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TV & Film News – Allan Slaight to receive star on Canada’s Walk of Fame

Allan Slaight

Canada’s Walk of Fame is inducting Slaight Communications founder and former Standard Broadcasting President and CEO Allan Slaight  for his contributions in business and philanthropy, and in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Allan Slaight Music Impact Honour. ETALK, in partnership with Canada’s Walk of Fame, is airing one-hour event Celebrating Greatness: A Canada’s Walk of Fame Special on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV. Hosted by ETALK co-anchor Tyrone Edwards and through the lens of the Allan Slaight Music Impact honourees, the special tells the story of the rise of Shawn Mendes, Melanie Fiona, Brett Kissel, Drake, The Weeknd, and Alessia Cara, as well as highlights from the past 20 years of Canada’s Walk of Fame. The special will also pas tribute to some of the inductees the world lost this year, including Canadian icon Alex Trebek. 

CBC and the BET+ streaming service are partnering on original series The Porter (working title, 8×60) from Inferno Pictures and Sienna Films. Created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), with Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul), Marsha Greene (Private Eyes, Mary Kills People) and Aubrey Nealon (Snowpiercer, Cardinal), The Porter is set in the 1920s and inspired by real events, highlighting the moment when railway workers from both Canada and the U.S. joined together to give birth to the world’s first Black union. Morais and Greene are writers/showrunners on the eight-part series, with Charles Officer (21 Thunder, Ransom, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls) set to executive produce and direct. Pinnock and Ramsay are co-executive producers. The first season is set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, and depicts another battle as it ripples through the Black community in Little Burgundy, Montreal – known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.”

Bell Media has confirmed FOX’s acquisition of new CTV Original series Holmes Family Effect, in time to join the network’s 2020/21 mid-season schedule. The four-part series, which has completed production, makes its broadcast premiere in Canada on CTV in early 2021. It follows Mike Holmes, his daughter Sherry and son Michael as they surprise unsuspecting community leaders to make a positive impact on their lives. The announcement is the latest in a series of distribution deals between the two networks, including CTV’s acquisition of The Masked Singer, as well as new celebrity competition series The Masked Dancer. 

CTV medical drama Transplant will be returning to NBC for a second season. Centred around Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq), a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine who fled his country with his younger sister to build a new life in Canada, Transplant averaged 5.7 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” according to Nielsen data supplied by CTV. The series was one of television’s most time-shifted shows through its NBC run with each of its first seven original telecasts ranking as the #1 drama of the week in “live plus three day” lift. In linear and digital viewing to date, Transplant is averaging 7.7 million total viewers, more than doubling its 3.5 million “live plus same day” performance.

Sportsnet will bring the Toronto Raptors’ 2020-21 NBA regular season to Canada with 18 national broadcasts on Sportsnet and SN NOW for the first half of the season. From Dec. 26 to Feb. 28, Sportsnet will air seven of the first eight Raptors games of the 2020-21 campaign, including a Boxing Day meet with DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs and a Jan. 4 Eastern Conference semifinal reunion with Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics. Additionally, Sportsnet 590 The FAN and the Sportsnet Radio Network will air 36 Raptors matchups throughout the season. Sportsnet’s broadcast team includes play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin and game analyst Leo Rautins, who will deliver the call remotely from Toronto. From the desk, host Brad Fay anchors pre-, post- and intermission coverage alongside analysts Sherman Hamilton and Alvin Williams, while NBA insider Michael Grange and reporters Danielle Michaud and Eric Smith will have real time reports. Radio broadcasts will feature Smith and analyst Paul Jones. 

TSN’s Toronto Raptors broadcast schedule features 19 regular season games, including the opening night matchup against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. ET. TSN’s slate of games includes two clashes with two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 27 and Feb. 18; two games against the Boston Celtics on Feb. 12 and Mar. 4; and a showdown with the 2020 NBA Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat on Jan. 22. The network’s broadcast team, led by Matt Devlin and Jack “The Coach” Armstrong, also features hosts Rod Black and Kate Beirness, with analysts Leo Rautins and Sam Mitchell, and contributions from Kayla Grey and Kia Nurse. TSN’s live radio coverage on Toronto’s TSN 1050, sees Paul Jones joined by analysts Armstrong and Sherman Hamilton with pre- and post-game shows hosted by Nikki Reyes, Jim Tatti, and Josh Lewenberg. 

CBC, BestCrosses Studios and Game Seven Media have announced that new original docuseries Anyone’s Game (6×30, formerly Orangeville Prep) will premiere Jan. 15 on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The series follows the high school players on the 2019-20 Orangeville Prep (OP) team for the Athlete Institute in Orangeville, ON, as they pursue an NCAA Division 1 scholarship, seeking a career in basketball, and one day possibly making it in the NBA. OP has now sent close to 40 graduates into coveted Division 1 NCAA programs with seven of those grads making it to the NBA.

