February 2007

After a cross-country search for Canada’s next opera star, six finalists have been handpicked to take part in a rigorous opera boot camp in Toronto.

The six opera hopefuls, hailing from Quebec to Calgary, are Paul Abelha (construction worker, Hamilton), Elaine Jean Brown (part-time model, Calgary), Robyn Hefferton (activist / entrepreneur, Calgary), Phillip Holmes (student, Norway Bay, QC), Donna Jacobs (day care worker, South Shore, QC) and Laura Landauer (Celine Dion and Cher impersonator, Toronto). The candidates vary in background and experience, but they all share the same goal; to be the next “Bathroom Diva”!

In the series premiere that aired Saturday, February 10 on Bravo!, judges Mary Lou Fallis, Tom Diamond, Liz Upchurch and Daniel Lichti audition wannabe singers in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Halifax. The six finalists are then thrown into opera boot camp, an exhaustive three-week crash course where they receive intensive voice training, acting technique, stage fighting and more than 12-hours-a-week of one-on-one coaching with opera’s finest. Antics ensue, flirtations blossom, conflicts arise – and divas are born.

Can Laura shake her Celine Dion-isms and find her own voice? Mother Elaine vs. daughter Robyn – who will make it further? Does Phil need a “Henry Higgins” to polish his country-boy ways? Can Donna bolster her self-confidence and find her inner diva? Will Paul build his dream and leave the construction site behind?

At the end of each episode, the remaining competitors showcase their newly-polished operatic skills at various venues in Toronto, including the Bravo! Rehearsal Hall, the Robert Gill Theatre and the historic Elgin Theatre. The judge’s criteria for selecting a winner is not only based on the protégés’ operatic singing abilities, but on their facility to learn and understand a new language such as Italian; how well they perform theatricality; and, above all, their ability to apply the coaches’ advice and critique.

Bathroom Divas culminates in the final episode with one singer selected as the winner and awarded the ultimate prize – a debut performance at The Orpheum Theatre with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in front of an audience of thousands.

Bathroom Divas airs Saturdays at 9pm ET / 6pm PT, with encore presentations Tuesdays at 8pm ET / 5pm PT.

When I hear that a new show is much anticipated in the media, it is too often because it is something new along the same old lines. Is everyone not tired of CSI from every country in the U.S.? Now I could understand if they made a CSI Vancouver or force the pansy Survivors to suffer through The Coldness of Baffin Island, but am I really the only one who gets sick and tired of the same old same old from American based TV??

I must admit that I am a huge fan of the CBC already, but really, its about time we get to watch a show that is unique and different – Little Mosque on the Praire instantly attracted my attention because I crave new TV!! I watched the first episode and thought it was hilarious – not only does it remind me of my Muslim friends from University in Ottawa, but it also reminds me of the hilarious adventures that some of my multicultural friends experienced at my high school and in the small businesses of Mount Forest, the ultimate in small town Ontario.

Comedy on TV can be so formulaic. It is up to our Canadian humourists to waft some perfume below the noses of the nation – we have been laughing at ourselves for decades (Rick Mercer, Royal Canadian Air Farce, the Frantics, Bob and Doug MacKenzie) and even exporting our comedy to the US (Mike Myers, Jim Carrey) and soon enough everybody will realize that our Canadian comedy is far more intelligent and witty than anything else produced in the world.

And what better focus for our comedy than multiculturalism itself?? The people who have come to Canada over the past few decades have just as much to laugh at in their situation because they have come into contact with some of the most hilarious people on the planet – Johnny Canuck, the typical northern hoser – how would you relate to the -40 C cold or the near endless winters if you were from Cairo or Islamabad or Bombay??

Little Mosque on the Prairie is a breath of fresh air – I can’t wait to watch the continuation of this great series – because it represents a change in the type of TV that I hate!

