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BriouxTV: The Podcast
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BriouxTV: The Podcast

Author: Bill Brioux

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Hosted by veteran TV columnist Bill Brioux. Each week, join in on an outspoken conversation with the actors, executives, and insiders that make the television industry pop. In each edition, Bill invites his guests to talk business, give up some great stories, and make it personal. Plus laughs.

123 Episodes
Marie Clements grabs your attention with the opening scenes of her new series version of Bones of Crows (premiering September 20 on CBC, CBC Gem and APTN). A pyramid of caribou skulls are stacked high as crows circle overhead. It is a not so subtle symbol of the decades of horror, abuse and genocide that took place in Canada in the wake of the residential school system.Clements has taken her festival film feature of Bones of Crows and expanded it with this five episode miniseries version. The writer, director and producer has cast well with this epic story that spans a hundred years, with Grace Dove one of three actresses who plays Cree matriarch Aline Spears, the main protagonist confronting her traumatic past.Clements, a Metis filmmaker based in B.C., has been a storyteller in many genres, including stage, screen and television. In this conversation, we talk about the depiction of pioneering Canadian politicians in Bones of Crows, and whether the current, statue-toppling revisions go far enough when it comes to setting the record straight about the plight of the First Nations. We also talk about her filmmaking influences growing up and land upon her favourite all-time TV theme song, from a series that took its own hard look at history.
"Still Laughing" is the title of George Schlatter's new book and if you read it, you'll be laughing, too. There are first-hand, hilarious stories on every page and he shares many of them on this podcast episode. Schlatter went from being a Las Vegas bouncer (although he prefers the title, "executive in charge of emergency departures") to being a talent agent, where he struck up an early and valued friendship with Frank Sinatra. He eventually became a TV producer, handling top talent such as Dinah Shore, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis, Jr., Cher and many others.When he wasn't meeting stars he was making them, especially as the producer of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Almost overnight, the late '60s, early '70s comedy/variety hour made household names of Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens, JoAnne Worley and many others. He gave a young writer from Toronto a shot -- Lorne Michaels. Not sure whatever happened to him.Phrases such as "You bet your sweet bippy," "Hear come de judge," and "Sock it to me," swept through schoolyards and suburban homes across North America.Not everything he tried worked. Schlatter has great stories about his flops, including Turn On, a 1969 experimental series that was canceled on the East Coast before the show was even seen on the West Coast.Schlatter also talks about his greatest achievement: his 67-year marriage to wife Jolene. The couple donated so many scripts and other artifacts to the National Comedy Centre in Jamestown, N.Y. the place named their theatre after them. 
As Kevin McGarry says on this episode, the odds seemed stacked against When Calls the Heart lasting into a 10th season.Yet last it has, with the 10th season now streaming on both Super Channel and Hallmark, and an 11th season already in production on the elaborate town set erected on farmland near Langley, B.C.The series has weathered the loss of one of its main leads. Aussie actor Dan Lissing, who played original Mountie suitor Jack Thornton, opted to leave the series at the end of Season Four. Then there was the global COVID pandemic, which WCTH weathered mainly due to the fact that much of it is shot outdoors. A college admissions  scandal involving another one of its leads, Lori Loughlin, knocking her out of the series and caused much of one season to be re-shot. This season, the writers and actors strikes halted production on most US-based series -- but WCTH managed work arounds for American born lead Erin Krakow and others.This all has helped McGarry, a Kincardine, Ont., native who plays new Mountie in town, Nathan Grant. He is into his fifth season on the series. It is also where he met his finance, co-star Kayla Wallace, who plays Fiona Miller. McGarry thanks the fans of the series -- the loyal "Hearties" -- and puts it all in perspective in this fun and lively interview.
