Hosted by veteran TV columnist Bill Brioux. Each month, join in on an outspoken hour 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.
Graham Yost is the Emmy and Peabody award-winning executive producer and showrunner behind such Peak TV hits as Justified and The Americans. As a writer, he was the screenwriter behind the boxoffice smash "Speed" and episodes of "Band of Brothers."
He is also, as he was called back in the day, "Son of Elwy," as in Elwy Yost, TVO's Saturday Night at the Movies host who was a one-man film studies course for many of us who grew up in Ontario in the '70s through the '90s.
Graham talks lovingly about his dad and the new documentary "Magic Shadows, Elwy Yost: A Life in Movies," premiering Sat., Nov. 27 on TVO.
He insists his enthusiastic dad really didn't like every movie he saw: "He just didn't talk about the ones he didn't like." Yost Senior was actually a discerning viewer who could tell in 30 seconds if a film had any merit.
Graham also talks about growing up in Etobicoke, studying at U of T's Trinity college and being the drummer for The Lava Men, a sideline he was into around the time we first met.
He also talks about his latest TV projects, including two exciting shows he's currently shooting in The UK for AppleTV+
Director David Winning
If you’ve watched Hallmark movies in the past five years, you’ve probably seen several directed by David Winning.
The Calgary-born director made a name for himself early in his career for directing fantasy-horror films and shows – everything from Friday the 13th The Series to Are You Afraid of the Dark. He also was at home on sci-fi sets, including Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda and Stargate: Atlantis.
In recent years, he’s tapped into the lighter side at Hallmark, where he’s directed holiday heroines Erin Krakow, Lacey Chabert and Danica McKellar through multiple movies.
His latest, “The Nine Kittens of Christmas,” premieres Thanksgiving night (Nov. 25) on Hallmark Channel and Dec. 5 in Canada on W Channel. It stars Brandon Routh, Kimberley Sustad and Gregory Harrison.
It is Winning’s 20th movie for the Crown Media company. Many of them outdraw shows on the broadcast networks.
As someone who has directed everything from vampires and zombies to cute little kitties, why are these Hallmark holiday movies so popular, especially through a pandemic?
“In dark times, Hallmark does an excellent job of offering a safe harbour for viewers,” says Winning. Hear much more on this episode of brioux.tv the podcast.
“It’s not exactly ‘Angela’s Ashes,’” Rick Mercer says of his childhood. He writes about it in his engaging new memoir, “Talking to Canadians” (Penguin Harper Collins).
When he first sat down to write the book, something of a pandemic project, he worried that he lacked the harrowing childhood needed to pen a comedian’s memoir.
Brace yourself then, reader. Mercer’s tome is filled with mischief but also happy memories of growing up with his family in Middle Cove, Newfoundland, 25-minutes outside of St. John’s. Crowding around dinner tables were his mother, Patricia, father, Kenneth, an older sister and brother and eventually a younger sister adopted into the family. He writes generously about all of them.
I’ve been interviewing Mercer for over 25 years since meeting him way back when This Hour Has 22 Minutes first launched in the mid-‘90s. Like most, I know the story of his 25 years on CBC, right through the 15-season run of The Mercer Report.
It was fun, therefore, to read and talk about those first 25 years, leading up to a challenge a special teacher gave Mercer -- never exactly a fully engaged student.
“My life changed forever on that day,” says the 52-year-old, who stepped up to comedy at that point, “and that’s all I’ve done ever since except for a few stints washing dishes.”
Peter Mansbridge feels a tad uncomfortable being the story instead of reporting it. The retired CBC chief news anchor, however, has written a bestselling memoir titled, "Off The Record" (Simon & Schuster). And that's where he goes, spinning dozens of short, fascinating stories.
One of the best is his ridiculously unlikely break into the news business as a 19-year-old baggage handler overheard on a P.A. system by the right person at the right time in Churchill, Manitoba.
That led to a spectacular career involving prime ministers, princesses and At Issue panelists.
For the podcast, I reached Mansbridge in Scotland where he was finally tending to a farm property with his actress wife Cynthia Dale. We talked about the time CBS in New York backed up the money truck in an attempt to whisk him south as their new morning show host. He turned it down due partly to the generosity of his predecesor in the CBC anchor chair, Knowlton Nash. It's a story Mansbridge has told before, but it is so damn Canadian it has to be heard again.
We also talk about his gift of self-effacing photo captioning ("The hair days," he writes under an early shot of him in Calgary). He also names his favourite TV show growing up, and, yes, it's a western. He even singled out the theme song. I asked if Cynthia could sing it. "That will cost you," said Mansbridge.
K Trevor Wilson
Canada’s “Man Mountain of Comedy,” K Trevor Wilson, is finding it’s a great day for hay in Canadian television. Besides his regular gig as “Squirrely Dan” on the Crave hit Letterkenny, he’s now one of the three judges on CTV Comedy’s hilarious new reality competition series Roast Battle Canada.
Wilson has earned his spot on the judges panel beside fellow comics Russell Peters and Sabrina Jaleels. He’s gone deep on the original American version of Roast Battle, making the quarter finals before celebrity judges such as Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Rogan.
On this podcast episode, he talks about performing no-holds-barred insult comedy in woke times. Wilson basically says you have to be able to take a vicious joke to tell one, and his skin is roast battle ready.
After a "Letterkenny Live" North American comedy tour was cut short due to COVID in 2020, he’s looking forward to getting on the road again with Jared Keeso, Nathan Dales, Mark Forward and others starting in February. Shows begin in Kitchener in Canada before going on to Boston, New York, Chicago, Nashville and all over the United States. Turns out you don’t have to be from Listowel, Ontario, to get these chippy Canadian slackers and hockey toughs. As Wilson says, “Funny is funny.”
He also shares his current TV binge plus his all-time favourite TV theme song.
Mark Critch has not let a little thing like a pandemic slow him down one bit. The busy Newfoundland native is in his 18th season on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He is also co-creator of the upcoming CBC series based on his book, Son of a Critch.
Meanwhile, his new book, "An Embarrassment of Critches: Immature Stories from my Grown-up Life," is just out from Viking.
Critch talks about all that and more including a discovery he made while visiting the famed Rockefeller Plaza studio in New York where The Tonight Show originated and what 45's he keeps spinning in his 1956 Rock-ola jukebox. Plus he reveals his favourite prime minister to ambush over the years on 22 Minutes -- and it's not Justin Trudeau!