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The Questionnaire: Three streaming VIPs on curating Canada’s TV

Ever wonder how shows actually end up on TV? Meet the gatekeepers behind Canada’s top streaming services

The Questionnaire: Three streaming VIPs on curating Canada's TV
Tara Woodbury

Manager, Canada series at Netflix

Dream job as a kid: “Librarian. I love books.” If you could have one superpower: “Telepathy. I took this job because I’m curious about people’s inner lives.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “Sara Gilbert from Roseanne.” Favourite place on earth: “Winnipeg, my hometown. I miss the big skies.” Your competition’s best show:The Bear on Disney Plus. Props to Matty Matheson.” What makes a show right for Canadians: “It explores our differences, which ironically makes it more universal.” Your favourite show right now: The Witcher. It’s one of the best adaptations ever.” Hardest part of your job: “Sometimes you just have to follow your gut, which is hard.” The show that got away: Reservation Dogs. It has a lot of homegrown talent.” What makes your service stand out: “We have a powerful spotlight to shine on Canadian stories.” You know you’ve got the perfect show when… “Your gut intuition is validated by the viewership data.” The future of Canadian content is… “Hopeful and optimistic, with great local stories that can travel globally.”


The Questionnaire: Three streaming VIPs on curating Canada's TV
Jenna Bourdeau

Senior director, acquisitions at CBC and CBC Gem

Dream job as a kid: “Doctor, because my dad was a surgeon.” If you could have one superpower: “Flight. I’ve dreamed about it, and it’s amazing.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “Regrettably, Amy Coney Barrett.” Your competition’s best show: Succession. I could list 10 HBO shows that I love and wish we had.” What makes a show right for Canadians: “Great story, incredible cast, creative commitment to a singular vision.” Your favourite show right now: Sort Of. It’s incredible and from such a strong, talented group of people.” Hardest part of your job: “The ridiculous competition that exists right now in the global content market.” The show that got away: The Handmaid’s Tale. I was in a bidding war for it.” What makes your service stand out: “Everything we present is worth your time. The other great thing is it’s free.” You know you’ve got the perfect show when… “It happened with Normal People. I saw a few clips in France, and that was it. It was magic.” The future of Canadian content is… “Bright and beautiful. We have such great creators. We’re now recognized as a really important market.”


The Questionnaire: Three streaming VIPs on curating Canada's TV
Justin Stockman

Vice-president, content development at Crave (Bell Media)

Dream job as a kid: “Host of Video Hits on CBC.” If you could have one superpower: “Teleportation. I’ve been to LA four times this year.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “Reba McEntire when she had short hair.” Favourite place on earth: “Probably my bed. I cherish a good night’s sleep.” Your competition’s best show:The Boys. It’s got all the right elements. It’s even shot in Toronto!” What makes a show right for Canadians: “A hook into the many things that make us unique, such as Indigenous cultures and regionality.” Your favourite show right now: “Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal. It’s not for everyone—it’s one of the weirdest shows I’ve ever seen.” Hardest part of your job: “When I have to discontinue a series.” What makes your service stand out: “We’re programming for Canadians, not for the rest of the world.” You know you’ve got the perfect show when… “A couple of days after you read the script, you still want to talk about it with colleagues.” The future of Canadian content is… “Promising. Some of our top shows are Canadian. We want more.”

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