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Bell Media goes big on Canadian originals with Blink49 order, New Metric comedy

Crave original Letterkenny has been renewed for a 12th season

Bell Media has revealed its slate of original productions for the 2022/23 season, including a new comedy from Letterkenny producer New Metric Media, the first official greenlight for John Morayniss’s Blink49 Studios, a Canadian extension of the Drag Race format and a raft of renewals.

All told, the company ordered 10 Canadian originals for its flagship network CTV and a further 12 for its SVoD platform Crave.

The Toronto-based broadcast group ordered half-hour comedy Bria Mack Gets a Life from New Metric Media for Crave. The show, about a 25-year-old black woman navigating adulthood in a predominantly white world, is created by Sasha Leigh Henry and counts Tania Thompson and New Metric’s Mark Montefiore among its executive producers.

Other newly commissioned Crave originals include Canada’s Drag Race: Canada vs the World (Blue Ant Studios, Saloon Media, World of Wonder), a six-episode show that sees Canada acting as the host nation for international drag battles; comedy series Late Bloomer (Pier 21 Films), led by comedian Jasmeet Raina (aka JusReign); and half-hour comedy One Day We’ll All Be Dead (First Generation Films), based on a book by Canadian author Scaachi Koul about a woman juggling her invasive family, career and grief.

Also commissioned for Crave is the Ireland-Canada coproduction Sisters (Peer Pressure and Shaftesbury, in association with Mermade and Gaze Pictures). The half-hour dark comedy tells the story of two women, one from Ireland and the other from Canada, who discover they are half-sisters and embark on a road trip to find their alcoholic father. The show stars Sarah Goldberg (Barry) and Susan Stanley (Hotel Amenities).

Unscripted comedy series I Have Nothing, produced by Julie Bristow’s Content Catalyst Fund, was also bought by Crave. The series follows Carolyn Taylor (Baroness Von Sketch Show) on a quest to escape the familiar and pursue her wildest dreams.

Meanwhile, Bell Media commissioned several new shows for its flagship broadcast network, CTV. Among these is Sight Unseen, coproduced by Sisters Troubetzkoy Productions and Blink49 Studios, about a former homicide detective who, after losing her vision, is haunted by the unsolved cases she left behind.

The drama marks the first official greenlight for Blink49 Studios, the Endeavor Content-backed outfit launched by former Entertainment One (eOne) TV head Morayniss last year. Blink49 holds worldwide rights.

CTV also commissioned eOne-produced drama The Spencer Sisters, about a police officer who quits her job and ends up forming a private detective agency with her best-selling mystery-novelist mother; Toronto-set workplace comedy Shelved (Counterfeit) from Anthony Q Farrell; and 20×60’ original quiz format Battle of the Generations (Bell Media Studios, Motion Content Group), which sees contestants from different generations battle it out to see who is more knowledgeable.

Also on the unscripted side, CTV ordered Cross Country Cake Off (Proper Television), an original competition series celebrating the creativity of Canadian cake makers. Proper Television also received a green light for its real estate factual series Listing Large, which will air on pay TV channel CTV Life.

Bell Media confirmed several previously announced green lights for CTV, including factual format adaptation Farming For Love (Lark Productions in collaboration with Fremantle), drama Little Bird (Rezolution Pictures, APTN, OP Little Bird) and hour-long romantic drama Sullivan’s Crossing (Reel World Management in association with CTV and Fremantle).

On the pay TV side, CTV Sci-Fi greenlit paranormal original Paranormal Revenge (Sphere Media) and anthology series Urban Legend (Cream Productions). CTV Life ordered culinary series Veg Headz (Gusto TV), hosted by two-time MasterChef Canada winner Pino Di Cerbo; astrological culinary show Dine Your Sign (Gusto TV); 10-episode spice-focused series Spice Secrets; and travel adventure series Evolving Vegan (Bell Media Studios). The latter series will also premiere on Crave in 2023.

As previously announced, CTV Comedy commissioned the half-hour comedy Acting Good (Buffalo Gal), about a comedian who returns to their hometown after an unsuccessful move to the big city.

Meanwhile, the Canadian iteration of Discovery channel, which is majority-owned by Bell Media, ordered Bush Wreck Rescue (Omnifilm Entertainment), which provides a new take on the vehicle restoration genre, as well as previously announced chainsaw-carving competition series A Cut Above (Marblemedia), six-part factual series The Mightiest (Bell Media Studios) and two-part documentary After the Storm (Great Pacific Media), which examines one of the century’s biggest storms.

Bell Media also renewed CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada (S8, Insight Productions), Children Ruin Everything (S2, New Metric Media), Transplant (S3, Sphere Media) and Crave originals Letterkenny (S12, New Metric Media), Canada’s Drag Race (S3, Blue Ant Studios, Saloon Media, World of Wonder) and Pillow Talk (S2, KOTV Productions).

In related news, Bell has signed a deal with New York-based FilmRise, through which more than 1,100 hours of FilmRise’s acquired content will air on CTV Throwback and CTV Movies, digital net and the CTV app. Content includes unscripted series like Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, Unsolved Mysteries and Kitchen Nightmares, and films such as Ex Machina, Boyhood and Foxcatcher.

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