Back in 1986, I had the good fortune to interview Joe Barbera at his corner office at the Hanna-Barbera Studio on Ventura Blvd in Los Angeles.The savvy TV producer/studio head was 75 at the time and had plenty to talk about. He was getting offers to make live-action feature films based on The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Jonny Quest. He had a new, animated Bible series to promote on Home Video. He insisted that ABC, CBS and NBC would stick with his main bread and butter, Saturday morning cartoon shows.I found the original cassette tape of that conversation. While it is a little fuzzy, hearing Barbera's passion for what he and partner Bill Hanna had accomplished in pioneering the field of television animation is still definitely worth a listen. Wait till you hear his story of how he sold TV's first prime time animated series, The Flintstones.Barbera passed away at 95 in 2006. The studio he established has been sold several times and even the studio headquarters is long gone. Fred and Barney and George Jetson and Yogi Bear and Scooby-Doo and the Smurfs live on, however.Please enjoy this From the Vault episode with Joe Barbera.
Do you love watching classic films on TCM? Then if you live in the Los Angeles area, or will be there over Labor Day weekend,  you'll love Cinecon. Described as a "7th heaven for cinephiles," Cinecon returns for a 59th year August 31 to September 4 with a playbill of rare goodies you can't even see on TCM. Among those programming the festival is this week's podcast guest Stan Taffel, president of Cinecon and a dedicated film archivist and curator. One of Stan's innovations was introducing "Kinecon at Cinecon," an exhibition of very rare, often one-of-a-kind kinescope prints from the earliest days of television. This Labor Day weekend, Cinecon will be saluting CBS Television City, the mid-Los Angeles fun factory the network no longer owns. Long-time tenant The Price is Right was among the last to pack up and leave earlier this year.Among the nuggets from Stan's own 16mm film collection to be shown at the festival is a 1953 film featuring famed CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow, who takes viewers on a tour of Television City. Encountered there are such early tenants as Jack Benny and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.The festival will also salute the 100th anniversary of 16mm film with rare silent treats from Laurel & Hardy as well as Harold Lloyd, all accompanied on a mighty Wurlitzer organ.  Enjoy this trip aboard the film and TV time machine with Cinecon's Stan Taffel.
Quincy Isaiah says his basketball game has improved by leaps and rebounds since suiting up for the role of Magic Johnson in "Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty." The series is back for a second season on HBO Max and Crave.The Michigan native plays the early '80s version of Earvin "Magic" Johnson in the series, which was created by Adam McKay. Isaiah had to do both an acting and a sports audition to win the part, and was coached later, as were the other actors, to look NBA worthy on the court -- not easy when you're called upon to dish like Magic.John C. Reilly plays colourful Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss in the series. Isaiah calls him an acting "beast." Solomon Hughes plays NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.The real Abdul-Jabbar -- now a terrific read as, among other things, a TV critic -- hates "Winning Time," dismissing it as "a bland soap opera." Hear Isaiah's reaction to that criticism and whether or not he's heard from Magic in this brisk podcast episode, recorded live and in person last June at the Bell Media Upfront in Toronto.
Me and hilarious actress/comedienne Sabrina Jalees connect over candy bars stolen from the CTV press launch as well as her two current TV gigs: hosting Farming for Love (Sunday nights on CTV) and acting as a judge on Roast Battle Canada (Mondays on CTV Comedy channel).The Toronto native jumped out to a fast start as a teenage correspondent for The Toronto Star, a standup comedian at YukYuks and Just for Laughs and as a judge on MuchMusic's cheeky music roast, Video on Trial. Recent credits include Search Party, Harley Quinn and as a young MD on the CBS Patricia Heaton comedy Carol's Second Act.Hear why she feels some of these farmers, male and female, are genuine catches on Farming for Love. The BC-based series is already harvesting new suitors for Season Two. Jalees also talks about being a mom to young Wolfie as well as some exciting new projects.
 It doesn't take long for Emma Hunter's frisky DJ Nora to jump back into action on Moonshine (CBC; The CW). As Season Three begins, she's having sex in a car with her police officer boyfriend (played by James Gilbert).Sorry, America. You won't see that scene in the U.S. Hunter's auto erotic antics, as well as the occasional obscenity, will be cut on The CW. It seems that the Canadian brew of Moonshine is a little too strong for The CW's standards and practices.The raunchy dramedy, from writer/producer Sheri Elwood, focuses on a dysfunctional clan of half siblings battling for control of a ramshackle lodge on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Hunter, previous podcast guest Jennifer Finnigan as Lydia, and Anastasia Phillips as Rhian play the three feisty sisters on the series.As she says on this podcast, Hunter is thrilled to be flexing more than just her funny bone with Moonshine. Previous credits includes sending up Canadian news headlines on The Beaverton, playing a zany teacher on Mr. d and sharpening her sketch comedy skills on Air Farce.When did the Toronto native first realize she had this gift to make people laugh? Find out on this episode of the podcast. 
