Ever wondered if it was possible to communicate with deceased loved ones? How do seniors participate in online dating? What’s it like owning a business around the stigmatized topic of medical marijuana?
These are just some of the questions that Maria Manna City Chat aims to answer and explore this November on Shaw TV. The show was created by local Italian-Canadian producer Maria Manna, who is also a renowned jazz, blues and gospel singer. Maria serves as the show’s host and producer along with her three co-hosts: debt consultant (and husband to Maria) Chris Grew, author Jo Dibblee, and vocalist Rheana Watterson – oh, and Ciccio the Dog of course.
Maria has worked in the entertainment industry since she was six years old and since then, it has been her dream to have her own talk show inspired by local topics. “I don’t want to be a news show,” Maria says. “All of the topics revolve around things in Victoria or things affecting people in Victoria. And all of the guests are locals.”
Maria Manna City Chat features five episodes, each roughly 26 minutes long and including an opening monologue by Maria followed by a discussion with Maria and her co-hosts. Afterwards, the hosts delve into a lengthy discussion with the special guest for each particular topic, followed by a song performance by Maria during the credits. The topics for this season are Online Dating, Marijuana, Menopause, Spirituality, and Bikers Against Child Abuse. However, Maria has plenty more interesting topic ideas up her sleeve, should the show be renewed for a second season.
All five episodes were filmed over the course of two days during September. Working alongside several Shaw personnel is an incredible film crew consisting almost entirely of local volunteers hired through the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission. “I feel very blessed that not only are these people volunteering,” Maria says, “but most of them are professionals.” Because of Shaw’s community based programming, a show like Maria Manna City Chat fits in perfectly with Victoria because not only is it a community program, but it gives opportunities to people who are local, which is exactly what Maria had hoped for. In addition, the show has been sponsored by some incredible local businesses including 4 Pillars Debt Consulting (chrisgrew.ca), The Berwick in Royal Oak, Cathy Travis’s Victoria Home Staging, Mercedes Lane Too, Paws On Cook, D.G. Bremner & Co., Elate Clean Cosmetics, and several more.
Although the making of Maria Manna City Chat has been an incredibly fun experience, Maria is still keeping her main goals for the show in sight: “I’ve put myself in the audience’s situation. I want to be entertained, educated and informed. Those are the three main things I’m trying to deliver to my audience. It’s going to be fun and funny.”
Starting November 14th, 2016, the first episode of Maria Manna City Chat will air during the following times on Shaw TV:
Monday: 4:30am, 10pm
Tuesday: 7am, 3:30pm
Wednesday: 12pm, 7pm
Thursday: 2am, 2:30pm
Friday: 7:30am, 3:30pm
Saturday: 12pm, 8pm
If you’d like to get in touch with the show, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a sneak-peak preview of Maria Manna City Chat on YouTube: