Blog Posts by Marc Weisblott

  • MORNING BREW: Double Down makes KFC return; P.E.I. teachers overwhelmed with work

    Welcome to Morning Brew, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • KFC Canada has officially relaunched the Double Down sandwich, which was taken off the market Nov. 15 after a one-month trial, and has returned for the summer with the promise of about 10 per cent less sodium than its past bunless incarnation. (Marketwire)

    • A workload study of teachers in P.E.I. has concluded that they are "at the breaking point" with the amount of administrative tasks that have prevented them from interacting with students, and have also expressed growing frustration over standardized practices. (CNW)

    • Carte Blanche For Creatives, a contest to crown the best example of out-of-home advertising in Canada, sponsored by Astral Media, has been won by a bus shelter poster for Pedigree that dispensed poop bags to accentuate the slogan "Keep Your Dog Regular." (CNW)

    Read More »from MORNING BREW: Double Down makes KFC return; P.E.I. teachers overwhelmed with work
  • Discovery Channel host Jay Ingram to bid Canada au revoir on ‘Jay’s Last Show’

    The record-breaking ratings for the final episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" might have set a new trend for an industry in which some personalities are shuffled off-screen without being allowed to say goodnight.

    Jay Ingram, who has appeared on the Discovery Channel in Canada just about every day since Jan. 1, 1995, is next in line for a similar send-off. The co-host of "Daily Planet" will be honoured in an hour-long special, "Jay's Last Show."

    Recorded last weekend at Toronto's Masonic Temple, now recognized as the Canadian home of MTV, the Sunday night special has promised to bring showbiz-style excitement to the realm of scientific geekery.

    Ingram posted a letter online to explain his decision to step aside from the routine in favour of other projects with Discovery.

    "It's been hard to put a name on what I'm doing," Ingram wrote, "most people call it 'retirement' but if I'm working just as hard in a year as I am right now, I'll be happy."

    Playing co-host on a nightly show for 17

    Read More »from Discovery Channel host Jay Ingram to bid Canada au revoir on ‘Jay’s Last Show’
  • Winnipeg NHL team co-owner David Thomson prevails where Asper family once reigned

    Winnipeg was once the headquarters of the powerful Asper media empire, but now is occupied by David Thomson, the richest media baron in Canada, who helped bring the NHL back to this wind-swept Prairie city today.

    Thomson, whose family owned the Winnipeg Free Press for more than two decades, is a minority shareholder in True North Sports and Entertainment, the company that signed the deal to relocate the Atlanta Thrashers.

    While the 53-year-old turned down previous interview requests, Thomson sat alongside the new hockey club's chairman Mark Chipman and briefly relayed that his involvement was spawned by a deep personal attachment to the city - not to mention a shared feeling of regret the Jets left town in 1996 to become the Phoenix Coyotes.

    The sentiment contrasted with previous speculation the chairman of Thomson Reuters, a passionate hockey fan with a current estimated worth around $23 billion, was primarily motivated by business interests.

    Thomson's commercial real estate firm

    Read More »from Winnipeg NHL team co-owner David Thomson prevails where Asper family once reigned
  • Queen Elizabeth likely to watch Will and Kate’s Canadian tour closer than anyone

    Six decades into her reign as Canada's monarch, Queen Elizabeth has taken on a new unofficial title: personal branding expert.

    The royal protégés, of course, are William and Kate and next month the newlyweds will land in Ottawa to help promote Buckingham Palace.

    The Queen is presumed to play a detailed role in the packaging of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The main goal, naturally, is to have the British throne outlive her.

    But while the itinerary for the visit will draw attention to the virtues of the country in the week of Canada Day — from Summerside, P.E.I., to Yellowknife, to the Calgary Stampede — some dissent has already sunk in.

    A militant separatist group, the Reseau de resistance du Quebecois, announced its intention to make the royal stops in La Belle Province "as disagreeable as possible."

    The fact the federal government is footing the bill for the visit, at a cost estimated at under $2 million, also emerged as a point of contention. Yet, the amount would be about

    Read More »from Queen Elizabeth likely to watch Will and Kate’s Canadian tour closer than anyone
  • MORNING BREW: Rona Ambrose named Canada’s most civilized Member of Parliament

    Welcome to Morning Brew, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • Rona Ambrose, MP for Edmonton Spruce Grove, has been named the most civilized federal politician in Canada based on research conducted by three academics based on an analysis of Question Period during the recently-concluded 40th session of Parliament. (CNW)

    • The Sheepdogs, a Saskatoon band that now has a 50 per cent chance of appearing on the cover of "Rolling Stone" this summer after making it to the final round of an online vote, have produced a spoof attack ad claiming they are deserving based on their beards alone. (Rolling Stone)

    • Hot Wheels, the toy car line designed by Mattel, has announced a partnership with Canadian NASCAR star Alex Tagliani; the Montreal-born driver's vehicle in the Aug. 20 race will be branded with the iconic flames of the model vehicles he raced as a child. (CNW)

    Read More »from MORNING BREW: Rona Ambrose named Canada’s most civilized Member of Parliament
  • David Cronenberg lets paparazzi go wild with ‘Cosmopolis’ star Robert Pattinson

    David Cronenberg has made movies in Toronto about exploding heads, a man who turns into a fly and people who could get aroused by a car accident.

