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Battle of the Blades put on hold following positive COVID-19 test

Producers are putting the upcoming season of Battle of the Blades on hold after an unidentified member of the production team tested positive for COVID-19.

In a news release Wednesday, Insight Productions said it’s halting preparations and training for the televised skating competition as a “precautionary measure” to ensure the safety of cast and crew.

CBC, which airs the show, said it supports the decision and will postpone the planned Oct. 15 premiere. They also said the individual is “currently asymptomatic and self-isolating” in accordance with Toronto Public Health guidelines.

Scheduling updates will be shared as soon as possible, the network said.

“Due to confidentiality and with respect for privacy on behalf of both the cast and crew, we are not able to disclose who tested positive for COVID-19,” CBC said in their statement.

Other projects paused

This isn’t the first Canadian production to be derailed by COVID-19 concerns.

In August, two people involved in the St. John’s-shot television series Hudson & Rex tested positive for the virus.

For Battle of the Blades, Hockey Night in Canada personality Ron MacLean is set to host. The show returned to the CBC last year, nearly six years after it left the air.

This year’s instalment of the celebrity on-ice contest had planned to tape episodes with COVID-19 protocols, including socially distanced training, at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ont.

Video screens in the arena will show a virtual audience watching and reacting to the live performances from their homes and communities.

Olympic ice dance champion Scott Moir, hockey champion Natalie Spooner, and professional skater Elladj Balde are this season’s judges, alongside world champion figure skater Kurt Browning as “elite battle expert.”

The live-competition series sees hockey players and figure skaters pairing up to perform on-ice dance routines for an audience and judges, with the winners getting $100,000 in prize money that they donate to charities of their choice.

This season has eight pairs of 16 skaters: Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart; Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje; Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford; Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill; Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski; Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg; Vanessa James and Akim Aliu; Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell.

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