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BriouxTV: The Podcast
69 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Author Ira Wells on Norman Jewison
Author Ira Wells spent three years working on "Norman Jewison: A Director's Life." A full year of that was pouring over Jewison's papers, annotated scripts and other manuscripts at Victoria College at the University of Toronto -- where Wells is an assistant professor of literature.He writes that Jewison's 24 feature films "could just as easily have been a dozen, or three or none." Despite directing two films -- "In the Heat of the Night" and "Moonstruck"-- to Best Picture Oscar wins, landing the next film deal never got any easier. It helped that behind Jewison's nice guy, all-Canadian persona, beats the heart of a lion. As Burt Reynolds once mused, "He must be able to kick the shit out of people in meetings."Jewison's other talent was to be the director he needed to be in relation to the talent at hand. He could be, as Wells describes him, "a nurturing father figure, a wise older brother, on old fling." Sometimes he was all three on the same film, as he was on the set of "Agnes of God."Wells goes through Jewison's diverse catalogue -- "The Russians Are Coming...," "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Rollerball," "A Soldier's Story" and "The Hurricane," among others. He takes us through the director's early days at the CBC in Toronto as well as directing superstars such as Judy Garland and Harry Belafonte in American television. He addresses Jewison's passion for mentoring the next generations of filmmakers with the Canadian Film Centre.The title of Jewison's own 2004 autobiography is "This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me" and he meant it. As Wells writes, "The image that emerges from the thousands of pages of letters, contracts, memos, production schedules, casting notes, draft screenplays and countless other documents is of a director fighting for every frame of his vision."
45 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
The 2021 Juno Awards
"We were going to do it in March, we were going to do it in April, we were going to do it in May and finally, come hell or high water, it's going to come off on June 6th," says John Brunton.The CEO of Insight Productions is talking about the 2021 Juno Awards, Canada's annual music industry award show. Brunton and Insight Senior Vice President Lindsay Cox had already lived through one heartbreaking cancelation a year earlier when the Junos were a last-minute scratch due to the outbreak of the pandemic. They managed to find a way, with the help and goodwill of many of the biggest names in Canadian music, to program this 50th anniversary event as a virtual showcase. Viewers tuning in Sunday, June 6 at 8 p.m. on CBC will see Anne Murray induct Jann Arden into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as part of the show, with Jessie Reyez, Justin Bieber, Maestro Fresh Wes, Serena Ryder and more confirmed to perform. There will also be appearances by Alessia Cara; Andrew Phung; TikTok sensations The Basement Gang; Hall of Fame inductees Buffy Sainte-Marie and Gordon Lightfoot; Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy; Michael Bublé; Paul Brandt; Sarah McLachlan; Shania Twain and many more, including The Tragically Hip performing alongside Feist.How did they pull such a tricky show together under the cloud of COVID? Listen in as Brunton and Cox tell all.
62 minutes | May 22, 2021
Bill Carter Part Two
Bestselling author and former New York Times TV columnist Bill Carter is back to share more stories about making The Story of Late Night. The six-episode docuseries continues Sunday nights on CNN. I asked Bill to return (virtually -- our previous conversation was so long ago it was live in studio) to talk about the sixth and final episode, one that was not in the original plans. The series was already deep into production when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. As CNN delayed the premiere of the series to stay with Donald Trump, last fall's US presidential election and the January 6 insurection at the Capital, the decision was made to created a new episode covering the virtual, at-home era of late night programming. Carter once again spoke with many of the main players, including Seth Meyers, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, Desus & Mero, Amber Ruffin andJames Corden. They share insights into cranking out shows from their attics and garages and also speculate on what may be next for the post-late night era.
74 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Bill Carter literally wrote the book on late night television. In fact, he wrote two bestsellers: "The Late Shift" and "The War for Late Night." Now he's executive producer of the compelling documentary series The Story of Late Night, premiering May 2 on CNN. Carter shares the stories behind the making of the doc, including his latest conversations with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, Seth Meyers, James Corden and many others. This was recorded in October of 2019, live and in studio in Toronto. It was held until now as CNN kept waiting for Donald Trump to stop hogging all the news headlines long enough to program this series. I've know Bill for 25 years as we've lurched from TCA press tour to press tour, so we do stray off topic here and there. Still, don't miss Carter's story about getting a phone call at the office from O.J. Simpson -- shortly after The Juice was acquitted. Podcast gold!
