TV & Film News – Networks prepare for return of major league sports

Sportsnet is preparing for the return of the NHL, MLB and NBA across its TV, radio and streaming platforms. Its MLB coverage begins Friday, July 24 as the Toronto Blue Jays open their regular season campaign against the Tampa Bay Rays – the first of 60 Jays games available on Sportsnet. The NHL makes its long-awaited return Saturday, Aug. 1, marking veteran play-by-play host Chris Cuthbert’s network debut, who’ll have the call for the Western Conference qualifying series featuring Canadian teams, alongside analyst Louie DeBrusk. The Toronto Raptors also resume their regular season against the LA Lakers Aug. 1. Five additional regular season games will be available on Sportsnet ONE and/or the Sportsnet Radio Network, leading up to the start of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Broadcast schedules and channel allocations will be available online at sportsnet.ca/schedule.

TSN’s MLB coverage kicks off on Thursday, July 23 with an Opening Night doubleheader, beginning with the New York Yankees visiting the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals at 7 p.m. ET on TSN4, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the San Francisco Giants. The network will deliver Canadian coverage of ESPN’s flagship MLB broadcasts throughout the 2020 season, led by play-by-play voice Matt Vasgersian, World Series champion analyst Alex Rodriguez, and ESPN Senior MLB Insider Buster Olney. Click here for the full MLB on TSN broadcast schedule. TSN’s NBA season coverage begins Aug. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto. The network’s first televised game happens Aug. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET as the Raptors go up against the Boston Celtics. 

Uninterrupted Canada has announced the start of production on an original, yet-to-be-titled documentary profiling the Nurses and their emergence as one Canada’s most accomplished sports families. Set to debut this fall on TSN, the doc charts the journey of Richard Nurse, a former CFL player for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, his wife Cathy, a former varsity basketball player for McMaster University and their children, WNBA star Kia Nurse, Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse, and Tamika Nurse, who played Division 1 basketball for Oregon and Bowling Green State. The doc is the second long-form feature by Uninterrupted Canada, following the debut of Serge Ibaka profile Anything Is Possible that follows the Toronto Raptors star’s journey from the streets of Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo to his return home as an NBA Champion.

Jillian & Warren Danford with their children Myles and Milan

CTV is set to bring what Bell Media is calling the country’s “first Black family reality show” to a national audience, starting July 25 on the network. Auntie Jillian stars Ajax, ON-based YouTube vlogger and social media personality Jillian Danford, her husband Warren, grown children Myles and Milan, and an extended cast of friends and family. The Danfords are already familiar to Bell Fibe TV audiences where the show has been airing for one season. They also appeared as a competing family on CBC’s reboot of Family Feud earlier this year. The network version of their show will see an inaugural six-episode season broadcast on CTV and its platforms over three weeks. Read more here.

CBC has renewed original dramas Burden of Truth (Season 4) and Diggstown (Season 3). Burden of Truth will start production in Winnipeg later this summer, with Diggstown set to return to Halifax to shoot in early 2021. Burden of Truth is also broadcast on The CW Network in the U.S., while Diggstown was recently acquired by BET+ in the U.S.

Corus Entertainment has picked up a range of comedies and dramas as part of a deal with Sky Studios, the production arm of international pay TV operator, Sky. Original Sky productions that will land on Corus platforms include British TV drama Bulletproof and sitcom Intelligence which stars former Friends’ cast member David Schwimmer.

Telefilm Canada has released its 2020-2023 Corporate Plan. It includes a series of initiatives based on four strategic priorities: attracting additional funding and investment; evolving the organization’s funding allocation approach; optimizing operational capability; and enhancing the values of the “Canada” and “Telefilm” brands. Telefilm says those strategic priorities will be augmented by its commitment to foster diversity and inclusion in order to provide a reflection of Canada.

Netflix is accepting pitch proposals from Canadian creators for series or films across a variety of categories until Wednesday, Aug. 5. From those submissions, the streamer will invite a number of creators to virtually meet with leaders on the Netflix content team. Creators may submit no more than one project in a category, with a maximum of two projects total. Find submission guidelines, here.

Nomad Films and Foundry Productions Inc. have announced the world broadcast premiere of new documentary Company Town on CBC Docs POV Aug. 8 on CBC and CBC Gem. The deep dive into the politics and culture of trade unionism goes behind-the-scenes of the fight to prevent the closure of Oshawa’s General Motors plant in Dec. 2019 and the loss of 5,000 jobs. Unifor, the union representing the autoworkers, found an unlikely ally in rock superstar Sting, who while in Toronto performing in The Last Ship – his play about union struggles in England in the 1980s – stepped up to perform a solidarity concert for GM workers as director Peter Findlay’s cameras rolled. 

 

Salma Hindy is among the comedians featured in CBC Gem original The New Wave Of Standup.

JFL NorthWest and Just for Laughs TV have announced the premiere of CBC Gem original comedy series The New Wave of Standup. The series features 12 up-and-coming comics that bring a diverse background, viewpoint and unique comedy style to the stage in 10-minute sets. The New Wave was filmed in February in front of a live audience at this year’s JFL NorthWest in Vancouver. Watch the trailer here

Qello Concerts by Stingray, the on-demand streaming service for full-length concerts and music documentaries, will air the three-week Summer Encore Festival, July 29 – Aug. 18. It will celebrate some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Rock in Rio, Woodstock, Eurockéennes, and shows from The Cure, Ellie Goulding, The Lumineers, Royal Blood, Michael Kiwanuka, and Beck, among other artists.