Playback Winter 2018-19: Breaking down 2018 with the year’s biggest newsmakers

Playback's winter issue showcases key players shaping the industry and wishes a bittersweet farewell to two icons who blazed a trail for them.

Letter from the editor

Happy holidays, Playback readers: it’s the best time of the year! We are an industry of pretty epic holiday parties, so I hope you get to kick back and enjoy a little relaxation as the year winds down.

Speaking of being the best time of the year, it’s also time for Playback‘s Best of the Year, our annual roundup of the people, places and things that made an impact this year. We had to get a little head start on it (September), since making ye olde fashioned print products takes time, but by and large it’s a nice top-level view of some of the biggest and most interesting stories of the year.

I’m so pleased that we were able to feature Jennifer Twiner McCarron as our executive of the year. There simply aren’t enough women in the C-suite and to have one at such an enterprising and interesting company as Thunderbird is exciting. And I hope you will be as touched as I was when reading Dan Levy’s comments about the impact he’s hoping Schitt’s Creek is having as it goes into its fifth season atop a wave of popularity. His comments made even jaded old me realize why I watch the show – I just love its sweet and totally bananas take on the family dynamic.

Speaking of family, the holidays are a time to connect with people you love and I hope in reading our Best of the Year feature, you’ll take note of both Twiner McCarron and Kari Skogland‘s comments on what their home lives have meant to their careers – including a contract clause about Hot Dog Days. I can’t really recall having such candid commentary on family life in these pages before and it’s hugely refreshing. I think the last year has opened the floodgates and allowed people – specifically women – to talk more openly about the deep dark secret of maintaining a robust home life while building and navigating a successful career.

I’ve said it before on this page and I’ll say it again – if we’re going to keep filling the funnel of women in top positions, either behind a corner-office desk or camera, then we have to recognize that some humans live in, or want to live in, family environments, and that those environments need to be fostered with face time (and no, I don’t mean Face Time). This goes for all humans, but the reality is that women statistically bear a greater share of family-based commitments and as such are disproportionately affected by the impact that can have on a high-level career.

On that note, it is with a hint of sadness that we wish Barbara Williams, former COO at Corus Entertainment, a happy retirement. I’m disappointed that the industry is losing a role model in the C-suite and one of its most vocal champions of women, but I’m also excited to see her open the next chapter of her #bestlife.

I regret as well not being able to personally deliver those same wishes to Jay Switzer, another great champion of women and in every sense of the term, one of Canada’s greatest industry builders. He is posthumously inducted into the Playback Hall of Fame.

On a brighter note, I am pleased to share Playback is welcoming a new staff member into its ranks: writer Kelly Townsend. Kelly comes to us from TV Junkies, a website many of you well know for its coverage of Canadian TV. She’s passionate about the industry and a great writer and we’re excited to have her join the team.

Have a wonderful holiday season and we’ll catch up with you again in February, as Canadian awards season kicks in and Canadian primetime TV hits high gear. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Katie Bailey, editor & content director, Playback


Op-Ed: What do we do AfterMeToo

Spotlight: Mexico

Programmer profile: OUTtv and Revry

Playback‘s 2018 Exec of the Year: Jennifer Twiner McCarron

Playback‘s 2018 Film Director of the Year: Stella Meghie

Playback‘s 2018 TV Director of the Year: Kari Skogland

Playback‘s 2018 Channel of the Year: OUTtv

Playback‘s 2018 Showrunner of the Year: Simon Barry

Playback‘s 2018 Show of the Year: Schitt’s Creek

A ‘suite’ goodbye: Barbara Williams

Playback‘s 2018 Hall of Fame: Jay Switzer