Canwest's blog

Hold onto your cocktails, ladies, because the SliceTM spring schedule is overflowing with more Real Housewives than ever before.

Two bold new installments in the hit franchise and two new seasons of addictive favourites offer unapologetic, unabashed entertainment in true Real Housewives excess.

After much anticipation, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills begins Tuesday, April 5, kicking off the SliceTM spring schedule with a wealth of drama behind the luxuriant lifestyles of six star-studded “housewives.”

From the sunny city where the party never stops, The Real Housewives of Miami follows six of the most connected and influential women living life to the fullest, starting Saturday, April 30.

Returning this spring for a shameless sixth season is The Real Housewives of Orange County, followed by the second season spinoff from former Real Housewives of New York City star, Bethenny Frankel, Bethenny Ever After.

Viewers can catch up on past episodes of their favourite Real Housewives series online at Slice.ca/RealHousewives.

 

New Series

 

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Canadian Premiere)

Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning April 5

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills offers a glimpse inside the world of luxurious wealth and pampered privilege. These six women are in the center of it all and they have the mansions, the cars and the diamonds to prove it. From heiresses to entrepreneurs to a family of child actresses – this series delivers star power and drama. Featured on the series are: Adrienne Maloof, a savvy businesswoman with a family dynasty; Camille Grammer, a model/actress/dancer and ex-wife of Kelsey Grammer; Kim Richards, a former child actress, older sister to fellow housewife, Kyle Richards, and Aunt to Paris and Nicky Hilton; Kyle Richards, a sassy California native born into an acting family; Lisa Vanderpump, a witty Brit and the owner of two hot Beverly Hills restaurants; and Taylor Armstrong, the wife of a venture capitalist she knows how powerful men in Beverly Hills work.

 

The Real Housewives of Miami (Canadian Premiere)

Saturdays at 5pm ET/2pm PT beginning April 30

The Real Housewives franchise adds a unique flavour as the show goes inside this cultural hot spot.  The Real Housewives of Miami follows six of the most connected and influential women of Miami as they live their lives to the fullest in the city where the party never ends.  Featured on the series are: Glen Rice’s ex-wife, business owner Cristina Rice; Scottie Pippen’s wife, Larsa Pippen; magazine editor Alexia Echeverria; public relations expert Marysol Patton; attorney Roy Black’s wife Lea Black; and art dealer Adriana De Moura.

 

New Seasons

 

The Real Housewives of Orange County, Season 6 (Canadian Premiere)

Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning April 6

In the sixth season of the original series that started the hit franchise, Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Barney, Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino welcome new beautiful blonde, Peggy Tanous, a 41-year-old former model and now stay-at-home mom with poster girl good looks. After a tough financial year, the O.C. ladies are bouncing back and living lavishly once more, as the series goes behind the gates for a voyeuristic look at the scandalous truths, mending friendships, rocky marriages, sizzling romances, and ever-changing loyalties inside the wealthy Southern California suburb. Tamra also introduces the group to new gal-pal Fernanda Rocha, a 34-year-old, hot Brazilian lesbian fitness instructor.

 

Bethenny Ever After (Canadian Premiere)

Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning April 7

This is the second season of the series Bethenny Getting Married. Bethenny is back as her life goes into over-drive while she balances motherhood and becoming a real “Real Housewife,” all while juggling her career as an author and natural foods chef. In the first season she had the wedding and the baby, but now is it happily ever after? This New Yorker has a lot on her plate but when things get stressful she manages to handle it all with her entertaining wit and biting humour.

This spring Showcase entices viewers into the ultimate conspiracy theory with the new drama series XIII, starring Stuart Townsend (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Queen of the Damned).

The all-new suspense thriller centres on XIII (Townsend), a skilled and lethal former secret agent who can’t remember his past and sets out on a quest to uncover his true identity.

XIII premieres Wednesday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT exclusively on Showcase.