Woohoo! Who loves SpongeBob SquarePants?!! Soon it will be possible to join SpongeBob off the TV and in his own world! Nickelodeon has signed a deal to set up a massive adventure park in western Germany, dedicated only to Spongebob, his pet snail Gary, and their friends under the sea.

Read more.

It’s exciting news for anyone that enjoyed Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave! Shaun the Sheep has his very own TV show, to be broadcasted in the UK on CBBC later this year. The series has been sold to 72 countries, so keep your fingers crossed that Canada is included and we can watch Shaun on his farm and the adventures that follow…

Read more.

Monday 9:00 PM and Wednesday 8:00 PM, from January 15

LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE is a new comedy from CBC Television about a small Muslim community in the prairie town of Mercy, many of whose residents are wary of their new, more “exotic” neighbours. The series takes an unabashedly funny look at the congregation of a rural mosque and their attempt to live in harmony with the often skeptical, even down right suspicious, residents of their little prairie town. The sitcom reveals that, although different, we are all surprisingly similar when it comes to family, love, the generation gap and our attempts to balance our secular and religious lives.

LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE premieres on Tuesday, January 9 at 8:30 p.m. on CBC Television following The Rick Mercer Report. An encore presentation will air on Wednesday, January 10 at 8 p.m. Beginning Monday, January 15, the much anticipated series moves to its regular Monday night timeslot at 9 p.m. and Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

Ahoy Canada! CTV Snaps Up Mark Burnett’s Pirate Master: The Adventure Begins in Second NATPE Deal

– Swashbuckling Reality Series Joins CTV’s Blockbuster Summer Line-Up –

Toronto, ON (February 7, 2007)– In its second straight deal with Mark Burnett Productions, CTV has snapped up Canadian broadcast rights to Pirate Master: The Adventure Begins, a swashbuckling new reality series set to debut this summer, it was announced today. The deal was initiated at NATPE’s Las Vegas market in January by CTV President of Programming, Susanne Boyce and comes on the heels of CTV’s acquisition of On The Lot, also from Mark Burnett Productions. Pirate Master: The Adventure Begins is the latest addition to what is shaping up to be a treasure chest of blockbuster summer series on CTV, including On The Lot, Canadian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance? The high-stakes, high-seas adventure will also debut on CBS when the network wraps up Burnett’s Survivor: Fiji, the 14th edition of the series.

“Pirate Master promises to be jolly good summer fun. It’s complete escapism and will make for rollicking summer viewing,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group.

“With high seas, high adventure and high stakes, our 16 pirates will decipher an old treasure map that leads them to a mysterious island,” said Mark Burnett. “To recover the booty, they will have to work together – but are always aware that in the cutthroat world of pirates, nobody is ever safe. Pirate Master is the type of adventure reality competition that our company was built upon.”

In Pirate Master: The Adventure Begins, 16 ordinary people living aboard a real pirate ship compete in an extraordinary Caribbean adventure in pursuit of hidden treasure – a bounty with a total value of one million dollars. Each week, one competitor is “set adrift” from the pirate ship that they have called home until only three remain in the hunt for the ultimate treasure of all.

Before that, the 16 contestants will compete to find hidden treasure while uncovering the secrets of a mysterious Caribbean island. Equipped with just a map and compass as their guide, the 16 pirates will embark on intense, physical expeditions as they use their wits to solve clues and riddles to find the treasure.

Casting for the series is currently underway and production will begin soon in the Caribbean. A host for the series will be announced at a later date.

W-FIVE Uncovers CN Involvement in a String of Freight Train Derailments

The romantic image of the Canadian railway is long gone. Over the past few years a string of major freight train derailments has devastated some communities throughout Canada. All too often the trains involved in the accidents have the familiar CN logo – Canadian National Railway. In a new episode, W-FIVE exposes CN’s shocking track record and investigates how the Canadian icon may have sacrificed rail safety. W-FIVE airs Saturday February 10 at 7 p.m. on CTV (check local listings).

