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"Thufferin' thuckotash!" Have you heard Eric Bauza as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian, Sylvester & Tweety and many other classic cartoon stars?  He says his five-year-old son can tell his Bugs from that of Mel Blanc but I can't, and I've collected dozens of classic Warner Bros. Looney Tunes over decades of 16mm film collecting. Bauza, who grew up in Scarborough, Ont., started out working in the drawing end of the animation business. He talks about meeting a few of his voice over heroes, including cartoon legend June Foray (Rocky & Bullwinkle; Looney Tunes) and fellow Canadian Maurice LaMarche (Pinky and the Brain).We also talk about his new series Stay Tooned, premiering Dec. 2 on CBC Gem. The six-episode documentary series finds Bauza in conversation with several of his 'toon talk peers, including Ben Schwartz, Lake Bell, Ken Jeong, Bobby Moynihan, Tara Strong, Lamorne Morris, Cree Summer, and James Adomian, among others.BONUS: Hear a short clip of a 1983 interview -- my first at TV Guide Canada -- with the original voice of Donald Duck, Clarence "Ducky" Nash!
As a young Toronto school teacher, Linda Schuyler decided to introduce her Grade 8 students to the art of filmmaking. As it says on the inside flap of her new book, "The Mother of all Degrassi: A Memoir" (ECW Press), this was a momentous decision. "It set in motion a career of storytelling for an age group largely ignored by TV executives... and creates one of the most-loved television franchises of all time."In all its incarnations, starting back in 1979, Degrassi has spanned several decades, many fan-favourite cast members and over 500 episodes. The various series have many admirers, including filmmaker Kevin Smith, who calls Schuyler, "The greatest ally in entertainment young audiences have had since John Hughes."Listen in as Schuyler recounts her early struggles -- including a serious car accident -- and how she was able to stick to her vision in presenting a series that championed adolescents in all their diversity. Taboo topics including abortion, school shootings and other issues have all been fearlessly tackled on Degrassi. As Schuyler sees it, the series is really, "the world's longest-running anti-bullying campaign."  She also comments on recent reports about the future of the franchise, including HBO Max's decision this month to push pause on a brand new Degrassi incarnation. 
Actors and actresses from When Calls the Heart have been among the most-listened to guests in the three years since the podcast was launched. Clearly, "Hearties" are everywhere, and in Canada they subscribe to Super Channel.The service has a fascinating history. Think of how the media landscape has lurched from one disruption to another this century. Super Channel  nearly went under -- twice -- but CEO and president Donald McDonald can be credited with steering the Canadian-owned company to one of its best years ever in time to celebrate its 15th anniversary.I'd like to think their recent success has to do with them being a sponsor. There are other factors however, and who better to point them out than my guests, McDonald and Chief Content Officer Jackie Pardy.Among the topics discussed are the return of When Calls the Heart for a 10th season (probably early next year); the successful liaisons with the Canadian Film Festival and Blood in the Snow film festival; and plans to introduce, as both Netflix and Disney+ have announced, an ad-supported lower-priced Super streaming tier.Listen right from the start when I call Don McDonald "Bob" several times. It's never a good move to blow the name of a sponsor on a podcast. Fortunately, Don is as good a sport as he is Super CEO.
If you could only talk with Charlie Hunnam for 11 minutes, what would you ask?That's how long I had with the UK-born actor, who was recently in Toronto promoting his new AppleTV+ series Shantaram.The 42-year-old former Sons of Anarchy star plays quick-thinking jailbird Lin Ford on AppleTV+'s new big-budget drama. Ford's motto: escape or die. Hunnam is also a producer on the series, which is based on  the semi-autobiographical international bestseller by Gregory David Roberts. Roberts broke out of an Australian prison and disappeared for several years in Bombay. Hunnam wanted to make sure the 12-episode drama captured every nuance of Roberts' book.Why just 11 minutes? That's just how these press deals work. Other reporters were also waiting to speak with the actor, whose credits extend back to his teen years on Queer as Folk and Undeclared.This episode does include a review of the series plus a story or two on the merits of saying yes to short interviews, including that time I was given five minutes to speak with Bill Maher.
I think I was about 35 before I figured out that Billy Van played all those crazy characters on The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.The series, consisting of 130 episodes cranked out over nine months, premiered more than 50 years ago in 1971. It is one of the most eccentric and enduring, locally-produced, TV shows ever made in Canada. It broke so many rules in childrens television that you'd have to cut it down to about four minutes to get it on a broadcast network today. (Edited versions still play on Crave, Tubi and YouTube.)My guest on this podcast is Mitch Markowitz whose older brother Riff Markowitz took the idea of a horror-spoof kiddie show to Hamilton's CHCH. Mitch helped produce but also, at his brother's urging, appeared on-camera in short segments as "Super Hippy." Vincent Price was flown up from Hollywood to shoot 400 introductory segments which helped the Markowitz's syndicate the series stateside. Jumbo-sized Fishka Rais played Igor, assistant to The Count, Billy Van. Van, later a key comedy player on Sony & Cher, also played Griselda the Ghastly Gourmet, The Librarian, Bwana Clyde Batty,  The Oracle, The Maharishi and the Wolfman -- the latter a werewolf disc jockey. Van wasn't supposed to play any of them, but, as Markowitz relates, he stepped in when a Plan-A that would never fly today didn't pan out. Van's tour-de-force was an inspiration to Mike Myers, Jim Carrey and other Canadians who grew up with the series before hitting it big in Hollywood. Markowitz shares those stories and talks about the recent animated spinoff in a Halloween party episode even "Brucie" -- a copyright-infringing monster The Count was always trying to revive -- would enjoy.
