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Eric McCormack

Eric McCormack

2022-09-2601:02:48

Eric McCormack's the perfect podcast guest. The Emmy Award-winning Will & Grace star has so many wonderful showbiz stories and is generous when it comes to sharing them. Hear some of them now before he saves them all up for his own podcast -- one of the projects he has on his plate for the new year.Hear the Scarborough, Ont., native on the following:The time he cracked up guest star Gene Wilder to the point they had to shoot a retake on Will & Grace!  His upcoming season-long arc on Slasher (Shudder, Hollywood Suite) where he'll play a murderous, turn-of-the-century swine!His plans for a Broadway show based on a hit Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner movie "The War of the Roses."His stint this summer directing Yannick Bisson and the rest of the cast on an upcoming episode of Murdoch Mysteries!PLUS hear him belt out his favourite all-time TV theme song (hint: the two main character were "Doing it our way...").
Hudson & Rex's John Reardon

Hudson & Rex's John Reardon

2022-09-1901:12:15

Hudson & Rex's two-legged lead, John Reardon, joins Bill Brioux in conversation prior to the start of Season Five. The new season begins Sunday, Sept. 25 on Citytv and it's a big one with 20 new episodes. Guest stars? Road trips? Season Five has both. Murdoch Mysteries fans will spot Daniel Maslany crossing Rex's path. There's also a two-part storyline taking place not in St. John's, where the series is set, but in Northern Ontario.Reardon, a Halifax native, played football for Mt. Allison before venturing into acting. His credits prior to Hudson & Rex include Vancouver productions Continuum and Arctic Air. He even survived an early stint on Trailer Park Boys!It did seem pre-ordained that he would eventually star on Hudson & Rex; he and his wife welcomed their first born -- named Hudson -- just days before he was offered the part.The new season will pick up the will-they or won't they romantic storyline between his detective character Charile and Sarah (Mayko Nguyen). Will they share custody of doggie detective Rex (Diesel vom Burgimwald)?Reardon also talks about the sudden loss last April of Paul Pope, the executive producer who was a major force in the Newfoundland film and TV industry. "It's amazing how many people on the show got their start from Paul," says Reardon.As for John's all-time favourite TV theme song, you kinda had to figure he would pick music from another show about a dog. Listen for that at the end of this episode.
The Canada vs USSR eight game hockey tournament of 1972 galvanized the nation 50 years ago this month. One of the standouts for Team Canada was Montreal Canadiens defenseman Serge Savard. Sixteen million Canadians, out of a nation of 22 million, watched the final game. Here is something I never realized back when I watched the series on TV with my high school pals: Canada never lost a game where Savard was in the lineup. He went 4 wins, one tie. A hairline fracture mid-way in the series kept him out of two losses, and a bad decision by coach Harry Sinden sidelined him for the opening blowout loss.Savard, proud owner of ten Stanley Cup rings,  looks back on the series with passion and  insight. He hated the politics, but loved the bigger rink in Moscow and wonders how much of an impact a mobile Bobby Orr would have had on that larger ice surface.Also joining me on this episode is author, rocker and documentarian Dave Bidini, the co-writer and co-director of "Summit 72," a four-part documentary premiering Wed., Sept. 14 on CBC and CBC Gem.  Come for the drama, stay for cool music Bidini archived and the fully restored and seldom seen 16mm footage of the original series. 
Writer-director-showrunner Peter Mitchell snuck me into a couple of episodes of one of his hit shows -- and yet he still talks to me! On this podcast, we have a great conversation about Murdoch Mysteries, back for a 16th season starting September 12 on CBC.We also talk about the other hour-long Canadian TV drama he executive produces for Shaftesbury, Hudson & Rex. Mitchell supervises 24 episodes of Murdoch in Toronto, flies to St. John's, and cracks the whip on another 20 episodes of Rex. Some of his performers literally work like dogs!!So does Mitchell, who took over Murdoch as that series found new life on CBC after five years on Citytv. He opened up the storylines on that whodunnit, taking full advantage of all the historical possibilities (electric cars? Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin? William Shatner as Mark Twain?) and stretching his ensemble well past 200 episodes and beyond.We talk also about other highpoints in his career, which dates back to writing credits on The Campbells as well as Street Legal, Traders, Cold Squad, The Listener and Frankie Drake.  He even wrote lines for Mister T on the short-lived Canadian series T and T. I pity the fool who was the showrunner on that series!
 Here is one of my most valued interviews: one-on-one with Michael Landon, in his office in Culver City, Calif.The conversation took place in March of 1991. As you'll hear, Landon is in top form: funny as hell, wise in terms of television and life.What none of us knew at the time was that he had mere months to live.On assignment for TV Guide Canada, I flew home to Toronto right after our talk. A few days later, the terrible news broke that Landon had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. By July 1, a little over four months later, the 54-year-old actor-writer-director-producer was dead.Landon had the rare distinction of starring in three consecutive hit TV shows: Bonanza (1959-'73), Little House on the Prairie ( 1974-'82) and Highway to Heaven (1984-'89).  He was shooting a fourth series, US, when I spoke with him, and when we got to Lorne Greene's horsemanship on Bonanza, he had me laughing out loud.The conversation turns serious towards the end. We talk politics, and Landon voices his disgust at how polarized America had become. He also vents his frustration at political correctness. Landon didn't like where America was headed, and wanted his last series to speak to, "the people along the banks."Hope you enjoy this visit with Michael Landon, coming to you straight "From The Vault." 
I kid you not: there were Tonight Show hosts way before Jimmy Fallon was even born. If you thought late night started with Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien, think again. When the Tonight Show premiered nationally on NBC in 1954, Steve Allen was the man behind the desk.  I interviewed him 30 years ago, in 1992, about Leno and David Letterman's fight for Carson's late night throne. Five years later, I had a longer one-on-one with the man who succeeded Allen in 1957, Jack Paar. The two men seem like total opposites at first. Allen was a tall, slick, composer-author-performer who was not above wearing a T-bag suit into a dunk tank for laffs.  Paar was a touchy, engaging bundle of nerves who once quit in the middle of his own monologue.Still, they also had a lot in common. Both were exceptionally articulate, as you'll hear on these two interviews. They also shared a feeling that television was lacking in taste compared to their Tonight Show years.This is a slice of audible TV history I've never shared before. Please enjoy this latest brioux.tv podcast episode, which comes straight FROM THE VAULT.
Before you say goodnight, Gracie, listen to my decades-old interview straight from the vault with comedy legend George Burns. The conversation was recorded in December of 1985, back when Burns was about to turn 90 and I was a rookie writer with the Canadian edition of TV Guide magazine.The audio was recorded 37 years ago on a Sony cassette tape I've kept among dozens of others dating back to my days at the magazine. I spoke with Burns and his manager, Irving Fein, at the comedians office on a studio lot in Hollywood. We talk about his incredible career spanning vaudeville, radio, television and film, including his nearly 40 year marriage and comedy team partnership with Gracie Allen. He also talks about "these comedy kids today" (Billy Crystal, Bill Cosby, etc) and his Oscar win at 80 for "The Sunshine Boys." He also shares memories of vaudeville pals such as Harpo Marx, hints on diet and exercise (he lived to be 100) and why he only smoked cheap cigars on-stage and off-.Travel back in time and listen to a true Hollywood legend -- as well as George Burns.  Out of the vault now at brioux.tv.
Mary Mammoliti -- a home cook and a food blogger with a significant loss of vision -- has no trouble finding her way around the kitchen. She is also very at home in front of a TV camera. The second season of her AMI-tv series, Dish with Mary, just started airing on Tuesday nights and can also be streamed on demand on AMI.ca and the AMI-tv App. Listen as Mary describes how she pivoted from being a financial advisor to a food blogger and eventually a TV chef as her vision became more and more limited. Actually, there's nothing limited about her vision, or her reach, as you'll lean on this podcast. The Toronto resident tells how she copes in the kitchen and how her other senses help her create memorable meals. She also talks about the fellow food enthusiasts from across Canada that she has welcomed as guests on her series. So listen in and dish along with Mary!
Comedian Ron James

Comedian Ron James

2022-07-1101:08:08

We catch up with comedian Ron James as his bestseller, "Ron James All Over the Map," is nominated for the Stephen Leacock Award. If you haven't read it yet, the book is 100 per cent Ron, all in his voice -- 275 pages; four commas!James is also pumped to be performing a rare standup set July 16 at the Avon theatre as part of the Stratford Festival. His post-pandemic schedule also just included a comedy concert swing through British Columbia. Then there's his role on the Nova Scotia-based series "Trapped," which John Doyle of The Globe and Mail recently raved about. All in all, these are peak times for James.We also touch on some serious stuff: the recent passing of so many celebrated comedians such as Bob Saget, Norm MacDonald and Gilbert Gottfried. James also talks about his admiration for comedy legends Billy Connolly and George Carlin. We speculate on what the heck is happening with that SCTV documentary. And then there's his epic choice for all-time favourite TV theme song. Sing along with James on a sweet and lively conversation. 
After a two year delay, The Amazing Race Canada is finally back on the starting line. Host Jon Montgomery returns and shares his thoughts with Season 8 set to kick off Tuesday, July 5 on CTV. Jon's love of Canada is genuine and infectious as you can hear on this podcast episode. The Olympic gold medalist addresses the challenges in re-mounting Canada's most-popular summer series after a two-year pandemic pause.Jon also talks about some of his favourite teams from past seasons as well as the destinations, both foreign and domestic, he enjoyed visiting the most. This year's Race is, as it was on Season 7, run in Canada only, a wise decision or the ten new teams would probably still be trying to get past customs at Pearson.One thing that hasn't changed is the grand prize money: still a cool quarter million. Plenty of other prizes, too, including cars and flights.Listen in as Jon also tells what TV shows he's currently binging, the series he enjoyed the most as a  youngster and his favourite, all-time TV theme song -- which he even sings! It's always a blast catching up with Jon Montgomery.
"Henderson has scored for Canada."Those five words, spoken by radio and TV legend Foster Hewitt, had me and five friends jumping up and down all over my parent's house on September 28, 1972. We had just witnessed history as Team Canada came back to defeat The U.S.S.R. in an eight game hockey summit series that put the Cold War on Ice.This episode, I speak with author, sports commentator and former Toronto Sun colleague Scott Morrison. His new book, "1972: The Series That Changed Hockey Forever," is the A-Z on a dramatic and unforgettable event. Scott spoke with several hockey heroes, including Phil Esposito (who wrote the forward to the book), Paul Henderson, Brad Park, Bobby Clarke, Ken Dryden, Yvan Cournoyer, Ron Ellis and others and answers every lingering question -- including whether or not Pat Stapleton smuggled the winning puck out of Moscow.   Come back to September of 1972 in this conversation steeped in nostalgia -- not just for the days of a 14-team NHL but for a nation and a culture where colour TV was still a novelty and bitcoins was what you did to see if coins were real.
Part Three of "Battle of the Network Stars: Executive Division" features CBC Executive Vice President Barbara Williams.Williams, a respected industry veteran who called the shots at Global prior to joining CBC,  oversees all of the public broadcaster’s English language programming services. This episode finds her just back from the Banff TV fest and fresh off the news of a long-term deal between CBC and Toronto's historic Massey Hall. CBC also just picked up a Peabody for Sort Of, the Toronto-lensed comedy starring Bilal Baig that returns this fall to CBC and HBO.On the podcast, we walk through several programming decisions with the focus on what's new for 2022-2023. We also talk about the future of Coroner, which ended after four seasons with the departure of lead Serinda Swan. Might it return? And what of Private Eyes? Did CBC make a play for the popular Jason Priestley PI drama unceremoniously jettisoned by Global?
Part II in our series, "Battle of the Network Stars: Executives Division," features Daniel Eves, Senior Vice President, Broadcast Networks, Corus Entertainment.Eves helped guide the network to a breakthrough last fall when Global became Canada's No. 1 draw in Core Prime (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.). While CTV still won the full, Fall/Winter/Spring season, Global's September through December run was their first fall victory in 20 years.Eves took an unusual route to programming. He studied film at Waterloo ("I don't think they even offer it there anymore," he says), interned at Alliance/Atlantis and started working for Showcase. “I started to realize that there was this whole other world where I can pick shows and buy shows and manage a schedule..." he says. "I abandoned everything else I ever thought of and said that just seems like the thing I want to do.”Things seem to be working out so far. Listen in as Eves talks Hollywood screenings, Upfronts, and Survivor's lasting appeal.
Fresh off the Canadian Upfronts, we kick off our "Battle of the Network Stars: Program Executives Division" with Justin Stockman, VP Content Development & Programming and Pat DiVittorio, VP Programming, CTV & Specialty. They outline CTV and Bell's goals for the 2022-2023 season. New US imports include East New York, Rookie Blue: Feds and Alaska with Hilary Swank and later a Night Court remake set for mid-season. Bell also has plenty of Canadian originals set to join Transplant on their schedule. The return of The Amazing Race Canada after a two-year pandemic pause should jolt CTV's summer. Will it all be enough to insure a 22nd-straight year at the top of the Canadian network ratings? 
