TV & Film News – Networks unveil 2021/22 programming schedules

Sportsnet is set to unveil a new, state-of-the-art NHL broadcast production studio this fall to be located at Rogers Campus in Toronto. The move will see the network’s entire production operation consolidated under one roof, which it says will facilitate more integration across platforms and sports properties. The new studio will encompass multiple set areas with moveable pieces, two brand new control rooms with IP-based audio and video, high-tech monitor walls with ‘always-on’ display, real-time data integration, LED lighting, and virtual set extension capabilities. Sportsnet says it will be leveraging those technology enhancements to produce new content and provide advertising partners with more customizable opportunities for branded integration. Read more here.

The Wonder Years

CTV’s line-up of new series landed for CTV and its suite of specialty channels for the 2021/22 schedule includes The Wonder Years from Oscar-nominee Lee Daniels; emotionally-driven drama The Big Leap, starring Scott Foley and Teri Polo; and The Cleaning Lady, a drama about a doctor who becomes a cleaning lady for the mob. Also bolstering CTV’s fall line-up is new drama series Queens, starring music icons Brandy and Eve as members of a reunited ’90s pop group; soapy drama Our Kind of People, also from Lee Daniels and based on the critically-acclaimed book. Mid-season, CTV has confirmed Pivoting, a new comedy starring Eliza Coupe, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Maggie Q, about three women taking stock of their lives following the death of their best friend; and Maggie, starring Rebecca Rittenhouse, a romantic comedy about a psychic who gets a glimpse of her own future. CTV Sci-Fi Channel expands its Star Trek offering, which already includes Star Trek: Lower Decks (returning Aug. 12), Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Picard, with the pick up of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds starring Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, and Ethan Peck, and animated series, Star Trek: Prodigy. Also coming to CTV Sci-Fi is horror drama Chapelwaite, based on the Stephen King short story, Jerusalem’s Lot, and starring Adrien Brody and Emily Hampshire. CTV Drama Channel adds crime drama Leverage: Redemption, debuting July 15. CTV Life Channel also lands an exclusive one-hour special from Jamie Oliver, made for a Canadian audience.

Citytv’s 2021/22 original programming lineup includes Canada’s Got Talent, Bachelor in Paradise Canada, and The Bachelor After Show (hosted by KiSS 92.5’s Deepa Prashad and Daryn Jones), as well as the return of Hudson & Rex for a fourth season. On OMNI Television, private detective Michelle Chang (Selena Lee, Forensic Heroes IV, Once More) is back on the case as Blood and Water: Fire & Ice, the original Chinese-Canadian drama, returns for a third and final season, premiering June 13. In partnership with Access Reelworld, Citytv has also announced Level UP, a new mentoring initiative which provides on-the-ground set experience to emerging BIPOC writers and directors. This year’s program sponsors are Hudson & Rex producers Shaftesbury and Pope Productions, who will welcome successful applicants to their set and writers room. Click here for info on how to apply.

Citytv’s fall schedule includes 17 returning shows and special events, as well as new series Law & Order: For the Defense and new-to-Citytv Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 23 of Law & Order: SVU also joins the schedule, along with heartfelt drama Ordinary Joe. Among the network’s new and returning shows are: American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D., Black-ish, Duncanville, Kenan, Mr. Mayor, and Young Rock.

(l-r): Dr. Death, Home Town Takeover, Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Naomi, and The Great Food Truck Race: All Stars

Corus Entertainment’s 2021/22 lineup of premium specialty programming, joins its previously announced slate of 35 Canadian originals renewed and greenlit for its specialty portfolio. As the home of Peacock Original series in English Canada, this fall action comedy MacGruber debuts, starring and executive produced by Will Forte, as well as Dr. Death, inspired by the true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch and starring Canadian actor Joshua Jackson, Grace Gummer, AnnaSophia Robb, Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin. Two series based on best-selling novels join the lineup including Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, based on the third novel in the Da Vinci Code series, and One of Us is Lying, based on the novel of the same title by Karen M. McManus. The full slate of Peacock Original unscripted and reality titles includes the Real Housewives Mash-Up (wt), which whisks away an all-star franchise cast from their respective cities; The Real Housewives of Miami (in development), Below Deck: Down Under, showcasing the upstairs/downstairs of an Australian-based super-yacht, and Ex Rated with Andy Cohen, a series aimed at empowering singles with insight on how they can improve their romantic experiences.

