Independent Television

Leaps And Bounds

Network: Independent Television

Broadcast Run: 1995 to 2005

Broadcast Medium: Television

When Toronto’s Baton Broadcasting applied in 1990 to acquire control of Mid-Canada Communications, which owned several stations in Ontario cities including Sudbury, Timmins, Pembroke and North Bay, one of Baton’s commitments was to expand the existing Mid-Canada Program Development Fund. Among the beneficiaries of the success of this application were independent producers Donna Leon and Katie Tallo, whose Leaps and Bounds project was piloted and then picked up by Baton in 1995 for thirteen half-hour episodes.

The program was aimed at the ‘tween’ market, and profiled up-and-coming athletes in more than 40 sports. Some aimed at – and a few achieved – international championship awards in their chosen fields, while others were in it just for the fun of it. Leaps and Bounds was hosted by two 11-year-olds, Andrew Jarvis and Micaela Mankowski, and Micaela won a local REEL award for her work on the series, which also won a 1995 Gold CanPro Award in the Sports category. Each episode featured computer animation and funky graphics; roving reporters Alissa Hamrouni and Daniel Kanter did interviews with athletes, and people on the street, and the hosts also offered sports trivia and news items.

After Baton acquired control of CTV, Leaps and Bounds found its way into the network schedule in 1998, where it played in CTV’s Saturday morning children’s block. In June 2004, Leaps and Bounds was announced as returning to CTV in 2004-2005.

Written by Pip Wedge – June, 2004