Upfronts ’19: Blue Ant greenlights more paranormal, lifestyle titles

Life Below Zero: Canada
New series in the 2019/20 broadcast schedule include Hotel Paranormal from Saloon Media and High Maintenance from Frantic Films and Kew Media Distribution.

Blue Ant Media has commissioned a number of original series for its 2019/20 broadcast schedule, as well as unveiling further details about new and returning series across its T+E, Cottage Life, Smithsonian Channel and Makeful channels.

New Canadian projects on the company’s slate include: Hotel Paranormal (8 x 60 minutes, spring 2020, world broadcast premiere) from Blue Ant-owned Saloon Media for T+E; in-house short-form digital series Cottage Coach (6 x 7 minutes, summer 2019, world premiere) for Cottage Life; and High Maintenance (8 x 60 minutes, winter 2020, Canadian broadcast premiere), a copro from Frantic Films and Kew Media Distribution, for Blue Ant Media’s Smithsonian Canada channel.

Hotel Paranormal features a mix of real-life accounts, dramatic recreations and expert insight as it examines the dark secrets and ghosts that haunt hotel rooms. Meanwhile, Cottage Coach sees Cottagelife.com DIY expert Adam Holman coach viewers on how to deal with various cottage issues. Finally, High Maintenance follows hard-working crews as they take on death-defying work on structures like subways, bridges and power dams.

Previously announced Canadian series joining Blue Ant Media’s programming include the docuseries The Witches of Salem (4 x 60 minutes, October 2019, Canadian broadcast premiere) for T+E; Life Below Zero: Canada (8 x 60 minutes, spring 2020, world broadcast premiere, pictured) for Cottage Life; and Landscape Artist of the Year Canada (4 x 60 minutes, winter 2020, world broadcast premiere) for Makeful. Additionally, earlier this week, it was also announced that Cream Productions has started rolling on drama-doc The Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan for Netflix and Blue Ant’s Smithsonian Canada (Canadian broadcast premiere). The six-episode by 60-minute series will delve into the history of battles between warlords for control of Japan.

Returning series set for T+E, which focuses on all things spooky, include Bristow Global Media’s Paranormal 911 (13 x 60 minutes, spring 2020) and Haunted Hospitals (13 x 60 minutes, winter 2020). Both series will make their Canadian broadcast premieres and return for their sophomore seasons on the channel. Cottage Life will also see season two of Saloon Media-produced The Weather Files (8 x 60 minutes, spring 2020) make its world broadcast premiere, while Hope For Wildlife (10 x 60 minutes, summer 2020, world broadcast premiere) from Arcadia Content will move into its 10th season. Finally, season two of Architect Films’ Handmade Hotels (6 x 30 minutes, world broadcast premiere), a series that gives audiences a look inside unique short-term rentals, is set to land on Makeful in spring 2020.

In a statement, Jamie Schouela, president of Canadian media at Blue Ant, said the company is doubling down on niche, targeted audiences “as viewers continue to have a growing number of entertainment options.”

Blue Ant International will distribute Hotel Paranormal, The Witches of Salem, The Weather Files, Hope For Wildlife and Handmade Hotels.

A version of this story appeared in Media in Canada