Global’s 2021/22 programming lineup features new pick-ups, including CSI: Vegas, the sequel to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with William Petersen, Jorja Fox and Wallace Langham reprising their roles. NCIS heads to the Aloha State in NCIS: Hawai’i starring Vanessa Lachey as the first female lead in the long-running franchise. From executive producer Dick Wolf comes FBI: International. In addition, new Global Original Family Law debuts on the network’s fall primetime lineup. Shot and set in Vancouver, the 10-episode, one-hour drama stars an all-Canadian cast including Jewel Staite, Victor Garber, Zach Smadu and Genelle Williams. Also joining Global this fall is Ghosts, a new single-camera comedy based on the breakthrough British comedy of the same name from New Girl‘s Joe Port and Joe Wiseman

Private Eyes

Global’s summer lineup kicks off with the Season 2 premiere of original medical drama Nurses, scrubbing in for 10 new episodes beginning June 21. Also in June, Global adds wildlife comedy series When Nature Calls with Helen Mirren on June 24, a one-hour unscripted comedy series that looks at the lighter side of the natural world. In July, Big Brother is back for a 23rd season with a special 90-minute premiere July 7. Beginning July 11, the series airs Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Following the Big Brother premiere, Season 5 of Global original hit series Private Eyes premieres July 7 at a special time 9:30 P.M. ET/PT. Moving to August, Global adds newly-acquired scripted drama Fantasy Island to its lineup beginning Aug. 10, a reimagining of the legendary series with a contemporary twist. 

Big Brother Canada will return for a 10th season. Produced by Insight Productions (a Boat Rocker company) in association with Corus Entertainment and Banijay, the greenlight comes following Season 9 which delivered the reality competition series’ most diverse cast ever, with Tychon Carter-Newman making history as its first Black winner.

Cameron Pictures, CBC, and NBCUniversal International Studios, confirm that production is underway on the sophomore season of buddy-cop drama Pretty Hard Cases. Filmed in and around Toronto, this season features 12 one-hour episodes, set to premiere in winter 2022. Starring Meredith MacNeill (Baroness von Sketch Show) and Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is The New Black), joining the cast for Season 2 is Sonja Smits (American Gods/Eleventh Hour), K.C. Collins (Clarice/The Strain), and Ben Bass (Rookie Blue/Burden of Truth).

CBC’s Heartland has begun filming Season 15 in Alberta. Produced by Dynamo Films and SEVEN24 Films, the new season will premiere Sunday, Oct. 17 on CBC and CBC Gem. The longest-running one-hour drama in Canadian television history, the first episode of Season 15 will celebrate the 225th episode of the series. Heartland can also be viewed on Netflix globally, as well as UPtv Faith & Family and Hulu in the U.S., among more than 119 countries. Filming locations for Season 15 include Calgary, High River, Millarville, and Longview, AB.

The National Arts Centre (NAC), in partnership with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation and Vérité Films, has announced a one-hour television special on CBC/Radio-Canada that will celebrate the 2021 laureates of Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts. With the continuing uncertainty of the public health situation, this year’s celebration will be broadcast on CBC Television, ICI TÉLÉ, CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV on Nov. 26. The bilingual broadcast, produced by the National Arts Centre with Vérité Films, will be led by an artistic team that includes award-winning executive producer Virginia Thompson and director Joel Ivany, co-creator of Messiah/Complex. The show will be filmed in locations across the country and internationally.

TVO premieres original From Earth To Sky for National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, the inspiring story of an accomplished collective of Indigenous architects driving a movement as climate change threatens the planet. Audiences are invited to follow these seven diverse North American artists: Tammy Eagle Bull, the first Native American woman architect (Oglala Lakota Nation, South Dakota); Wanda Dalla Costa (Saddle Lake First Nation, Alberta); Alfred Waugh (Chipewyan of the Fond Du Lac Band, Denesuline Nation, Sask.); Brian Porter (Oneida Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont.); Daniel Glen (Crow Tribe); Patrick Stewart (Killerwhale House of Daaxan, Nisga Nation, BC), and Douglas Cardinal, the first Indigenous architect in North America (Siksika, Blackfoot, Calgary). 

Women in View has released its sixth On Screen Report documenting women’s employment in Canada’s publicly-funded screen-based media. Since the last survey was issued in 2019, gender parity initiatives have improved gender stats, but not racial representation. The report finds that women – especially Black women, Indigenous women and Women of Colour – remain significantly under-employed on Canada’s film and television productions. The data shows gender equity initiatives had a strong impact particularly in the roles of director and writer. From 2017-19, there was a 23% increase in the number of TV episodes directed by women at CBC bringing women’s share of directing at the public broadcasters to 60%. Overall, the percentage of women-directed TV episodes rose from 2017’s 27% to almost 50% in 2019, even though women’s share of directing work at Bell and Corus – where similar gender parity initiatives were not adopted – remained quite low. Despite the increase in gender equality commitments and initiatives, it did not have a significant impact for all women. Of the 43% of women in key creative TV roles in 2019, only 6.44% were Black women & Women of Colour and only 0.94% were Indigenous women. 