69 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
I finally learn how to spell his name and then he retires! Slawko Klymkiw has spent over 40 years towering over the media landscape in Canada. His list of acheivements are many, starting in news at CBC and working his way up to head of programming and entertainment. Shows such as The Rick Mercer Report and Da Vinci's Inquest flourished under his watch. Not everything he tried worked, but every time I would point out a misstep from my perch as TV critic at The Toronto Sun, Klymkiw would call me over to CBC headquarters in Toronto and point out all the things I didn't get right.What emerged was an understanding of the multi-level chess game that was all part of the job of running the public broadcaster -- and what a good sport I found in Klymkiw.After 25 years at CBC he moved on to have an even greater impact as head of The Canadian Film Centre. The past 16 years, Klymkiw took a visionary approach to managing the CFC, broadening the scope of the institution Norman Jewison built to include mentorship programs in television as well as in film. He was also responsible for helping to raise an estimated $150 million in funds for the Centre, a legacy that will continue to inspire and help educate the next generation of Canadian media storytellers.
71 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
I first met Jay Baruchel 20 years ago in Los Angeles on a Television Critics Association Fox network reception in downtown Los Angeles, At 18, he was starring in Judd Apatow's college comedy Undeclared alongside another young Canadian, Seth Rogen. The two were pretty excited to have landed on a promising show; what they could not have known at the time was that they'd each won the comedy career lottery.Baruchel was born in Ottawa and raised in Montreal. He grew up soaking up every bit of movie intel from the likes of Leonard Maltin and Siskel & Ebert; within a few years he would be reviewed by all three. He talks about his steps along the way -- his early Canadian work on Popular Mechanics for Kids (PMK) and Are You Afraid of the Dark; being directed by Cameron Crowe in "Almost Famous" and Clint Eastwood in "Million Dollar Baby"; being reunited with Rogen on "Knocked Up" and "This is The End."Also touched on is his his work on the FX series Man Seeking Woman, a shot-in-Toronto wonder, and his determination to act in, direct, write and produce projects in his home and native land.One current effort is The Moodys, which premieres Thursday, April 1 on Fox. The Montreal-based production stars Denis Leary, Elizabeth Perkins and Francois Arnaud, with Gerry Dee recurring. Because Leary is in it, the series has several scenes shot in a hockey rink. Baruchel, a lifelong fan of les Canadiens, says even he is less of an NHL nerd than Leary.You'll hear more on other Baruchel touchstones, such as his own hockey movies Goons 1 & 2, where he also contributed as a writer and a director. I even try to pry a story out of him about his "How to Train Your Dragon" voice-mate Craig Ferguson.That's Jay Baruchel, who'se gone from Almost Famous to a clutch player in TV and film.
70 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
Nobody makes me laugh out loud like Ron James. Canada's ultimate Road Warrior will be "Live from my Living Room" with a brand new comedy special on Sunday, March 21 at 8 p.m. James' virtual New Year's Eve special sold over 3500 tickets. This new hour, co-written by a couple of comedy veterans, features all new material. Tickets are available at here with some proceeds going to the theatres and other venues James would normally have played in all across Canada."Live performance has taken a torpedo to the bow," says James, who last performed before an actual audience March 7, 2020, at Hamilton Place. "Given the relentless pummeling COVID 19 has delivered to our battered psyches, I figure the best way to keep our sanity intact in the face of this madness… is by laughing at it!"He's calling this latest virtual comedy show, "Spring Loaded."Listen as he talks about his long road to the top of the Canadian stand-up summit, including his start with "Second City," his brush with SCTV, his year of starvation in the States and many other encounters and adventures. He singles out a couple of comedy heroes along the way, including Scottish funnyman Billy Connolly.This episode is the best back stage pass on what Ron has planned for March 21. Listen in and laugh along with Ron's take on Canada at a COVID crossroads.
