Bell Media nears 100 original titles for 2022-23 slate

The originals lineup includes English and French-language scripted and unscripted titles across its linear networks, streaming platforms and specialty channels

Bell Media has hit the gas on its original programming strategy, with nearly 100 new and returning titles across its English and French-language platforms for 2022-23.

The originals slate, announced ahead of its upfront presentation Thursday (June 9), includes 973 hours of English and French-language content for linear and streaming. It’s a boost from the 2021-22 Canadian content lineup of more than 75 English and French-language original programming titles.

It includes several new greenlights and renewals, as well as previously announced programs, for CTV, Crave, Discovery and other CTV-branded specialty channels. Bell Media announced its pick-ups for CTV and specialty channels last week.

Scripted greenlights for CTV include Shelved (Counterfeit Pictures), a single-camera workplace comedy from Anthony Q. Farrell, set at the Jameson Public Library in the Parkdale neighbourhood in Toronto; Sight Unseen (Sisters Troubetzkoy Productions, Blink49 Studios), in which a detective who loses her vision pairs with a seeing-eye guide to investigate unsolved crimes; and The Spencer Sisters (Entertainment One), where a former police officer becomes a private detective with her mystery novelist mother.

The linear network has also greenlit two unscripted titles: Cross Country Cake Off (Proper Television), a cooking competition series hosted by Mary Berg, and Battle of the Generations (Bell Media Studios/Motion Content Group), a 20 x 60-minute quiz show where contestants of different ages compete to see know who knows the most about Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z.

sullivan's_crossingRounding out CTV’s new originals slate are the previously announced dating series Farming for Love (Lark Productions), Ontario/Nova Scotia copro drama Sullivan’s Crossing (pictured right), and the documentary Buffy Sainte Marie: Power in the Blood (White Pine Pictures, Eagle Vision).

Sports network TSN will also air a number of docs from Uninterrupted Canada, including the newly announced doc on Montreal-born NBA champion Chris Boucher, in addition to already revealed titles “Sinc”: The Christine Sinclair Story, Black Ice, Wick, and The Grizzlie Truth.

Returning originals to CTV include a third season of Transplant (Sphere Media), The Amazing Race Canada (Insight Productions) season eight, and season two of Children Ruin Everything (New Metric Media), as well as in-house produced daytime series Your Morning, eTalk, The Marilyn Denis Show and The Social.

Crave boosts its original offerings

Bell Media SVOD Crave has ordered a raft of original English-language comedies, including Bria Mack Gets a Life (New Metric Media; pictured top), a half-hour concept from Sasha Leigh Henry about a Black woman who navigates life with an invisible hype girl, with Playback 10 to Watch alum Tamar Bird and Angelique Knights serving as producers; Late Bloomer (Pier 21 Films), based on the real-life experiences of star and creator Jasmeet Raina, who gained internet fame as Jus Reign; One Day We’ll All Be Dead (First Generation Films), created by Lakna Edilima and Scaachi Koul, based on Koul’s bestselling memoir; and Ireland/Canada copro SisterS (Peer Pressure, Shaftesbury, in association with Mermade and Gaze Pictures), a dark comedy about two women from different continents who discover they’re half-sisters, written by and starring Sarah Goldberg (Barry) and Susan Stanley (Hotel Amenities). AMC has acquired the series for the U.S, with production currently underway in Ireland.

Other greenlights include Canada’s Drag Race: Canada Vs. The World (Saloon Media, Blue Ant Studios), a spin-off of the global format where Canadian drag queens from previous seasons of Canada’s Drag Race face past contestants from international versions of RuPaul’s Drag Race; and I Have Nothing (Content Catalyst Fund in association with Blue Ant Studios), an unscripted comedy led by Carolyn Taylor (Baroness von Sketch Show) as she attempts to choreograph a pairs figure skating routine to the iconic Whitney Houston hit.

Newly announced original docs for Crave include Smoke & Gifts (Fathom Film Group), following the band Broken Social Scene; Coming Home (Rezolution Pictures, Logical Mayhem, APTN), a documentary on Little Bird, the upcoming first original drama for Crave; and Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story (Banger Films, National Film Board of Canada), about the trailblazing Black transgender soul singer, executive produced by Elliot Page.

