March 2007

Is anyone else sick to death of the subway ads featuring John Lovitz in masterpiece theatre?? I will admit, at the start of the hockey season i still enjoyed eating subway sandwiches and laughed out loud at this clown from hollywood selling sandwiches and making fun of the “amateur” theatre troupe they hired in. But after a gruelling season where my own team isn’t doing nearly as well as they should be (the maple leafs are a bunch of bums), I must admit that every face off that brings an ad break makes me wretch when i think of buying a sub from subway as a second intermission snack.

when will the NHL warrant its own ads much like the NFL does or the NBA?? Will the Stanley Cup Playoffs give me a respite?? If theres anyone from subway subs and the HNIC ad agency there, tell the powers that be that unless you start showing more varied commercials i will never eat another one of your sandwiches again!

So i want everyone to know that my picks for the Junos this year are k-os and nelly furtado. K-OS should win because he is all about real hip-hop and that kind of musical genious of his should never be ignored. Nelly Furtado should win because she has still somehow retained a place in Canada even though she has absolutely blown away the American market. And why should she go big down south? That is the sign of a great artist – she can show her bod off on the music videos but still sing with the best of them at the awards shows.

I Hope you are all voting the same as me!!! or are you?

OK Really, who watches Coronation Street on CBC??

Are we as Canadians still so colonial minded that our idea of an ideal after-dinner soap opera is to watch some down and out neighbourhood in the slums of urban England go through their sopping pub-splattered woes on television?

Although I’m not a fan of American culture on our tv airwaves any more than I’m a fan of British culture on our tv airwaves, why can’t we as Canadians come up with our own gritty soap operas that revolve around life in Canada?? Perhaps the only reason that this soap still has a place on the CBC is because of those first- generation migrants who still dream of their time back in the urban morass of Manchester or Liverpool, or who just want to follow characters that have been on TV since the airwaves were invented.

Are our own Canadian stories and accents not enough to make a drama from? Until we have our own serious soap operas that are proudly broadcast to the nation, we will always be a little cultural also-ran in the big picture. Importing content to build up canadian advertising dollars will never be worth it, because our soap opera starlets will have to move to Hollywood to make their break! Lets open up suburban Mississauga or Kanata or Laval for the real soap operas that we can relate to.

Maggie Grace – who played Shannon Rutherford on Lost is to star in a new action movie Taken with Liam Neeson. French writer-director Luc Besson is writing and producing the film, and French cinematographer Pierre Morel is the director.

Other Lost actors have moved into the film industry with Matthew Fox starring in We Are Marshall and Smokin’ Aces, and Ian Somerhalder starring in Pulse.

OK everybody, I know that now the movie has come out you don’t feel the need to watch us anymore, but just think about it for a second, and imagine what it is that makes you proud to be Canadian. Now, especially for us who have spent any time living in other countries, I think we forget that being Canadian is not just about watching the good ol’ hockey game or knowing the words to Stompin’ Tom songs, its actually about making fun of ourselves and making sure that everybody has a leg up – that the denizens of the trailer park can still have a place in our society, that our rum n’ cokes will never spill out, and that there will always be another economic opportunity waiting for us to make our humble lifestyle into something a bit more flashy.

Now, if I personally had nothing better to worry about than winterizing my car or finding a way to spend the colder months in jail, how much better off would I be?? Obviously, the Boys are not role models for the youth of canad, but they certainly represent the freedom and the glory and the strength that our great anthem sings about – The True North Strong and Free!! Maybe we should stop thinking about which suburb we want to buy our homes in and just tune out to that American dream of two cars, big screen tvs, and holidays in the Carribbean. Can’t we already afford our rum n’ coke and don’t we already know how to follow the puck around on a dim and fuzzy tv-set??

I wish I was a trailer park boy.

Ok, So I know that Don Cherry has been a Canadian icon since the time of John A. MacDonald, but really, when is this over-the-hill coach going to retire from the Coaches Corner section of our beloved Hockey Night In Canada? The CBC is advertising a new, revamped Hockey Night in Canada crew, but is it not a little bit sad that the only super star the CBC can attract is a washed up and racist old coach from the 1970s??

I grew up with Grapes and his Rock Em Sock Em hockey just like most other hockey fans in the country, but I just can’t imagine that there aren’t any other edgy and interesting hockey commentators to make Ron MacLean’s job as straight guy interesting. Why not get Bubbles or Ricky or Julian from the Trailer Park Boys? At least then we would know that our hockey commentators are really just entertainers.

Here’s a cool site for Lost fans to check out – if you want to eat like the folk on the Island – print out some labels and have some fun!!

