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TV & Film News – $1M settlement proposed in factual TV worker class action

CWA Canada and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) are welcoming a proposed $1 million settlement in a class action suit filed on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada. Filed in 2018, the $35 million class action’s statement of claim was based around the experience of Property Brothers story editor Anna Bourque, who routinely worked 50 to 70-hour work weeks without overtime, vacation or premium pay. The agreement, submitted Monday for court approval, follows three years of negotiations between Cineflix and law firm Cavalluzzo, CWA Canada and IATSE. The proposed settlement would see $1 million in compensation for all employment standards entitlements for nearly everyone who has worked for Cineflix as employees or independent contractors since Oct. 2016. Cineflix has until March to decide whether to sign a collective agreement that’s already been negotiated or pay an additional lump sum. Read more here.

Cineflix Productions and Ping Pong Productions are partnering to launch Shiny Screens Entertainment, a joint venture with showrunner Will Spjut. Based in L.A., the new production company will develop and produce unscripted series and formats for the global market. As part of the deal, Cineflix Rights has the exclusive first-look to distribute Shiny Screens Entertainment content internationally. Spjut is a 20-year television industry veteran with development and executive producer credits, including Border Wars, Nashville Star for USA Network, and The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals for Netflix. Ping Pong Productions is behind Discovery series Expedition Unknown, TLC’s Dr. Pimple Popper, and other hit titles.

TSN has announced its broadcast schedule for the Toronto Raptors’ 2020-21 regular season. The network will deliver 41 regular season Raptors games and comprehensive NBA Playoffs action, culminating with the NBA Finals. TSN television coverage of the Raptors will be complemented by live radio coverage of 41 regular season games on TSN 1050 Toronto. SportsCentre will also follow the Raptors throughout the season, delivering breaking news and highlights, with The Shift With Kayla Grey featuring interviews with players and team personnel.

Sportsnet will deliver 41 Toronto Raptors broadcasts on Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE and SN NOW, starting Oct. 22. Additionally, Sportsnet 590 The FAN will air 41 radio broadcasts beginning Oct. 20. From the booth, play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin will deliver the call alongside game analyst and former Raptors point guard Alvin Williams. Courtside and new to Sportsnet, former Raptors 905 broadcaster Amy Audibert will deliver insights, news and interviews as analyst and sideline reporter. From the desk, Brad Fay returns to anchor pre-, post- and half-time coverage alongside Sherman Hamilton and Danielle Michaud. On Radio, play-by-play announcer Eric Smith and analyst Paul Jones have on-the-go fans covered with live broadcasts on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.

Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s), the new professional rugby league, has announced TSN as its official Canadian television broadcast partner. The league’s launch event, dubbed The PR7s Inaugural Championship, includes nine Canadian players and two Canadian coaches. The inaugural men’s and women’s tournaments are available to TSN and TSN Direct subscribers on Saturday, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on and the TSN app, and from 4 – 6 p.m. ET on TSN4.

UNINTERRUPTED Canada, NFL Canada, and Bell Media have collaborated on new original documentary Northern Ties, which profiles rising Canadian talent in the NFL while celebrating the strong ties between the players and their home country. Focusing on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool of Abbotsford, BC; Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard of Sherwood Park, AB; and Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland of Coquitlam, BC, the hour-long feature was led by TSN Senior Features Producer Josh Shiaman. It’s slated to premiere on TSN on Oct. 8 and will also be available for streaming on Crave.

Paul Rabliauskas

CTV Comedy Channel has ordered all-new original scripted comedy, Acting Good, loosely based on the life of stand-up comedian Paul Rabliauskas. Produced by Kistikan Pictures Inc., the series was co-created by Rabliauskas, who is set to star alongside Amber-Sekowan Daniels (Diggstown), Eric Toth (Still Standing), and Pat Thornton (Filth City), who also serve as co-writers. Acting Good is set to shoot on location in Manitoba early next year, with production and additional casting to be announced in the coming months. The series is set in the fictional fly-in reserve of Grouse Lake First Nation in Northern Manitoba, inspired by Rabliauskas’ home reserve of Poplar River First Nation. 

Andrew Phung

CBC and Pier 21 Films have confirmed casting for new, original comedy Run The Burbs from comedian, writer, and actor Andrew Phung and his best friend and collaborator Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon). Premiering on CBC and CBC Gem in Winter 2022, production is underway in and around Toronto and Hamilton. Phung executive produces, writes, and stars in the series as a stay-at-home dad. Joining him on screen are Rakhee Morzaria (Note to Self, Private Eyes) as his wife Camille Pham; and Zoriah Wong (Nancy Drew) and Roman Pesino (Odd Squad) as their children. The cast is rounded out by Canadian talent including Ali Hassan (CBC’s Laugh Out Loud), YouTube sensation Julie Nolke (Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self), Jonathan Langdon (Utopia Falls), Simone Miller (Detention Adventure), Samantha Wan (Second Jen), Candy Palmater (The Candy Show), Chris Locke (Workin’ Moms, Mr. D), and Baroness von Sketch Show’s Aurora Browne.