Lady Dicks, the irreverent buddy-cop drama from CBC and NBCUniversal International Studios, starring Meredith MacNeill (Baroness von Sketch Show) and Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is The New Black), has announced a series title change. Centred around two radically different female detectives in their early 40s, the Ontario-shot one-hour drama will now be titled “Pretty Hard Cases” after concerns from gender rights advocates about “derogatory use of the two words together…”

HISTORY’s hit drama series Vikings will return Jan. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT for the first of its highly anticipated final 10 episodes. It will then air Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT for the nine remaining episodes to conclude the epic saga. Viewers can catch up on past seasons and stream the final episodes of Vikings live on STACKTV via Amazon Prime Video. The Emmy Award-winning series from creator and writer Michael Hirst (Elizabeth, The Tudors) is an international Irish/Canadian co-production by TM Productions and Take 5 Productions. MGM Television serves as the worldwide distributor outside of Ireland and Canada. Vikings is produced in association with Corus Entertainment.

Russell Peters is staging limited release New Year’s Eve global pay-per-view event Russell Peters & Friends. The special features Jason Collings (The Tonight Show), Crystal Marie Denha (MTV’s Punk’d), Jeff Joe (the new kid!), Jimmy Shubert, and Peters himself in an intimate club setting. Russell Peters & Friends will be available for viewing globally beginning at 12:01 a.m. local time Dec. 31 until end of day Jan. 1. Advanced tickets are available now.


Blue Ant Media has launched new live streaming service, HauntTV, with superfans of the paranormal in mind. Joining The Roku Channel as a live TV channel, HauntTV is available to Canadians free of charge, on Roku streaming devices, and grants audiences access to Blue Ant Media’s extensive library of original and acquired ghostly programming, including Ghostly Chasers, Ghostly Encounters and World’s Scariest Hauntings

Super Channel Fuse debuts new hour-long, six-part series, Secrets in the Ice, on Jan. 5. The unscripted series from Toronto’s Shark Teeth Films travels to mysterious frozen lakes filled with bones, glaciers concealing mummified bodies, and uncovers a 30,000-year-old virus frozen in ice brought back to life in a laboratory. Each episode will be available on Super Channel On Demand the day following its weekly linear broadcast. The series is co-financed and distributed globally by Boat Rocker Studios.

Global has announced new series and season premieres dropping in the New Year including the anticipated debuts of new dramas Clarice (Feb. 11) and The Equalizer (Feb. 7 following the Super Bowl), alongside new comedy Call Your Mother (Jan. 14). These new shows join returning series Prodigal Son (Jan. 12), 9-1-1 (Jan. 18), and Tough As Nails (Feb. 10). New episodes of Global Original Private Eyes, which moves to Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning Jan. 7, also return, in addition to some of Global’s most-watched series from the fall including NCIS, FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, and S.W.A.T.

Steve Hodge & Tiffany Pratt

Food Network Canada’s winter schedule is being bolstered by new Corus Studios Original series Project Bakeover (Feb. 4), which follows prominent pastry chef Steve Hodge (Great Chocolate Showdown) and HGTV Canada designer Tiffany Pratt, as they use their expertise to revive struggling bakery businesses across North America. John Catucci also returns with new episodes of Corus Studios’ Big Food Bucket List, in addition to a new season of Kids Baking Championship, hosted by Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli (Jan. 4), Chopped (Jan. 5) and new stunt series Chopped $50,000 Champs Challenge where four repeat champions compete. New competition series Kitchen Crash with host Jeff Mauro hits the schedule Jan. 10 as chefs head to a local neighbourhood to raid homeowners’ fridges and pantries for a cooking battle in the streets. 

APTN is presenting a unique winter adaptation of APTN Indigenous Day Live, Dec. 21-25 across its channels. The first-ever APTN Indigenous Day Live Winter Solstice celebration will air in five one-hour broadcasts. Hosted by Earl Wood and Janelle Wookey, performers include Alanis Morissette, Bebe Buckskin, Don Amero, Jeremy Dutcher, and PIQSIQ, among others. The broadcasts will be available for streaming on APTN lumi 24 hours after airing.

Pacific Screenwriting Program has announced its 2021 Scripted Series Lab participants. This cohort includes Ryan Atimoyoo, a Cree writer/filmmaker from Little Pine Reserve, who holds a joint MFA in Screenwriting and Film Production from the University of British Columbia; Jordan Hall, an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose work focuses on climate change, the exploration of genre, and feminist representation; Sarah Kelley, an emerging Anishinaabe writer from Golden Lake, ON; Emma Peterson, who has 10 years experience working in the film industry in Vancouver, including producing her own award-winning web series; Katie Weekley, a producer moving into a writing career; and Norman Yi Li, an emerging screenwriter and producer, based in Vancouver. 

The Quebecor Fund Board of Directors has announced the list of Canadian production companies that will receive financial backing in the 41st round of the fund’s Television Production Assistance Program, for which submissions closed Oct. 1. The fund will disburse a total of nearly $2.3 million this round. Among the productions funded are a TVA Group production on the Lac Megantic disaster, and Xavier Dolan’s first television drama for Club Illico, based on Michel-Marc Bouchard’s play, La nuit où Laurier Gaudreault s’est réveillé. 

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