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Rogers’ FX Canada and FXX now available on Bell; gamesmanship caves to power of NHL hockey

- October 10th, 2014

 

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Roger that – or make it, “Rogers that.” The Bell finally tolls for hockey.

What does this mean? Welcome to Bell TV distribution outlets, FX Canada and FXX.

FX Canada and FXX now are available on Bell, as of Friday, Oct. 10. Not coincidentally, FX Canada has its first NHL hockey game of the new season on Saturday, Oct, 11 (Alex Ovechkin, pictured above, and the Washington Capitals at the Boston Bruins).

FX Canada and FXX are owned by Rogers. But up until Friday, Bell had resisted striking a deal to carry FX Canada and FXX. Rogers had been wanting to get its channels wider distribution for years (FX Canada launched in 2011, FXX in 2014).

So what changed? Well, late in 2013 it was announced that Rogers had purchased NHL rights for $5.2 billion over 12 years. The first season with Rogers in charge began on Wednesday.

So suddenly on Friday, Bell miraculously came around. If you call a Bell provider now, they happily will tell you that FX Canada and FXX are available through Bell.

Turns out even Bell couldn’t play hardball with pucks.

And just as significant for all those Bell customers who aren’t necessarily hockey fans, they now finally can have access to exclusive FX Canada and FXX programming, such as the always delightfully creepy American Horror Story, which began its new season on Wednesday as well (full title American Horror Story: Freak Show; Evan Peters pictured below). And FX Canada just came off a record-setting season for the channel with the shot-in-Toronto vampire series from Guillermo Del Toro, The Strain.

So as of now, FX Canada is available in 5 million homes, with FXX in 1.5 million homes.

Game on for Rogers, or gamesmanship over for Bell, depending upon your point of view.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling

The Flash feels The Strain as a Million Dollar Critic of American Horror Story; television this week

- October 5th, 2014

Grant Gustin as The Flash, two

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 5

1 The Flash
Debut
Yup, more superheroes on TV. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin, pictured above) gains powers when lightning strikes him during a freak storm. Almost immediately, those raw new powers are needed.
When: Tuesday on CW, CTV

2 American Horror Story
Fourth-season debut
A “freak show” struggles to stay in business as TV conquers showbiz in the early 1950s. The likes of Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Evan Peters are back again, in new roles.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

3 Homeland
Fourth-season debut, back-to-back episodes
Carrie (Claire Danes) makes a critical decision, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) struggles with his new role in the private sector and Quinn (Rupert Friend) spirals out of control.
When: Sunday on Super Channel

4 The Strain
First-season finale
Eph (Corey Stoll) and Fet (Kevin Durand) prepare an assault that Setrakian (David Bradley) assures them will kill the Master. Um, what’s the betting line on that one?
When: Sunday on FX Canada

5 Murdoch Mysteries
Eighth-season debut
While investigating the murder of a merchant, Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) uncovers possible connections to the assault on Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig).
When: Monday on CBC

6 Arrow
Third-season debut
With crime at an all-time low, Oliver (Stephen Amell) lets his guard down. You know, given all of my TV-watching experience, I’d wager that turns out to be a really bad idea.
When: Wednesday on CW, CTV

7 Strange Empire
Debut
A fateful convergence of lost souls near the Alberta-Montana border in 1869 leads to tragedy and a struggle for survival. Cara Gee, Melissa Farman and Tattiawna Jones star.
When: Monday on CBC

8 Million Dollar Critic
Debut
Giles Coren reviews food hot spots across North America, but in the first episode he meets Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to discuss where the city’s best hot dog can be found.
When: Tuesday on W

9 Cristela
Debut
Sitcom stars standup Cristela Alonzo. In the pilot, she gets an offer for an internship at a law firm, but her traditional Mexican-American family doesn’t quite understand.
When: Friday on ABC, CHCH

10 Mulaney
Debut
Sitcom stars former SNL staffer John Mulaney. In the pilot, he gets a writing job that turns out to be less glamorous than he expected. That sounds preposterous to me, boss.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

‘American Horror Story: Freakshow’ gets freaky with teasers

- August 29th, 2014

American Horror Story: Freakshow may be the exact ingredient needed in keeping the genre pushing series afloat.

FX released five teasers in subsequent for their upcoming fourth season last week, with each one being freakier than the last.

After last season’s venture into campy horror grounds, exhibiting the life of teenage witches not nearly as clever or sincere as Buffy and Sabrina, the show could use a traumatizing season dedicated to dysfunctional bodies and strange characters.

1.) Fallen Angel

The first time audiences are introduced to the elusive woman with wings. Although she may appear angelic, it’s becomes apparent pretty quickly this is a devil in a world run by members of the innermost center of hell.

