRO industry event during the 40th anniversary of the Just For Laughs Montreal Festival. The series premiered in Canada in January ranking as the #1 scripted program on CBC in the 25-54, 18-49 and 18-34 key audience demographics and is one of the most-streamed comedies on CBC Gem.

Chesapeake Shores will return to Super Channel Heart & Home on Aug. 14 for its sixth and final season, day and date with its premiere on the Hallmark channel in the U.S. Each episode of the 10-episode series conclusion will also be available on Super Channel On Demand, the day following its weekly linear broadcast. Based on the bestselling series of books by Sherryl Woods, the Super Channel original series is filmed on Vancouver Island. The final season will see the return of series stars Robert Buckley (The Christmas House, iZombie), Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time), Treat Williams (Everwood, Hair), Barbara Niven (Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove), Laci J. Mailey (Falling Skies), Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary), Brendan Penny (90210) and Andrew Francis (Final Destination 3).

Crave has ordered new docuseries Cocaine, Prison & Likes: Isabelle’s True Story. The three-part Crave Original docuseries tells the story of Isabelle Lagacé and Mélina Roberge, who while on a world cruise in 2016, were implicated in one of Australia’s largest-ever cocaine seizures. Now, back in Canada after spending several years behind bars in Australia, Lagacé tells her story, detailing how she became a mule for an international drug trafficking network. The docuseries premieres on Crave in December, and will be available to audiences in English and French.

Lawrence Nayally

Atomic Reaction Films has begun production on feature length documentary, Atomic Reaction. The production will operate two teams led by Dene director, Mason Mantla (Nahga, Fireweed) shooting in Deline on Great Bear Lake, NWT, and director Michèle Hozer (SponsorLand, Sugar Coated) and her crew providing additional interviews in Port Hope, ON and Montreal. Yellowknife-based Lawrence Nayally, host of CBC Radio’s Trail’s End, is the film’s on-camera storyteller, and himself Dene. Atomic Reaction will explore Canada’s vital role in the U.S.-led research program, code named Manhattan Project, that produced the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II and the enduring consequences that are still being felt in Canada. Veteran TV and documentary producer, David Hatch, music industry legend Bernie Finkelstein and award-winning documentary filmmaker Shelley Saywell have joined forces to executive produce the feature length doc in association with documentary Channel.

BBC Earth’s first-ever original documentary commissioned by Blue Ant for Canada, Animalogic Presents: Strange Creatures of the Arctic, follows mammals and birds as they prepare for the lean winter months. Presented by Animalogic’s Danielle Dufault, wildlife expert and scientific illustrator, the one-hour doc travels across Canada and around the globe to explore evolutionary adaptations that have helped species thrive in some of the coldest corners of the world. It premieres Aug. 1 on BBC Earth in Canada and will also be available on BBC Earth via Prime Video. Animalogic Presents: Strange Creatures of the Arctic was inspired by the YouTube channel of the same name which boasts over 1.7 million subscribers and 300 million video views.

Thunderbird Entertainment Group’s Thunderbird Distribution has acquired global media (excluding Canada and UK) and consumer products rights to new preschool series Mittens & Pants. The live-action series, starring real baby animals voiced by kids, is produced by Toronto-based Windy Isle Entertainment and is a CBC Kids original production that will debut on CBC and CBC Gem this fall. In the UK, Sky has pre-bought the series, which will stream on its Sky Kids on-demand platforms. 

GROUNDED, the survival game from Obsidian Entertainment and Xbox, is being adapted for series in association with Waterproof Studios/SC Productions, Kinetic Media and Bardel Entertainment. The series will exist in the same universe as the game that revolves around four friends who plan “big things” to elevate their social standing, but stumble upon shrinking technology that makes them two inches tall. Brent Friedman (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Rebels, Star Trek: Enterprise) is attached to craft the story, with Brien Goodrich (Halo) attached to direct. The show will be introduced at Kidscreen in July and MIPCOM in October. The development team will also be hosting an in-person booth in the interactive zone at San Diego Comic Con.

