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TV & Film News – Baroness von Sketch Show leads BANFF Rockie Award wins

Baroness von Sketch Show came away the big winner of the 2020 Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) Rockie Awards, which were presented virtually Monday afternoon. The Frantic Films-produced CBC series, which is heading into its fifth and final season, won Best Comedy & Variety Program, the $25,000 Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content, and the Canadian Award of Distinction, which is presented to a group whose body of work exemplifies outstanding achievement in the entertainment industry. Among other Canadian winners were Accessible Media Inc.’s Employable Me, which won Best Lifestyle Program; Vancouver’s Kelly&Kelly, which won the inaugural Best Podcast honour for This Sounds Serious; while Toronto-headquartered Wattpad Studios picked up this year’s Innovative Producer Award. Read more here.

Molly of Denali, produced by WGBH Boston and Thunderbird Entertainment’s Atomic Cartoons for PBS KIDS and CBC Kids, is the 2020 Peabody Award winner in the Children’s and Youth Category. Since its 2019 premiere, Molly of Denali has been recognized as the first nationally distributed children’s series in the U.S. to feature an Indigenous lead character. More than 60 Alaska Native actors, writers, advisors, producers and musicians are involved across the production.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and broadcast partner CBC have announced that The JUNOS will be presented virtually on Monday, June 29 at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) on CBC Gem, CBC Music’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages, and for international audiences at The awards will be given out across all 42 categories with performances by nominees iskwē, Neon Dreams, and The Dead South, while guest presenters include Andrew Phung from Kim’s Convenience, Toronto Raptor Chris Boucher, Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, George Stroumboulopoulos, and CBC Music hosts Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe, Julie Nesrallah, Odario Williams, and Rich Terfry, among others. The awards were originally set to take place in Saskatoon this past March.

The Indspire Awards, which recognize Indigenous people who have made significant contributions to Indigenous education, culture, business, health, law, sports and public service in Canada, will be broadcast nationwide June 21 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, the CBC Listen app and APTNTiffany Ayalik, JUNO-winning artist and performer, along with actor Craig Lauzon, will co-host the awards.

CBC has restored hour-long, local evening newscasts in Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Manitoba, nearly three months after they were cut due to COVID-19 overwhelming technical resources. The regular full-hour format resumed Monday, June 15. CBC News Network has also returned to full-hour formats for Power and Politics at 5 p.m. ET and CBC News Live at 7 p.m. ET. 

The CRTC will allow U.S. shopping channel QVC to be added to the list of programming services and stations authorized for distribution in Canada, after being forced to reconsider an earlier decision due to implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which comes into force July 1. the CUSMA trade deal makes certain pronouncements relating to areas that fall within the commission’s jurisdiction, including ensuring access of U.S. home shopping services to the Canadian broadcasting system. 

Skindigenous, the APTN documentary series that explores Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world, has been licensed by PBS. Season 1 of the series, produced by Nish Media, has been purchased by NITV (SBS) in Australia, RSI Switzerland and MAORI TV in New Zealand, while Seasons 1 and 2 have been picked up by UR Sweden and USHUAIA in France. Season 2 is currently airing on APTN in both English and Dene until July 15, while Season 3 is in production.

CBC and Radio-Canada Distribution, the public broadcaster’s international content licensing arm, have announced the sale of original culinary competition series Fridge Wars (6×60) to The CW Network in the U.S. Co-created by CBC and The Gurin Company, the series premiered on CBC in February. The CW is adding the series to its Summer 2020 schedule, starting Aug. 2. Fridge Wars pits two celebrity chefs against one another with a challenge to create extraordinary meals using only the ingredients taken from the ordinary fridges of typical families. The improvised dinners must win over two families who act as judges to determine which chef wins each battle.

Hudson & Rex has been greenlit for a third season with production to start on 16 new episodes in St. John’s, NL in July. Produced by Shaftesbury and Pope Productions, in association with Citytv and Beta Film GmbH, broadcast dates for the upcoming season will be announced in the coming weeks. The series has been sold to more than 100 territories including Italy, Germany, and France.

Sportsnet Bracket Challenge will see a mix of NHL and women’s hockey stars, along with Sportsnet hosts, compete in a virtual gaming tournament for charity. Sportsnet’s Shawn McKenzie and Spittin’ Chiclets star Paul Bissonette have recruited 16 athletes and personalities for the virtual Stanley Cup, powered by EA SPORTS NHL® 20, including Team Canada’s Erin Ambrose, St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Kesler, and Sportsnet personalites James Cybulski and Steve Dangle, among others. Eight half-hour episodes featuring key matchups from the tournament started airing on Sportsnet and streaming on Sportsnet NOW, June 17. Donations totalling $50,000 will go to the winning players’ charities of choice.

Mary Walsh, Tom Green, Deborah Cox, and Elisha Cuthbert are among the Canadian celebrities announced as Drag Race Canada guest hosts when the series debuts July 2. Airing exclusively on Crave in Canada, Drag Race Canada has also been picked up by BBC Three in the UK, in addition to being available in the U.S. and other select territories on WOW Presents Plus.

CTV Comedy Channel is on nationwide free preview from June 18 to July 23. It features an all-new season of CTV Comedy Original The Stand Up Show with Jon Dore, premiering June 30. Filmed at the 2019 Just For Laughs festival in Montréal, the Canadian comic spotlights up-and-coming names in comedy, including Sasheer Zamata, Kyle Brownrigg, LETTERKENNY’s Mark Forward, and Jackie Pirico. Also debuting during the freeview is new animated series Crossing Swords (June 18); outrageous gameshow Your Face Or Mine (June 28), hosted by legendary British comic Jimmy Carr and Canada’s Katherine Ryan; and a look back at old stand up sets with The Throwback starring Wanda Sykes (June 28). The freeview is available through participating service providers, including Bell, Bell Aliant, BellMTS, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Shaw Direct, and Telus. Subscribers and non-subscribers alike can also sample select programming at

Cable 14 Hamilton was awarded the Outstanding Business Achievement Award of the Year in the medium-sized business category, during a virtual broadcast on June 9. Presented by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the event annually recognizes local companies whose business achievements made an outstanding contribution to Hamilton in 2019. Cable 14 was in the midst of celebrating its 50th anniversary broadcast season when the COVID-19 pandemic derailed celebration plans. However, the channel, owned and operated by Cogeco and Rogers, pivoted into a vital role, partnering with the City of Hamilton’s Emergency Operations Centre to help communicate federal, provincial, and municipal information and keep residents informed.

The Indigenous Screen Office & Netflix Partnership Program has granted over $300,000 in Apprenticeship & Cultural Mentorship Funding to Indigenous screen creators in its latest round. The Cultural Mentorships Program provides opportunities for Indigenous creators to engage in cultural mentorship, engagement, and learning, during the development phases of their project. The goal of the second round for the Indigenous Production Apprenticeships is to create new opportunities for hands-on training and career progression for Indigenous creatives who want to take their careers to the next level. Read more about this round of recipients, here.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) have introduced a new program to support Québec TV series producers. The Predevelopment Funding Program for TV Series Based on Québec Literary Adaptations supports the predevelopment of documentary, youth, and animated series, in French, adapted from Québec literary works. The new program is aimed at increasing the competitiveness of Québec TV production companies in national and international markets and to foster production of high-level Québec intellectual properties. Find program guidelines here. The application deadline is July 27.

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