Hunted by a dark anti-government organization, XIII quickly realizes that the closer he gets to uncovering the riddle of his past life, the more complex and deadly his mission becomes. Alongside Townsend, XIII stars Aisha Tyler (24, CSI, Friends) as Jones, a top CIA operator, Virginie Ledoyen (The Beach) as Irina, a mercenary hired by the former U.S. President to track XIII, and Caterina Murino (Casino Royale) as Sam, XIII’s trustworthy ally and love interest.

The cast is rounded out by Greg Bryk (Saw V, Cra$h & Burn) as Amos, a national security officer, Stephen McHattie (Happy Town, 2012) as President Carrington and Ted Atherton (The Border) as Wally Sheridan, the former U.S. President and a possible traitor. Tom Berenger (Inception, Training Day) guest stars as Gerhardt, a mysterious European industrialist who wields power from the shadows.

“XIII delves into a genre previously uncharted by Showcase Originals. Its high-impact action, and remarkable performances from the cast result in an explosive series that continues to propel the channel’s reputation as a top destination for diverse dramatic entertainment,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media.

“Shot on location in Toronto and Paris, XIII is an ambitious production that delivers on all fronts. Filled with suspense, intrigue and outstanding performances, the audience is in for an action packed thrill ride,” said Jay Firestone, Executive Producer.

XIII was developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures and French production company, Euopacorp Television, the television division of Luc Besson’s Europacorp (La Femme Nikita). In addition to airing in Canada on Showcase, the series will air on Canal Plus in France.

The creative forces behind XIII include Prodigy Pictures’ Jay Firestone, Executive Producer, along with Cipango’s Edouard De Vésinne and Thomas Anargyros. Frederic Bruneel co-produced the series. Gil Grant (NCIS: Los Angeles, 24) wrote the pilot and is the series’ Showrunner and Executive Producer. Peter Mohan (Lost Girl, The Bridge) is the Co-Executive Producer for the series along with Damien Couvreur. The series is produced by Wanda Chaffey.

XIII is based on Jean Van Hamme’s popular graphic novel of the same name, which has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide since the first volume was published 25 years ago. Filmed in Toronto, the series features 13 one-hour episodes of high-octane action.

Jason Priestley (who stars in, directs and produces the international hit dark comedy Call Me Fitz) has signed on to direct one episode of the second season of HAVEN, as well as guest starring in a four-episode story arc.

HAVEN, Syfy’s original supernatural series from leading independent producer Entertainment One (eOne) is co-commissioned by Shaw Media in Canada and globally via Universal Networks International (UNI).

HAVEN will commence production on 13 episodes for season two in Nova Scotia on April 1, 2011 with an eye towards a Summer 2011 premiere.

Priestley will play “Chris Weekly,” a handsome but anti-social marine biologist who must deal with an affliction most would consider a blessing. He joins Emily Rose, who plays “Audrey Parker,” a former FBI agent with a knack for investigating the supernatural; Lucas Bryant, who plays “Nathan Wournos,” a handsome local cop with his own supernatural affliction; and Eric Balfour, who plays “Duke Crocker,” a local smuggler and reluctant aide in solving Haven’s troubles. HAVEN is based on “The Colorado Kid” from renowned author Stephen King. 

The creative team behind the second season of HAVEN includes Executive Producers John Morayniss (Hung, Hell on Wheels) and Noreen Halpern (Hung, Rookie Blue) from eOne who are joined by Lloyd Segan, Shawn Piller, Scott Shepherd (Stephen King’s The Dead Zone) and Matt McGuiness (Journeyman) as well as Sam Ernst & Jim Dunn (Stephen King’s The Dead Zone) who also developed the series.

After an outpouring of close to 45,000 applications, a cross-country call-back tour and a month-long filming process, the nation gets set to watch as Canadians from coast-to-coast put on their game faces on Wipeout Canada. The most-anticipated Canadian game show event of the year launches Sunday, April 3 at 8 p.m. only on TVtropolis.

