Denys Arcand, Marie Clements, and Patricia Gallivan are among this year’s Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) Special Award honourees. Ahead of the 22nd Annual DGC Awards Gala on Oct. 21, the organization has announced Arcand as its 2023 DGC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Clements as the DGC Impact Award for Inclusion & Leadership honouree, and Gallivan as an Honourary Life Member after representing DGC BC through nine rounds of collective bargaining. Read more here.
UBCP/ACTRA has announced this year’s nominees for the 12th Annual UBCP/ACTRA Awards, recognizing members for their exceptional contributions to the entertainment industry over the past year. Sheltering Season, Bones of Crows and The Night Agent are among the productions spurring multiple performance nods. Additionally, UBCP/ACTRA will be presenting the Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award to Susan Hogan. Hogan appeared in her most noted film role as Marlene in Bordertown Café. Her television roles include 130 episodes of Family Passions (Canada’s first soap opera) and 100 episodes of Night Heat, with guest roles on Virgin River, Battlestar Galactica, Supergirl, the L Word, Motive, and Heartland.
Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has released new data indicating one in six Canadians has tuned into a FAST (Free Ad-Support Streaming TV) channel. While a relatively new addition to the streaming landscape, MTM says Canadians are embracing the no-cost viewing option, with one in five FAST channel users accessing content via Roku, 15% streaming content from Tubi, followed by Pluto TV and Samsung TV Plus. MTM’s report indicates FAST channels are more popular among Anglophones (18%) than Francophones (13%), with more viewing happening in the North and among diverse or racialized Canadians. Read more here.
YES TV has launched a new streaming platform that makes the not-for-profit religious channel accessible Canada-wide via iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, and a variety of Smart TVs including Samsung, LG, Sony, and Android TVs, as well as yestv.com. Within the app, users can select from any of YES TV’s three over-the-air stations, Ontario (CITS-DT), Calgary (CKCS-DT) or Edmonton (CKES-DT). The platform will also serve as the hub for YES TV original programs, making them available on-demand. In addition to religious programming, the channel airs series like Highway to Heaven, Blue Bloods, Family Feud Canada, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Read more here.
Pluto TV has debuted eight new channels from MTV and Comedy Central. They include MTV Reality (Jersey Shore, The Hills), MTV Dating (Ex On The Beach, Are You The One?), and single-series channels The Challenge, Catfish, and Ridiculousness. The launch of the Comedy Central channels signifies the first time the brand has had its own TV channels in Canada, which include Comedy Central Pluto TV (Chapelle’s Show, Reno 911!), Comedy Central Animation (Beavis and Butt-Head, Daria), and single-series channel Comedy Central Stand-Up. All channels and series are now streaming free, live and on-demand.
Blue Ant Media has expanded its partnership with Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free, ad-supported TV (FAST) and video-on-demand (AVOD) service, as part of a broad deal that includes the launch of three free streaming channels in multiple territories as well as hundreds of hours of factual content from Blue Ant Media’s international distribution arm headed to the platform. Blue Ant Media’s renovation and design-focused channel, Homeful, is now available to Samsung TV Plus users in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, in addition to Mexico and Brazil in Spanish and Portuguese. Paranormal-themed channel, HauntTV, which has also launched in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand in the last year, is now available in the U.S. and pet-focused channel, Love Pets, has launched in the UK, the Netherlands and Nordic countries. The channels further expand Blue Ant Media’s distribution with Samsung TV Plus and join the previously launched Love Nature in the U.S. and Crimetime in Canada.
TSN has announced its broadcast schedule for the Toronto Raptors’ 2023-24 regular season. Regular season coverage begins Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET, as the Raps face the Chicago Bulls. Highlights include all four meetings with the Boston Celtics, including the Raptors’ first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament Game Nov. 17; defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets making their only visit north of the border Dec. 20; 2023 first-overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama’s first visit to Toronto with the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 12; both match-ups against LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the LA Lakers; and the Raptors’ annual Giants of Africa game Dec. 1 against the New York Knicks.
