What’s coming in Canadian unscripted

Canadian broadcast and specialty nets have spent the last couple of weeks unveiling their 2011/2012 slates. Now that all the news is in, realscreen has rounded up info on the Canadian-produced unscripted series and international formats being adapted.
June 10, 2011

Canadian broadcast and specialty nets have spent the last couple of weeks unveiling their 2011/2012 slates. Now that all the news is in, realscreen has rounded up info on the Canadian-produced unscripted series heading to the airwaves, and the international formats being adapted for Canadian audiences.


Shaw Media will be debuting several homegrown unscripted series via its roster of specialty nets, as well as via broadcast net Global.

Female-skewing Shaw specialty net Slice made waves at the Upfronts with its announcement that it has greenlit a local version of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, of which it airs several of the series. There’s not much more info about Real Housewives of Vancouver yet beyond the locale – no word on the prodco or a scheduled airdate beyond 2012.

Slice will also be airing Intervention Canada, a local version of the A&E hit produced by GRB Entertainment. The Canadian version gets the 9 p.m. Friday slot on Slice, premiering on September 9. UPDATE:  Intervention Canada is produced by Toronto-based Insight Productions and Open Door Productions.

Also premiering on Slice in September will be Risky Business featuring former Canadian Dragon’s Den star W. Brett Wilson; a new series featuring money expert Gail-Vaz Oxlade, ‘Til Debt Do Us Part: Baby Edition; Cake Walk: Wedding Cake Edition and Shotgun Reno.

Food Network Canada has one new homegrown series making its world premiere in October. Recipe to Riches will give everyday Canadians the opportunity to have one of their recipes chosen to be featured in national food line President’s Choice. The Temple Street-produced series will be hosted by Jesse Palmer (The Bachelor) and will also offer the winner the largest cash prize in Canadian reality competition history, CDN$250,000. The series will also air on Global.

HGTV debuts two new world premiere series in September. Consumed brings organizational expert Jill Pollack into contact with families in danger of being swallowed up by clutter, while Urban Suburban follows brother and sister realtor team Phil DuMoulin and Sarah Daniels as they attempt to help clients find their dream homes.

Shaw Media’s History Television also has two new Canadian-made series on tap for 2011/2012. What’s In a Name? (formerly Name This) from marblemedia looks at the origins of product names, while Canadian Made looks at inventions and ideas that originated in Canada.

Lastly, TVTropolis will premiere the Cineflix-produced Casino Confidential, which goes behind the scenes at a Las Vegas resort, on August 31.


Citytv announced it will add local versions of two massive global formats to its sked midseason. Canada’s Got Talent will bring the Syco Entertainment/FremantleMedia franchise to the Great White North via Insight Productions, to be exec produced by John Brunton and Barbara Bowlby. Insight has had much experience in bringing shiny-floor formats to Canada, most notably with Canadian Idol. While the host, judges and audition details have not yet been announced, the show is set for a Spring 2012 launch, and Citytv parent Rogers Media says it will employ a full-blown multi-platform approach, incorporating TV, mobile, radio, publishing and web, to promote and develop the show. Citytv says the production team will be traveling the country in the coming months in search of potential contestants. The net, with stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, airs America’s Got Talent as well.

Citytv will also be bringing Secret Millionaire Canada to viewers in 2012. A Citytv spokesperson couldn’t divulge information regarding the projected airdate or the production company involved in the Canadian version of the Zodiak Media Group format as the company is “still in the development stages” with the program.


The big factual entertainment news for Canada’s public broadcaster comes in the form of Cover Me Canada, a singing competition from Temple Street Productions that brings Canadian musical talent to the stage to sing several of the country’s best-loved songs from artists such as Bryan Adams and Gordon Lightfoot.

The network will also be airing a new daytime cooking series, In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita, featuring the Montreal chef, as well as two series that have crossed over from CBC Radio: variety program QTV and topical comedy chat show The Debaters.

Coming in winter 2012, look for Redemption Inc., produced by UK-based Wide-Eyed Entertainment and featuring another Canadian Dragon’s Den star, Kevin O’Leary. In the new series, O’Leary offers ex-offenders the opportunity to start new businesses under his mentorship. Also, it was revealed during a panel at the Sheffield Doc/Fest that the Ceeb is in early pre-production on a local version of Channel 4/Fresh One Productions series Jamie’s Dream School.

Last but not least, the country’s top-rated network CTV has no homegrown unscripted content on the slate, but will be airing the much-anticipated U.S. version of X Factor on Wednesday nights. For the summer, CTV and its joint venture with Discovery Communications, Discovery Channel Canada, will be adding the Mark Burnett-produced Expedition Impossible to their skeds, beginning in late June.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.