Dharma Initiative Ration Labels.

Corner Gas Draws 2 Million in Record Setting Season Finale; “Dream Team” Story Department Unveiled as CTV Announces Production Order for Corner Gas Season V

– All-star collection of comedic writers now set for Season V –
– 19 new episodes begin production this spring –

Toronto, ON (March 13, 2007) – Last night’s highly anticipated season finale of Corner Gas drew a season-high 2 million viewers, the most successful season finale to date and the second largest audience ever for Canada’s #1 comedy. For CTV, the big-buzz-finale capped another memorable year for Corner Gas, which charted an astonishing 67 per cent audience growth since its season premiere last September. The series finishes its 19-episode run with an average audience of 1.52 million viewers, reaching as high as #16 on Canada’s Top 20 list of most watched programs. For the fourth consecutive year, Corner Gas remains television’s #1 comedy (Canadian or American) and the most watched Canadian scripted series (see “The Ratings” below for a complete ratings summary). The memorable finale will encore Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on The Comedy Network and is available on demand on The CTV Broadband Network at CTV.ca.

With another successful season in the record books, CTV today confirmed to series producers a full 19-episode production order for a 5th season of Corner Gas. Production crews are now gearing up for a May, 2007 return to their Saskatchewan-based sets and soundstages. With their return, Corner Gas remains the only network comedy series to be entirely based and shot in Saskatchewan.

Armed with the new production order, Corner Gas executive producers Brent Butt, David Storey and Virginia Thompson today unveiled their Season V story department, a six-person team that now stands as the most formidable creative lineup the series has ever boasted. The newly assembled “dream-team” story department features:

Brent Butt – star/creator/writer/director/executive producer
Kevin White – supervising producer/writer (showrunner)
Mark Farrell – producer/writer
Norm Hiscock – consulting producer/writer
Gary Pearson – story editor/writer
Andrew Carr – story editor/writer
In addition to signing on the Emmy Award winning Norm Hiscock (Saturday Night Live, King Of The Hill, Kids In The Hall) and the highly acclaimed Gary Pearson (MadTV, This Hour Has 22 Minutes), the executive producing team today appointed Corner Gas veteran Kevin White as series show-runner. Together with star/creator/director/co-executive producer Brent Butt, producer/writer Mark Farrell (The Newsroom, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and story editor/writer Andrew Carr (Comics), it’s a virtual all-star collection of Canada’s most prolific comedy writers (See – “Addendum: The Season V Corner Gas Story Department” for bios on each).

“Congratulations to the entire Corner Gas creative team, cast and crew who together, continue to define the comedy genre in Canada,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the Media Group. “Like its legions of fans who make a weekly appointment with the series, we look forward to finding out what’s in store for the residents of Dog River in Season 5.”

“I haven’t been this excited about starting a season since we went into development on Season 1,” said Butt. “We had our first writers meeting in Toronto and we just sat around laughing ourselves sick. As immature and obnoxious as that may sound, it really bodes well for scripts.”

“Building a team of this calibre was an exhilarating experience,” said Executive Producer Virginia Thompson. “There is so much mutual respect among these writers for their individual achievements and bodies of work. It’s going to make for a spectacular Season 5 of Corner Gas.”

The Ratings – Last Night
With 2 million viewers, the Corner Gas season finale charted 29 per cent more viewers than its season-to-date average.
It won the 8-8:30 time-period with 40% more viewers than House (Global, 1.4M, 8-9 p.m. ET).
Corner Gas outperformed the simulcast airing of 24 (Global/Fox, 9 p.m. ET) by 45 percent.
It also earned a statistical tie with CSI: Miami and together are the co-winners of the night. The Corner Gas lead in also provided CTV’s Robson Arms with its highest ever audience (747,000).
The Ratings – This Season
With 19 episodes now in the history books, Corner Gas finishes its fourth season:
With a 19-episode average of 1.52 million viewers,
Finishing as high as #16 on Canada’s Top 20 list of most-watched programs,
The only scripted series to earn a place in the Top 20,
As Canada’s #1 comedy (Canadian or U.S.),
With 67 per cent growth since it debuted in September, 2006
Corner Gas averaged 33 per cent more total viewers than the next most-watched comedy (up 33 per cent vs. The Simpsons on Global, up 34 per cent vs. Little Mosque on the Prairie on CBC).
The Ratings – The Series
Monday’s finale marked the series 69th consecutive million-plus episode, since its launch in January, 2004.
Last night’s finale was the second time the series has reached the 2-million mark, second only to the Season 3 Christmas Special, “Merry Gasmas”, which pulled in 2.2 million viewers (BBM).
In its four-year run, no Canadian or U.S comedy series has been more popular in Canada.
Addendum – The Season V Corner Gas Story Department:

BRENT BUTT – star/creator/director/executive producer/writer
Brent Butt has been thrilling audiences across the country with his depiction of small-town life for over 15 years. He has been a regular on the Just For Laughs TV show, as well as other programs on A&E, HBO, CBC, CTV, Global, and The Comedy Network. His one-hour Comedy Now! special earned him a Gemini Nomination in the category of “Best Comedy Performance”. He was named “Best Male Stand-Up’ at the 2001 Canadian Comedy Awards and was subsequently selected to represent his country on the World Comedy Tour in Australia. He followed that by hosting the “Just For Laughs – Asian Tour” in Singapore. His invitation to appear on the CBC 50th Anniversary Special entitled All-Star Comedy Homecoming secured his reputation as one of the funniest people in the country, as he performed alongside the most noted comedic minds from the past five decades of Canadian entertainment.

KEVIN WHITE – supervising producer/writer
Kevin White adds writer to his supervising producer credit for Corner Gas and was formerly the show’s executive story editor. He is also the head writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes and his stand-up material was featured in his own episode of Comics. White has won a Canadian Screenwriting Award for Best Comedy Writing (2002) and has received four Gemini nominations in the same category.

MARK FARRELL – producer/writer
Multi-talented comedian Mark Farrell returns as producer of Corner Gas and has directed four episodes of the hit comedy series. A five-time Canadian Screenwriting Award-winner and a seven-time Gemini Award-winner, Farrell’s writing credits include numerous episodes of Corner Gas, along with episodes of Made in Canada, the Rick Mercer special Talking to Americans and episodes of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, where he also serves as an Executive Producer. As an actor, Farrell appeared in the comedy series Married Life and The Newsroom, the pilot episode of Corner Gas and in the feature film Snow Falling on Cedars.

NORM HISCOCK – consulting producer/writer
Norm Hiscock returns home after getting his start as a writer for the critically acclaimed sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall, where he served as the show’s head writer for its last two seasons and helped co-write the Kids in the Hall film, Brain Candy. Hiscock’s writing credits also include three seasons on Saturday Night Live and almost six seasons as a writer for the animated series, King of the Hill, where he served as the show’s Co-Executive Producer for the last two seasons. Hiscock also won an Emmy Award and an Annie Award for “Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television Production” for his work on the series.

Recently, Hiscock worked as a consulting producer on the CTV series Alice, I Think. He also developed, wrote and executive produced two pilots, The Altar Boy Gang and The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show, which is currently airing on Comedy Central in the U.S. He currently has a film in development with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

GARY PEARSON – story editor/writer
Gemini Award-nominated writer Gary Pearson brings his impressive list of writing credits to the Corner Gas writing team. For three seasons, Pearson worked as a writer on the news satire series, This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Other writing credits include Mad TV, Train 48, Just For Laughs with Ryan Belleville, Just For Laughs with Russell Peters, 50 Years of CBC Satire with Leslie Nielsen and The Juno Awards. Pearson was also a member of the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated comedy troupe “Chumps” and starred in CBC Radio’s Chumps Without A Net for two seasons. On television, Pearson appeared in episodes of Kids in the Hall, The Newsroom, Sketchcom, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Lissen Missy, Jonathan Cross’s Canada, Goosebumps, ENG, Sister Mary Explains it All and The War Next Door.

ANDREW CARR – story editor/writer
Andrew Carr has been a part of Corner Gas since the beginning, working as a writer and story editor for the past four seasons. Carr got his start in stand-up comedy and has over fifteen years of stand-up experience, he’s performed all across North America and toured with Brent Butt, who brought him to the Corner Gas team. Carr’s television credits include appearances on Comics, Animal Miracles and John Doe. His radio credits include Definitely Not the Opera and Madly off in All Directions.

Entitled “Gopher It,” the season final episode picks up as Dog River is run rampant with prairie dogs – or gophers – among other alarming events. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper becomes the second PM since Diefenbaker to visit Dog River, he wades into a local controversy which he blames on the previous Liberal government. As the episode unfolds, Brent closes shop, Lacey moves home, and the fate of Hank, Oscar, Emma, Wanda, Karen and Davis are put into question – not to mention Corner Gas itself. But in the end, Hank wakes up from what was one big bad dream and all is well again in Dog River.