Since new de-regulation rules took effect giving railway companies greater control of safety measures, CN trains have been coming off the tracks in alarming numbers. These train derailments have had devastating results including the evacuation of communities, polluting rivers and lakes, as well as the loss of life. W-FIVE’s Senior Reporter Victor Malarek talks to victims and railway insiders.

In the second half of the program, W-FIVE’s Sandie Rinaldo follows a British Columbia man halfway around the world on a quest for a new life. Facing up to an eight-year wait for a kidney transplant in Canada, he sets off on a controversial journey to buy a kidney from a live donor in Pakistan.

With an ongoing commitment to covering tough, relevant stories in all their shades of gray, W-FIVE continues its 41st season of investigative journalism. Hosted by CTV National News’ Lloyd Robertson and Sandie Rinaldo, the award-winning series is the most-watched current affairs program in Canada. Malcolm Fox is Executive Producer and Anton Koschany is Senior Producer of W-FIVE, a presentation of CTV News. Robert Hurst is President of CTV News.

CTV, Canada’s largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It has the number-one national newscast, CTV National News With Lloyd Robertson, and is the number-one choice for prime-time viewing. CTV owns 21 conventional television stations across Canada and has interests in 15 specialty channels, including the number-one Canadian specialty channel, TSN. CTV is owned by CTVglobemedia, Canada’s premier multi-media company. More information about CTV may be found on the company Web site at www.ctv.ca .

-CTV –

Toronto, ON (February 6, 2007) – The drum roll has begun! At the JUNO Awards press conference held today in Toronto, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced the nominations for the 2007 JUNO Awards, Canada’s Music Awards, recognizing the year’s best in the Canadian recording industry. The celebration will reach its pinnacle during Juno Weekend when winners will be announced. The 2007 JUNO Awards will air on CTV, Sunday, April 1, from the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, SK.

“This is music at its best!” says Melanie Berry, CARAS President. “The diversity and calibre of home-grown talent represented across all 39 categories truly exemplifies the unparalleled artistry of Canada’s musicians and the distinction of the JUNO Awards.”

Leading the 2007 JUNO Award nominations are rock group Billy Talent, along with recording artists k-os and Nelly Furtado, all earning five nods each. Rock sensation Billy Talent shook Canadian audiences with the release of their debut self-titled album winning three JUNO Awards to-date. Continuing their red-hot success with their sophomore double-platinum album, Billy Talent II, the band is nominated for 2007 JUNO Awards in the categories of Single of the Year for “Devil In A Midnight Mass,” Album of the Year (sponsored by CRIA), Group of the Year, Rock Album of the Year as well as Video of the Year (sponsored by VideoFACT).

k-os, a nine-time JUNO Award nominee, swept all three of his nominations at the 2005 JUNO Awards winning Single of the Year, Rap Recording of the Year and Video of the Year. This year, Canada’s platinum-selling hip hop star is nominated in five categories for his critically acclaimed album Atlantis: Hymns For Disco that includes the hit single, “Sunday Morning.” He receives nods for Single of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Pop Album of the Year, Jack Richardson Producer of the Year and Video of the Year (sponsored by VideoFACT).

Also receiving five JUNO Award nominations is Canadian and international superstar and Host of this year’s JUNO Awards, Nelly Furtado. Winner of five JUNO Awards to-date, she is nominated for the 2007 Juno™ Fan Choice Award (presented by Doritos), vying with fellow Canadian recording stars, Gregory Charles, Michael Bublé, Nickelback and Sarah McLachlan. Nelly is also nominated for Single of the Year for “Promiscuous” featuring Timbaland, as well as Album of the Year (sponsored by CRIA), Artist of the Year and Pop Album of the Year for her hit album Loose.

Breakout artists nominated for New Artist of the Year (sponsored by FACTOR and Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters) include Canadian Idol’s Eva Avila and Melissa O’Neil, Neverending White Lights, Patrick Watson and Tomi Swick. This year’s nominees for New Group of the Year (sponsored by FACTOR and Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters) include Evans Blue, Idle Sons, Jets Overhead, Mobile and Stabilo.