Each week on Wipeout Canada, 20 daring and energetic contestants of all ages, shapes and sizes go head-to-head through four rounds of demanding but painfully hilarious obstacle courses. They tackle the big red balls, dizzy dummy, the sucker punch wall and the wipeout zone all for a weekly chance to win the coveted title of “Wipeout Canada Champion” and snatch the $50,000 grand prize. Wipeout Canada features specially themed episodes like “East vs. West,” “Beauty vs. Geek” and “Athletes.”

“From the moment we announced Wipeout Canada, the outpouring of enthusiasm from Canadians has been astonishing. To have such fanatical support before the series launches is a testament to Canadians’ appetite for entertaining and light-hearted programming,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media. “Now 260 Canadians from across the country – from Gooseberry Cove Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia – have the chance to showcase their heart, humour and determination, and put a uniquely Canadian spin on this wildly successful series.“

“We can’t wait for Canadian viewers to be part of all the laughs, spills and thrills of Wipeout Canada,” said Michael Geddes, President, Lone Eagle Entertainment. “The series was an absolute joy to produce and we’re so excited to show viewers all the big, made-for-TV personalities our country has to offer.”

Quick-witted Canadian TV veteran Jonathan Torrens (TV with TV’s Jonathan Torrens; Trailer Park Boys) and Canadian Comedy Award nominee, Ennis Esmer (Young People F*cking; The Listener) host the outrageously funny series, offering comical knee-jerk commentary. Actress and model Jessica Phillips (Deal or No Deal Canada; Being Erica) is stationed at the centre of all the action as co-host, providing on-site commentary and capturing contestant reactions direct from the course.

For Wipeout Canada enthusiasts clamouring for more spills and thrills, WipeoutCanada.com is the ultimate online source for exclusive extras from the series. The site boasts a multitude of bonus content, including host blogs and video featurettes, 260 detailed contestant Q&As and on-set video interviews, and a “Before & After” image gallery where fans can watch contestants transform from their cleanest to muddiest. The site also features a gallery that takes fans through the show’s four vigorous obstacle courses, a web series featuring the WipeoutCanada.com Ambassador Contestant and full episodes available the day after broadcast.

Wipeout Canada fans can also connect using Facebook and Twitter. Visit www.facebook.com/wipeoutcanada and follow @WipeoutCanada to get up-to-the-minute news on the series.

Wipeout Canada features 13 one-hour episodes filmed on the iconic Wipeout obstacle course used by all international formats of the outrageous reality series. The highly-anticipated first season of Wipeout Canada promises to provide the most spectacular spills, face plants and total wipeouts.

Despite massive competition from the Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 13, DIY Network Canada nailed two audience records for the digital channel with numbers more characteristic of an analog, hammering home DIY’s appeal to a broad audience.

The digital channel, which launched barely one year ago in October 2009, delivered an all-time record audience with its highest single-day AMA ever, 24,500 (A18-49).

Contributing to the triumphant success was the hotly-anticipated new series The Vanilla Ice Project. Back-to-back episodes garnered audience numbers of 94,300 (A18-49) at 8pm ET/PT and an astounding 113,100 (A18-49) at 8:30pm ET/PT pulling in the highest A18-49 audience ever since the network launched.

Adding to the successful day was Sweat Equity at 6:30pm ET/PT achieving an impressive AMA of 111,500 (A18-49). 

DIY Network Canada is on free preview throughout the month of February, making the channel, The Vanilla Ice Project and Sweat Equity available to 6.2 million Canadians. 

The Vanilla Ice Project airs Sundays at 8pm ET/PT. 

*Source: BBM Canada PPM Data, Mo-Su 2a-2a (Oct 19, 2009 – February 13, 2011, includes unconfirmed data)

Two of Shaw Media’s most ambitious online projects have been recognized for their outstanding execution.

History Television’s Storming Juno interactive, the online component to the series of the same name and Showcase’s “The Autotopsy”, the digital element to the original series Cra$h & Burn, have been selected as finalists for the SXSW Interactive Awards.

The winners will be announced at the 14th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards Ceremony on March 15 during The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals. The websites are the only Canadian submissions to be recognized in the category. 

Both projects are nominated in the Film/TV category. Projects nominated in this category include submissions related to actors, television, films and the film industry, as well as destinations that offer streaming video content.

