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16 YTV Stars And Where They Are Now

Entertainment
16 YTV Stars And Where They Are Now

The YTV children’s network has been a staple in Canadian households since its launch in 1988. A go-to for kids and tweens, YTV has consistently broadcast children’s television programs for close to 30 years. The popularity of their famed “DJ’s” made the channel memorable and fun. Between episodes of our favorite shows, which included Power Rangers, Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, and Goosebumps, we were treated to animated segments hosted by the coolest DJs. Anyone that grew up in Canada in the ’90s and 2000s can agree that YTV is about as much of our national identity as a box of Kraft Dinner. This was our channel!

Some of the greats have come and gone. PJ Phil, PJ Paul, and PJ Krista were just some of the favorites. Who could forget the appeal of Tarzan Dan, rocking his bald head and treating us to The Hit List every week? Our YTV days might be long gone, but the nostalgia lingers on. We want to know what became of our favorite PJs and YTV faces! Did they move on to bigger and better careers in the media industry? Settle into regular office jobs and join the status quo? We’ve done some digging and have some interesting facts to report back on. Here are 15 YTV Stars And Where They Are Now!

16. Tarzan Dan

Tarzan Dan was one of the most notorious faces on YTV. As the host of The Hit List, he introduced us to alternative American and Canadian beats, and made sure that we were up to date on the latest trends in music. Although the program aired for an incredible 14 seasons, starting in 1991, Dan only hosted the first six, and you probably grew out of YTV bingeing before 2005 (well, I did, at least!). Tarzan Dan continued to have a pretty successful career in Toronto in radio and did some appearances on the MuchMoreMusic channel. Nowadays, he has switched his entertainment and arts medium. Although music has always been close to his heart, he has established himself as a fantastic professional photographer. His company, TDFoto is gaining national recognition.

15. PJ Phil

PJ Phil, a.k.a., PJ Fresh Phil, was one of the most popular faces on YTV’s The Zone. Originally coined The Afterschool Zone, PJ Phil was the first to animate the segment, which first aired in 1991. Although Phil was pretty successful hosting The Zone by himself, the network eventually introduced a group of puppet sidekicks called the Grogs, to join in the entertainment. Flashback moment — who remembers Warren Chester Grog, the chia-pet/grumpy, cynical turtle puppet? What the heck was that all about? Kids of the ’90s were so easily entertained. So what has become of Phil? Well, he’s still involved in the entertainment industry. He has taken on some minor acting roles, namely in The Ladies Man and The Relic Hunter. Most of his time is spent at his day job, however. He is the VP of Production for streaming network giant MSMU Ltd.

14. PJ Paul

PJ Paul McGuire was the face of The Breakfast Zone, where he manned the early day programming alongside PJ Jenn, and eventually, PJ Aashna. Later on he would become PJ Phil’s silly sidekick on The Zone. The two pals had instant chemistry that was addictive to our young hearts. PJ Paul is quite a staple in Canadian hosting, even though he was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has been a regular part of the CMT (Country Music Television) channel for the past decade or so. He is on the radio as well, cohosting The Lea & Paul Show on The New Country 95.3 station. Although hosting is his livelihood, Paul is most passionate about his budding acting career. He has appeared in a few roles, including 2004’s Welcome To Mooseport with Gene Hackman and Ray Romano.

13. PJ Katie

PJ Katie was definitely memorable, but we can’t deny how ridiculously annoying this PJ was. As the hostess of PJ Katie’s Farm (yes, we remember the intro song) she played with plastic animals on the reg and her hands got a whole lotta air time. Fun fact: Her real name is not Katie. It’s actually Jennifer. She had to edit her on-air name to avoid being confused with PJ Jenn. Although Katie was an aspiring actress, her latest credits on IMDB date back to 1999. There is not a whole lot of information about what Katie has been up to. An article published on CTV News in 2014 gave us a small peek into her personal life. Living in Nova Scotia, she was interviewed about her plans to marry while Hurricane Arthur hit the Maritimes. Pretty underwhelming developments, but they can’t all be superstars!

