The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced the full list of nominees for the 2020 Rockie Awards International Program Competition, recognizing excellence in television and digital media from around the world. In addition to the $25,000 Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content, awarded to the top Canadian production, 26 awards are handed out in the category streams of Documentary & Factual, Arts & Entertainment, Children & Youth, Scripted and new this year – Podcast. Leading nominations by company are: BBC – 27 nominations; CBC –13 nominations; Sky – 8 nominations; National Geographic – 6 nominations; HBO – 5 nominations; and ARTE France and Yle – 4 nominations each. The Rockies Program Competition ceremony will stream live Monday, June 15.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has released new numbers suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to negatively impact the country’s film and television production sector by putting as much as $2.5 billion in foreign and domestic location production at risk. Based on historical CMPA economic data and a list of current and forthcoming productions from the CMPA, Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) and Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), the report says a production shutdown lasting from mid-March until the end of June will impact between 73,000 and 81,000 cast and crew, and up to 172,000 spin-off jobs across the country. Prepared by Nordicity, the report cautions that the effect of the production shutdown will likely exceed estimates. Read more here.
ThinkTV’s latest audience data analysis says Canadians are continuing to turn to TV as they face more time isolating at home. The latest data for the week of Mar. 30 shows a 13% increase in hours tuned (Canadians 2+) compared to the same week last year, with kids 2-11 showing the second biggest growth with a 17% increase. The largest increases are seen during daytime – up 29% for Adults 25-54 – and early evening, which is up 22%. ThinkTV says it’s worth noting that kids’ TV viewing is up 19%, with kids specialty TV channels seeing growth of 28% compared to the same week last year.
Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble, Sunday’s star-studded special benefitting Food Banks Canada, will be carried on 120 platforms spanning radio, TV, online, and On Demand, thanks to the participation of more broadcasters. The all-Canadian broadcast event has been extended from an hour to 90-minutes and will now air 30 minutes earlier at 6:30 p.m. across all markets (7 p.m. NT) on Apr. 26. Ten additional broadcasters have signed on, joining Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Corus Entertainment, Groupe V Média, and Rogers Sports & Media to present the commercial-free broadcast. ATN, APTN, Blue Ant Media, Wild Brain, Hollywood Suite, NTV, OUTtv, Stingray, Super Channel, and Unis TV are now participating, as well as more than four dozen new radio stations including Bell Media’s EZ Rock and participating Arctic Radio, Blackburn, First Peoples Radio, Harvard, Pattison, Rawlco, Stingray, and Vista stations. Featuring a mix of music and messages, among the talent slated to perform or appear are Bryan Adams, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Céline Dion, Eric McCormack, David Suzuki, Hayley Wickenheiser, Howie Mandel, Jann Arden, Jason Priestley, Rick Mercer, Russell Peters, Sarah McLachlan, Shania Twain, Tessa Virtue, Will Arnett, and others. Read more here.
Cable 14 in Hamilton, ON was in the midst of celebrating its 50th Anniversary Broadcast Season when the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the celebrations. Almost immediately, the local community channel closed its production facilities, implemented work-from-home strategies for staff, and suspended all regular production. At the same time, senior management realized that the channel, owned and operated by Cogeco and Rogers, had a vital role to play in helping to communicate federal, provincial and municipal information designed to keep residents safe during this time. Working together, Cable 14 and the City of Hamilton consulted on a communications strategy to help produce regular live broadcasts of City media briefings and the creation of a weekly live town hall broadcast. Those meetings are now also being simulcast by a local radio station and provided to the traditional local over-the-air broadcaster for news highlights. Read more here.
CBC will provide a national television and streaming broadcast of community vigil Nova Scotia Remembers on Friday, Apr. 24 at 6 p.m. ET (7 AT, 7:30 NT) on CBC News Network, CBC Gem, cbcnews.ca and the CBC News app, and on CBC TV and CBC Radio in Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The CBC News special will be hosted on TV and streaming platforms by CBC Nova Scotia’s Tom Murphy, and on radio by CBC Nova Scotia’s Jeff Douglas. The locally organized virtual vigil will pay tribute to the victims and offer support to affected families, including musical tributes and messages of support from dignitaries and other figures with a special connection to Nova Scotia.
Schitt’s Creek concluded its six-season run Apr. 7 as the highest-rated Canadian comedy series for the 2019-20 broadcast season, according to Numeris data supplied by CBC. The series finale “Happy Ending” on CBC TV was also the most-watched Canadian comedy episode of the 2019-20 season with an average audience of 1.23 million including 572,000 viewers aged 25-54, the largest audience ever in this demo in the series’ history. Following the finale, the one-hour special Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell drew an average audience of 868,000 on CBC TV. On the public broadcaster’s CBC Gem streaming service, Schitt’s Creek was the most-watched show for the week of Apr. 5-11 accounting for seven of the top 10 on-demand episodes, with the finale and special ranking at #1 and #2, respectively.
