A Prairie Giant comes to VisionTV

    Multi-faith network to air award-winning Tommy Douglas miniseries
    Sept. 25 and 27

    TORONTO, Sept. 6 /CNW/ -  VisionTV, Canada's multi-faith and
multicultural television network, will broadcast the provocative two-part
miniseries Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story.
    The four-hour film, produced by Regina, Sask.-based Minds Eye
Entertainment, will air as a special presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and
Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. and midnight ET/6 p.m. and 9 p.m. PT. This is the
first time Prairie Giant has aired in Canada since its premiere on CBC-TV in
March 2006.
    The award-winning production recalls the life and times of fiery prairie
politician Tommy Douglas, the five-time premier of Saskatchewan and leader of
the federal New Democratic Party.
    A Baptist minister, Douglas was spurred to enter politics by the
suffering he witnessed during the Great Depression. He tirelessly championed
social justice, leading the battle for reforms such as the introduction of
public health care.
    Douglas, who died in 1986, was as polarizing a figure in his time as he
is iconic today. Generally acknowledged as the "father of Medicare," he was
voted history's "Greatest Canadian" in a 2004 contest organized by the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
    Prairie Giant was directed by John N. Smith (The Boys of St. Vincent) and
produced by Kevin DeWalt. Bruce M. Smith wrote the screenplay. Acclaimed stage
actor Michael Therriault (best known for his Dora Award-winning performance as
Gollum in the musical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings) stars as Tommy
    The distinguished cast also includes Kristin Booth as Irma Douglas, along
with Nicholas Campbell, Brent Carver, Paul Gross, Andy Jones, Don McKellar and
R.H. Thomson. Prairie Giant has earned numerous honours, including seven
awards at the 2007 Accolade Television Competition, and received nine Gemini
Award nominations, including Best Dramatic Miniseries.
    Controversy erupted at the time of Prairie Giant's original broadcast,
over complaints that the miniseries contained historical inaccuracies -
particularly related to former Saskatchewan Premier James G. Gardiner - and a
delay of broadcast date prompted by the 2006 federal election.
    Mark Prasuhn, VisionTV's Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice
President, Programming, said the network acknowledges the concerns regarding
historical accuracy, but considers it important that Canadians enjoy another
chance to see this internationally acclaimed production.
    Said Mr. Prasuhn: "Prairie Giant's overarching theme - the struggle for
social justice - is a timely one worthy of continued debate and discussion.
Our viewers understand that any dramatization of past events may contain
fictionalized elements, and will gauge what they see accordingly in the
context of the larger issues that the program explores.
    "Tommy Douglas's social activism was informed by his deep religious
belief. As a multi-faith broadcaster committed to celebrating the place of
spirituality in contemporary Canadian life, VisionTV sees Prairie Giant as a
seamless fit with our program offering, and we are very proud to present this
special airing."
    To lend historical context to its presentation of Prairie Giant, VisionTV
will also rebroadcast the documentary Social Gospel and the Public Good on
Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. This hour-long film traces the
history of the "social gospel" - a movement whose emphasis on applying
Christian principles for social change was an important influence on Tommy
Douglas's life and work.
    For more information on Prairie Giant, please visit www.tommydouglas.tv.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: David Todd, Media Relations
Manager, VisionTV, Phone: (416) 368-3194, ext. 207, Email: dtodd@s-vox.com

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