Québec recording luminary Gregory Charles, mentioned earlier for a Juno™ Fan Choice (presented by Doritos) nomination, is also up for Album of the Year (sponsored by CRIA) and Artist of the Year.

Other triple-nominees include Hedley (Album of the Year [sponsored by CRIA], Group of the Year and Music DVD of the Year); Malajube (Alternative Album of the Year, Francophone Album of the Year and CD/DVD Artwork Design of the Year [sponsored by Ever-Reddy Packaging]); and Sarah Harmer (Songwriter of the Year, Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Music DVD of the Year).

Alexisonfire is nominated for Group of the Year and CD/DVD Artwork Design of the Year (sponsored by Ever-Reddy Packaging) for their album, Crisis Ltd. Edition. Rockers Three Days Grace will also contend for Album of the Year (sponsored by CRIA) and Group of the Year.

Multiple JUNO Award winners, Diana Krall and Sam Roberts received two nominations each this year: Diana Krall for Artist of the Year and Vocal Jazz Album of the Year; Sam Roberts for Rock Album of the Year and Video of the Year (sponsored by VideoFACT) for the single “Bridge To Nowhere.”

Other artists receiving two nominations include Chantal Kreviazuk, David Braid, Garnet Armstrong, Harry Somers, Jim Cuddy, Loreena McKennitt, Mobile, Nickelback, Pierre Lapointe, Ron Sexsmith, Sarah McLachlan, Tomi Swick and Canadian Music Hall of Fame members, The Tragically Hip.

Heavy-hitters for this year’s JUNO Award International Album of the Year nominations include Dixie Chicks, Il Divo, Justin Timberlake, Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

A complete list of 2007 JUNO Award nominees, including biographies can be found online at www.junoawards.ca.

Broadcast in High-Definition and 5.1 Surround Sound, The 2007 JUNO Awards will be broadcast for the sixth year in a row on CTV, the official broadcast partner of the JUNO Awards. Since CTV joined forces with CARAS in 2001, the JUNO Awards has traveled across Canada, bringing a live, electrified stadium show to million of Canadians. Since going live from St. John’s in 2002, CTV has broadcast The JUNO Awards from Ottawa (2003), Edmonton (2004), Winnipeg (2005) and Halifax (2006).

In April 2006, 1.7 million Canadians watched Pamela Anderson host The 2006 JUNO Awards, 26 per cent more viewers than watched The Grammy Awards, making it the most-watched music awards program of the year. Previous hosts of The JUNO Awards include Brent Butt (2005), Alanis Morissette (2004), Shania Twain (2003) and Barenaked Ladies (2002).

Wednesdays 8:00 PM
Starting February 7

Lost Survivor Guide Brings Viewers Up to Speed in One-Hour Review Special –

The wait is over: Lost returns to the CTV schedule this Wednesday, Feb. 7 in its new 8 p.m. ET timeslot on CTV (check local listings). Following a 12-week hiatus, the Emmy and Golden Globe winning series returns with 16 greatly-anticipated new episodes that promise to reveal answers and pose more questions. It’s a blockbuster night on CTV that also includes a Lost review episode, a new episode of American Idol, and the primetime drama debut of Nelly Furtado in CSI: New York.

n the winter season premiere, entitled “Not in Portland,” Jack is in command as the fate of Ben’s life literally rests in his hands. Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer find an ally in one of “The Others,” and Juliet endangers her standing when she makes a shocking decision. Following the death of Eko, Locke’s obsession to uncover the secrets of the island leads Sayid to believe that his intentions may not be in the best interests of his fellow survivors. Sun and Jin continue to celebrate their pregnancy – but is the child really Jin’s? Just as Charlie returns into the good graces of Claire and her baby, Aaron, Desmond drops a bombshell on him that could change the course of his life forever.