LISTEN: Pre-Covid, Manitoba’s film and television industry was booming. Ian Dimerman of Inferno Pictures is hoping to get some of that momentum back with the opening of Big Sky Studios later this year – a full service production hub located on a nine-acre property that was formerly the headquarters of fashion mogul Peter Nygard. Dimerman, who is in the midst of production on forthcoming CBC and BET+ series, The Porter, in Winnipeg, joined us to talk about what he terms “his love letter to the industry” which he hopes will cement Manitoba’s future as a production centre. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced its Master Classes, set to take place during the virtual festival June 14 – July 16. Featuring talent and creatives from hit series It’s a Sin, David Makes Man, Transplant, Moominvalley and Sort Of as well as exclusive screenings for Family Law and Blindspotting, BANFF’s Rockie Awards Roundtables will also feature creators, executive producers and producers behind this year’s nominees including Alone, Love on the Spectrum, Filthy Rich and Homeless, The Last Ice, Noughts + Crosses, I May Destroy You, About Sex, El Presidente and more. Find the full agenda here.

The CRTC has approved a request from Stingray Group allowing it to transition its English-language discretionary service, Stingray HITS, into a French service. The commission has imposed a new condition of licence requiring that French-language video clips make up at least 50% of all video clips broadcast by the service each broadcast year and that all other programming elements, including advertising, station identifiers and all other content be in French. 

Stingray Group has partnered with Shaw to make its Stingray Music TV app available to all Shaw TV IPTV customers across Western Canada. Shaw TV customers will have access to 2,000 professionally-curated channels in over 100 genres including pop, rock, hip-hop, indie, country music and more at no extra cost, with the app inviting users to combine up to three filters amongst Activity, Mood, Theme, Genre and Era to return a tailored selection of corresponding channels to choose from as well as additional suggestions. Users can also personalize their music experience by saving their favourite channels in My Music. The Stingray Music TV app is accessible through Shaw TV voice remote.

Liquid Media Group has signed a letter of intent to acquire Filmdab, Inc., which operates as Filmocracy, a B2B2C film and festival streaming platform. Under the terms, Liquid would acquire Filmocracy for up to 1.25-million shares. Filmocracy must achieve revenues totalling up to US$66M to trigger three of the four equal tranches. Filmocracy combines technology for hosting live events with a streaming platform where Filmocrats can watch movies and attend virtual film festivals around the world for one monthly subscription. Previous clients include the American Film Market, the Television Academy, the American Society of Cinematographers, and festivals like San Diego International, Paris International Film Festival, and the Bahamas International Film Festival. Vancouver-based Liquid also intends to acquire iGEMStv,  a curated platform of content recommendations that includes movies and series not found in the massive libraries of the larger streaming platforms.

Hot Docs’ Independent Cinema Relief Fund has raised $72.9K – surpassing its goal by 240%. Launched prior to this year’s Hot Docs Festival, the fund will provide financial relief to independent film exhibitors across the country forced to suspend operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. All 29 cinemas that applied for funding will each receive a $2,500 grant, with an additional $2,500 donation to be made to the Toronto Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. 

CTV and TSN will host UEFA EURO 2020 coverage, June 11–July 11, with complete live coverage of every game, pre-game shows and post-game analysis and opinion. TSN wraps up the action every matchday with a 30-minute UEFA EURO 2020 highlight show, along with a Match of the Day encore in primetime. CTV delivers Saturday and Sunday matches throughout the tournament. TSN’s coverage is hosted by Luke Wileman alongside TSN soccer analyst Steven Caldwell, former Canadian Men’s National Team captain Julian de Guzman, and Canadian Women’s National Team star Janine Beckie. The tournament, postponed from summer 2020 due to the pandemic, takes place across 11 countries (England, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Romania, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Scotland), 11 stadiums, and 24 teams looking to be crowned European champions. The complete broadcast schedule is available here

TSN delivers complete coverage of the 47th COPA AMERICA, taking place live from Brazil from Sunday, June 13 through to the final on Saturday, July 10. Delayed by a year due to the pandemic, South America’s championship tournament opens with Brazil facing Venezuela. Find the network’s complete broadcast schedule, here.

Rosanna Pansino

Family Channel has the Canadian premiere of HBO Max Original series, Baketopia on June 14, the new baking competition show from the creators of Craftopia. Cookbook author and YouTube sensation Rosanna Pansino hosts, tasking three different bakers in each episode with challenges to create trendsetting treats in a larger-than-life baking wonderland.