Lark Productions and Cameron Pictures, in association with Citytv, have announced casting for the highly-anticipated Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent. The Canadian iteration of the longest-running scripted drama brand in TV history features an all-Canadian ensemble cast that includes Aden Young (Rectify, Black Robe), Kathleen Munroe (City on Fire, Patriot), Karen Robinson (Schitt’s Creek, Echoes), K.C. Collins (The Cleaning Lady, White Dog), Nicola Correia-Damude (Shadowhunters, Resident Alien) and Araya Mengesha (Nobody, Anne with an E). The Canadian adaptation follows two elite detectives from the Specialized Criminal Investigations unit as they investigate high-profile crimes and homicides in metro Toronto. Production on the 10 one-hour original episodes is underway in Toronto and slated to air on Citytv in spring 2024.
CBC has announced casting for the new original drama, Wild Cards (10X60), premiering winter 2024 on CBC Gem and CBC TV in Canada and on The CW Network in the U.S. Created by Michael Konyves (Bad Blood, Barney’s Version, The Last Knights), the crime-solving procedural with a comedic twist stars Vanessa Morgan (Riverdale) and Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey’s Anatomy, Reign, From Scratch). It follows a demoted detective and a transient con woman forced to work together, with each using their unique skills to solve crimes. Wild Cards is currently filming in Vancouver until late fall.
CBC and Pier 21 Films have announced that production is underway around Toronto, Hamilton and Barrie on the third season of Run The Burbs (13×30). The third season will premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in winter 2024. As previously announced, television veterans Jennica Harper and Nelu Handa have taken over showrunning duties this season. The duo previously collaborated on CTV series JANN, on which Harper served as showrunner.
CTV has announced casting details for new CTV Original drama Sight Unseen. The 10-episode, one-hour, crime-drama is created by sisters Karen Troubetzkoy (Killjoys, Orphan Black) and Nikolijne Troubetzkoy (Skymed, Transplant), and stars newcomer Dolly Lewis and Agam Darshi (DMZ), alongside Jarod Joseph (The 100) and Daniel Gillies (Virgin River). Production is currently underway in Vancouver, with the series set to premiere in 2024 on CTV in Canada and on The CW in the U.S. The series follows a homicide detective who is forced to quit the job she loves after nearly killing her partner and being diagnosed as clinically blind. Reluctant to accept help, she uses an assistance app and connects with Sunny Patel (Darshi), a professional seeing-eye guide and agoraphobe living 3,000 miles away.
Wind Sun Sky Entertainment, Clearwater Farm, and Ontario Water Centre have announced CBC Kids as the Canadian broadcast and streaming partner for their global ECO-tainment platform, Future Chicken. Kicking off the partnership, The Future Chicken Today Show will premiere Sunday, Nov. 5 as part of CBC Kids’ morning schedule on CBC TV and CBC Gem, and will be available on the Future Chicken YouTube channel the following day. Shorts will also be shared on cbckids.ca and the CBC Kids YouTube channel. Geared primarily for kids, aged six to 10, Future Chicken aims to counter climate “doomism” by offering entertaining and educational experiences including an interactive website, weekly talk show, and monthly podcast to inspire hope and empowerment to build a better future.
Epic Story Media (ESM) and CBC Kids have confirmed a deal for Hop, the forthcoming new preschool comedy series from Arthur creator Marc Brown. The series, produced by Epic Story Media and animated by Loomi Animation, was greenlit earlier this year by MAX, with CBC Kids now joining as a commissioning broadcaster. Hop marks Brown’s first television show since Arthur’s 25-year run. Fellow Arthur alums Peter K. Hirsch and Tolon Brown join Brown in bringing his children’s book illustrations to life. RespectAbility, the advocacy nonprofit organization fighting stigma and advancing opportunity for people with disabilities, is consulting on the series, which is set to launch in Q2 2024.
Blackfoot Nation Films has announced the broadcast premiere of APTN lumi original Tales from the Rez on Oct. 20. Making its debut at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival with writer/director Trevor Solway (Kaatohkitopii: The Horse He Never Rode), producer Colin Van Loon (This is Not a Ceremony), and cast including Cody Lightning (Hey Viktor!), Tales from the Rez is a horror-comedy anthology that breathes life into popular Blackfoot urban legends. Guided by Uncle Randolf (played by newcomer Charles Duck Chief), an Elder with one foot in the living world and one foot in the spirit world, the series presents unique screen adaptations of these stories, featuring Eugene Brave Rock (Wonder Woman), actor and Ghostkeeper frontman Shane Ghostkeeper (Parallel Minds), Shayla Stonechild (Siren), Michelle Thrush (Bones of Crows), Joel Oulette (Trickster), and Nathan Alexis (Trickster).