Anne with an E fans aren’t giving up their campaign fighting for renewal of the cancelled CBC/Netflix co-production. As recently as last weekend, fans had #cbcisoverparty trending in Canada. They’ve also been inundating the comments on CBC News stories and swarmed this week’s Netflix earnings call on YouTube. A petition on change.org has drawn more than 285,000 signatures. In light of the fan effort, the public broadcaster has issued a new statement reaffirming that the L.M. Montgomery adaptation won’t be renewed: “CBC and Netflix have been thrilled to bring the quintessentially Canadian story of Anne with an E to viewers around the world. We’re thankful to producers Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier and to the talented cast and crew for their incredible work in sharing Anne’s story with a new generation. We hope fans of the show love this final season as much as we do, and that it brings a satisfying conclusion to Anne’s journey. And while we appreciate the outpouring of support from fans of the show, Netflix and CBC agreed that season three of Anne with an E would be the last one.”
Thunderbird Entertainment Group animated series, The Last Kids on Earth, saw its Season 2 premiere Apr. 17 on Netflix. Produced by Atomic Cartoons, Thunderbird’s kids and family division, the second season consists of 10 new episodes that will stream in 28 languages in 190 countries. Based on the best-selling book series of the same name by Max Brallier, the series follows 13-year-old Jack Sullivan and a band of suburban middle schoolers who live in a decked-out tree house, play video games, gorge themselves on candy, and battle zombies in the aftermath of the monster apocalypse. The star-studded voice cast expands in the new season, including Mark Hamill, Rosario Dawson, Catherine O’Hara, Keith David, Bruce Campbell, Garland Whitt, Montse Hernandez and Charles Demers, in addition to Nick Wolfhard as the voice of lead character Jack Sullivan. The series has also spawned a global toy and merchandise line, developed with JAKKS Pacific Inc. and Cyber Group Studios, that launched online and at select retailers earlier this year. Retail chain Hot Topic also recently debuted a “print-on-demand” t-shirt line. Thunderbird is in production with Outright Games on a video game based on the intellectual property (IP), scheduled to debut in 2021.
Wayne Gretzky will join Ron MacLean to relive some of the biggest games in Stanley Cup Finals history. Along with other special guests, The Great One will share stories and memories during NHL Classics: Special Edition this Saturday, Apr. 25 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW, and on radio on Sportsnet 590 The FAN (Toronto), Sportsnet 960 The FAN (Calgary), and Sportsnet 650 (Vancouver). Part II airs next Saturday, May 2. Part of Sportsnet’s NHL Classics: Best of Seven Series, the network is bringing hockey fans back in time to relive the country’s most unforgettable best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series, featuring every Canadian team, through May 9.
TSN is reliving some of the most memorable bonspiels in recent history with Curling Encore Sundays, highlighting dramatic finishes from the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Tim Hortons Brier, Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, and World Women’s and Men’s Curling Championships. The upcoming broadcast schedule includes Ron Burgundy joining the TSN Curling broadcast crew for the opening game of the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings and a tribute to celebrated curler Jennifer Jones.
hayu, the all-reality, ad-free subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, is now available to Rogers Ignite TV customers. Subscribers will have access to hayu’s full catalogue of over 7,000 episodes of reality TV, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, The Real Housewives of New York, Top Chef and highly anticipated documentary, Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project. The majority of shows are available on hayu the same day they premiere on TV. Until May 21, Ignite TV customers that sign up for hayu will receive the first two months free.
Hollywood Suite is now being offered to Cogeco customers in Quebec, including its four HD channels of curated, commercial-free movies, as well as Hollywood Suite On Demand, and the Hollywood Suite GO streaming app. Joining Cogeco’s Ontario TV markets, Hollywood Suite will now be available in Quebec on channels 705–708 (TiVO & Legacy). Quebec subscribers can check out the channel on 30-day free preview until May 21.
Toon-A-Vision has partnered with Cogeco to make the channel available free to all Cogeco customers. As of Apr. 22, Toon-A-Vision is available on channel 729. Its programming is divided into three age segments, The Lagoon (ages 2-6), EH Vast (ages 6-12) and T@Night (age 12+). It carries popular shows including Talking Tom, YuGiOh! and Horrid Henry, in addition to originals like Bat Pat, Ghosts of Time, My Goldfish is Evil, ABC Monsters and Mia the Mouse. Toon-A-Vision, which launched in Fall 2018, is headquartered in Dartmouth, NS.