National Newswatch

Nova Scotia’s Barbara Hannigan already has a Grammy, but this nod is especially personal

Nov 21 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Picking up her third Grammy nomination is wonderful in itself, but for Nova Scotia opera singer Barbara Hannigan this one feels especially personal. It's because members of the recording academy selected "Benjamin: Lessons in Love & Violence" for best opera recording. The project was written by English composer George Benjamin with Hannigan's voice specifically in […]

Jessie Reyez grabs first Grammy nod alongside fellow Canadians Shawn Mendes, Drake

Nov 20 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Jessie Reyez built her reputation as a potent voice in Canada's music scene, and on Wednesday the Toronto-raised singer picked up her first Grammy nomination on a path to global career ambitions. The 28-year-old singer-songwriter joins fellow homegrown acts Shawn Mendes and Drake as the marquee Canadian contenders at the 2020 Grammy Awards, a year that's dominated by […]

Federal Court orders Canada’s ISPs to block TV piracy website for first time

Nov 19 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — A Federal Court is ordering Canada's internet service providers to block websites for a company selling pirated television online, deeming that such a move wouldn't infringe on freedom of expression or net neutrality. The decision, issued Friday, affects Gold TV, an IPTV service that offers thousands of traditional TV channels for a nominal fee, streaming over […]

Don’t judge ‘Cats’ film by its trailer, says Canadian music producer Greg Wells

Nov 19 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Greg Wells won a Grammy for "The Greatest Showman" soundtrack, and crafted songs with Adele and Katy Perry, but even those wild experiences couldn't prepare him for the cinematic adaptation of "Cats." About five weeks before the film opens in theatres, the Peterborough, Ont.-raised musician is chatting by phone from a London recording studio. […]

Disney Plus warns viewers of scenes with ‘outdated cultural depictions,’ tobacco smoking

Nov 13 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Disney Plus is warning subscribers that some of Walt Disney's most beloved classics might contain "outdated cultural depictions." A number of films available on the streaming platform, which launched Tuesday, included cautionary notes in the plot descriptions about problematic representations in some of the characters. Numerous titles from Disney's extensive library carry the warning, among them "Peter Pan," a […]

Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

Nov 12 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Disney Plus got off to a strong start on Tuesday by tossing Canadian viewers a bone — and it wasn't just a remake of "Lady and the Tramp." The Walt Disney Company's new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films and 7,500 episodes of TV shows, and the lineup almost mirrored what was available on the same-day launch in the […]

Drake launches cannabis brand More Life Growth in partnership with Canopy Growth

Nov 7 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Drake rapped about starting from the bottom, but his new venture in the cannabis industry is certainly a higher business. The Toronto-raised performer has signed an investment partnership to launch More Life Growth Co., a licensed cannabis producer that'll be based in his hometown. The deal, struck with Canopy Growth Corp., gives Drake a 60-per-cent […]

Bell Media radio stations will play ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ again

Nov 7 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Controversial holiday standard "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is returning to playlists at Bell Media's radio stations starting next week. A spokesman for the Canadian broadcaster says feedback from listeners has led the company to reintroduce the 1944 duet after yanking it out of rotation last Christmas season. Bell was among numerous radio operators who effectively banned "Baby […]

Netflix partners with TIFF Industry programs designed to foster new filmmakers

Nov 5 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Netflix is putting financial support behind the next generation of filmmakers under a partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival. The streaming giant says it's made a three-year commitment to back TIFF's Industry programs that provide professional development and business opportunities for burgeoning talent. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. Netflix will subsidize TIFF's […]

Bell Media bolsters Crave’s streaming library under new deal with HBO Max

Oct 30 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — As the battle for TV viewers intensifies, Bell Media says it has struck an agreement for the exclusive Canadian rights of original series made for the upcoming U.S. streaming platform HBO Max. The pact with Warner Bros., announced Wednesday, will secure a fresh selection of programming to help fortify Bell's Crave streaming brand in an increasingly crowded market when Apple […]