APTN, CBC and the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) have announced the two Indigenous scripted series that will soon be in pre-development through the CBC-APTN Early Stage Scripted Development Program, in association with the ISO. The creative team for each production will have access to CBC and APTN executives, who will provide custom-tailored support for both series. The program aims to advance the projects of emerging Indigenous storytellers to the next stage of development and, ultimately, into production. The projects for 2023-24 are drama Halfbreed from Alberta producers Berkley Brady, Erin Sharp and Nicolina Lanni, Nika Productions Inc.; and comedy Matter of Time from Winnipeg producers Janelle and Jérémie Wookey, Wookey Films.
Hammerhead Ventures, CouKuma Productions, and Harrington Studio have announced that the debut feature film Thanks to the Hard Work of the Elephants from actor-turned writer/director Bryce Hodgson has gone to camera in Toronto. The film, which is based on a true story, stars Hunter Dillon (Riceboy Sleeps, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) and newcomer Kevin Nguyen and also features Fred Nguyen Khan (The Sympathizer), Tony Nappo (Four Brothers, Saw II), Ryan Mcdonald (Seven Veils, The King Tide) and musician Kimberly Ha. Centred on the troubled teen industry, it follows two teenage boys who escape incarceration, while high on LSD.
HGTV, in partnership with Corus Entertainment, has greenlit Don’t Hate Your House with the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, as they find a way to fix problematic homes for frustrated families. The recent greenlight of Backed By The Bros (working title) will also air on HGTV Canada, which will see the brothers offer their insight and resources to help inexperienced entrepreneurs find success with high-stakes investment properties. The two new series and a fresh season of Celebrity IOU will be produced by Scott Brothers Entertainment with the brothers serving as executive producers. All three series are slated to premiere in 2024 on HGTV Canada and STACKTV.
Corus Studios is closing its fiscal year with more than 2,300 hours of premium content sold, a 15% increase year-over-year. Representing 50 titles across the lifestyle, factual, and scripted space, new licensees include Box TV in India and Tivilife in Turkey. At MIPCOM this week, Corus Studios is offering buyers a first look at Pamela Anderson’s food-focused series, Pamela’s Cooking With Love (8×60), as well as Bryan’s All In (10×60) from home renovation star Bryan Baeumler.
W Network seasonal event, Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas, begins Friday, Oct. 20 with the first of 44 new movie premieres. The full schedule event officially kicks off Nov. 1 with premieres every Wednesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. According to data supplied by Corus Entertainment, the viewing event reached almost 12 million Canadians last year, continuously making W Network the #1 entertainment specialty channel among A25-54 and F25-54 during its run. W Network’s Movie Date also returns this holiday season, hosted by Sarah Keenleyside (HGTV Canada’s Backyard Builds), model and TV host Brittnee Blair and Noah Cappe (Food Network Canada’s Carnival Eats) featuring lifestyle segments in holiday decor, gift giving, and entertaining. W Network will be available on National Free Preview, Nov. 1-30.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released the trailer of the second season of Lights, Camera, Inclusion, a video series on CMF platform Now & Next that focuses on issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Canadian screen industries. Transforming the industry, the new five-episode second season debuted this week with Season 2 guests including: Shyam Valera and Kashif Pasta, producers and founders of Vancouver-based production company Dunya, focused on stories from racialized creators with a global impact; Loretta Todd, Doreen Manuel, and Cease Wyss, Indigenous filmmakers, educators, and three of the four matriarchs behind the IM4 lab; producer Eric Idriss-Kanago and director Henri Pardo, the duo behind the Afro Canada docuseries and feature film Kavanal; and producers Samuel Gagnon and Bahija Essoussi-Gagnon, co-founders of Montreal-based production company Objectif 9.