TV & Film News – Mel Tuck, Lesley Ewen receive UBCP/ACTRA Lifetime Achievement Awards

TV News

UBCP/ACTRA held its 8th annual awards Saturday, honouring members in five categories, in addition to two lifetime achievement honours. Ben Cotton was awarded Best Actor for his role in Crown and Anchor; Camille Sullivan won Best Actress for her role in Kingsway; Best Emerging Performer was claimed by Steven Roberts for his role in In God I Trust; Best Voice to Erin Mathews for Super Monsters Furever Friends; and Best Stunt to stunt coordinator Eli Zagoudakis and stunt performers Nathaniel Shuker and Marshall Bingham for their performances in Arrow. The Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award was presented to tv, film and stage actress and playwright Lesley Ewen, while the John Juliani Award of Excellence went to director and acting coach Mel Tuck.

Channel Zero, the company that owns Hamilton-based CHCH-TV and a handful of specialty channels including Rewind and Silver Screen Classics, has announced it’s launching a studio division. Channel Zero Studios will develop and produce original scripted content with the new division to be led by Jennifer Chen, the company’s former VP of Programming, who steps into the role of Head of Studios and VP of Content. In a release, Channel Zero says it will build on its partnership with Motion Content Group, Group M’s content and rights management division, to collaborate with both domestic and international production partners. It expects to be in production on its first series in the first quarter of 2020. Chen first joined Channel Zero in 2006 and has helped commission original programming, including Wynonna Earp and The Pinkertons.

Bell Media says Sunday’s 107th Grey Cup drew an average audience of 3.9 million viewers on TSN and RDS, up 19% over 2018, according to Numeris data supplied by the broadcaster. The TSN broadcast drew an average of 3.7 million viewers, with another 252,000 tuning in to the French-language television broadcast on RDS. The audience peaked with 4.6 million viewers as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers charged to their first Grey Cup victory since 1990. Bell Media says the game also drew a strong livestreaming audience with viewing on TSN Digital platforms up 77% over last year. Read more here.

The Canadian Football League (CFL), TSN, and RDS have announced a long-term extension of their partnership. TSN and RDS will continue to receive exclusive Canadian broadcast and digital media rights in all languages to all pre-season, regular season, and playoff games, as well as exclusive radio rights in all languages.

Jann Arden is set to headline a new one-hour original special, premiering Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT exclusively on CTV. Following its broadcast premiere, Jann Arden One Night Only will stream on Crave, beginning Dec. 6. Produced by Bell Media Studios, the special was filmed Nov. 26 in front of a live audience at The Great Hall in Toronto. Arden reminisces on historic life moments, engages fans in-conversation, and performs songs from her catalogue, including a seasonal standard from her holiday album, A Jann Arden Christmas.

Anne with an E will end after Season 3. The CBC/Netflix co-production, which debuted in 2017, is coming to an end following the public broadcaster’s move away from partnering with the streaming giant. CBC/Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait told the Content Canada podcast in October that the public broadcaster would not “do deals that hurt the long-term viability of our domestic industry…over time we start to see that we’re feeding the growth of Netflix, or we’re feeding the growth of Amazon, rather than feeding our own domestic business and industry.” Produced by Northwood Entertainment and executive produced by series creator Moira Walley-Beckett, Anne with an E picked up seven Canadian Screen Awards earlier this year. The final episode of the series aired on CBC Nov. 24, with Season 3 to debut on Netflix on Jan. 3.

CBC has announced premiere dates for its winter 2020 lineup of new and returning  Canadian series. New original series include Family Feud Canada, hosted by Gerry Dee and airing four nights a week, starting Dec. 16; original factual series High Arctic Haulers, “a high-stakes journey at sea” in Canada’s North (Jan. 5); spy drama Fortunate Son, starring Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs), Darren Mann (Giant Little Ones) and Stephen Moyer (True Blood), set in the social and political chaos of 1968 (Jan. 8); sci-fi adventure series Endlings, produced in partnership with Hulu, following four foster kids who make a startling discovery that affects the entire universe (Jan. 5); culinary competition series Fridge Wars (Feb. 27); and new CBC Docs original The Oland Murder (March 5).

Telefilm Canada has issued a call for entries for its First Look international export and sales initiative that provides a preview of 10 films in post-production to American sales agents, distributors, and festival programmers in New York and Los Angeles. The sizzle reel of film clips will be presented at Telefilm Canada’s annual CANADA NOW showcase. Producers of the selected films will be mentored by a New York-based consultant to prepare their pitch, shape their clips and will be invited to attend panels and participate in networking events. The application deadline is Dec. 2. Details here.

Canada Media Fund (CMF) and South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) have renewed their incentive for the co-development of television projects between Canadian producers and South African producers. Eligible projects are programs in the drama, documentary, children and youth genres. Find guidelines here. The closing date for applications is Jan. 24, 2020. The total maximum contribution for each project funded through the incentive is CAD $40,000. Producers interested in finding an international partner as part of this incentive are invited to post a profile of their company on the CMF’s website by clicking here.


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