TV & Film News – Corus cancels Entertainment Tonight Canada

(l-r): Sangita Patel, Carlos Bustamante, Cheryl Hickey, Keshia Chanté, Morgan Hoffman (CNW Group/Corus Entertainment Inc.)

Corus Entertainment has announced it’s ending production of Entertainment Tonight Canada after 18 seasons, as the company’s share price continues to hover around the $1 mark. Corus said in a statement that “the costs of producing a daily entertainment newsmagazine show in a challenging advertising environment have led to this decision.” Corus shares traded down Wednesday, closing at an all-time low of $1.01 on the TSX, as the company continues to look for efficiencies amid a soft advertising market. The magazine-style ET Canada had most recently been helmed by Cheryl Hickey and Sangita Patel, accompanied by reporters Carlos Bustamante, Morgan Hoffman and Keshia Chanté. Former Big Brother Canada houseguests Brittnee Blair and Jedson Tavernier also joined the show as correspondents last year. Hickey had been with ET since 2008, while Patel and Bustamante joined in 2017. Read more here.

The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) says it will be carefully looking at the details of the tentative agreement reached Sunday between its sister guild, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) after 146 days of striking. Many Canadian screenwriters are dual members of both guilds. “We will be looking very closely at the details of the deal,” said WGC Executive Director Victoria Shen, in a statement. “We are heading into negotiations with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) in October.” 

Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released its annual report Future Focused, which shows its investments in the screen-based industries unlocked $1.7B in industry activity during the 2022-23 fiscal year. Key takeaways from the annual report highlight that CMF programs delivered a total of $360.3M in funding for the prototyping, development, production, promotion, and export of 1,334 television and interactive digital media projects. Every CMF dollar invested generated $4.85 in production activity, with CMF investing over $63M in projects led by creators from Indigenous and equity-seeking communities—$3.7M more than the year before. The agency distributed close to $48M in funding to digital media projects. 

LISTEN: CPAC President & CEO Christa Dickensen, who joined CPAC from Telefilm almost exactly one year ago, joins us on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast to talk about her return to the channel at a time when journalism is in jeopardy and the broadcast landscape undergoing complex transformation. Under the mentorship of Rogers’ Vice-Chair Phil Lind over the past year, she also talks about carrying on the late CPAC founder’s legacy to uphold the torch of democracy.

Roku’s annual Video on Demand (VOD) Evolution study indicates 75% of Canadian internet users are now streaming TV, with the majority watching ad-supported TV. Based on a summer survey of 2,100 Canadians nationally, aged 18-64, who watched TV at least once in the last month, Roku found that ad-supported TV streamers increased exponentially in the last year alone, jumping to 59%, compared to 42% in the previous year. Another 63% of respondents plan to stream ad-supported TV in the year ahead. The study, conducted by Fuse Insights, indicates that rising inflation and cost-of-living expenses are driving the move toward ad-supported options with 24% planning to cancel or downgrade their cable/satellite package in the next 12 months, up six per cent from 2022. Read more here.

Prime Video viewers in Canada will start seeing ads on the Amazon streaming service early next year. “To continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time, starting in early 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements,” the streamer announced in an update last week. Ads will start rolling out during Prime content in the U.S., UK, Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in the year. The price of a Prime membership will remain unchanged, with a new ad-free tier being introduced for an additional $2.99 per month for U.S. Prime members. Disney+ will make its ad-supported subscription available in Canada on Nov. 1. Read more here.

CBC has launched CBC Comedy, a free ad-supported streaming (FAST) channel featuring the public broadcaster’s original comedy series, sketch shows and stand-up specials. Now available on CBC Gem, the channel is set to launch on LG Channels, The Roku Channel and Samsung TV Plus later this fall. CBC launched its initial FAST channel offering, CBC News Explore, last November. In addition to CBC Comedy, it’s announced plans to launch CBC News BC, featuring the news of the day from the West Coast, along with additional local CBC News streaming channels in the New Year. Read more here.

Super Channel has launched its new streaming app Super Channel+, available on the Roku platform in Canada. Super Channel+ viewers can enjoy on demand content from the network’s four channels, including original movies, series, films, documentaries, docuseries, and esports programming, unedited and commercial-free. Roku users can subscribe to the Super Channel+ app and add it to their home screen directly from the Channel Store on the Roku platform. New subscribers are being offered a 30-day free trial.

Super Channel has acquired the historical docudrama Royal Mob, from eOne. The four-part series will make its Canadian premiere on Super Channel Fuse on Oct. 15, with each episode available on Super Channel On Demand the following day. Produced by Nutopia, the series tells the saga of the extended royal family – dubbed by Queen Victoria “The Royal Mob” – that once ruled the whole of Europe, and how their loves, marriages and feuds triggered World War 1.

CBC is marking the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday, Sept. 30 with a lineup of Indigenous-led original programming across CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC News Explore, CBC News Network, CBC Kids, CBC Radio, CBC Listen and CBC Music. CBC’s programming will include CBC News Live Special: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, hosted by Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton from Ottawa, as well as the second edition of musical celebration Reclaimed Presents: ʔəm̓i ce:p xʷiwəl Come Toward The Fire across CBC platforms, and the CBC TV debut of TIFF 2023-selected docuseries Telling Our Story, airing its first two episodes. On CBC Radio and CBC Listen, Falen Johnson hosts live coverage of the events in Ottawa, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. 

