Jann Arden to play a fictionalized version of herself in CTV comedy series
Jann Arden gestures during an interview in Toronto on Thursday, March 3, 2016. Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden is getting her own comedy series on CTV. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
TORONTO -- Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden is getting her own meta comedy series on CTV.
The eight-time Juno Award winner will play a "fictionalized version of herself" on "Jann," which is set to debut next year, Bell Media announced Thursday as it unveiled details of its 2018-2019 season.
Her character is described as a newly single singer-songwriter who is trying to revive her career while grappling with her mother's early stages of dementia. Filming is set to start this fall in her home city of Calgary.
"I am more or less freaking out about this amazing opportunity to partner up with CTV!" Arden said in a statement.
"I have had a long and successful relationship with the network and can't wait to have everybody see the 'Jann' show! The support of their creative team means the world to me and I know we are going to make something hilarious and heartfelt at the same time."
Arden is known for her quick wit and has been a guest co-host on CTV's daytime talk show "The Social." She was also a contributor to the network's recent royal wedding coverage.
"Every time Jann shows up on a CTV show, our ratings go up," said Mike Cosentino, president of content and programming at Bell Media.
"I am not a guy who laughs out loud reading scripts. I was howling reading the script," added Bell Media president Randy Lennox.
Also set to debut on CTV next year is the Martin Scorsese-directed "SCTV Reunion Special," featuring an interview Jimmy Kimmel recently did with the surviving original cast members in Toronto.
CTV has also announced a new multi-year partnership with Canada's Walk of Fame to become the official and exclusive broadcaster of the awards.
The next awards ceremony, which marks the event's 20th anniversary, will take place in December. "We're going to really super-charge the format," said Cosentino.
Other new Bell Media announcements on Thursday included the rebranding of four of its specialty channels as CTV properties, and the launch of two new video-on-demand services.
The company says Space, Bravo, Comedy and Gusto will become CTV Sci-Fi, CTV Drama, CTV Comedy, and CTV Life.
They will be joined by CTV Movies and CTV Vault, two new ad-supported VOD services, in a new CTV digital "super-hub" platform featuring all seven services.
Bell Media has unveiled a total of 13 new and 29 returning original series and specials.
Returning Canadian series include "The Launch," "Corner Gas Animated," "Cardinal," "The Amazing Race Canada," "Frontier" and the satirical news program "The Beaverton," which moves to CTV in midseason.
CraveTV's "Letterkenny" has also been renewed and, as announced Wednesday, the first two seasons will be available in the U.S. on the streaming service Hulu on July 13.
Last week Bell Media unveiled its American show acquisitions, including the soapy drama "Grand Hotel," and the cop dramas "The Rookie" and "Magnum P.I." for CTV. "Roseanne" was pulled from CTV and its streaming platform after its American network, ABC, cancelled it.
"The trends we saw in L.A. this year was more of a drama year than a comedy year, but the overwhelming singular trend was really a trend around diversity -- diversity of voices, women in strong roles," said Cosentino.
"The Higgins character on 'Magnum P.I.' is a woman. But there was a lot of minority actors in great roles this year and more diversity than ever."
Meanwhile, CraveTV will have a new, original, female-driven mockumentary series, "New Eden."
Last month Bell Media announced the shows "Daily Planet" and "Innerspace" have not been renewed, resulting in the elimination of 17 positions in Toronto.