“The online extensions for our series have quickly become an invaluable element to successfully launching our programs and this recognition solidifies that our online properties are resonating with viewers,” said Paul Burns, Vice President, Digital Media, Shaw Communications Inc. “We applaud our production partners on this impressive achievement.” 

Based on true stories and events, Storming Juno is a 90-minute Canadian original film that chronicles the Canadian experience on D-Day. The film aired on History Television in November, 2010. Complementing the film, the groundbreaking Storming Juno interactive website www.stormingjuno.com puts viewers directly on the battlefield on this important day in history, giving them a deeper understanding of the invasion of Juno Beach. Visitors are immersed on Juno beach through 360° panorama views, CG animation, film clips from Storming Juno, aerial and ground navigation and interactive hotspots that push users forward into the particular scenes. In addition, the website features bios, photos and powerful interviews with real-life Canadian WW2 veterans who actually fought on Juno beach on D-Day. The website is produced by creative agency, Secret Location in partnership with eOne, The Historica Dominion Institute and the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund.

www.crash-and-burn.com launched as a companion website for the Showcase original drama Cra$h & Burn, following a streetwise insurance adjuster as he navigates the cutthroat corporate culture that is big insurance. The site gives users an unprecedented digital experience as they interact with the show and its characters. The site is anchored by “The Autotopsy”, an innovative element giving viewers an up-close and personal look at a car crash with an interactive deconstruction of a major collision. The site was produced by Jam3 for Whizbang Films in association with the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund and the Canadian Television Fund (now the Canadian Media fund). Users can link to the site from showcase.ca.

Twist TV is bringing Canadian viewers an exclusive look into the home of one of Hollywood’s sexiest former bachelors, Saved By The Bell heartthrob Mario Lopez, as he swaps parties for parenthood on his journey to becoming a devoted dad.

With girlfriend Courtney Mazza by his side, Mario struggles to answer all the questions of a new dad. From sonograms and baby proofing to 3 a.m. diaper duty, this 10-part docu-series is a humourous and entertaining adventure in co-parenting.

Mario Lopez: Saved By The Baby airs exclusively on Twist TV in Canada, with back-to-back episodes Mondays at 9pm ET/10pm PT beginning March 7.

In each episode the celebrity couple tackles the everyday challenges faced by all parents-to-be, balancing new priorities with their already busy careers – all while trying to maintain a healthy love life. With Mario being the host of EXTRA and America’s Best Dance Crew, and Courtney being a performer herself, they’ll definitely have their hands full. The countdown to parenthood is on, and with only three months until the birth of their first child, there’s still an overwhelming amount to learn.

“We’re excited to offer this entertaining series exclusively to Twist TV viewers in Canada,” says Barb Williams, Senior Vice President of Content, Shaw Media. “Planning for a baby is life-changing for anyone, and viewers will delight in going behind the scenes of everyday life with this well-known celebrity couple.”

 

The first two Canadian broadcast premiere episodes are:

Mario Lopez: Saved By The Baby – Episode 1: Hasn’t Hit Me Yet

Monday, March 7 at 9pm ET/10pm PT

Mario Lopez and girlfriend Courtney Mazza are three months away from parenthood, but the idea of fatherhood hasn’t quite hit Mario yet. As he tries to juggle his crazy work schedule, he’s also moving into a new house and, on top of that, his wife is six months pregnant. As if this balancing act isn’t enough pressure Courtney desperately wants to learn the sex of the baby in advance but Mario wants to keep it a surprise. Can Mario convince Courtney that knowing the baby’s gender is worth waiting for?

 

Mario Lopez: Saved By The Baby – Episode 2: The Art of Compromise

Monday, March 7 at 9:30pm ET/10:30pm PT

Mario is all about family so he takes a break from his crazy work schedule to bring his and Courtney’s families on a vacation to Mexico. Mario lets everyone know that he is headstrong on NOT circumcising the baby if it’s a boy. Courtney makes it a point to let Mario know that decisions regarding the baby must be 50/50. The couple works on finding a common ground when it comes to making any final baby-related decisions.