12. Daryn Jones

Daryn Jones started his acting and stand-up comedy career at the young age of 17. YTV was sort of his launch pad into the world of showbiz. He was the host of The Zone in the period where PJs were a thing of the past and hosts went by their real first names. Progressive! He went on to make quite a name for himself with the success of the sketch comedy series Buzz, which he co-created for The Comedy Network in 2000. This led to a position as a writer and correspondent for the popular Rick Mercer Report in 2004. He went on to host various programs on MTV and landed a role in the TV series Beauty & The Beast. Daryn might not have had any huge exposure to date, but his acting resume is quite impressive, considering he started off as a young host on Canada’s YTV network.

11. ED Brainbin (Shaun Majumder)

Most Canadians recognize Shaun Majumder from the comedy series This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Before he joined in 2003, he was a host on our beloved YTV network. He hosted the game show CLIPS, and the morning segment, Brain Wash, where he was adoringly referred to as Ed Brainbin. Remember the show Uh Oh!? With the slime? Well, Ed/Shaun hosted several episodes of that, as well. He was quickly discovered for his outstanding humour and ability to draw crowds. He was a regular host of the Just For Laughs TV specials filmed in Montreal. His most famous roles include small appearances in Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle (he was Kumar’s brother) and he appeared in two episodes of the hugely famous show 24. 

10. Nicholas Picholas

Nicholas Picholas was the host of the coolest YTV show around, Video and Arcade Top 10. Back in the early ’90s, video games were just emerging as the coolest way to waste our time, so this show was a classic introduction to all relevant information in the field! Fun fact: One time my name was shown on the screen, because I called in to answer a trivia question, and subsequently won a Fiona Apple CD. It was a major highlight of my grade 6 existence. Nicholas stayed in the entertainment field and is now a radio personality. He is stationed in Buffalo where he hosts on Kiss 98.5. He also runs a successful DJ company on the side. And for those of you still wondering if that’s his real name, it’s not. But, his real surname is Schimmelpenninck, so Picholas was probably the easier option here!

9. PJ Aashna

PJ Aashna goes down in history as the sweetest PJ of all time. Her squeaky, happy voice was bordering on annoying, but she just got away with it. She was the sidekick to PJ Paul during the Breakfast Zone and YTV Shift. So what became of this adored PJ? She continued to work in the entertainment industry, interviewing celebrities for Canadian programs and televised entertainment magazine Pulse. Most recently, she’s kind of dropped off the map. Her LinkedIn profile situates her in Santa Monica, California, working as a self-employed TV producer. Looks like she did the big move to California to get discovered but might still be waiting to get her big break. Whatever the case, we wish her well!

8. Suga BayBee

What is it with YTV and squeaky-voiced PJs? Suga BayBee definitely had one of the squeakiest voices of all. She was the co-host of The Zone from 2000 to 2007, shortly after many of the ’90s kids grew out of their YTV binges. Before landing her role on YTV, she was a voice actor who worked on Sailor Moon, predominantly as Sailor Mini Moon. Most of her career has included cartoon voice overs, and she has more recently landed some pretty cool roles in more mainstream shows and films. Among her more known roles include appearances in Weeds, The Mindy Project and Garfunkel and Oats. She was in the film 50/50 alongside Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordan-Levitt, the carrot in Sausage Party, and the sister who’s getting married in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates! She is also a singer, songwriter, and producer.

7. Wink Yahoo

Wink Yahoo, AKA Scott Yaphe, was the original weirdo host from Uh Oh! and previously, It’s Alive! He was famous for wearing weird suits and sculpting his hair into strange shapes. He is a fairly successful voice actor, who has recorded many television and radio commercials. He is the guy in the Whiskas cat food commercials, and also in the Expedia.ca commercials. Wow, what a claim to fame! His success doesn’t end at commercials, though. He has also enjoyed success as a real actor, namely on television police drama Rookie Blue. He is married to fellow Canadian actress Jessica Holmes, with whom he has two children. Believe it or not, this former child channel sensation is 47 years old. Way to make us feel like dinosaurs, Wink Yahoo!

