TV + Film NewsTV & Film News - CTV Oscars' broadcast marks third consecutive year...

TV & Film News – CTV Oscars’ broadcast marks third consecutive year of growth

The 96th Oscars drew a Canadian audience of 4.5 million viewers Sunday night, a four per cent increase over last year’s broadcast, according to viewer data released by Bell Media. An average audience of 3.5 million tuned into the awards show on CTV, with one in two English-language Canadians watching at least part of the broadcast, which delivered a 50% share for English Canada. The audience peaked at 10:19 p.m. ET leading into Oppenheimer’s win for Best Picture. Bell Media says this year’s broadcast marks the third consecutive year of audience growth for the awards show, which also saw double-digit growth in the key A25-54 demographic, up 12% year-over-year. Read more here.

Ben Proudfoot

Ben Proudfoot has won his second Oscar in three years for The Last Repair Shop, which picked up Best Documentary Short at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. The Nova Scotia-born filmmaker and his fellow director Kris Bowers showcased the team of people who keep 80,000 musical instruments in working order for Los Angeles public school students. Proudfoot and Bowers received an earlier nomination three years ago for A Concerto Is a Conversation. Proudfoot went on to win the Oscar in 2022 for his short doc The Queen of Basketball, about the late Lucy Harris, the first and only woman officially drafted into the NBA.

ACTRA Toronto has announced the nominees for the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award and the Stunt Ensemble Award to be handed out April 22 at the 22nd annual ACTRA Awards. Series Ensemble Award nominees include: Murdoch Mysteries (Shaftesbury Films); Pink Is In! (Pink One Productions); Pretty Hard Cases (Cameron Pictures, CBC, Universal International Studios); Run the Burbs (Pier 21 Films); and Sort Of (Sienna Films, Sphere Media, Canada Media Fund, HBO Max). Stunt Ensemble nominees include: The Hardy Boys, “The Crash” (Lambur Productions, Nelvana, Corus); The Marsh King’s Daughter (Black Bear Pictures, Anonymous Content); Pretty Hard Cases, “Always a Bridesmaid” (Cameron Pictures); and Rabbit Hole for “Pilot” and Rabbit Hole, “At Any Given Moment” (CBS Studios, Entertainment 360, Zaftig Films). 

The WGC Screenwriting Awards have announced this year’s finalists. In contention for the 2024 awards are scripts from Children Ruin Everything (Kurt Smeaton, Jessica Meya, Kathleen Phillips, Anita Kapila), Pinecone and Pony (Tally Yong Knoll, Lienne Sawatsky, Corey Liu), Murdoch Mysteries (Simon McNabb), Bones of Crows (Marie Clements), Builder Brothers’ Dream Factory (Desmond Sargeant, Sonya Ballantyne), Little Bird (Zoe Hopkins), and Suze (Linsey Stewart & Dane Clark), among others. Find the complete list of finalists here. The 28th annual WGC Screenwriting Awards ceremony takes place May 13.

The Ottawa Film Office (OFO) has announced an important milestone in the development of the Capital Region’s first purpose-built soundstage. A Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) has been published to obtain feedback on the project and help identify potential partners. Submissions are being accepted until April 5 via Merx. Film commissioner Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos says despite global challenges in 2023, the city successfully completed over 40 productions, with 2024 projected to be a record year.

Quebec Min. of Finance Éric Girard has tabled the province’s 2024-25 budget, which includes improvements to the province’s refundable tax credit for film and television productions. The budget announced an increase in the limit of eligible production costs, from 50 to 65%. The budget also proposes enhancements to the existing tax credit for foreign film production in Quebec, including an increase to the basic tax credit rate from 20 to 25%.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has published its first Demographic Report, with data collected from individuals who self-reported through CMF’s PERSONA-ID system in 2022-23. Among its key findings are that Indigenous representation, those identifying as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, made up a combined 7% of all reported key roles, and 6% of Ownership shares in linear programs; Racialized Communities accounted for the largest proportion of Diverse Community Key Roles at 18% overall for linear programs, while almost half of all Key Roles in interactive identified with one or more Diverse communities; the inclusion of individuals identifying as 2SLGBTQ+ and persons with disabilities in Key Roles stands at 8% and 4%, respectively in linear programs, but is much higher in interactive programs at 20% and 10%, respectively.