When it comes to ratings and putting today's television landscape in context, I always call on the Programming Insider himself, Marc Berman.The New York native has been a friend and colleague since he began attending the Television Critics Association's semi-annual network press tours in 1999. Back then, Marc was reporting for Mediaweek; before that, he worked in the research department for NBC.Now his insights and analysis -- as well as his unbeatable knowledge of TV trivia -- can be found daily at his Programming Insider site as well as at his regular contributions for Forbes online.In this conversation, we look at the recent TV upfronts in New York and ask: have traditional broadcasters simply surrendered the future to streamers? Berman doesn't think so but he does wonder if they didn't blow a big opportunity this fall by not offering a more dynamic content mix for consumers. Listen in also for what he's binging now, his favourite shows as a youngster and Marc's all-time favourite TV theme song. Plus find out which famous TV star used to call him daily for ratings!
As fans old and new will discover, podcast guests Dave Foley and Mark McKinney, along with fellow troupers Scott Thompson, Bruce McCullough and Kevin McDonald, are sketchier than ever. Twenty-seven years after their last season, their brand-new re-boot of The Kids in the Hall, premiers Friday, May 13 on Amazon Prime Video.  That's also where to watch "The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks," a two-part documentary premiering one week later on May 20.Foley and McKinney have enjoyed successful careers in television on both sides of the border. Hear their take on staying relevant as they enter their sixties plus what notes they received this time around from executive producer Lorne Michaels. They also discuss how the lingering pandemic may have helped the writing process and how much they love their eternally cool theme song, "Having an Average Weekend."
Jay Baruchel, who visited here about a year ago, returns to talk about his latest project, We're All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel). The six-episode docu-series premiered April 30 on Crave and can be streamed now on demand.The 40-year-old actor-director-filmmaker returns to his roots, going way back to his teen years when he was a  correspondent for Popular Mechanics for Kids. Here he's on a quest to investigate various end-of-the-world scenarios, including an asteroid Armageddon; a nuclear catastrophe; a pandemic pandemonium; an alien invasion; a volcanic cataclysm; and a climate apocalypse. This episode includes clips from the series plus a shorter-than-usual chat with Jay, who is hella busy. Besides his recent hosting duties on LOL: Last One Laughing Canada, Baruchel was in St. John's directing episodes of Mark Critch's CBC series Son of a Critch. He can also be seen in the new Kids in the Hall series, coming up mid-May on Amazon Prime Video.
 Billed as "The World's Slowest-rising Comedian," Ronnie Schell has been making people laugh for seven decades.His story began at The Purple Onion and the hungry i in the late '50s where Schell shared stages with The Kingston Trio and Phyllis Diller. From there, the now 90-year-old seemed destined for showbiz success.His TV history starts as a contestant on "You Bet Your Life" with Groucho Marx. The big break came with "Gomer Pyle, USMC" where he played Jim Nabor's army pal Duke Slater. He shared top billing with Montreal-born Joby Baker, Billy De Wolfe and newcomer Goldie Hawn on the radio station sitcom "Good Morning World" -- a series co-created by previous brioux.tv guest Bill Persky.Schell went on to a string of Disney movies in the '70s and '80s starring some of the biggest names in comedy, including Don Knotts, Tim Conway, and Phil Silvers.That was his voice on many Hanna-Barbera animated series, including versions of The Flintstones, The Smurfs and Scooby-Doo. Almost 50 years ago, a request came in to voice a character that was a hit with Canadians -- Peter Puck. The character explained hockey rules to Americans on NBC. In real life, Schell didn't know an icing from an off side!Hear these stories and many more, including the names of a few famous headliners Schell was not a fan of, as he looks back on a half-century of entertainment history. 
Are you ready to go Tripping with Mitch Azaria? The executive producer behind two very successful real-time travel documentaries for TVO is back with a third: "Tripping the Bruce." It premieres Friday, April 15 on TVO and repeats on Sunday the 17th. Bruce Who? Bruce Peninsula, silly. That glorious, prehistoric Great Lakes land mass that separates Lake Huron from Georgian Bay. I've spent all my summers cottaging there and I still did not know most of the amazing factoids that flash upon the screen during this three-hour sailboat ride across the tip of the peninsula.  Did you know that the Bruce is home to it's very own sub-species of black bear? That a reported one thousand shipwrecks surround its coasts -- the world's largest collections of intact wooden shipwrecks? That it is home to 150 species of migrating birds?Mitch knows all and shares more fun facts, including how he and a small crew were able to capture the Bruce in all its glory from the deck of a sailboat last summer. Listen in, and see you up at Flowerpot Island this summer.
Phil Keoghan

