Innovation. Inspiration. Insight. When television networks seek out production partners, they seek out Insight first. From comedy and variety, to factual, drama, music, documentaries and sports, for decades Insight Productions has demonstrated the acute ability to read the zeitgeist of the timeand respond with television programs that capture the current cultural climate. Even during difficult times in the industry, Insight continued on solid ground, firmly established as one of Canada’s foremost production companies at the forefront of international television programming. Recognized for working with some of the most talented personalities in the world, Insight’s most recent accolades include smash-hit Canadian versions of such successful formats as The Amazing Race, Big Brother, Never Ever Do This at Home, Top Chef, Got Talent, Idol, Project Runway, Deal or No Deal, Intervention, How To Look Good Naked, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and original formats including Battle of the Blades & Canada Sings.
Since 1979, Insight has become an industry leader in the creative development, financing and production of television programs in every genre. Recognized internationally and with the hardware to back it up, Insight has the big shows, the big stars and the big ideas that allow it to remain dynamic year after year. The company has created thousands of hours of groundbreaking television entertainment and continues to broadcast over major television networks worldwide, including CTV, Global, CBC, CityTV, Discovery Channel, Slice, Food Network Canada, Comedy, W Network, SunTV, TSN & MuchMusic, and have broadcast partners in the United States, which include NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, Showtime, A&E, IFC, Disney Channel, ESPN, ABC Family and MTVN.
Insight produces the big ratings! No other company has had consistently high ratings for over four decades. In 2013, The Amazing Race Canada was the most watched series premiere in Canadian history, US or Canadian programming, and after consistently maintaining the ratings became the most-watched Canadian series on record. Big Brother Canada continues to be the most watched series ever in the history of Slice increasing its overall audience by 77% and year after year, The JUNO AWARDS continue to soar in the ratings. In 2007 & 2008, Insight produced a successful & award winning version of the hit series Project Runway Canada, which was hosted by International Supermodel Iman. The success of the first season lead to the decision to migrate the show from cable to the main network for its second season.
In 2006, Insight launched its first original format on the Discovery Channel with Star Racer which took the production team on the hunt for the next Paul Tracy, Jacques Villenueve or Danica Patrick, offering the chance of a lifetime to one extraordinary driver. Recently wrapping its fourth season, Insight created another original format in 2009, Battle of the Blades, which premiered on CBC to an audience of 2 million viewers and a sold out crowd at historic Maple Leaf Gardens. The show remains the highest rated original format in Canadian history. Canada Sings, created in 2011, is another original format that brings every day working Canadians together to form extraordinary glee clubs, competing against another workplace for a charity close to their hearts. Insight is currently in production on their newest formats including The Great Food Express and Hardwood.
In Canada, Insight Productions is recognized for developing a Canadian “star system” through television programs and specials that showcase and celebrate Canadian talent. Mike Myers was only one example of new talent discovered by Insight in It’s Only Rock n’ Roll. Following that, Insight produced six blockbuster seasons of Canadian Idol, Canada’s homegrown version of the hugely successful international format which introduced the world to multi-platinum and JUNO Award winning artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Jacob Hoggard (Hedley). The MuchMusic VJ Search: The Series, was a nationwide search for Canada’s newest VJ, Project Runway Canada introduced us to amazing new upcoming designers and Top Chef Canada has respectively done the same with Canadian chefs. Additionally, Insight is recognized for producing Canada’s first, successful award-winning late-night talk show, Open Mike With Mike Bullard, providing a nightly showcase for international talent from coast to coast.
Insight Productions is also credited with revamping Canada’s national music awards show, The JUNO Awards. By moving the show from a soft-seat theatre to an arena-rock setting and ultimately taking the show on the road to cities across the country, they were able to bring the music directly to the fans. This year has John Brunton in the Executive Producers chair for his 20th year and the 13th for Insight Productions.
Insight along with MET Films recently co-produced a feature length documentary and a personal passion project based on the Canadian story of Greenpeace, How To Change The World. The documentary was nominated in the World Cinema Documentary Competition and debuted to great acclaim winning two awards at its world premiere on opening night of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Insight is well known for their youth programming. The Truth About Alex revealed a pre-Aids look at a homosexual boy’s high school experience. This groundbreaking drama for HBO won a Cable Ace Award. Ready or Not was an adolescent series seen in over 40 countries, winning several awards. Insight has also worked closely with the Walt Disney Organization and ABC, launching Disney World’s theme park The Animal Kingdom hosted by Drew Carrey and Falcon Beach, an hour long drama series about the freedom of summer on ABC Family & Global. Falcon Beach has been sold by FremantleMedia International and seen in over 100 different countries worldwide.