When we left off in our two-part conversation with TV writer/creator Hart Hanson, he was make the career jump from Canada to Hollywood. Part Two is packed with stories from the U.S. TV trenches. After shepherding both Joan of Arcadia and Judging Amy, Hanson's decision to bail on Snoops baffled colleagues and managers. Not his boss David E. Kelley, however, who admired Hanson's writing and gave him his blessing.When Hanson went on to create the series Bones, he did the unthinkable -- he infused comedy in a CSI-like procedural. Only Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman got it  and she quit the network shortly after the series launched.Hanson names names as he recounts the sometimes torturous paths shows take before they are embraced by audiences. He stuck to his guns on Bones and it became the longest-running scripted success in the history of Fox.Hanson is grateful for being in the right place at the right time with Bones, one of the last worldwide hits of the broadcast network era. He sometimes feels as if he "caught the last chopper out of Saigon."I'm indebted to Hart for his insight, his candor and his, yes, his heart. Celebrate both Canada Day and the 4th of July with this wonderful Canadian-American storyteller.
Was he born in California or Canada? Even Hart Hanson's not 100% sure but here's what we do know: he has created hit TV shows in both countries, including the longest-running drama ever at Fox, Bones. Pt. 1 of this two-part conversation looks at his start in Canada as a writer on The Beachcombers through his work as a writer and producer on Neon Ryder, North of 60 and as the creator of Traders. Hart talks about earning degrees at The University of Toronto and The University of British Columbia, the summer he rode his bicycle clear across Canada and how he was able to get on Beachcombers star Bruno Gerussi's good side. Anyone interested in pursuing a career in the crazy business of television, on either side of the border, should listen to this gifted storyteller. Also recommended if you're just interested in pursuing your dream. Next week on Part 2: Hanson goes to America and enjoys success with Judging Amy, Joan of Arcadia and especially Bones.
Warning: there is a lot of Brampton talk in this episode. My guest, Jordan Gavaris, grew up in my town so brace yourself for a walk down memories of the Bramalea City Centre.Otherwise the top subject is Gavaris' Prime Video series The Lake, which just returned for a second season on the Amazon-owned streaming service. Shot in Ontario's cottage country,  the story finds Gavaris -- previously best-known for Orphan Black -- as Justin, a gay dad with a 16-year-old daughter named Billie (Madison Shamoun). That’s what happens when you get your best friend pregnant at prom. The baby was given up for adoption.Justin reconnects with his city girl by bringing her to the cherished cabin where he spent his youth. Trouble is, his  back-stabbing step-sister, Maisy-May (Julia Stiles). has claimed the cottage and stolen it from him. A lot of canoe jousting ensues. There are several other very funny people in this series, including Jon Dore as an obnoxious neighbour dude. Recent podcast guest Lauren Holly gets into the mix in Season Two as a  mom-from-Hell. I wasn't sure about The Lake at first so I kept watching, and liked it more and more with each episode.You'll feel the same way about Gavaris after listening to this fun and frisky conversation. Check us out and get ready to jump in The Lake.
This Friday, June 9, after 13 seasons, ever-popular radio and TV host Marilyn Denis concludes her long-running CTV daytime series The Marilyn Denis Show. Prior to that, she enjoyed a 20-year run in daytime TV on CityLine -- an incredible 33-year reign over two networks.In fact, as she discusses on this episode of the podcast, Denis was so coveted by  former Bell/CTV boss Ivan Fecan that he insisted she be part of the deal when a tug of war developed over her services.The good news for fans of the broadcaster is that she is keeping her radio job. Denis  can still be heard each weekday morning as co-host of Marilyn Denis and Jamar on CHUM 104.5. This fall, she also plans to resume her most recent project: Marilyn Denis Has a Podcast.I'm just grateful she was a guest on this podcast, where she talks about some of the celebrity guests  she has interviewed, including Elton John, Sally Field, Lionel Richie and Jane Fonda. Look for visits from more celebs in her final week of CTV shows.Whoever she is interviewing, Denis always strives to, as she says, "put myself in the place of the viewer and ask what they would want to know."She even sings! Listen towards the end as she treats listeners to a few bars from her all-time favourite TV theme song.