Phil Keoghan

2022-03-2841:13

Come on down Canada, says Phil Keoghan.The New Zealand-born host of The Amazing Race is throwing the doors open to any Canadian who wants to prove themselves on his other show, Tough as Nails.Canadian citizens 21 or older can now apply to be on the CBS series, which will be retuning next season on Global.  Tough as Nails features competitors at work sites who are challenged to prove themselves as individuals and as team members.Keoghan, 54, agrees that the war in Ukraine has raised the bar when it comes to toughness under fire. He created this series, together with his wife Louise Rodrigues, with an aim to present a positive salute to ordinary heroes.There’s also a substantial cash prize: $200,000 – American – and a Ford Super Duty truck.Keoghan is hoping Canadians do well. After all, at one time he enjoyed landed immigrant status. His family lived in Guelph, Ont., for nearly four years when Keoghan was a lad, and he’s been back many times since.Back in the ‘90s, however, a Calgary border official tore up his Canadian status card. That was a drag, he says. “I was kind of proud of being a landed Canadian immigrant.”Good thing he doesn’t hold any grudges. Canadians can fill out a CBS casting application for Tough as Nails by following this link. Listen to the podcast to get more information. You’ll also hear Keoghan’s inspired answer to how people of all ages can seize the day with his “No Opportunity Wasted” philosophy.
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