    Never before, though, had he been involved with a production that risked the potential horror show associated with attempting to fend off celebrity hunters.

    Robert Pattinson, best known for his role as Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" films, arrived last week to shoot his starring role in "Cosmopolis."

    The story, based on a novel by Don DeLillo, is focused on a young asset manager who experiences a dramatic luxury limousine ride across midtown Manhattan, en route to a haircut.

    While previous Cronenberg films shot in Toronto brought Hollywood stars to town, most notably former real-life couple Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis for 1986 science fiction thriller "The Fly," they preceded the present-day appetite for candid shots of famous faces.

    A staged promotional photo, taken by David's photographer daughter Caitlin Cronenberg in the back of the

    Read More »from David Cronenberg lets paparazzi go wild with ‘Cosmopolis’ star Robert Pattinson
  • How much is too much information for TV news viewers across Canada?

    Southern Ontario will get its third news-based TV station this fall after Rogers Media unveiled plans for the CityNews Channel, which will cover much of the same ground as existing channels in Toronto and Hamilton.

    The field has similarly grown on a national scale: Sun News launched last month, after putting forth the argument Canada needed an alternative to CTV and, more specifically, CBC News Network.

    But does the amount of such news-based programming, whether it's national or local, risk over-saturating the market?

    Citytv plans to find out, announcing Monday it will make good on a license granted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in December 2008 to expand daily newscasts into a 24-hour format based at its Yonge-Dundas Square headquarters.

    The concept is partly based on leveraging the other properties owned by Rogers Media: Maclean's magazine and radio station 680 News were announced as prime components of the new venture, along with its flagship

    Read More »from How much is too much information for TV news viewers across Canada?
  • U2 gets spelling lesson in ‘Winnipeg’ while planning visits to Edmonton and Moncton

    A recent appearance on "American Idol" to promote the beleaguered Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark" couldn't dampen the Manitoba capital's enthusiasm for a concert by U2.

    But a pre-show display of factoids that made reference to the province as a "state," and spelled the city "Winipeg," led a few of the more than 50,000 fans at Canad Inns Stadium on Sunday night to chortle at a condescending acknowledgment of their city.

    Serving as guest editor of The Globe and Mail for a special Africa edition last May, alongside Bob Geldof, might have helped frontman Bono recognize the error. "Hello Winnipeg," he announced, "with two Ns."

    The chilly outdoor date on the U2 360° world tour, which started in Barcelona almost two years ago, was postponed last June after the singer had to undergo emergency back surgery.

    As a result, Montreal and Toronto will be visited in July, a year after originally scheduled. The long-overdue closing date is scheduled for Magnetic Hill in Moncton on July

    Read More »from U2 gets spelling lesson in ‘Winnipeg’ while planning visits to Edmonton and Moncton
  • MORNING BREW: Ontario candidate’s pocket tweet mystery; CTV Two launching this fall

    Welcome to Morning Brew, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • George Lepp, a candidate for the Ontario Provincial Conservatives, had a photo male private parts appear on his Twitter feed, which was initially claimed by the PC communications director to be Lepp's own, taken by a BlackBerry in his pocket, although the story changed later. (Toronto Sun)

    • CTV Two will become the new name of the regional A Channel stations owned by Bell Media this fall, a decision enhanced by the fact that the Canadian television network was recently named the most-trusted media brand, which can now air two hit shows at once. (CNW)

    • Molson Coors Canada has launched a new stand-alone division, Six Pints Specialty Beer Company, in order to focus on "seeding, nurturing and growing" specialty beer brands like Creemore and Granville Island, and has planned to bring more labels into the fold. (CNW)

    Read More »from MORNING BREW: Ontario candidate’s pocket tweet mystery; CTV Two launching this fall
  • Drake helps turn a mysterious 20-year-old Toronto singer into the next big thing

    With a little help from a famous friend, a Toronto musician has managed to do something considered impossible in the age of social media: gain widespread acclaim without anyone knowing his name.

    Back in January, no Canadian journalist could uncover the origins of the Weeknd, even though three songs credited to that handle gained a rave in The New York Times.

    "The vocals, sometimes sung and sometimes rapped, talk about ugly things in a pretty voice," enthused critic Jon Caramaniaca, "making for a tone of flashy bohemianism."

    Yet there was no indication of how the music, let alone its geographical origin, was discovered in the first place.

    A recently famous rapper, it turned out, had pulled some strings.

    Drake posted YouTube clips of three Weeknd tunes to his blog last December, and mentioned an affiliation with his producer Noah "40" Shebib, which apparently inspired enough influential people to listen.

    The Weeknd released a free download of a nine-track album, "House of Balloons," in

    Read More »from Drake helps turn a mysterious 20-year-old Toronto singer into the next big thing

Pagination

(549 Stories)