Insight’s vision, passion and prescience are driven by Canada’s leading executive producer, John Brunton. Now celebrating over thirty years as Chairman & CEO, Brunton joined Insight in 1976, and bought the company in 1979. Brunton is noted for his ability to recognize current trends, source ideas and then transform them into extraordinary television by creating production teams comprised of some of the most talented people in the industry. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, noted that “John Brunton has airwaves between his ears” and that he is “always thinking about television, moving through ideas like water.”
The driving force behind Insight’s business affairs is President & COO, Barbara Bowlby. Bowlby joined Insight in 1984 and has been instrumental in developing innovative business strategies and managing the company’s growth. Bowlby acts as Executive Producer on Insight’s extensive roster of productions. Insight’s Management team includes Lindsay Cox, Mark Lysakowski, Erin Brock, Rahmiel Rothenberg, Susy Papais and Jane Rimer. Along with the above, Insight’s Producing team includes Shannon Farr, John Murray, Sue Brophey, Eric Abboud and Tanya Low.
John Brunton is also one of the founding partners and Chairman of the board at Insight Sports Ltd. For more information please visit www.insightsports.com.
Insight Productions has been recognized for its reputation for quality as the recipient of multiple Gemini Awards, four Emmy nominations, two Cable Ace awards, six American Film Festival ribbons, an Academy Award nomination and numerous other film and television awards.
MEET THE TEAM
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Executive Producer
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John Brunton thinks TV. All the time. As the Globe and Mail writes, he “has airwaves between his ears.”
A natural-born storyteller, Brunton is now celebrating over thirty years at the helm of Insight Production Company Ltd. As Chairman & CEO, Brunton’s entrepreneurial ingenuity, creative vision and passion for television have enabled him to position Insight as an industry leader in the development, financing and production of world class television programs.
As the Executive Producer of compelling dramas and documentaries, ground-breaking award shows, record-breaking comedy and variety series, sports, music and other programs across all conventional and digital platforms, Brunton has worked with some of the most talented personalities in the world.
President & Chief Operating Officer, Executive Producer
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Barbara Bowlby joined Insight Productions in 1984 and has helped build the company into an industry leader in the creative development, financing, and production of high quality and popular programming. Barbara is a member of Insight’s executive team responsible for long term strategic planning and international business development. She has been nominated for dozens of awards and has won 30, including a Cable Ace. Most recently, Barbara was awarded the 2014 Women In Film and Television (WIFT-Toronto) Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business.
Barbara is the driving force behind Insight’s business affairs. The company has thousands of hours of programming to its credit – including this year’s smash hits The Amazing Race Canada and Big Brother Canada – and Barbara’s fingerprints are on every project. In addition to her role as President & COO, Barbara also serves as an Executive Producer on Insight’s extensive roster of productions. This dual function consists of handling the operations for both the production company and its programming and includes strategic planning, financing, and business/legal affairs. Bowlby’s strength lies in her ability to support the creative environment while managing financial and operational priorities to bring the company’s projects to the international marketplace.
Senior Vice-President, Supervising Producer
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Lindsay has a passion for producing television and has had the opportunity to travel the continent producing Live Event television, Comedy, Variety Specials, Sports series, documentaries and hit Game Shows. As part of the Insight family for over 20 years, Lindsay has embraced the challenges of working in big arenas, on set in picturesque fishing villages and on studio lots in LA producing award winning television for all of the major networks. Lindsay also acts as Insight's VP of Productions and plays an integral role in the development and production of several of Insight's shows.
Among the many shows that Lindsay has produced, some of the highlights include her role as Supervising Producer on Canada's national music Awards show “The JUNO Awards” which each year honours the amazing Artists in Canada's music scene. She was very fortunate to be involved in several live specials that have raised funds for the people of Afghanistan and South East Asia and she was one of the Producers of K'NAAN's “Wavin' Flag” video which supported the humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti. Lindsay was also a Producer of the hugely popular “Deal or No Deal Canada” when it came North for 5 special episodes and following that was Show-Runner of “Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader?”. Added to her list of great Canadian moments is producing “Canada's Walk of Fame” which annually honours Canada's best in the world of Music, Dance and the Arts. In the comedy world, Lindsay also enjoyed the unique experience of working with some of Canada’s greatest comedians on critically acclaimed series such as “Hatching, Matching and Dispatching” and “The Jon Dore Television Show”. Lindsay has also been involved in production of the Canadian version of the highly successful format “Top Chef” and Insight's own original format “Canada Sings”. She has most recently wrapped production on the first English language version of the hit European format “Never Ever Do This at Home” set to launch in Spring of this year.