Lori Loughlin

Super Channel has announced the return of original series When Hope Calls to Super Channel Heart & Home on Dec. 18 with a special two-part holiday premiere entitled When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas. Each episode will also be available to stream on Super Channel On Demand, the day following its broadcast premiere. Subsequent Season 2 episodes will follow later in 2022. Lori Loughlin (When Calls the Heart, Fuller House) is set to guest star in the holiday premiere, reprising the role of Abigail Stanton. Canadian Morgan Kohan also returns to When Hope Calls in her starring role as Lillian Walsh, with further casting to be announced. Set in the fictional prairie town of Brookfield, production is currently underway on the holiday episodes outside of North Bay, ON where the series is filmed on location. 

Thunderbird Entertainment Group, its factual arm Great Pacific Media, and animated division Atomic Cartoons, have released an update of 18 new and returning series they’re working on in partnership with Disney+, Netflix, CBC, Discovery Canada and Syfy. The company has crew working on nine additional shows, either previously announced or remaining confidential, for a total of 27 programs currently in production. Thunderbird says with demand for content still increasing, the need for high quality, diverse content continues to explode. Many of its 2021/22 productions focus on highlighting BIPOC talent and telling the stories of underrepresented groups, including: Cocomelon Lane and Dogs in Space for Netflix; Reginald the Vampire for SyFy; Gut Job, Styled (working title) and Deadman’s Curse (working title) for Corus; Strays, the highly-anticipated Kim’s Convenience spin-off for CBC; and Dr. Savannah Wild Rose Vet for APTN and Cottage Life. 

Avery Haines

W5 is back for a 56th season Saturday, Oct. 2 on CTV. The series returns with an exclusive television interview with the truck driver convicted of causing the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April 2018. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu and his wife Tanvir Mann sit down with W5 Host and Managing Editor Avery Haines in season launch episode “The Humboldt Driver.” Also this week, CTV Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme contributes “Escape From Kabul” – the story of the chaotic mission taken on by a group of volunteer Canadian veterans to evacuate Afghan citizens, after the country was taken over by the Taliban last month. 

Canadian Jewish TV has announced the launch of its second season, Oct. 2 on OMNI. The program, hosted by Ieden Wall and Susan Minuk, will air Saturdays at 10 p.m. across Ontario, with weekly repeats Thursday and Friday night. The program debuted last September from Wall’s North York living room and featured taped remotes and Zoom interviews with Jewish luminaries like movie mogul Robert Lantos and sportscaster Dan Shulman. This season will mark the introduction of new segment “The Art of Conversation” in which host Wall will jump from the CJTV studio onto the streets of Toronto, making conversation with strangers in proximity. The segment marks a return to Wall’s roots in broadcasting as host of Rogers Cable 10 man-on-the-street show “Off-the Wall.” Scheduled for guest appearances during the upcoming season are real estate tycoon Sam Mizrahi, recording artist Amy Sky, and fashion icon Jeanne Beker.

Rogers Group of Funds is awarding $7.5 million in grants and investments to support more than 60 original projects through the Rogers Cable Network Fund and Rogers Documentary Fund. Shining a spotlight on unique stories and diverse voices from across the country, the majority of the selected projects are from equity-seeking creators and will be widely available to audiences across major Canadian networks. To further support equity-seeking storytellers as recently announced, Rogers Group of Funds has partnered with the Black Screen Office and the Canadian Independent Screen Fund for BPOC Creators to create a new $750,000 Fund to support BPOC creators. 

Telefilm has announced changes to the International Promotion Program with travel expenses once again eligible. Production companies whose producers and directors are invited to submit their projects in development to co-production markets may be eligible for funding of $3,000 (and subsequently, $1,500). Guidelines, eligibility and assessment criteria are available here. Telefilm has also relaunched its Theatrical Exhibition Program to stimulate the return of the in-person cinema experience and encourage Canadian exhibitors to showcase Canadian films. The maximum funding for theatres has increased to $30,000 per theatre and $500,000 per corporate group in 2021-22.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa, have renewed their dedicated incentive for the co-development of television projects between Canadian producers and South African producers. Find program details here. Eligible projects are television programs in drama, documentary, children and youth genres. The closing date for applications is Oct. 20.

The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced the first titles in its film lineup, six World Premieres and one Special Presentation, The Power of the Dog from Netflix. Plans are underway to present the 2021 festival as a hybrid, online and in-person event. From Dec. 1-31, audiences across Canada will be able to stream up to 100 films from Canada and around the world, access filmmaker Q&As, and attend a virtual Awards Celebration via WFF’s online screening platform. WFF21 will feature up to 40 feature films and six short film programmes.

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