HBO Canada presents the Canadian original series Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, a television adaption of Vincent Lam's award-winning book

-  New Canadian original series from The Movie Network and
                           Movie Central premieres
          Sunday, January 10, 2010, at 8 p.m. ET / MT on HBO Canada
           -  Starring Shawn Ashmore, Mayko Nguyen and Byron Mann

TORONTO, Nov. 18 /CNW/ - HBO Canada, a multiplex channel of Astral Media's The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (Western Canada), presents the intertwining journeys of three young medical professionals as they navigate school, residency and their first years as doctors in the new Canadian original series Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. Based on the critically acclaimed, Scotiabank Giller Award-winning book by Vincent Lam, the eight-part drama will premiere on HBO Canada on Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET / MT.

Set in the fictional Toronto Mercy Hospital, the one-hour, eight episode series follows the lives of three talented, driven and conflicted doctors - Fitz (Shawn Ashmore), Ming (Mayko Nguyen) and Chen (Byron Mann) - and draws back the curtain on their lives as they tend to medical emergencies, perform surgeries and manage their own emotional triage. Fitz is a troubled air ambulance doctor with a lust for life and alcohol, who has never gotten over his love for Ming. A painfully private OB/GYN, Ming is torn between Fitz and her husband Chen, an even-tempered physician hiding a sea of emotion. Through a series of events the three doctors are reunited at the hospital where they struggle to resolve some unfinished business and put their feelings from the past to rest.

"We're extremely excited and proud to be part of a production that involves some of Canada's highest-calibre talent both in front of and behind the camera," said Diane Boehme, Director of Canadian Independent Production, The Movie Network. "Stellar performances by Byron Mann and Mayko Nguyen and an exceptional outing from Shawn Ashmore as the tortured Fitz, coupled with the creative vision of Jason Sherman and Shaftesbury Films, make us confident we will be able to bring Vincent Lam's powerful storytelling to a broader audience through a television adaptation only pay TV can deliver."

"From a provocative literary source, compelling and unique characters, high-quality production values and an amalgamation of award-winning creative talent, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is ideally suited to be the first Canadian original production to premiere on HBO Canada," said Erica Benson, Vice President, Programming, Movie Central. "The series offers pay TV subscribers more of the homegrown and exclusive entertainment in the tradition of Durham County and The Line that they have come to expect."

"It was a tremendous privilege to work with the Shaftesbury team that adapted my book for the screen, and great fun to be on that screen in a cameo appearance," said Vincent Lam, Author and Creative Consultant, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures.

Sneak Peek Opportunities

    The Movie Network and Movie Central will offer subscribers and
    non-subscribers a chance to sample the premiere episode via the following
    platforms:
    -   Beginning Tuesday, December 22 free of charge online at
        www.hbocanada.com, www.themovienetwork.ca and www.moviecentral.ca
    -   Beginning Tuesday, December 22 in Eastern Canada on The Movie Network
        OnDemand and free of charge through the video on demand services of
        participating cable providers
    -   Beginning Tuesday, December 22 via The Movie Network OnLine with
        Bell TV
    -   Beginning Tuesday, December 29 in Western Canada on Movie Central On
        Demand and free of charge through the video on demand services of
        participating cable and telco providers
    -   DVD samplers will be distributed by select cable providers in Eastern
        Canada through retail stores, home shows and door-to-door installers
    -   Beginning Friday, January 1, 2010 through Air Canada's in-flight
        entertainment network on all of the airline's regional, domestic and
        international flights

About the book

In 2006, Vincent Lam won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his debut short story collection, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. Through twelve linked short stories, Lam - who also served as a consultant on the series - offers readers a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor. He draws on his own experience as an emergency room physician and shares an insider's perspective on the fears, frustrations, and responsibilities linked with one of society's most highly regarded occupations. A national bestseller, the book is available from Anchor Canada.

About the series

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures is executive produced by Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie. Governor General Literary Award-winning writer Jason Sherman adapted and wrote all eight episodes of the series and also serves as co-executive producer. Series star Shawn Ashmore also serves as executive producer. The series is produced by Shaftesbury Films, with the participation of The Movie Network, Movie Central, Rogers Cable Network Fund, the Canadian Television Fund and the COGECO Program Fund, and is distributed internationally by ITV Global Entertainment. Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures is a high-definition production shot in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures will be simulcast on HBO Canada HD, and will be available on demand and on The Movie Network OnLine following its network premiere.

HBO Canada is a multiplex channel offered by Astral Media's The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (Western Canada). HBO Canada brings Canadians the current slate of signature dramatic programs for which HBO is known, together with new and never-before-seen programming including comedy series, live specials, sporting events, behind-the-scenes content and titles from HBO's extensive library - all in an uncut and commercial-free environment. HBO Canada is offered in high definition on HBO Canada HD and programming is accessible on demand where available by service provider. For more information, please visit www.hbocanada.com.

The Movie Network is an Astral Media Television Network. Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty and pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and interactive media. Astral Media's solid and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for all its audiences. For more information about Astral Media, please visit www.astralmedia.com.

Movie Central is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR.B/CJR), a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in specialty television and radio with additional assets in pay television, advertising services, television broadcasting, children's book publishing and children's animation.

For access to The Movie Network's media room or Movie Central's press site, please visit http://tv.astral.com or http://mediacentre.corusent.com/mediacentre/home.asp.

For further information: Media contacts: The Movie Network (Eastern Canada): Nicolle Balen, (416) 956-8638, nbalen@tv.astral.com; Movie Central (Western Canada): Owen McCorquodale, (416) 530-2249, Owen.McCorquodale@corusent.com