I like my podcast guests to feel comfortable. That's not always possible over a zoom call, but that didn't stop Jennifer Finnigan, currently back for a second season on CBC's comedy-drama Moonshine.  For our interview, the Montreal native chose to stay in bed.That is a level of intimacy and/or laziness usually reserved for close friends or relatives so I'm flattered. Really.Besides, Finnigan has been spending long days in production on an already ordered third season of the series, shot on the southern shore of Nova Scotia. Created by Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz), Moonshine is about a ramshackle summer resort run by one whacked out family.  Finnigan plays Lidia, the prodigal sister who returns from America. When her hippie parents (Peter MacNeill and Corrine Koslo) retire, Lidia gets drawn into a battle with her freaked out siblings for control of the joint. Lidia's life takes a turn when she finds out her lying douche of a hubby was cheating on her. Finnigan's real-life husband Jonathan Silverman stepped right into the part. The couple and their five-year-old daughter moved to Nova Scotia to work on the series. They've been having a blast working on Moonshine with Anastasia Phillips, Emma Hunter, Tom Stevens, Alexander Nunez and others. This season, Allan Hawco plays Lidia's new biker boy.We also talk about Finnigan's past roles, including The Bold and the Beautiful (where she won three daytime Emmys), Crossing Jordan, Tyrant and Salvation. May all future interviews be this relaxed.
With a one-year-old baby at home, Meaghan Rath says that, yes, she is living the joys of her TV series, Children Ruin Everything. The sitcom is now into its second season Monday nights on CTV.The Montreal native confirms that "Mommy Brain" is a real thing but at least her son is sleeping through the night. Meanwhile, she is enjoying year two on the series. Guest stars this season include Kim Coates, Anna Hopkins, and Aaron Ashmore. We go through some of her earlier credits, including her three seasons on Hawaii Five-0 , her work on the BBC horror-comedy Being Human and her stint opposite fellow Canuck Hannah Simone on New Girls.Rath also confirms that, yes, as a young lass, she did once ask her parents for an agent for Christmas. "They were like, we don't know how to get you that."Her first professional gig was the cult classic, "Lost and Delirious" starring Piper Perabo, Mischa Barton and fellow Montrealer Jessica Pare. She was 12 or 13 at the time. "It was a very fun and wild first job."Her favourite all-time TV theme song? Rath breaks with precedent by choosing a great theme from a current series. Check it out on this fun chat with the Children Ruin Everything actress.
Strays star Nicole Power is well known from her five-season stint as Shannon Ross on the CBC comedy Kim's Convenience. Last season, her character was spun off on her own series Strays, where she became manager of a Hamilton animal shelter.On this podcast, besides her own series, she talks all about her latest role on Kim Cattrall's upcoming Netflix drama Glamorous, which is set in the world of the cosmetics industry. Yes, the Newfoundland native has a lot on her plate. Season Two of Strays, airing Tuesdays on CBC,  finds Shannon enjoying a little puppy love with a new character named Travis (played by Dennis Andres from Workin' Moms).Power, who has a rescue dog of her own, also talks about growing up down the street from Rick Mercer's parents and the call she got from Rick to congratulate her on Season 2 of Strays.Then there is the comedienne she most admires who was a star decades before Power was even born.Finally, Power sings a line or two from her favourite all-time TV theme song, which is all about "the lady in red when everyone else is wearing tan..."
Another milestone in Canadian television is reached with the 50th anniversary of the launch of The Beachcombers. Jackson Davies, who played constable Constable through most of the 18-season run as well as two reboot movies in the early 2000's looks back at the iconic series. The CBC drama starred Bruno Gerussi-- who plays Nick Adonidas -- and Pat John -- who played Jesse -- as a pair of adventurous log wranglers working the B.C. coastline.True story: Conan O'Brien, before he became a late night talk show host, was on a visit to Vancouver with writer pal Greg Daniels (who went on to co-create the American version of The Office). The two of them happened upon a Beachcombers episode on the TV in their hotel room. They became so transfixed with John's halting delivery and original TV presence that they tracked him down, and, posing as American producers, paid him a visit!Davies tells that story and many more, including a look back at some of his later credits, including his work on Tom Greene's notorious flick of the '90s, "Freddy Got Fingered."
Eric McCormack

Eric McCormack


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


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 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
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 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


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.
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