First Performers Announced: Billy Talent, Three Days Grace to Rock The 2007 JUNO Awards, April 1 on CTV

Full Ticket Information Revealed:
— 500 Juno Early Bird Ticket Packages Available Saturday, February 3 —
— Individual Seats On Sale Saturday, February 10 —

Toronto, ON (January 30, 2007) – The first two acts to perform on CTV’s upcoming 2007 JUNO Awards broadcast were announced today, together with full details surrounding ticket sales for Canada’s Music Awards, airing Sunday, April 1 from Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre. CTV together with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) confirmed that Billy Talent and Three Days Grace have been named to the performance line-up. The Canadian rock acts are hugely popular both here and around the world and have been rocketing up the Canadian Rock charts recently. (See “About Billy Talent” and “About Three Days Grace” below).

Today’s news follows the January 16th announcement that Nelly Furtado will host The 2007 JUNO Awards on CTV, the biggest awards night in Canada. More performance slots will be announced next Monday, February 5 on the eve of a Toronto media conference announcing the nominees for The 2007 JUNO Awards the following day on Tuesday, February 6.

Individual tickets for The 2007 JUNO Awards will go on sale Saturday, February 10 at 11 a.m. ET. Ticket prices (limit four per person) range from $80 to $150 each (plus applicable taxes, service charges and facility fees).

“Billy Talent and Three Days Grace aren’t just Canadian artists – they are international stars from Canada,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. “With their international success, landing these two groups is a great kick-off to what promises to be an exciting and eclectic JUNO Awards line-up.”
“We are very excited to welcome back to the JUNO Awards stage, Billy Talent and Three Days Grace, two amazing bands that rocked the 2004 JUNO Awards. We look forward to seeing what they have in store for us in Saskatoon!” said Melanie Berry, President of CARAS and an Executive Producer of the broadcast.

About Billy Talent
Toronto-based rockers Billy Talent (Warner Music Canada) confirmed today that they will interrupt their upcoming US Headlining Tour to appear on The 2007 JUNO Awards broadcast. Their self-titled major label debut in 2003 established the band as a pure fist-in-the-air rock n’ roll group. The album went triple platinum and garnered the band four Top 10 singles, one JUNO Award in 2004 for New Group of the Year (sponsored by FACTOR and Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters) and two more in 2005 (Album of the Year and Group of the Year). The band has toured Canada, Europe and the U.S. playing in renowned rock festivals such as Warped and the UK’s Reading and Leeds festivals. In June 2006, band members Aaron Solowoniuk, Benjamin Kowalewicz, Ian D’Sa and Jonathan Gallant released their sophomore album Billy Talent II. The album, fuelled by hit singles “Devil In A Midnight Mass,” “Red Flag” and “Fallen Leaves,” debuted at No. 1 in Canada and has since reached double platinum status. The group is currently in the midst of a major-market Canadian tour and recently announced it will headline a15-city U.S. tour in March and April, 2007.

About Three Days Grace
As confirmed today by the band, currently in the heart of Texas where they are in the midst of a mammoth U.S. tour, Three Days Grace (SONY BMG MUSIC (CANADA) INC.) will once again take to the stage at The 2007 JUNO Awards in Saskatoon, SK, having previously performed at the JUNO Awards in 2004. Since being nominated for New Group of the Year (sponsored by FACTOR and Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters) at The 2004 JUNO Awards and landing the Number 1 spot on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers Chart, Three Days Grace has gone nowhere but up. Their self-titled debut, Three Days Grace, rocked Canadian and U.S. charts and the album’s lead hit single, “I Hate Everything about You” reached No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 on the Canadian Mainstream, Alternative and Active Rock Charts. The band’s follow-up album, One-X, is on its way to double-platinum status with hit release singles “Animal I Have Become,” “Pain,” and “Never Too Late.” The band recently won Rock Single of the Year award at the Billboard Music Awards. TDG is comprised of Adam Gontier, Neil Sanderson, Barry Stock and Brad Walst.