Shavick Entertainment Buys OUTtv

OUTtvVICTORIA, CANADA – Joy MacPhail, the former New Democratic Party leader whose fiery — occasionally bawdy — performances often turned the legislature into the best show in town, now has bought herself an even bigger stage: A national TV network.
Along with her millionaire husband, Hollywood producer James Shavick, MacPhail is the new majority owner of OUTtv, the Toronto-based specialty channel they describe as “the world’s longest running independent gay and lesbian television network.”
Like any budding mogul, MacPhail is already working on developing some new TV pilots to try to broaden the channel from its current audience of 300,00 households to one million or so.
And she just might take advantage of a perk that comes with owning your own TV channel and being chair of the board: Starring in one or two shows herself, perhaps even turning herself into a west coast version of Oprah, with a mission to serve the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community and any heterosexuals who will tune in for the ride.
“It’s exciting, I must tell you. This is very nice next step for me,” said MacPhail, who has been a longtime activist for human rights and fought discrimination against the lesbian and gay community. “There are two [pilots] we’re looking at. One is a talk show format. And another is focusing on gay and lesbians who contribute to the world and sometimes go unrecognized. It’s a documentary series I would host.”
MacPhail, an economist who graduated from the London School of Economics and went on to to became a social activist and politician, said she’s as surprised as anyone that she’s now in the TV business with her Hollywood husband.
“After I retired from politics, I always predicted that I would never go into the film and TV business with my husband,” said MacPhail.
But it turns out her life in politics, both in opposition and in cabinet when the NDP was in power, prepared her for both the bottom line rigour and razzmatazz of television, she says.
“It’s very interesting how many skills that I learned as a politician are now transferable,” said MacPhail, who once held the pressure-packed portfolios of finance and health before becoming the leader after her party was almost wiped out in the 2001 election. “I know how to negotiate. I know how to budget. I know how to read and demand a business plan. I know how to determine profitability.”
And she also knows how to handle the limelight and red carpet attention. With her black leather, femme fatale outfits and spiky hair with the ever-changing hue, MacPhail was always a media magnet. And so were her unforgettable antics, such as being part of a group of women MLAs who scandalized many by putting a dancing, plastic penis on the desk of a gay, male colleague during a debate, or wondering what it would be like to have “platonic mind-sex” with federal Liberal Pierre Pettigrew.
Dealing with the media in those years, she said, gave her a grounding on how to perform when the TV lights flick on now.
“I’ve very comfortable with it having had to put up with you guys [in the media] for 15 years,” she said with a rueful laugh. “You were a good group to practise on.”
Shavick, who is president of Shavick Entertainment, one of the country’s largest production companies, would not disclose the price of buying the channel, a minority share of which will still be controlled by Pink Triangle Press, publishers of the alternative tabloid Xtra West. But Shavick, who has produced 250 hours of television programming that includes 69 television movies, said OUTtv will be strengthened by the access he now can offer to more programming.
“We’ve been looking for a venture to work on together and we purchased OUTtv,” said Shavick, who married MacPhail shortly after she left politics. “I like to think of it as a fixer-upper.”
from The Vancouver Sun

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