Previously announced Crave English-language titles include Little Bird (Rezolution Pictures, APTN, OP Little Bird), docuseries Thunder Bay (eOne), and original docs Audiophilia – Adventures in the World of Hi-Fi (Sphinx Productions), Bam Bam: The Story of Sister Nancy (Oya Media Group), Kings of Coke (Connect 3, Urbania Media), Naked (Primitive Entertainment), Resident Orca (Everyday Films), Rock & Roll Revival (Screen Siren Pictures, Chapman Productions, and Films a Cinq), and Wilfred Buck (Door Number 3 in coproduction with the NFB).

Rounding out the Crave originals are French-language titles Bon matin Chuck (ou l’art de réduire les méfaits) (St-Laurent TV), Désobéir: Le choix de Chantale Daigle (Also Productions) and Présumé innocent: l’affaire France Alain (Trinôme).

Crave has also renewed Letterkenny (New Metric Media) for season 12, Pillow Talk (KOTV) for season two, Canada’s Drag Race (Saloon Media, Blue Ant Studios) for season three, and 1 Queen 5 Queers (Bell Media Studios) for season two.

Specialty slate

Discovery Canada has three new greenlights: Bush Wreck Rescue (Omnifilm Entertainment), where experts restore cars and trucks abandoned in fields and ravines; The Mightiest (Bell Media Studios), a six-part docuseries from the channel’s Mighty franchise, currently in production; and two-part documentary After the Storm (Great Pacific Media), about the impact of a storm of the century. The projects join previously announced title A Cut Above (marblemedia).

The factual channel has also renewed GPM-produced series Heavy Rescue: 401 for a seventh season, Highway Thru Hell for season 11, and Mud Mountain Haulers for a second season, while Fear Thy Neighbour (Cream Productions) has been renewed for an eighth season on Investigation Discovery.

evolving-vegan-01On the lifestyle side, CTV Life Channel has ordered Listing Large (Proper Television), following the real estate empire of Odeen Eccleston and Lamont Wiltshire, and Evolving Vegan (Bell Media Studios; pictured left), an eight-part culinary travel docuseries hosted by Mena Massoud (Aladdin). The series join the Gusto-produced titles Dine Your Sign, Spice Secrets and Veg Headz. CTV Life has also renewed Mary Makes it Easy (Proper Television) for a second season.

CTV Sci-Fi Channel also has two new greenlights, with Paranormal Revenge (Sphere Media), which shares real-life paranormal encounters revolving around the theme of revenge, and Urban Legend (Cream Productions), an anthology series, with each episode acting as a horror film themed around classic urban legends.

The specialty channel has also renewed SurrealEstate (Blue Ice Pictures) for season two, after U.S. network Syfy reversed course on its decision to cancel it and added a second season to its 2023 broadcast slate last month.

Meanwhile, CTV Comedy has greenlit four new Just For Laughs comedy specials, filmed in Montreal in July, with Russell Peters, Chelsea Handler, Jo Koy, and Patton Oswalt set to host. The lineup also includes the previously announced Acting Good (Buffalo Gal Pictures) and a third season of Roast Battle Canada (Just For Laughs, Counterfeit Pictures, George Reinblatt).

Rounding out the French-language greenlights are Amour sans limite (Urbania), Cœurs migratoires (Anémone Télé) and Ma première maison (Iprod Media) for Canal Vie; Au chalet de Rémi (Sphere Media) and Christine Morency: Sans filtre (Avanti-Toast) for Z; Bêtes de film (Anémone Télé) and Priez pour nous (Attraction Images) for Canal D; and Chouchou (Passez Go), J’ai frôlé la mort (Attraction Images), L’Empereur (Sovimage), Le Maître du jeu (KOTV), Les débatteurs de Noovo (Bell Media), Les Justiciers (Avanti-Toast) and Virage – Double faute (KOTV) for Noovo.

Bell Media has also renewed French-language series Big Brother Célébrités (Entourage Television) for season three, as well as a third season of Ça c’est drôle (Amadeus), and a second season of Syndics (Pixcom) for Noovo, and season four of Mets-y le Paquet for Z.