CTV Secures Canadian Broadcast Rights To Merlin



    
    -- Film legend John Hurt lends his voice for Merlin's flame-spitting
                     Great Dragon in 13-episode drama --
    -- Technical wizardry provided by the Oscar-winning visual effects team
                             behind Gladiator --
                     -- BBC hit comes to CTV in 2009 --

    "Don't miss Merlin, which strides into the schedules like a knight in
                   shining armour." - Sunday Express (U.K.)
    

    CANNES, France, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Prepare to fall under the spell of
Merlin. CTV announced today it has secured the exclusive Canadian broadcast
rights to the widely sought-after hit series from FremantleMedia Enterprises.
CTV joins some of the world's leading broadcasters, including NBC in the
United States, that have acquired the highly anticipated series, which just
debuted to critical and ratings acclaim on the BBC. The announcement was made
on Day 3 of the MIPCOM international television market in Cannes, France.
Featuring a stellar cast and magical special effects, the 13-part, one-hour
drama series joins an impressive mid-season schedule returning to CTV in 2009,
including Lost, American Idol and Dancing With the Stars.

    (xx) Media Note (xx) - Download images of Merlin at ctvmedia.ca.

    Merlin premiered last month on the BBC, enchanting audiences and
conjuring an impressive 7.15 million viewers, making it the most watched drama
series of the week. U.K. media were unanimous in their acclaim: "This has all
the right ingredients to be a Saturday evening hit for the whole family to
enjoy," said TV Times; "Our 21st century gets the version it deserves," said
The Mail on Sunday; and The Times called it "a razzy prime-time drama."

    Set in the mythical city of Camelot, the action-packed fantasy drama
revisits the saga of a teenaged Prince Arthur (Bradley James) and the clashes
with his young wizard, Merlin (Colin Morgan, Doctor Who). The story centres on
these two ambitious young men, struggling to understand their destinies on the
path to becoming extraordinary. The young, up-and-coming leads are joined by a
stellar cast including Santiago Cabrera (Heroes) as Lancelot, Anthony Head
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Uther, Richard Wilson (A Passage To India) as
Gauis, Angel Coulby (Magicians) as Guinevere and Katie McGrath (The Tudors) as
Morgana. Legendary actor John Hurt lends his iconic voice as the Great Dragon.

    "This series takes viewers back to a time before Merlin, the boy, becomes
the great mythical sorcerer we know so well today," said Susanne Boyce, CTV's
President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. "With a compelling cast,
spectacular special effects and an epic scope, Merlin provides a contemporary
take on a timeless story for viewers of all ages."

    Commented David Ellender, CEO FremantleMedia Enterprises, "FME and CTV
already share a strong partnership and it's great to be working together on
another exciting brand such as Merlin, one of the most promising dramas we
have amongst our portfolio."

    The eagerly anticipated series begins long before Arthur becomes King.
Arthur's father is Uther Pendragon, who has outlawed magic in the mythical
city of Camelot. Gaius is the court physician who takes Merlin under his wing
and helps guide him with his magical powers. It's a rites of passage story
that sees Merlin and Arthur on the cusp of adulthood - both on their journey
to greatness in a time before history began.

    Visually, Camelot comes alive for television like never before. Shine
Television's Emmy Award winning production team brings Merlin to life, with
the spectacular CGI effects created by The Mill, the Oscar winning visual
effects team behind Gladiator. The series was shot in Wales, France and
England.

    Merlin is a Shine production for the BBC. FremantleMedia Enterprises has
invested in the series alongside Shine Television and BBC One, and is the
exclusive international rights holders for distribution, licensing, and home
entertainment (excluding the U.K.).

    ABOUT CTV
    ---------
    CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality
news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It has the
number-one national newscast, CTV National News With Lloyd Robertson, and is
the number-one choice for prime-time viewing. CTVglobemedia Inc. is Canada's
premier multi-media company which owns CTV Inc. and The Globe and Mail. CTV
Inc. also owns radio stations across the country, and leading national
specialty channels. Other CTVglobemedia investments include an interest in
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and in Dome Productions, a North American
leader in the provision of mobile high definition production facilities. More
information about CTV may be found on the company website at www.ctv.ca.


    ABOUT FREMANTLEMEDIA ENTERPRISES & FREMANTLEMEDIA
    -------------------------------------------------
    FremantleMedia Enterprises is the brand extension arm of FremantleMedia,
offering a one-stop-shop for all Licensing, Distribution and Home
Entertainment. It is a division of FremantleMedia, one of the largest
international creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world with
leading prime time drama, serial drama, entertainment and factual
entertainment programming in over 40 countries worldwide. FremantleMedia is a
subsidiary of RTL Group, Europe's largest television and radio broadcast
company, which is 90% owned by Bertelsmann AG, an integrated media and
entertainment company that commands leading positions in the world's media
markets. For further information, visit http://www.fremantlemedia.com.




For further information:

For further information: Jim Quan, CTV Inc., (416) 332-5311 or
jquan@ctv.ca


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