68 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
Trevor Evans, a.k.a. Kiddo the Clown
As "Kiddo the Clown," Trevor Evans was the biggest star on TV when I was five. His daily series (1962-65) was produced in what was then the brand new CFTO studios in Agincourt right off the 401 in Toronto. It was the kind of bizarre local kiddie show that would one day inspire the likes of Pee-wee's Playhouse. Kiddo was the landlord of a zany apartment where laundry came down a shute (onto his head), mice typed notes under the stairs and a general sent his boots down a dumb waiter to be polished. The name of then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was frequently invoked. The strange way the series ended always haunted me.Evans, who turns 85 in April, went on to be a top TV director. He worked with a Who's Who of Canadian TV talent including Wayne & Shuster and The Royal Canadian Air Farce. He gave future comedy icons John Candy, Dan Aykroyd and Catherine O'Hara their starts before SCTV. He also directed specials for Rich Little, Stiller & Meara, Carol Burnett and Robert Kline as well as his hero, Red Skelton. He even once worked with Buster Keaton!Evans is a one-man TV time capsule. The sound quality is less than stellar, recorded over the phone, but lean in and you'll hear stories you will never forget.
66 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
Pascale Hutton and Kavan Smith from When Calls the Heart
"Hearties" will be looking forward to the return of When Calls the Heart when the eighth season premieres Sunday, February 21 on Super Channel Heart & Home. So will Pascale Hutton and Kavan Smith, who return as sawmill sweethearts Rosemary and Leland Coulter. The two Canadian actors returned to Hope Valley -- really a specially contructed outdoor set located East of Vancouver -- to shoot for the first time under COVID safety precautions. This was the first season, unfortunately, that fans were not allowed on the set.They talk about that experience as well as what to expect during this eighth season, including the big decision ahead for lead character Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow). They also explore their own career paths, with Pascale talking about her start on movies such as "Ginger Snaps 2" and "Hollywood Wives: the True Story." Smith goes even further back to his days on the Canadian series Destiny Ridge.Both single out their favourite TV series growing up as well as their all-time favourite TV theme song.
49 minutes | Feb 10, 2021
Hard to believe, but Kristin Kreuk has spent over half her life before the cameras, starring on Smallville, Beauty and the Beast and Burden of Truth .Here’s something I didn’t know, however: she almost became half Klingon! In an engaging podcast conversation, Kreuk confides that, just before committing to play crusading lawyer Joanna Chang on Burden, she went after a lead role on a series shot in Toronto -- Star Trek: Discovery.“I auditioned a lot,” says the Vancouver native, who, when she wasn't studying karate and doing gymnastics, grew up a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.Kreuk also discusses shooting Season 4 of Burden of Truth in and around Winnipeg under strict COVID safety procedures. Catch new episodes Thursdays on CBC.She’s currently working on a degree in History from Queens University. She's also binging one of the greatest TV shows ever made. (Hint: it's 20 years old!)
37 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
Coroner's Serinda Swan
Like every actor on every series these days, Serinda Swan, who plays Jenny Cooper on Coroner, wore masks, shields and "bunny suits" in order to safely shoot scenes through this pandemic. COVID is very much part of the storyline this season, which starts with an investigation of a Long Term Care facility. Did the fact all the actors had to gear up as a matter of course help her get into character? "The physical toll creates a special awareness and an empathy for people who are doing this for the rest of us every single day," says the East Vancouver native.Swan talks about having done her own share of "car crying" the past 10 or 11 months. "You can see it in people's eyes," she says. "There are a lot of emotions hidden behind masks."This podcast, therefore, leans into the funny where we can. Like the time she accidentally ate a chocolate or two spiked with a little something extra.That came up because Jenny Cooper unknowingly devours a Marijuana-laced brownie in one of the new season's lighter moments. Swan says she had to gobble down14 regular brownies in order to get the scene covered from six different set ups. She hasn't eaten a brownie since. She may never again.The chocolate she ate by mistake after not landing a part in a Star Trek movie. You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out how that all turned out.