Lindsay has been privileged to produce some of the highest rated television shows in Canada and has been honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of shaping the landscape of Canadian television.
Senior Vice President, Showrunner
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Current Programming: The Amazing Race Canada; various projects in development
Mark makes addictive TV. When he was 13, Mark decided he wanted to be a television producer – and he’s been actively engaged in the blood, sweat, and tears of the business for more than twenty years. Over the past decade at Insight, Mark has worked on countless award-winning productions including The Amazing Race Canada – the most-watched Canadian TV show on record – on which he serves as showrunner and Supervising Producer. In addition to writing, producing, and developing new reality programming, Mark is a member of Insight’s executive team responsible for long term strategic planning and international business development.
Mark left his inimitable creative mark on all 186 episodes of the ratings juggernaut Canadian Idol and was instrumental in the adaptation of the worldwide Idol franchise for the Canadian marketplace. More recently, Mark adapted NBC Universal’s Top Chef franchise for Canada and in doing so introduced Canadians to the next generation of culinary superstars.
Mark is known for his original and award-winning branded content. His ability to harmonize a client’s marketing strategy with the priorities of a show’s narrative results in dynamic, memorable opportunities for some of the world’s most recognizable brands.
Past Programming: As Supervising Producer – Top Chef Canada (Food Network Canada); Canada’s Got Talent (Citytv); Canada Sings! (Global TV); Canadian Idol (CTV); World Idol (CTV); Instant Star: Backstage Pass (Noggin)
As Producer – Battle of the Blades (CBC); Deal or No Deal Canada (Global TV)
Senior Vice President, Showrunner
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Erin has been embracing her passion for storytelling at Insight for fifteen years. As a Senior Vice President and showrunner, Erin makes sure riveting stories and compelling characters are at the heart of all her shows. In addition to both her development and production responsibilities, Erin is a member of Insight’s executive leadership team responsible for long term strategic planning and international business development.
Erin has developed and produced multiple hit series including Big Brother Canada – the most-watched reality program across all specialty channels in Canada. Her focus on creating unique and innovative cross-platform engagement and social media opportunities resulted in record-breaking page views for broadcaster Shaw Media.
Her other hit series include Canadian Idol and Insight’s original formats, Battle of The Blades and Canada Sings! She has won many awards, including a CINE Golden Eagle for Big Brother Canada and a Gemini for Battle of the Blades (Best Music/Variety program).
Past Programming: Battle of The Blades (CBC); Canada Sings! (Global TV); Canadian Idol (CTV); Battle of the Blades: Game On (CBC); Stars on Ice (CBC); Star Racer
Chief of International Business and Creative Development
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Jane Rimer is founder of independent Media Consultancy, NYLON LIFE LLC, based in New York. Her consultancy focuses on the areas of strategic business planning, brand development in the television and multimedia platform space, and executive production and distribution with active clients in the US, Canada and the UK.
Prior to launching her consulting business Jane was Senior Vice President, Development and Programming at FremantleMedia North America – one of the leaders in television production and distribution and part of a large network of production companies worldwide. Jane was responsible for the development and acquisition of non-scripted television shows for the North American market as well as their multi-media brand extension and international distribution. She has worked the US and Canadian markets since moving to New York from London in 1996 when she opened a drama and non-fiction development and distribution office for Pearson Television International. Major credits include Canadian Idol 1, 2 & 3, ranked No. 1 most watched TV series ever in Canadian television history, World Idol, Oliver's Twist starring Jamie Oliver, Sidney Lumet's 100 Centre Street and The Nero Wolfe Mysteries for A&E all three series now sold in over 40 international markets each, Date Patrol for TLC (Discovery) based on the hit UK format Would Like To Meet, and the primetime Court TV hit criminal profiling franchise: Body of Evidence – from the Case Files of Dayle Hinman, for which she co-created and executive produced the Series premier Special.
Jane's career began in the UK in fashion brand marketing for Italian haute couture labels Mimina and Spazio. She moved into television in the early 1990s working in international distribution with Reiner Moritz Associates, The TV Sales Company and SelecTV International.