Hot Docs has issued an urgent appeal for support saying that “like many not-for-profit arts organizations, pandemic closures severely disrupted Hot Docs operations and its impacts are still being felt.” The organization says it’s currently facing a significant operational deficit that threatens its long-term sustainability. Even with those challenges, Hot Docs says it is on track to deliver this year’s festival, April 25 to May 5, and has released its Special Presentations documentary features lineup.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) has announced year three of the Executive Residency Program, an initiative aimed at granting executive-level access to industry professionals who are Black, Indigenous, or persons of colour, to break down barriers for the next generation of creative executives and business leaders. Applications for the third cohort will be accepted until April 11, here

CTV has announced that Season 2 of original drama Sullivan’s Crossing will premiere Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The series then moves to its regular Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT timeslot beginning April 21. From the team behind Virgin River, and adapted by executive producer and showrunner Roma Roth from the bestselling novels by Robyn Carr, the series stars Morgan Kohan (When Hope Calls), alongside Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), and Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls). Filmed in Nova Scotia, Season 2 consists of 10, one-hour episodes.

CTV Life Channel original series, Evolving Vegan, returns for its second season beginning April 16 with new episodes airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET and streaming on Crave. Recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Host, Lifestyle for Season 1, Mena Massoud explores the plant-based food scenes of Philadelphia, Montréal, Miami, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Tokyo in six new hour-long episodes.

Super Channel Heart and Home will premiere Season 11 of When Calls the Heart on Sunday, April 7. New episodes will be available on Super Channel On Demand the following day. Until then, When Calls the Heart season marathons will be available each day of each weekend leading up to the Season 11 premiere, which is airing simultaneously on Hallmark Channel in the U.S., featuring 12 new episodes of the B.C.-filmed series.

Scholastic has signed a definitive agreement to invest in 9 Story Media Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Scholastic will acquire 100% of the economic interests and a minority of voting rights in 9 Story for approximately USD $186 million. Scholastic says the strategic investment significantly expands its opportunities to leverage its brand, publishing and global children’s franchises across print, screens and merchandising. Scholastic’s media development and production division and 9 Story have long collaborated on projects including the animated reboot of Clifford the Big Red Dog on PBS Kids and Amazon Prime Video and Eva the Owlet on Apple TV+

Sinking Ship Entertainment (SSE) has announced three new deals for the PBS KIDS animated series Alma’s Way. TFI in France, TFO in French Canada, and ONCE/ONCE Niñas y Niños in Mexico have all bought the series. Created by Sesame Street alum Sonia Manzano and produced by Fred Rogers Productions in association with Pipeline Studios, the series has received two Emmy Award nominations, in addition to nominations for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Program, and was selected as a finalist for the Prix Jeunesse International 2024.

Banijay Rights is launching a Highway Thru Hell-branded FAST channel that will feature the first 10 seasons of the long-running docuseries from producer Great Pacific Media, along with all seven seasons of Heavy Rescue: 401. The channel will begin rolling out in the UK on March 13, with an April 17 launch in Australia to follow. Confirmed platforms in the UK include Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Freevee, Plex, and Samsung TV Plus in Australia. Highway Thru Hell debuted on Bell Media’s Discovery in 2012 and is now available on platforms across 180 territories and in production for a 13th season that will see it mark 204 episodes. Heavy Rescue: 401 just finished a seven-season run and has viewers in close to 200 territories.

Stingray has launched new channels on Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free ad-supported streaming TV and video-on-demand service. For Canadian audiences, Stingray’s lineup includes Qello Concerts, featuring full-length concert films and documentaries; Classic Rock; Smooth Jazz and Flashback. The collection is set to expand on March 13 with the introduction of Stingray DJAZZ, Stingray Classica, Nothin’ But 90s, Easy Listening, Hip Hop, Today’s K-Pop, and Hot Country.

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