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TV & Film News – 9 Story Media Group acquires Portfolio Entertainment – Broadcast Dialogue

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Lisa Olfman

9 Story Media Group has acquired Portfolio Entertainment’s library, production slate, and development projects. The acquisition brings 9 Story’s total distribution library to almost 5,000 half-hours. Toronto-headquartered Portfolio was founded in 1991 by CEO Lisa Olfman and the late Joy Rosen. Olfman will join 9 Story in an Executive Producer role, reporting to President & CEO Vince Commisso. She’ll continue to oversee all active Portfolio projects and look to broaden 9 Story opportunities across key business areas. Lauren Evans-Bell, Associate Producer at Portfolio, will also join 9 Story as a Development Manager/Associate Producer, working with Olfman to shepherd Portfolio development and production properties forward. Read more here.

Producing for the Planet, a first-of-its-kind Canadian climate change initiative for the screen-based industries, was announced at the Canadian Media Producers Association’s Prime Time conference in Ottawa. More than 40 Canadian independent media producers have come together to support the industry initiative, including 9 Story Media Group, Amaze Films, Attraction, Banger Films, Blink49 Studios, Blue Ant Media, Boat Rocker Media, Cedar Island Films, Cineflix Media, Conquering Lion Pictures, Counterfeit Pictures, Cream Productions, Eagle Vision, eOne Canada, Frantic Films, Good Measure Productions, Great Pacific Media, Idéacom International, IoM Media, Iylond Entertainment, Kickstart Entertainment, KOTV, Kybele Films, Lark Productions, MG StopMotionGraphics, Muse Entertainment, New Metric Media, Nomadic Pictures, Omnifilm Entertainment, Original Pictures, Panoramic Pictures, Pier 21 Films, Prairie Dog Film + Television, Productions Pixcom, Quadrant Motion Pictures, Remembrance Pictures, River Road Films, River and Ridge Productions, Rusty Halo Productions, Screen Siren Pictures, Seven24 Films, Shaftesbury, Shut UP & Colour Pictures, Silverlight Entertainment, Sphere Media, Thunderbird Entertainment, Understory Films, Wango Films, WildBrain and Wind Sun Sky Entertainment.

CBC has announced the second round of AccessCBC: A CBC Initiative for Creators with a Disability, a national program for deaf and disabled creators that will provide pre-development training, mentorship and financing support through three programming streams – scripted comedy/drama, unscripted and kids. For the second iteration of AccessCBC, the public broadcaster is collaborating with the Disability Screen Office (DSO). Detailed information about the program is available on the AccessCBC site, with submissions open now through March 15.  

Bell Media has reached an agreement with Amazon to make its Crave streaming service available on Prime Video Channels in Canada. Launching soon, Crave’s Premium, ad-free plan will be offered directly to Amazon customers through their Prime Video account. Subscribers gain access to HBO and Max Originals; the DC universe; the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; blockbuster movies; and library series including Friends and The Office, in addition to Crave Originals like Canada’s Drag Race, Shoresy and Little Bird. 

Crave has made a 10-episode order for new, half-hour adult animated comedy, Super Team Canada, its first commission of an animated series. The Crave Original series is produced in partnership with Thunderbird Entertainment’s Atomic Cartoons and Will Arnett’s Electric Avenue, and is currently in production with a premiere set for 2025. Created by Canadian Emmy-winning writers and brothers, Robert Cohen (HBO’s Someboyd, Somewhere, The Big Bang Theory) and Joel H. Cohen (The Simpsons), the animated comedy focuses on the exploits of six, little-known Canadian superheroes trying to save the world from evil giant robots, an unemployed octopus, and needy hardware store clerks. 

The CW has entered into a multi-year licensing agreement with Network Entertainment for its library of feature documentary films under the I AM banner. In addition, the agreement includes the production and delivery of three new I AM titles that will make their global premieres on The CW Network. Network Entertainment’s slate of 15 I AM films began in 2012 with I Am Bruce Lee.

Taylor Tomlinson

Global has added new late-night series After Midnight, hosted by Taylor Tomlinson, to its nightly lineup. The new series originally premiered on CBS and Paramount+ earlier this year and made its debut on Global and STACKTV following The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Feb. 5. It will air weeknights at 1:07 a.m. ET. Inspired by Comedy Central’s Emmy Award-winning series @midnight, After Midnight explores what set the internet abuzz that day with a game show feel. Colbert is among its executive producers.

Eagle Vision and Spike & Sadie Media are partnering on a new factual series based on the award-winning children’s book Indigenous Ingenuity: A Celebration of Traditional North American Knowledge. The 10 x 30 youth-driven show, will shoot across North America with authors Deidre Havrelock and Edward Kay part of a creative team that includes Lisa Meeches, Rebecca Gibson, Dinae Robinson, Ira Levy and Kyle Irving, with Shaw Rocket Fund and the CMF as development partners. It will celebrate the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) contributions of Indigenous Peoples revealed in the book, balancing traditional ideas and contemporary technology, with humour and adventure at its core. 

APTN lumi will stream Jason, an Indigenous romantic comedy, on Feb. 14. Written and directed by Andrew Genaille (Rehab) and shot in Vancouver, with many Vancouver-based cast and crew, the quirky rom com stars Peter Robinson (Hey Viktor!), alongside Métis actor Tanis Parenteau (Billions), as a young writer who moves out of his parent’s place on the rez to attend university in the city. With his newfound freedom, he’s making choices that challenge the expectations of his family and friends, including romantic involvement with his sister’s best friend, a woman twice his age. 

National Canadian Film Day will be back on April 17, with a spotlight on Canadian movies. The 2024 programming theme is Films That A.I. Could Never Make. Once again, hundreds of screening partners across the country will host free in-person events, along with major broadcasters and streaming services, and a livestream for 15,000+ high school students. Those who’d like to host a free event for their community, can visit canfilmday.ca/register.

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that its Women in Entertainment brand is expanding into Canada with the launch of a new event in May. Women in Entertainment Canada will be a first-of-its-kind summit bringing together the Canadian industry across television, film, and music to celebrate and recognize the achievements of women driving the industry forward in their respective fields. The Hollywood Reporter will also be releasing its first Canadian Women of Power List in conjunction with the summit. 

Global BC will air the 58th annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon on Sunday, Feb. 25 from 1 – 5:30 p.m. PT., raising funds for B.C. children with disabilities and complex health needs. This year’s television event will bring together a roster of celebrity and musical guests, including appearances by Adam Beach, Evan Goldberg, Joe Jonas, Barenaked Ladies, Eric McCormack, Natalie Portman, Seth Rogen, Martin Short, George Stroumboulopoulos, and musical performances by Aysanabee, Tom Cochrane, The Reklaws, and Walk Off the Earth.

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