A chess grandmaster becomes a master detective in Showcase’s new original drama Endgame. Premiering Monday, March 14th at 10pm ET/PT, Endgame stars Shawn Doyle (Big Love, Lost), as the former World Chess Champion Arkady Balagan.

After witnessing the murder of his fiancée, Balagan develops a debilitating case of agoraphobia. Unable to leave his hotel and running out of money, the arrogant and charismatic Russian inadvertently becomes a detective – using his fierce analytical skills to solve the crimes that baffle others.

Balagan relies on friends and hotel employees to do his legwork; from conducting interviews and trailing suspects to bringing back clues.  Balagan then uses his strategic thinking to stage imaginative, and often amusing, reenactments in his own mind-until he finds the solution. 

“Endgame is a truly exceptional addition to the Showcase schedule. The series is loaded with clever writing, breathtaking cinematography and has an enviable cast, anchored by a dynamite performance by Shawn Doyle,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media.

“In season one, Balagan makes a family for himself in the hotel, people dedicated to helping him solve crimes,” said Avrum Jacobson, Creator and Executive Producer.  “Our cast and crew have pulled together to work in a similar way. They love this show – they believe in it. It’s unique, fun, smart and thoroughly entertaining. ”

The all-star Endgame cast includes Patrick Gallagher (Glee, True Blood), as defiant hotel security manager, Hugo, who seeks to trip Balagan up at every opportunity.  Acting as Balagan’s “pawns”, his friends who venture into the outside world on his behalf, are: adoring fan and chess fanatic Sam (Torrance Coombs; The Tudors, jPod), beautiful hotel bartender Danni (Katharine Isabelle; Supernatural, The L Word), the sister of Balagan’s dead fiancée, Pippa (Melanie Papalia; The Assistants, Intelligence) and perceptive housekeeper Alcina (Carmen Aguirre; Da Vinci’s Inquest, The L Word).

Endgame was created by Avrum Jacobson (ReGenesis, Republic of Doyle) and directed by Producer/Director David Frazee (Flashpoint, Da Vinci’s Inquest) and Anne Wheeler, James Head, Rachel Talalay and Charles Binamé. Executive Producers of Endgame include Michael Shepard (Zigby, Mayerthorpe), Tim Gamble (Zixx: Level Three, In Her Mother’s Footsteps) and Harvey Kahn (Beyond Sherwood Forest, The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon).

Filmed exclusively in Vancouver, BC, Endgame is developed and produced by Thunderbird Films in association with Front Street Pictures and Shaw Media with participation of the Canadian Media Fund.

History Television is pleased to welcome one of the most buzzed-about television events of the year, The Kennedys to its Spring line up. The Kennedys will air as a four-part movie event beginning April 10, 2011 at 9 pm ET/PT.

“We are thrilled to announce that History Television will proudly premiere the four-part movie event on April 10, 2011 at 9pm ET/PT.  We look forward to bringing this outstanding historical drama featuring a star-studded cast to Canadian audiences,” said Barb Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media.

The anticipated four-part movie event, The Kennedys, tells the intimate story of the illustrious Kennedy family and brings to life this prolific piece of American history.

Featuring an outstanding cast, this revealing eight-hour drama spotlights one of America’s most legendary families as they have never been seen before.

The Kennedys begins on November 8, 1960 – Election Day – as the American people must choose between the charismatic Senator John F. Kennedy and his more experienced opponent, Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

Through flashbacks to the 1930’s and the 1940’s, The Kennedys explores the achievements, regrets, loyalties and betrayals that surrounded John, Bobby and Joe Sr., as well as the women who unconditionally supported them.

The Kennedys delves deep into the events that shaped the iconic family, from the tragic death of Joe Jr. and Jack’s first run for congress, to Bobby’s’ undying loyalty to Jack’s political career and the significant introduction of Jack and Jacqueline Bouvier.

Exposing triumphs and tragedies, The Kennedys concludes with the tragic assassinations of both Jack and Bobby, leaving behind a family – and a nation – in grief, left only with the dreams and spirit of Camelot.