The Statue Wars is a new documentary commissioned by CBC and produced by Saloon Media, premiering on The Passionate Eye on Oct. 4 on CBC Gem and CBC TV. The doc delves into the nationwide debate over public statues, including “The History Buff,” a staunch defender of John A Mcdonald; “The Statue-slayer” who beheaded Egerton Ryerson’s statue; “The Artist,” a Cowichan/Syilx First Nations artist who is also a survivor of the Kamloops Indian Residential School; and “The Land Defender,” a multi-hyphenate, Indigenous land defender, singer and actress from Tla’amin Nation. 

Avery Haines

W5 launches its 58th season with a move to a new day and timeslot. Beginning Oct. 6, episodes air weekly on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV platforms. Led by Investigative Correspondent and Managing Editor Avery Haines, the new season premieres with “Prisoner 14000,” highlighting a breakthrough in an ongoing W5 investigation about a Canadian grandmother who was imprisoned in Hong Kong for smuggling cocaine into the country. Episodes of W5 encore Saturdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV2, Sundays at noon ET/PT on CTV, and Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV News Channel. 

CTV Sci-Fi Channel’s October schedule is possessed by ghosts, vampires, some unlikely heroes, and…real estate agents! With a slate of new and returning series, Season 2 of CTV Sci-Fi Original Surrealestate returns Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET beginning Oct. 4, with new original storytelling series Paranormal Revenge haunting Fridays at 9 p.m. ET beginning Oct. 6. Joining Surrealestate on Wednesdays, and making its Canadian broadcast debut is Reginald The Vampire, which airs in the 9 p.m. ET timeslot beginning Oct. 11. Doom Patrol also returns to the schedule Oct. 12 with the final six episodes of the series airing Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Boat Rocker has announced a raft of international sales of the first season of new 10-episode scripted series, Orphan Black: Echoes, to leading broadcasters and streamers, including ITV/ ITVX (UK), Stan Entertainment (Australia), PCCW Media Entertainment (NOW Studio) (Hong Kong SAR and Macau); TVNZ (New Zealand); NPO (Netherlands); OCS (Orange) (France); and NBCU (Syfy) (Spain, Portugal, African territories, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia). Starring Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad) and Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard, Line of Duty), the spin-off is set in the world of landmark series, Orphan Black, in the near future, taking a deep dive into the exploration of scientific manipulation of human existence. 

WildBrain is launching Jonny Jetboy (40 x 11’), a new original kids’ series from Keith Chapman, creator of PAW Patrol and Bob the Builder, at MIPJUNIOR and MIPCOM 2023. WildBrain’s slate for the market will also include new originals: the CG-animated preschool show Caillou (52 x 11’) and the all-new version of comedy series, Johnny Test (40 x 11’). Targeted at kids aged preschool 4-7, Jonny Jetboy follows the action-packed adventures of Jonny Jones, the youngest member of the Jones family, who are secretly a family of superheroes known as the JetFleet. 

Thunderbird Entertainment Group has announced that Thunderbird Distribution has inked sales for the first season of Windy Isle Entertainment live-action preschool series Mittens & Pants across 34 international territories, including France TV (France, Andorra, Monaco, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Reunion, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte), Warner Bros. Discovery’s Cartoonito, Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels (Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan), Hop! Channel (Israel) and DR Denmark (Denmark, Greenland and Faroe Islands). These new television partners join CBC Kids in Canada and the UK’s Sky Kids, which both launched the series in February. 

Spin Master will produce a third feature film for its preschool powerhouse franchise PAW Patrol. A Spin Master Entertainment production, in association with Nickelodeon Movies, the film will be distributed by Paramount Pictures and is set for theatrical release in 2026. On Sept. 29, the second feature film, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, will be unleashed in theatres with a star-studded cast that includes Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Bell, Christian Convery, Brice Gonzalez, Mckenna Grace, Lil Rel Howery, Alan Kim, Finn Lee-Epp, James Marsden, Chris Rock, Serena Williams, North West and Saint West alongside returning cast Kim Kardashian, Marsai Martin and Ron Pardo and existing voice cast members from the preschool series. 

Corus Entertainment has announced a three-year renewal of the partnership between RBC and HGTV Canada’s Bryan and Sarah Baeumler. Now extending to nine consecutive years, the partnership has evolved with collaboration from Corus Tempo, offering RBC distinctive promotional support featuring the Baeumler family as brand ambassadors. As an extension, RBC is an integrated sponsor for Corus Studios series Bryan’s All In (10×60), debuting with a special two-episode event Oct. 8 on HGTV Canada and STACKTV.

Telefilm is now accepting applications from Canadian production companies specializing in animation (feature film or television) who would like to take part in the second edition of the RDVCANADA | Meet the Animations initiative. It enables a maximum of five producers, representing a production company, to benefit from personalized guidance and provides an opportunity to participate in an official pitch session during the Annecy International Animation Film Market (MIFA) in France in June 2024. Sign up here.

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