TVO announces key new hires to documentary team

Photo of new docs staff at TVO

Shane Smith, former Hot Docs director and Aidan Denison from Sphere Media join TVO Docs  

Toronto, Ontario, March 19, 2024 — TVO Media Education Group (TVO) is excited to announce the newly structured documentary team that combines a wealth of experience and enhances our commitment to both feature documentaries and impactful documentary series. Among the new hires are renowned programmer Shane Smith (Hot Docs) and accomplished development executive and producer Aidan Denison (Sphere Media).

The journey to reach this fully formed team began in the summer of last year with the hiring of TVO Docs Commissioning Editor, Alexandra Roberts, who will lead this team. Together, they will continue to acquire and commission social impact and educational programming for the network’s digital, broadcast and OTT platforms. A continued focus will be to amplify the voices of inspiring and diverse filmmakers as well as delivering high-quality, engaging content to a broader and younger audience base. 

“I am beyond thrilled to share this news with the documentary industry in Canada and beyond,” says Natasha Negrea, Head of Programming for TVO. “The caliber of experience and creative talent we have assembled is a testament to the quality of the work we do and the important role we play. With this new structure and team we have an opportunity to continue to service our loyal broadcast audience and grow our digital audience through a re-envisioned commissioning and acquisitions strategy that further emphasizes creative storytelling and social impact.”

TVO welcomes the talented individuals that now make up the newly structured documentary team.

Shane Smith has started as a full-time TVO Docs programmer after consulting with TVO since December. In this role, Shane will steer documentary acquisitions and serve as a production executive on TVO commissions in development and production. Shane is a visionary programmer and brings years of experience including most recently eight years of helming programming at Hot Docs, North America’s largest Festival and Market for documentary film. He also previously worked at the Toronto International Film Festival as the director of Special Projects and director of Public Programmes, where he oversaw initiatives and events at TIFF Bell Lightbox including TIFF Kids, the Film Reference Library, TIFF in the Park, Nuit Blanche, the TIFF digiPlaySpace traveling exhibition and Short Cuts International short film programming for the festival.

Aidan Denison has been hired as a full-time TVO Docs programmer set to start March 25. He will work in tandem with Shane, acquiring programming and serving as a production executive on TVO commissions in both development and production. Aidan is departing his role as Director of Unscripted Development at Sphere Media and brings years of outstanding unscripted development and production experience on high-profile films and series to TVO. While at Sphere Media, Aidan helped develop works of unscripted genres including such products as Project Rube (TVOkids), Paranormal Revenge (CTV Sci-Fi), and the recently announced feature documentary Monkey On A Stick which is based on the New York Times best-selling book.

Darcy MacQuarrie joined the TVO Docs team in February in the new role of Digital Channel Specialist. He brings over a decade of experience in content strategy focusing on commissioning and acquisition within the digital content and streaming industry. During his long tenure at CBC, Darcy was integral in the launch of their streaming service Gem.  

Abbi Sharvendiran joined TVO as the Docs Coordinator and previously worked on projects like The Great Canadian Baking Show, The Social, and Workin’ Moms. She has also been a writer for the TVOkids Original Momolu and Friends. Abbi brings a diverse skillset that she has gained through over seven years of experience working in many different industry roles including Executive Producer’s Assistant, Coordinator, and Writer.

Stream TVO documentaries on, YouTube, or the TVO Today app or tune in to TVO’s broadcast channel.

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About TVO Media Education Group

TVO Media Education Group inspires learning that changes lives and enriches communities. Founded in 1970, we are a globally recognized digital learning organization that engages Ontarians of all ages with inclusive experiences and diverse perspectives. Through video, audio, games, courses, newsletters and articles, we’re investing in the transformative potential of education for everyone. Funded primarily by the Province of Ontario, TVO is a registered charity supported by thousands of sponsors and donors. Visit for more information. Stream TVO on your favourite device.

Media Contact: Genevieve Grant,