Corner Gas is produced in association with CTV by Prairie Pants Productions, comprised of Virginia Thompson (Incredible Story Studio, renegadepress.com) of Vérité Films and 335 Productions, a partnership of Brent Butt and David Storey (Blackfly, The Seán Cullen Show). Louise Clarke is CTV’s Director, Western Independent Production. Brent Haynes is Director of Programming for The Comedy Network. Ed Robinson is Senior-Vice President, Comedy and Variety Programming, CTV Inc. Susanne Boyce is President, CTV Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group.

Production Begins on CTV Original Movie To Serve and Protect: Tragedy at Mayerthorpe (Working Title)

– Henry Czerny and Brian Markinson star in two-hour telefilm –

Production will begin next week on a CTV original movie based on the circumstances leading up to the tragic deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, AB, it was announced today by CTV in association with SEVEN24 Films (Formerly Alberta Filmworks Inc.) and Slanted Wheel Entertainment. To Serve and Protect: Tragedy at Mayerthorpe (working title) is based on the tragic events of March 3, 2005 that made national headlines and led to the RCMP’s greatest loss of life in a single day in over 100 years.

Produced with the cooperation of the surviving families of the tragedy, the film will undergo production in Calgary and the southern Alberta towns of Irricana and in and around Cochrane beginning March 8 through April 3. To Serve and Protect: Tragedy at Mayerthorpe stars Henry Czerny (The Tudors,Pink Panther, Clear and Present Danger) and Brian Markinson (Charlie Wilson’s War, Eight Days to Live, Angels in America).

To Serve and Protect: Tragedy at Mayerthorpe recounts the events of that day two years ago when four RCMP officers were ambushed and gunned down by a heavily-armed, habitual criminal named James Roszko (Markinson) on his farm near Mayerthorpe, Alberta. As an angry nation mourned, a picture began to emerge of a terrorized community and an RCMP force frustrated in its attempts to bring Roszko to justice. In the movie, Czerny plays a fictional character named Corporal Alex Stuart that is the protagonist of the story.

“We want to tell this story in honour of the four men who gave their lives in the line of duty,” said Executive Producer Jon Slan. “The creative team engaged in an extensive consultation process with the families of the slain officers and the RCMP, to ensure the accuracy of the story.”

“Having the input of the families in undertaking this project was paramount and we couldn’t have gone forward without their confidence in us,” added Executive Producer Jordy Randall.

“We are committed to presenting an honest portrayal of the incident at Mayerthorpe with the hope of furthering discussion about the events that led to this tragedy,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV’s President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group.

To Serve and Protect: Tragedy at Mayerthorpe is executive produced by Tom Cox (Brokeback Mountain, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and Jon Slan (Wyatt Earp, Kissinger & Nixon). Executive Producer/Producer is Jordy Randall (Brokeback Mountain, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and Rachel Rafelman (Plague City:SARS in Toronto, Alice I Think) is co-executive producer. The screenplay is written by Andrew Wreggitt (Shades of Black, One Dead Indian) and will be directed by Ken Girotti (3 Lbs, 24).

Director of Photography is Michael Storey, (Tagged: The Jonathan Wamback Story, Murder in the Hamptons) and John Blackie (Friend of the Family, Agent of Influence) is the production designer. Kathleen Meek is CTV’s production executive overseeing the movie. Tecca Crosby is Acting Senior Vice-President, Dramatic Programming for CTV. Susanne Boyce is President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group.

To Serve and Protect: Tragedy at Mayerthorpe is developed and produced by SEVEN24 Films and Slanted Wheel Entertainment in association with CTV. It is produced with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund, created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cable Industry, the COGECO Program Development Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film & Television Tax Credits and Government of Alberta, Alberta Film Development Program.

SEVEN24 Films (formerly Alberta Filmworks Inc.) is an independent Canadian film and television production company based in Calgary. In its 20 year history, the company has produced over 160 hours of high quality, prime time dramatic programming. SEVEN24 Films’ movies and series have been broadcast and distributed throughout the world, and have garnered over 100 Canadian and international nominations and awards.

Slanted Wheel Entertainment is an innovative film and television company dedicated to the acquisition and adaptation of literary properties and original published works for the big and small screen. In the four years of its existence, the company has accumulated an impressive list of film and television productions, including the multi-award-winning MOW Plague City: SARS in Toronto, and the half-hour comedy series Alice, I Think. Slanted Wheel has several feature films scheduled for production in 2007 as well as television series and movies in development.

We’ve all wondered it for awhile now – probably ever since Jack’s father knocked on the door back in Australia – but now it is definitely in the open! E! News correspondent Kristen slipped up by slipping us the news that Jack and Claire are siblings!! Now we get to think about how this will be played out in future episodes, what it means exactly and what sort of storylines could follow on… Exciting stuff!