General Counsel and Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs
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Rahmiel is Insight’s General Counsel and Vice President of Legal & Business Affairs. He is also a member of Insight’s executive team responsible for long term strategic planning and international business development.
He joined Insight in 2013 and is responsible for all legal and regulatory matters relating to the development, production, exploitation, and distribution of Insight’s productions. He also handles all corporate/commercial legal matters for the company. Prior to joining Insight, Rahmiel was Legal Counsel at Entertainment One and Astral Media.
Rahmiel holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University and a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2009. While attending law school, he published an article in the St. Thomas Law Review entitled “Sampling: Musical Authorship Out of Tune with the Purpose of the American Copyright Regime”. He is also a graduate of the Second City (Toronto) Improvisation Program.
Vice President of Finance
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As VP of Finance, Susy oversees all aspects of production finance; manages corporate financial reporting, tax compliance, and human resources; and is a member of Insight’s executive team responsible for long term strategic planning and international business development. Susy joined Insight in 2014.
Susy began her career in television in 2001 working at multiple broadcasters. Prior to joining Insight, Susy worked at Teletoon Canada for eight years as Director, Finance where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of Teletoon’s financial affairs. Prior to that, she worked at various small and medium market radio stations in southern Ontario and was a key member of the management teams. Susy received her Certified General Accountant designation in 2006.
Vice President & Supervising Producer
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John Murray is a writer, creator and producer with Insight Productions. In early 2015, his feature documentary, How To Change The World, about the origin story of Greenpeace, directed by Jerry Rothwell and co-produced with Met Films in the U.K., was selected Day One World Documentary at Sundance 2015 and is the recipient of numerous accolades including The Sundance Jury Award for Editing, The Top Ten Audience Award at Hot Docs 2015, and the prestigious Pare Lorentz Award from the International Documentary Association. Recently acclaimed "one of the year's most satisfying documentaries" by the LA Times, the film has been nominated for Best Documentary by the The British Independent Film Association, and currently sits on the Oscar long list in the feature documentary category.
As a member of the Insight development team, John is involved in the creation and development of programming in all genres, from reality and documentary to scripted series and movies. Along with development partner Shannon Farr, John created and co-produced Falcon Beach, a one-hour drama series for Global Television and ABC Family which sold into over 100 countries around the world. His current scripted projects include the television series adaptation of the bestselling Canadian novel Tempting Faith DiNapoli by Lisa Gabriele, currently in development with CBC, the half-hour single camera comedy Saint Urban, for which he recently written the pilot, and a feature film based on the 1980 Canadian Bestseller, Paddle To The Amazon, written by Don Starkell, a true-life account of the author’s 12,000 mile canoe trip from Winnipeg to Belem, Brazil.
John also serves as the Supervising Producer of Intervention Canada, the Canadian version of the hit documentary series on A&E, about to enter its third season
Vice President & Supervising Producer
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Shannon Farr is Vice President and Supervising Producer at Insight Productions. In 2015, Farr opened the company’s Los Angeles office and helps plan and manage its U.S. business development, reporting to principals John Brunton and Barbara Bowlby. With a focus on scripted, Farr is responsible for the creation, development, financing and production of a slate of original projects for multiple platforms for the U.S., Canadian and International markets.
Farr co-created and produced the one-hour prime time drama series Falcon Beach for ABC Family and Global Television. Distributed by FremantleMedia to over 110 countries, the project and its associated website earned Farr a Gemini nomination for “Best Cross Platform Project.” Other credits include the comedy special A Russell Peters Christmas which is the highest rated original Christmas special on Canadian television in 16 years and CTV’s most-watched Canadian holiday special of all time; the one-hour drama Sabbatical for CTV; and the comedy series The Jon Dore Television Show for Comedy Network and IFC. Recently, Farr was Supervising Producer on the multi-award winning digital comedy series But I’m Chris Jericho! for Shaw Media, as well as Bell Media’s first original digital pilot Joke or Choke, a half-hour comedy competition show co-produced with Howie Mandel and launched on CTV Extend and broadcast on Comedy Network.
Prior to being promoted to Vice President and Supervising Producer at Insight, Farr was Co-Director of Drama Development and Business Affairs at the company. During this time, she worked on numerous shows including the hit format Canadian Idol and Canada’s national music show The JUNO Awards.
Farr is a member of the Producers Guild of America.
