TORONTO -- Bell Media touted homegrown fare from "equity-deserving" groups as it detailed TV plans Thursday, but a Black-led show that just won the Canadian Screen Award for best comedy series was conspicuously absent.

Programming bosses outlined a fall and winter schedule that includes Drag Race vacation series "Slaycation" and the Will Arnett-created animated series "Super Team Canada" for Crave but did not mention "Bria Mack Gets a Life."

Bell said in a statement that it cancelled the Crave series due to many factors, "the biggest being audience performance." It was created by Toronto's Sasha Leigh Henry and starred Malaika Hennie-Hamadi as a young Black woman navigating life with the help of an invisible hype girl. The half-hour comedy aired just one six-episode season.

The media giant said it's ordered a new show from Henry -- a six-episode drug-trafficking drama "Bad Trips" -- that she co-created with Tania Thompson and is bound for Crave.

The news comes days after Henry accepted the best TV comedy Screen Award for the critically acclaimed "Bria Mack Gets a Life" and told reporters backstage at Friday's gala that one of the "crowning achievements" of the show was "to be able to accurately reflect the Jamaican-Canadian immigrant experience in a contemporary way."

Executive producer Mark Montefiore also told journalists "Bria Mack" was Canada's first Black female-led premium TV series since Global's "Da Kink in My Hair," which premiered in 2007, and that "now's not the time to stop supporting" underrepresented voices.

"You do not plant seeds and not water them. That (applies to) the industry, the audience, the broadcast partners, everybody who's connected to it," he said.

"Now is the time to watch the show that got made. Spread the word about the show that got made and keep talking about it, because otherwise, what are we doing here?"

A Bell Media spokesperson said Thursday in an emailed statement that the broadcaster was "incredibly proud of the series" and loved working with Henry and the cast and crew.

"These are tough decisions to make and are influenced by many factors, the biggest being audience performance," said the statement.

Crave's upcoming lineup features other shows highlighting marginalized voices, including workplace comedy "The Office Movers," starring YouTube comics Jae and Trey Richards, and a second season of "Late Bloomer," inspired by Jasmeet Raina's life as a Punjabi Sikh millennial and online celebrity.

Justin Stockman, Bell's vice president of content development and programming, said amplifying underrepresented Canadians is a "priority" for the broadcaster, which also took the best TV drama Screen Award for Crave's Indigenous miniseries "Little Bird."

"We've set goals for ourselves and we've achieved them, where half of our content is being led by equity-deserving (groups)," he said last week before Bell confirmed "Bria Mack" was cancelled.

"And we're finding the audience, for the most part. These shows are doing incredibly well because there's an audience for it, so it's good business. It's not a good deed. We're getting viewers."

Carlyn Klebuc, Bell's general manager of original programming, pointed to Crave comedies "Late Bloomer" and "The Trades," both returning for second seasons, as two of last year's biggest successes.

"Our originals are resonating with audiences and that's why there's a reason to keep commissioning at that level. We're really seeing success there. The story this year is renewals, renewals, renewals," she said.

Other returning homegrown shows include Crave hockey comedy "Shoresy," along with CTV's competition series "The Traitors Canada," Maritimes drama "Sullivan's Crossing" and crime procedural "Sight Unseen.

Klebuc said new addition "Office Movers" -- also bound for Crave -- is among the shows she's most excited for, and an example of Bell's strategy to work with creators from the digital world.

And Klebuc pointed to Crave comedy "Made for TV With Boman Metinez-Reid," which premieres in July and follows TikToker Bowman Martinez-Reid, as another series centred on a "non-traditional" star.

Bell said it's ordered 98 titles and 839 hours of original content this year. Last year it ordered 96 titles and 1037 hours.

Also coming to Crave this winter is "Slaycation," which follows six queens from the international Drag Race franchise as they vacation together at a Canadian winter retreat.

Meanwhile, "Super Team Canada," Crave's first-ever animated series, is bound for early 2025. Co-created by Arnett and writers Robert Cohen and Joel H. Cohen, the comedy centres on the exploits of six Canadian superheroes on a mission to save the world. It stars Cobie Smulders, Kevin McDonald, Charles Demers, with Arnett, Jay Baruchel and Bryan Adams guest starring.

CTV adds reality show "Mark McKinney Needs a Hobby," in which the "Kids in the Hall" comic meets hobbyists across North America in order to find a pastime of his own.

U.S. acquisitions heading to Crave this fall include Conan O'Brien's HBO Max travel show "Conan Without Borders," Peacock's Amanda Seyfried-fronted thriller series "Long Bright River" and BBC One historical drama "Dope Girls."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2024.