'Battle of the Blades' to debut on Oct. 22 after production halted by COVID-19 case

Eight pairs of skaters are set to hit the ice for "Battle of the Blades" next week after production was put on hold by a COVID-19 case.

The televised skating competition was supposed kick off on Thursday, but the premiere was postponed last week when a person involved in the production tested positive for the virus.

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CBC says the two-hour live debut has been rescheduled to Oct. 22, with singer, TV host and actress Keshia Chante set to join sportscaster Ron MacLean as hosts of the sixth season.

An executive producer said last Wednesday that a member of the show's team had tested positive for COVID-19, but creators were confident the case was isolated and planned to resume production this week.

Lindsay Cox, who is also senior vice-president at Insight Productions, said the person who tested positive was asymptomatic and would return to the production after completing their quarantine.

Cox said the production follows "very strict" pandemic protocols, including administering tests daily or twice weekly, temperature checks, masks and pods of people to limit contact.

"Battle of the Blades" 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 year's skating pairs are: 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; and Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2020.

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