6. Ross Hall

Now, onto the fun part! YTV stars didn’t start and end at the PJs. We all remember the classic Are You Afraid Of The Dark? The half-hour show treated us to spooky, creepy, and sometimes, science-fiction tales, told by the mysterious Midnight Society. The gang, which was led by actor Ross Hall (Gary) sat around a campfire and took turns telling the spookiest of tales. It was epic. Ross Hall was one of the few cast members who was a regular for the entire 5 seasons. He would join the cast of teen comedy Student Bodies in 1997. In a random turn of events, he went to meteorology school in Mississippi after he wrapped up his teenage acting gigs and is now a weatherman on CTV— nerdy, but cool! Just like our beloved Gary.

5. Jodie Rester

Jodie Rester is another Are You Afraid Of The Dark? alum. Her character, Kiki, was the bandanna-clad tomboy who was also a staple for the entire duration of the show’s run. Well, she definitely lost her tomboy edge and is now a glamorous R&B singer. Fun fact: She hasn’t totally left behind her acting career. She has been the voice of Francine on kid’s cartoon Arthur for years. The Montreal-based star has released two albums, one entirely in French. She is married to Zacharie Raymond (I feel like I should know who that is, but I don’t, so sorry, no further information on hubs!) and has two children. Kiki seems to be doing really well since her days as part of the Midnight Society.

4. Jason Alisharan

Jason Alisharan was another bandanna-clad bad boy on Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Every tween television show needs a villain, and his character Frank was as close as YTV came to one. He didn’t do a whole lot of acting afterward, but did appear on Canadian teen series Breaker High (alongside Ryan Gosling). He seems to have moved on to a career in film production, although he only has one production credit to his name and is currently filming a documentary, slated to come out in 2018. The Orange Years is a comprehensive collection of interviews with former Nickelodeon child stars, which will also go into the history of the network and its mass success in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

3. Raine Pare-Coull

Rainn Pare-Coull was Betty-Anne on Are You Afraid Of The Dark? The quiet, hippy one, who was also a regular on the series throughout the entire 5 seasons. She is perhaps one of the most mysterious former-child stars hailing from YTV. After Are You Afraid Of The Dark? wrapped up, she basically called it quits with her acting career. A decade after her child-acting career was at its height, she appeared in one episode of The Morgan Waters Show and then disappeared once again. She seems to be enjoying life off the beaten path. She had a Twitter account activated in 2009 and only wrote 5 posts, including one to her fans saying that she was sorry she wasn’t more present. I guess for some people, a life in the spotlight is not ideal.

2. Daniel DeSanto

Daniel DeSanto was Tucker on Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, the little annoying brother to the boss man, Ross. He was a regular cast member for three seasons. Of all of the past YTV personalities, he has actually landed consistent roles, appearing in some pretty well known films. He was in Mean Girls, The Boondock Saints II: All Saint’s Day, Havana 57, and even Paw Patrol! He has quite a few projects being filmed that are all expected to be released in 2018. On top of acting, he has also dabbled in film and TV production, and has even done some stand-up comedy sets over the years. Not too much is known about his personal life, but maybe that’s because he’s so busy with his acting career. It looks like being the annoying little brother paid off for Daniel!

1. Rachel Blanchard

Rachel Blanchard is definitely the most famous ex-YTV cast member. She got her acting debut in Are You Afraid Of The Dark? as Kristen. She was only on the show for two seasons, but that was enough to get her recognized. She’s best known for her role as Cher in the TV version of Clueless, although her career has been steady and successful since then. She was in 7th Heaven for a couple of years, and then moved on to a film roles in Snakes On A Plane. Destined to be a television starlet, she has been in the highly acclaimed Fargo, and is now starring in a lead role on Netflix Original You, Me, Her. This Canadian gal definitely established a successful career for herself.

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