John Doyle is back!

John Doyle is back!


Now that John Doyle has retired as the TV critic of The Globe and Mail, how are we supposed to make sense of it all? Where is our roadmap out of the madness that is Canadian television?It is all right here, friends, in this handy and convenient, click and listen podcast episode.Hear Doyle on why he retired over six months ago from the newspaper he toiled at with distinction for 26 years. Does he still think the people who run the Canadian Screen Awards are idjits? That would be yes. What shows or issues, if any, does he wish he was writing about now? What shows are can't miss in the Doyle household these days? Does he think Ted Lasso has jumped the shark?I miss reading John's unfiltered and outspoken take on this crazy beat. Lock the door, pour a pale ale and join us for some rousing blather between two lucky bastards who love and hate television.
Lauren Holly is an American-Canadian actress who lives in Toronto but works in Vancouver. Hers is every TV actresses resume rolled into one.Vancouver is where she shoots Family Law, which returns for a second season Monday, May 22 on Global. The CW just announced that they've acquired the cheeky law drama for their summer season.When she's not stirring things up as family matriarch Joanne Kowalski opposite Jewel Staite and Victor Garber on Family Law, she can be found in Ontario's cottage country. That's where she shoots The Lake, the Prime Video drama returning for a second season June 9.Holly's credits stretch back to her breakout role opposite Tom Skerritt and Kathy Baker on Picket Fences (1992-96).  Several seasons on Chicago Hope and NCIS followed as did features such as "Dumb and Dumber" and "What Women Want."Raised in upstate New York, Holly married not one but two Canadians, moved to Canada, became a Canadian citizen and has three Canadian sons. Does this not qualify her for the Order of Canada? Or at least a discount at Tim Horton's?Hear her on the importance of acting on happy sets on this episode of the podcast.
Come on down for a fun conversation with John Ealer, executive producer, and Sarah Gibson, director and showrunner, of The Game Show Show. Their four-part docuseries from Toronto's Cream Productions premieres Wednesday, May 10 on ABC and continues Wednesday nights throughout May. Episodes look at the evolution of TV game shows from their radio roots to the big money series such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Deal or No Deal. The series also looks at how competition and dating shows have  become more popular in the 21st century. There is also a discussion of the game show scandals of the 1950s. Also: why is it that Canadians such as Alex Trebek, Howie Mandel and Monty Hall seem to make great game show hosts? Mr. Ealer has a generous theory.All that plus John and Sarah's favourite TV theme songs, including the one used years later by George for his answering machine on Seinfeld.
 Eric McCormack is such a terrific podcast guest we're running this episode twice.The occasion is the premiere, April 6, of Slasher: Ripper. This fifth season of the horror anthology series airs on the streaming service Shudder in the States and in Canada on  one of our sponsors here at, Hollywood Suite.Set in 1910, McCormack plays, in his words, "a ruthless son-of-a-bitch" who finds himself on the hit list of a vicious slasher. The Emmy-award winner is known more for starring in urbane comedies such as Will & Grace than for playing nasty bad guys, but he's done it before. "It comes a little too naturally to me," he jokes.On this encore episode, which originally ran in 2022, McCormack shares several terrific showbiz stories. Examples include the time he cracked up guest star Gene Wilder on the set of Will & Grace.He also talks about plans to launch a Broadway show based on the hit Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner movie "The War of the Roses."  First, however, McCormack will be directed first by Jason Alexander at the Hayes theater starting this July in the domestic comedy "The Cottage."BONUS: at the end of this episode, hear McCormack belt out his favourite all-time TV theme song (hint: the two main character were "Doing it our way..."). 
