The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Press release from Business Wire

Canada's Funniest Dysfunctional Family Finds a Home on DIRECTV; Hit Comedy ‘Less Than Kind' Makes U.S. Debut Exclusively on the Audience Network

<p class='bwalignc'> <i><b>DIRECTV Acquires All Three Seasons of Award-Winning Series from Mark McKinney and Breakthrough Entertainment </b></i> </p>

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Canada's Funniest Dysfunctional Family Finds a Home on DIRECTV; Hit Comedy ‘Less Than Kind' Makes U.S. Debut Exclusively on the Audience Network15:29 EDT Tuesday, September 20, 2011 TORONTO & EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Business Wire) -- DIRECTV, one of the world's leading video providers, has acquired all three seasons of the critically acclaimed, award-winning Canadian comedy series Less Than Kind. Produced and distributed by Toronto-based Breakthrough Entertainment, the series will make its exclusive U.S. debut this fall on DIRECTV's Audience Network, joining fellow Canadian hit Call Me Fitz as part of the network's stable of comedy programming. UTA, on behalf of Breakthrough Entertainment, brokered the deal with DIRECTV. The comedy-drama series follows the trials and tribulations of Sheldon Blecher (Jesse Camacho), an overweight 15-year-old with a self-destructive driving instructor father, a pyromaniac mother and a failed- actor brother who won't get out of his room. The family business, Blecher's Driving School, is crashing and to add insult to injury the family lives in Winnipeg. As Sheldon struggles to escape his family and his family struggles to keep the business running, cars crash, hearts break, blood pressure boils and corned beef is eaten. Less Than Kind is a smart, edgy, dysfunctional half- hour comedy that chronicle's Sheldon's attempts to manage his teenage years and a sharp, humorous look at the twists and turns that take place between the hugs and kisses in a “loving” family. “DIRECTV's Audience Network is connecting with viewers throughout the U.S. and we are proud to have Less Than Kind as an important part of its prime-time line-up,” said Nat Abraham, Vice President of Distribution for Breakthrough Entertainment. “Clever, smart and unpredictable, Less Than Kind is a perfect fit for the Audience Network,” said Patty Ishimoto, vice president Entertainment DIRECTV and general manager of the Audience Network. “We are thrilled to add it to our line-up of comedy programming and to introduce our viewers to the eccentric members of the Blecher family.” Entering its third season January 2012 on HBO Canada and The Movie Network Canada, Less Than Kind boasts Mark McKinney as its executive producer. The Canadian actor-comedian is best known for his memorable work on The Kids in the Hall and Saturday Night Live, before moving on to write and star in the acclaimed Canadian series Slings and Arrows. “This really is a tradition going back to Kids in the Hall,” said McKinney. “We would write the weirdest sketch we could and then try and make it accessible to the audience. You want your characters to have afflictions and have to deal with things. In this case, our lead is overweight but the irony is that he's carrying the burden of this tremendously dysfunctional family." After debuting on Canadian television in October 2008, Less Than Kind was quickly embraced by TV audiences and critics alike. In 2010, the series earned fifteen Gemini Awards, including Best Comedy Series, Best Direction, Best Writing, and Best Individual Performances. Less Than Kind also earned nine individual Canadian Comedy Awards, including Best Writing, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Individual Performance in a Comedy Series, as well as multiple Best Comedy Writing awards from the prestigious Writers Guild of Canada. Less Than Kind is a production of Breakthrough Entertainment and Buffalo Gal Pictures. The series is executive produced by Ira Levy, Peter Williamson, Phyllis Laing, Mark McKinney, Marvin Kaye and Chris Sheasgreen. Less Than Kind was created by Marvin Kaye and Chris Sheasgreen. About DIRECTV: DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) is one of the world's leading providers of digital television entertainment services delivering a premium video experience through state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming and industry leading customer service to more than 30 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America. In the U.S., DIRECTV offers its 19.4 million customers access to more than 170 HD channels and Dolby-Digital® 5.1 theater-quality sound, access to exclusive sports programming such as NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, Emmy- award winning technology and higher customer satisfaction than the leading cable companies for eleven years running. DIRECTV Latin America, through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, and other Latin American countries, leads the pay-TV category in technology, programming and service, delivering an unrivaled digital television experience to more than 10.6 million customers. DIRECTV sports and entertainment properties include three Regional Sports Networks (Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Pittsburgh) as well as a 60 percent interest in Game Show Network. For the most up-to-date information on DIRECTV, please visit www.directv.com. About DIRECTV's Audience Network Audience Network, DIRECTV's exclusive entertainment channel, is a unique television experience available exclusively to DIRECTV subscribers. The channel first made its mark as in 2008 by partnering with NBC to produce and air three additional seasons of the Emmy Award-winning series Friday Night Lights and more recently becoming the exclusive home of the critically-acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning drama Damages, with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. As a result, Audience Network has become the premiere destination for diverse, quality and critically-acclaimed programming. Audience Network is a blend of daring, innovative series, hit programs from across the globe being discovered by US audiences for the first time, concert specials from A-list artists, and the annual DIRECTV Celebrity Beach Bowl. About Breakthrough Entertainment: Headquartered in Toronto, Breakthrough Entertainment Inc. (BEI) is a leading global producer and distributor of acclaimed primetime comedy and drama series, as well as factual entertainment, documentaries, television movies, family entertainment and children's animation. As one of Canada 's largest television production and distribution companies, BEI has licensed programs to major broadcasters in over 200 territories. With a catalogue of over 2600 half-hours of programming, the company handles distribution as well as worldwide pre-sales, co-productions and third-party acquisitions. In addition to its dedicated program development, production and distribution divisions, Breakthrough's digital media division ranks among one of the industry's most respected producers of high quality digital entertainment including websites, and online, mobile, ITV and iphone games. www.breakthroughentertainment.com DIRECTVCara M. Brugnoli, (212) 205-0887CMBrugnoli@DIRECTV.comorSSA Public RelationsSteve Syatt, (818) 907-0500ssyatt@ssapr.com