Sportsnet has unveiled its 2022-23 NHL broadcast schedule. Serving up 155 exclusive English-language matchups across Sportsnet’s TV channels and SN NOW, the network’s coverage returns Oct. 12 with three marquee broadcast nights, including Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays and Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey, as well as on Monday nights with a new broadcast to be unveiled at a later date. Sportsnet will also deliver more than 190 regional matchups next season as the official regional TV and streaming broadcast rights holder for the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs

The Professional Triathletes Organisation and CBC Sports have announced that Canada’s Olympic Network will provide extensive coverage of all PTO Tour events in 2022, live via CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports appStarting with the first-ever PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton next month, which will also be featured as part of CBC Sports weekend programming on CBC TV, CBC Sports coverage will include the second edition of the Collins Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia (Aug. 20) and the PTO US Open in Dallas, Texas, US (Sept. 17-18). 

FuboTV has partnered with Corus to bring STACK TV’s suite of entertainment channels to FuboTV’s Canadian platform. The new partnership coincides with the introduction of FuboTV’s new premium subscription package that will also offer all existing FuboTV channels, including content like the Premier League.

toober, the Toronto-based live television app designed to connect viewers to specialty television from around the world, has launched six new channels: Euronews English, an English language channel offering the latest breaking European and world news; Euronews French; RAI Italia, 24-hour programming offered by Italy’s public broadcaster; RAI World Premium presenting the most successful new titles from the extensive RAI library of telenovelas, mini-series and made for TV movies; RAI News 24, a 24-hour news channel with a 15 min. news bulletin every half hour; and Universal Vision TV, a channel with programming in Spanish, Portuguese and English. toober is available in Canada on Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, Apple TV, and Google TV Playstore and will be launching globally, as well as on additional platforms, later this year.   

 

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has introduced a new entrance scholarship to entirely offset tuition fees for all incoming residents of the organization’s film, television and acting programs. The scholarship initiative is aimed at reducing barriers and increasing access to CFC programs as part of the organization’s broader commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), made possible thanks to the generosity of CFC donors, including named bursaries and longstanding donors to the organization’s Endowment Fund. The residents of the 2022 Bell Media Prime Time TV Program and the 2022 Norman Jewison Film Program, who started their respective programs July 5, are the first cohorts to receive this scholarship. In addition to the entrance scholarship, for the duration of their program, incoming residents will receive a monthly bursary to help offset additional costs associated with participating in the abovementioned programs. For individuals from outside of Ontario who are relocating to Toronto to attend the CFC, they will also receive a one-time relocation bursary. 

Ins Choi

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Bell Media are welcoming award-winning playwright, actor and Kim’s Convenience co-creator, writer and executive producer Ins Choi as Executive Producer in Residence of the first-ever comedy cohort of the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program. The comedy cohort, which will run from Oct. 2022 to the end of March 2023, has been designed for writers specifically looking to gain experience in comedy writing and engage in a collaborative comedy series story room. The comedy cohort is an offering for Black, Indigenous and/or racialized creators to amplify a diversity of underrepresented voices and stories so they can ultimately be seen and heard on screens in Canada and around the world. Learn more about the program here.

 

imagineNATIVE Institute has announced details of two new on-set mentorship opportunities for Indigenous creatives looking to expand or begin careers in the Art Department on long-form productions located in and around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and the Greater Sudbury Area. Bert Whitecrow (Dresser/Sewer), Morgan Spence (Set Decorator), and Riley Assinewa (Carpenter) are the mentees of the Greater Toronto + Hamilton Area Below-the-Line Mentorship, supported by Netflix and IATSE-873. Selected participants will receive a four to five-week paid on-set mentorship within the Art Department on the Netflix production, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah! Later this year, applications will open for the Northern Ontario Below-the-Line mentorship, supported by Netflix and DGC Ontario

The Shine Network Institute and Canada Media Fund are hosting the Indigenous Lens Producing Accelerator, Aug. 2-5. Open to 20 emerging and mid-level Indigenous producers, seminars will be facilitated by industry professionals and provide skill-enhancing insight into producing, directing, show running, and writing. Email jadeharper@hotmail.com by July 22 to apply.

Lilly Singh

Blink49 Studios and Bell Media are partnering with entertainer Lilly Singh and her company Unicorn Island Productions on a first-look global scripted and second-look unscripted deal. The deal will focus on creating and producing compelling television content that showcases underrepresented communities.  Blink49 Studios will handle production and worldwide distribution. Singh is a multi-faceted entertainer, actress, producer, writer, creator and author with more than 38-million followers across her social media channels. This year, Singh was a judge on Citytv’s Canada’s Got Talent, was part of the cast for the DreamWorks Animation action-comedy The Bad Guys and launched her book club “Lilly’s Library” spotlighting South Asian stories.