Canadian production company Temple Street Productions took the Top Model format, popularized by Tyra Banks in the original American version, and knocked it out of the park for the third season of Canada’s Next Top Model for CTV. The finale, which aired July 14, lured 1.36 million viewers and realscreen got a hold of Temple Street’s VP of factual and reality, Allan Novak, fresh off of the success.
‘We think this season of Top Model actually out-performed the American version; lots of people have said so,’ Novak says. Jay Manuel (pictured with winner Meaghan) serves as creative director and judge on the U.S. version, and also pulls double duty on the Canadian version as host and executive producer.
Novak cites ‘the quality, the characters, the production value and the craft that went into it’ as the ingredients that he feels were superior in the Canadian model showdown compared to Tyra Banks’ version. Novak credits Sheila Hockin, the executive producer and show runner, for the success. ‘She’s tireless, [her] attention to detail, she’s been on all three seasons now so she’s an essential element,’ he says. ‘The other [factor] is Jay Manuel. He’s really quite impressive. If you look at him, you think he’s got the persona and the on-camera thing, but he is an incredibly sharp, detail-oriented, multi-talented expert. The fire that he’s got is good for us.’
The series has been noted for not over-hyping any sort of drama between the girls, and instead spotlighting the competition. A good example of this was when one contestant came out as a lesbian during an interview challenge. Interviewers and fellow contestants paused for a brief moment of surprise, and the show just went on. Novak likens this to a sense of ‘Canadian-ness’ that’s brought to the production and post-production.
‘We handled it in a very Canadian way. No big deal. It’s not screaming headlines or controversial, it’s just an interesting story,’ he says.
Temple Street is hopeful they’ll get another season order from CTV.
The company has also kept a close relationship with the CBC, having recently returned to the successful How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? series (the Canadian version of the BBC competition series which searches for the lead in The Sound of Music) with a retrospective called 10 Marias: 1 Year Later , which aired on June 24. The company has also recently entered into an agreement with the Ceeb, which Novak was fairly tight-lipped about. All he could say is it’s for a big tent competitive reality show about songwriters. He hopes it becomes the big international format he’s been looking for.