2.) Lick

Lick is the exact type of teaser American Horror Story fans were hoping to see after last season’s underwhelming scenes. It promises physical grotesqueness, akin to superb standout scenes from both the first (Violet’s body being found) and second season (Santa Clause). It’s not particularly gory, but it’s just creepy enough to elicit a small disturbing shiver out of their most veteran fans.

3.) Spotlight

Spotlight plays heavily with the ideas of shadows, the idea of what potential horror could be lurking around the dark corner. Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities of the endless horrors the cast will have to face on camp grounds this fourth season.

4.) Caged

A mysterious, probably sadistic ring leader holding his troupe and his audience captive is just one theme showrunner Ryan Murphy and his writing team are bound to run wild with, but the possibility of an actual woman with wings sounds simply irresistible for any horror fan.

5.) Head to Toe

Three legs! Attractive woman! A snippet of the eerie American Horror Story music playing in the background!

6.) Admit One

Like the spliced tongue, the unclenching claw or disfigured hand is precisely the right amount of creepy crawly undertones the show needed to rebound. It manages to pull off being both subtle and direct in pointing out just how intense this season may get.

7.) Open Wide

It’s been a while since an image from American Horror Story has actually disturbed audiences, but this is the promo to do just that. Throwbacks to Hooper’s 1981 classic Funhouse jsut sweeten the deal for horror fans everywhere.

8.) Twisted Smile

Like Open Wide, Twisted Smile promises all kinds of psychosexual content for the fourth season of television’s biggest horror show. With Murphy, were we really expecting anything less?

9.)Sword Swallow

Certainly more carnie friendly than the last two teasers, Sword Swallow promises grotesque physical feats of century old traveling circus troupes.

I’m sure in the next couple of weeks more teasers may drop, and I’ll be sure to add them to this collection of all things weird produced by Ryan Murphy’s mind. For now, may these images haunt your dreams and spark your nightmares.

That was Murphy’s goal, right?

American Horror Story: Freakshow premieres October 8 on FX.

Ryan Murphy casts Neil Patrick Harris in ‘American Horror Story’ on Twitter

- July 18th, 2014

Who needs backdoor deals in Hollywood when you can just connect with talent over Twitter?

It didn’t take long after Neil Patrick Harris told Entertainment Weekly’s Mario Correa he’s always wanted to appear on Ryan Murphy’s Emmy award winning anthology series American Horror Story for the showrunner to eagerly respond.

 

The quick nod of approval from Murphy must have come as a major relief to Harris who admitted he even wrote the co-creator asking for a position on the show and never heard back.

“I wrote a letter to Ryan asking if I could be in it, even though I wasn’t even available to be in it, but he never responded,” Harris admitted to Correa. “I love those series so much, and to do one that involves any kind of freak circus nonsense is going to be so unsettling to watch. “

Harris may be in luck, after all, considering the theme of American Horror Story’s upcoming fourth season – a sadistic, murderous freak show.

“I love crazy random freak show stuff, like that’s just what I love. I’ve always been drawn to it.”


He’s also proven that he’s not averse to getting grimy for a role, winning a Tony just this year for his portrayal of the transgender punk singer Hedwig in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

The question of whether an official deal been made still remains. Although there hasn’t been confirmation from either camp, with Harris’ show finally ending and Murphy clearly on board to work with the actor, American Horror Story fans should already be excited.

‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ brings the circus to town

- March 24th, 2014

American Horror Story’s next season may just be its freakiest yet.

Early Monday morning, Ryan Murphy, creator and show runner of the entire American horror franchise, took to Twitter and confirmed the newest season of the show would indeed take place inside a carnival.

Rumors had surfaced months in advance that the latest season of the horror anthology would be set inside a murderous pageant setting, although Murphy and his team vehemently denied it.

 

Although Murphy himself didn’t announce more than the title of the fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Entertainment Weekly did manage to secure some more details surrounding the upcoming season, including which of the previous cast would return.

“Set in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950, Freak Show finds Jessica Lange playing a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the U.S.,” the Entertainment Weekly story stated.

This isn’t the first time Murphy has played around with a German ex-pat living in the United States, but unlike James Cromwell’s character from American Horror Story: Asylum, Murphy hasn’t made any announcements that hint toward Lange’s character being a Nazi.

freakshow

Florida is also an interesting choice to host the carnival, a setting much more suited for New Orleans, where the last season, American Horror Story: Coven was set.

“Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, and Frances Conroy all play performers whom Lange’s character has rescued; Denis O’Hare and Emma Roberts are also in talks to return.”

From the casting news, Murphy has taken talent from each season of his anthology, but will be primarily focusing on bringing back characters from the first and third installments.

The biggest news surrounding the latest season, as well as permanent casting announcements and plot details, will emerge closer to the show’s air date, sometime in late October.