With a winning combination of returning fan favourites and hotly anticipated new additions, Shaw Media reported strong performances across both Global and Specialty for fall 2010 according to recently released confirmed final numbers. 

 

The Conventional Story

Global bench strength deepened this past fall with the addition of Hawaii Five-0, the Number 1 New Drama,  This reboot of the classic 70s TV show regularly secured robust ratings throughout the fall with over 1.9 million viewers (2+), and consistently won its time period, beating CTV’s Castle by 40%.

Global’s sophomore programs, already proven blockbuster hits, continued to deliver strong numbers, illustrating their staying power for years to come.  Pop culture sensation Glee was up 33% fall to fall and the addictive drama The Good Wife showed a 17% uptick.  Plus, NCIS:LA averaged an amazing 1.9 million viewers (2+) week to week making it a perennial top 20 show. 

Not to be outdone by the new kids on the block, long-time Global stalwarts House and Survivor led the charge by maintaining their top ten positions nationally as well as in the major markets of Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. 

Global News created its own headlines this past fall when veteran reporter Dawna Friesen joined Global National as its anchor.  Approximately one million viewers (2+) tuned in to the 5:30pm newscast every weekday to watch the seasoned journalist provide a fresh perspective on the day’s events.  The numbers are equally strong for Global’s 6:00pm local news programs with these newscasts reaching an average of 4.7 million viewers (2+) each week.

All of these strong performances help set the stage for Global’s mid-season additions including The Chicago Code and Off The Map, Global’s new medical drama which debuted with more than 1.4 million viewers(2+) January 12.  These ratings generators will be complemented by new seasons of Kitchen Nightmares, the intriguing Survivor: Redemption Island and the welcome return of fan favourite, Celebrity Apprentice

 

The Specialty Story

Fall 2010 proved to be a record-setting season for Shaw Media specialty channels with a number of the channels experiencing all time highs. Overall, Shaw Media outpaced industry growth five to one.  Shaw Media’s leadership position was further solidified when it locked in the greatest number of channels in the top ten among all specialty players — 4 of the top 10 analogs and 8 of the top 10 digitals. 

 

Analog Details:

History Television, already a specialty powerhouse, burst out of the gate to experience its best fall ever.  History is now Canada’s #2 specialty channel, showing growth of 14%.  This significant achievement was fueled by massive audiences for Pawn Stars and American Pickers, the #2 and #3 specialty programs respectively across all specialty networks (excluding children’s and sports stations).  The Pawn Stars episode that aired on October 12, 2010 achieved an “historic” landmark, attracting over 804,000 viewers (2+), making it History Television’s most-watched single episode to that point.

Showcase’s momentum got a serious boost last year with a stellar line-up that gave the channel its best fall since 2006 and helped secure a ratings record.  The premiere of Lost Girl on September 12 was the highest rated ever for an original Canadian scripted series on Showcase, pulling in over 400,000 viewers (2+)

Cracking the top ten was just one of many accomplishments for Food Network, which enjoyed an impressive 23% jump in viewership.  The channel, experiencing year-to-year growth since 2006, also achieved its highest AMA ever (just shy of 30) this past fall as the Food Network celebrated its 10th anniversary.

 

Digital Details:

Shaw Media prevailed on the digital side as well.  With a 30% increase since last fall, National Geographic is firmly positioned as the #1 channel among digital specialty channels, and is the only digital channel to rank among the top 20 most watched specialty channels overall (#16).  Significant momentum also continued with BBC CANADA and DIY network, each advancing by 18% and 8% respectively.  With the addition of IFC and Twist TV, Shaw Media also locked in ten of the top 20 digital stations.

 

(Source: BBM Canada PPM Data, Total Canada)

Conventional: A18-49 AMA unless otherwise noted, F09 = Sep14-Dec20/09, F10 = Sep13-Dec19/10

Specialty: A25-54 AMA unless otherwise noted, F09 = Aug31/09-Jan3/10, F10 = Aug30/10-Jan2/11