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For more than 15 years, Eric has used his creativity and passion for telling character-driven stories on many of Canada’s highest-rated reality shows and documentaries, including the smash hits The Amazing Race Canada (winner of the Golden Screen Award for TV Reality Show) and Big Brother Canada. His work on The Amazing Race Canada earned him a Canadian Screen Award and contributed to making TARC the most-watched Canadian series on record and Big Brother Canada the most-watched reality program across specialty channels in Canada.
Since joining Insight six years ago, Eric has emphasized unique and inspiring characters with engaging story lines to fuel the drama of hit shows like Top Chef Canada, Project Runway Canada, and Canada’s Got Talent. In addition to producing, Eric now counts series development among his responsibilities at Insight.
Eric began his career in television as a picture editor where his storytelling muscles were flexed on captivating documentaries as well as reality and lifestyle shows, including So You Think You Can Dance Canada, which earned him a Gemini nomination. In 2006, Eric made the transition from editing to producing.
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This Gemini Award-winning producer is renowned for her work on high-profile productions with multiple major Canadian & US networks. Her talents have been procured for some of Canada's most popular variety and reality series, comedy shows, and specials including: The Juno Awards, CBC's Canada Day Specials, figure skating specials Kurt Browning: You Must Remember This and Scott Hamilton: Upside Down. Sue served as Supervising Producer on six seasons of Canadian Idol for CTV, CityTv’s Canada’s Got Talent, as well as two seasons of CBC's Battle of the Blades, and Shawmedia's Big Brother Canada.
Manager of Legal & Business Affairs
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Alex is responsible managing contractual relationships for Insight, ensuring compliance with broadcaster, funding agency, and tax credit requirements, and for negotiating broadcast licensing agreements. Alex also assists the scripted department with acquiring intellectual property rights. Alex trained at a national full-service firm and practiced commercial litigation at a mid-sized Toronto firm before joining Insight as legal counsel.
Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Toronto Law School. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2014 and has published articles on a wide variety of legal and regulatory issues.
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I-Chen is an accountant and consultant, specializing in the Film & Television industry, with proven abilities in identifying opportunities for improvements in accounting operations, finance and data management. As the Director, Tax, she leads the team through tax compliance while providing her expertise in accounting and all aspects of financial reporting.
Prior to joining the Insight team, I-Chen worked as an auditor/accountant at Kay & Warburton for 12 years, where she gained valuable knowledge about the film production industry. Most recently, to add to her accolade of accomplishments, she worked at PwC’s Toronto office, where she led a newly assembled Tax Incentive Team designed to support producers in all stages of production development, including but no limited to filing of CAVCO/OMDC applications, advising on corporate structure as well as tax planning, and participating in due diligence.
I-Chen obtained her CPA, CGA designation in 2005 and is enrolled in the CPA In-Depth Tax course.
Director of Development
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Tanya joined the Insight team in 2005. After graduating from The University of London in England it is Insight that gave Tanya her master's degree in all things TV. With her experience as an actor at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Tanya was able to find a home for both her creative intuition and hone her skills at the business of production. Starting as an Office Coordinator Tanya had the opportunity to learn from the range of specialties required to produce successful Television; whether in office, on set, in the editing room or supporting in Business Affairs she quickly found her passion lay in Development. Responsible for managing all Development at Insight from scripted, unscripted, comedy and variety, Tanya is excited to expand and further enrich on the already exceptional programming Insight offers.
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Greg has a varied Television production background, and has been part of the Insight team for over 10 years. As the Media Manager, he assists broadcasters, producers and developers with creating digital strategies that generate a unique second-screen viewing experience. Greg also assists with the community management strategies of many productions including "Big Brother Canada", "Never Ever Do This At Home" , "Canada Sings" and "The Amazing Race Canada".
Senior Manager, Branded Content & Sponsorship
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The love of television and all things media is what led Anthony to join Insight Productions in 2007. His early experience working in production fostered his rise to his current role where he oversees Insight’s marketing, sales and branded content initiatives. Anthony has worked alongside hundreds of globally recognized brands, agencies and networks, providing compelling and unique opportunities for Insight’s brand partners.
Anthony understands the ever-evolving landscape of media, and the desire for marketers to integrate their brands into Insight’s digital and conventional programming. His nuanced understanding of what brands want allows him to help advertisers deliver results through Insight’s top-quality programming. His most recent work includes the award-winning branded content integrations in the Amazing Race Canada, Big Brother Canada, Top Chef Canada, The JUNO Awards and Battle of the Blades. He is also involved in a growing roster of productions currently in development.