I always look forward to catching up with Mitch Azaria. He's the executive producer behind the unique "Tripping" series of real time, immersive documentaries featured each spring on TVO.In the past few years, and especially throughout the pandemic, these docs have allowed viewers to travel virtually throughout Ontario when real travel was not an option, or at best a very limited one. The series all started with Tripping The Rideau Canal (2020) followed by The Niagara (2021), and last April, The Bruce (2022).The latest adventure is Tripping Train 185, premiering Friday, April 7 on TVO.  It takes viewers aboard a remote route that runs northwest out of Canada’s mining capital and along the stunning Spanish River."It's a hidden gem," says Azaria. "I didn't know anything about it."The route goes from Sudbury to White River, a 480 km trip. Best of all, it is aboard a stainless steel Budd Car, the last-remaining, post WWII vintage, diesel train in North America still operating on a regular route.Part of the fun is the bond between the crew and the passengers. "It's like Old Home week every trip on this train," saysd Azaria. As you'll see, many canoes and backpacks are along for the ride.For many, Train 185 is the only way to get to some of the best fishing sites in North America. For TVO viewers, thanks to Mitch and his crew, this is the only way to travel. 
Kardinal Offishall

Kardinal Offishall


For the second week in a row, my guest on the podcast is a judge on Canada's Got Talent. Listen up to Kardinal Offishall, the Toronto-born rapper and music producer who is now encouraging a new generation of talented Canadians on CGT. That series, which shoots at the Fallsview Casino OLG Stage in Niagara Falls, Ont., rolls into a second season Tuesday, March 21 on Citytv.Offishall talks about his own experiences as a talent show contestant starting way back when he was not yet even a teenager. Since then, he's gone on to win several Juno and MMVA awards as he earned the title of "Canada's hip hop ambassador.".In recent years, he's even branched out as an actor, with comic turns on both the first and second seasons of Andrew Phung's CBC comedy Run The Burbs, Kardi talks about what to expect on the surprising second season of CGT and also reveals his choice for Favourite All-time TV theme song. It's a jingle he likes so much he uses it as the ringtone on his phone!
If you liked Season One of Canada's Got Talent, "You are going to be bowled over this year," says Howie Mandel, "because I don't think there's even a comparison." The talent search series returns  Tuesday, March 21 on Citytv.Mandel is joined once again on the judging panel by Lilly Singh, Trish Stratus and Kardinal Offishall. The talent on display hails from all across Canada, including, as Howie says, "The tundra!"Mandel, of course, is one of the most successful and enduring comedy acts in all of North America. He started making audiences laugh at Yuk Yuks in Toronto and The Comedy Store in LA before taking a dramatic turn as Dr. Wayne Fiscus in the groundbreaking NBC hospital drama St. Elsewhere.As he tells on this episode, young Howie loved watching daytime talk shows hosted by Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin, never dreaming he'd one day be a guest on these shows as well as The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Being on Merv, in fact, led to one of his first big breaks when he got a call from Gene Simmons of KISS. Listen here for the rest of that story.Mandel's other credits include Bobby World, Deal or No Deal and his seven-year stint on America's Got Talent. Plus now he's helping make or break the next generation of comedians as part owner of Montreal's famed comedy festival, Just for Laughs.
It is not often that a series that is popular on Radio-Canada crosses over into an English language version. But that is the case with Plan B, a compelling new drama airing Monday nights on CBC. It can also be seen on demand on CBC Gem.One of the stars is a Canadian Screen Award-winning actress who is as at home in English as she is in her native French. Her career has also taken her to Hollywood and onto American network tv shows such as Pan Am, and Revenge. I’m talking of course about Karine Vanasse, a standout since her teen years. Her feature film credits include a breakout role in director Denis Villeneuve’s 2009 feature “Polytechnique.” She also starred for four seasons opposite one of my first podcast guests, Billy Campbell, in one of my all-time favourite Canadian dramas, Cardinal. Besides Plan B, where she shines opposite Patrick J. Adams from Suits, Vanasse is about to start shooting Season Two of another Montreal-based drama, Avant le Crash. Towards the end of this episode, Vanasse digs deep to be the first to name one of the best theme songs of the early 2000s as her all-time favourite.
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