50 minutes | Jan 26, 2021
Pretty Hard Cases showrunners Tassie Cameron & Sherry White
You want to talk Pretty Hard Cases? That's the title of the new Toronto-based detective drama premiering Wednesday, Feb. 3 on CBC. It stars Meredith MacNeill (Baroness von Sketch Show) and Adrienne C. Moore (Orange is the New Black). They were the first choices of executive producers, writers and showrunners Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue) and Sherry White (Little Dog) -- a couple of pretty hard cases themselves. On this lively podcast episode, the producers break down why they felt the time was ripe for this series now, what cool, '70s tunes they pumped into the soundtrack and how a four month delay in filming due to COVID may have actually been a blessing in disguise.
61 minutes | Jan 11, 2021
Episode 20: Hudson & Rex's Mayko Nguyen and Kevin Hanchard
This episode, TV critic Bill Brioux is in conversation with two of the stars of the Citytv series Hudson & Rex. They are Mayko Nguyen, who plays forensics expert Sarah Truong, and Kevin Hanchard, superintendent Joseph Donovan. The actors set up the third season and talk about the challenges of giving their canine costar cues and direction through COVID times while wearing masks. The St. John's based, hour-long drama airs Tuesday nights on Citytv.
60 minutes | Dec 28, 2020
Episode 19: Hélène Joy
Had a lovely chat right before Christmas with Hélène Joy, who stars opposite Yannick Bisson as Dr. Julia Ogden on CBC's #MurdochMysteries. She talks about her roots in Australia where she studied acting with Hugh Jackman. We touch on her roles in Canada on everything from Durham Country to the cult comedy Puppets Who Kill, where her character had to... well, I'll let her tell it. She also talks about how the pandemic year has impacted her personally as well as professionally. Murdoch returns Monday., Jan. 4; to get the scoop on Season 14, listen to the podcast.
55 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
Episode 18: Special Christmas edition
It's the most wonderful time of the year for fans of Christmas programming. This episode, we learn from the top organizer how North America's oldest Santa Claus parade will carry on despite COVID. Director Dylan Pearce tells us about his Edmonton-based Super Channel movie "Christmas with a Crown," and there's even a visit from St. Nick himself--who sounds like my ol' comedy partner pal Pat Bullock. Yule be laffin'! Ho-ho-ho!
83 minutes | Nov 12, 2020
Episode 17: Nicholas Campbell
Ask anyone who has ever acted across from him in a scene: Nicholas Campbell raises the bar. Demanding the best of himself and others has led to stellar work on Da Vinci's Inquest, The Englishman's Boy and now on CBC's Coroner. Then there are the stories along the way; hear him on Laurence Olivier, Donald Sutherland, Gregory Peck, David Cronenberg, Sonny Grosso, Chris Haddock, Don Johnson and many others.
56 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
Episode 16: Ron MacLean
Ron MacLean had to interrupt our podcast to do a COVID test. The veteran host of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada has been the boy in the bubble of late, isolating these days as host of Battle of the Blades. MacLean talks about getting swabbed every 24 hours to do television, about the athletes, male and female, featured this season on Blades and, oh yeah, about where things stand with Don Cherry.
50 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Episode 15: Brent Butt
A conversation with Canadian comedian Brent Butt, creator of Corner Gas Animated, The sitcom is back for a third season Monday nights on CTV Comedy Channel. Butt explains how making an animated version of the series has one big advantage: it avoids any COVID-19 shutdowns. Special guests this season include Arcade Fire's Win Barron, SCTV legend Andrea Martin and WWE stars Bret Hart and Trish Stratus.
56 minutes | Oct 8, 2020
Episode 14: Yannick Bisson
During a break in production on Season 14 of Murdoch Mysteries, Yannick Bisson candidly takes stock of these COVID times. The father of three, married to his high school sweetheart, talks about how this period of isolation and distancing has affected him personally and professionally. An intimate look at a leading man who never wears out his welcome on television.
39 minutes | Sep 24, 2020
Episode 13: Jann Arden
The Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter is back with a second season of her CTV comedy JANN (airing Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET on CTV). Arden fulfills a lifelong dream and puts "Canada's Sweetheart," Sarah McLachlan, in a headlock in Season Two. She also expresses her recipe for living through these COVID times. It involves a good book, an old dog and bedtime by 8 p.m. C'mon, get happy, and sing along with her favourite TV theme song.
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