Denis McGrath

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Denis McGrath (born September 21, 1972) is a dual-citizen CanadianAmerican screenwriter and producer. Born in New York City, he currently resides and works in Toronto.

McGrath started his career as a TV producer at the educational network TVOntario. In 1993, he was hired by Moses Znaimer and went to work at Toronto's groundbreaking Citytv station. As a producer on the Gemini Award-winning MediaTelevision, McGrath made the program on the intersection of digital culture and marketing one of the first in Canada to maintain an email address. Between 1993 and 1997, he did over five hundred stories on the first wave of entrepreneurs and visionaries, interviewing new media luminaries such as John Perry Barlow, Bruce Sterling, Peter Gabriel, and Nicholas Negroponte, as well as authors and TV types from P. J. O'Rourke to Chris Carter.

In 1997, McGrath signed on as the first producer for Space: The Imagination Station, Canada's Sci-Fi channel. There, he pioneered several of the station's early program segments, including a recurring comedy segment called "Conspiracy Guy". He also created and hosted the show's late-night movie show, Spacebar.

In late 2000, McGrath left Space: The Imagination Station to become a resident of the Canadian Film Centre's Prime Time TV program.

A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic University, McGrath taught writing part-time at his alma mater between 1994–2006.

He is currently a regular contributor to the CBC Radio program Q and was elected to the Writers Guild of Canada Governing Council in April 2008.


In April 2008, McGrath won a Canadian Screenwriting Award for Best Dramatic Writing for the series he co-created, Across the River to Motor City.[1]

On August 26, 2008, Across the River to Motor City received seven Gemini Award nominations. McGrath was nominated for Best Dramatic Writing in a Miniseries, along with Bob Wertheimer and Jocelyn Cornforth.[2]

McGrath briefly worked as a story editor on the CTV series Flashpoint, but left due to creative differences with the producers.


In 2002, on a lark, McGrath wrote the book and lyrics for a satirical musical based on the movie Top Gun. Top Gun! The Musical became the highest grossing show in the history of the Toronto Fringe Festival. It was remounted in a successful commercial production at the Factory Theatre in June 2003, and was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Musical and Best Leading Performance Male, Dmitry Chepovetsky.[3]

Top Gun! The Musical has received several productions, in Texas and Halifax, N.S. In 2004, the original cast and creative team, led by Director Colin Viebrock, producer Derrick Chua, and writers Denis McGrath and Scott White took the show to the inaugural New York Musical Festival.

McGrath has also written several other plays, including Press'd, American Without Tears, and Pavlov's Brother (based on a New Yorker article by Andy Borowitz), co-written with Flashpoint co-creator Mark Ellis.

Selected TVography[edit]

Flight of the Storks (2012)
XIII: The Series (2011)
Stargate Universe (2010)
The Border (2007–2008)
Blood Ties (2007)
Across the River to Motor City(2006)
Rent-A-Goalie (2006)
Skyland (2005)
Charlie Jade (2004)


In August 2005, McGrath started a blog called "Dead Things on Sticks." Initially a personal screenwriting blog, the site soon morphed into a much-read daily discussion covering the Canadian Television industry. McGrath appeared on a TV critics' panel at the 2007 Banff Television Festival along with Entertainment Weekly's Gillian Flynn, Bill Carter of the New York Times, and John Doyle, Television Critic for the Globe & Mail.

In 2007, in an article criticizing the lack of discerning Canadian TV criticism, Doyle wrote that "McGrath's site is thoughtful, learned and provocative about creating Canadian TV."[4]

"Dead Things on Sticks" ceased regular updating in June, 2010. The archive, including McGrath's most popular craft posts, remain online.


External links[edit]