Canwest Announces Original Production Slate for 2008-2009

        Reinforces Broadcaster's Commitment to Independent Production

     Global Television, E! & Specialty Channels Debut All-New Offerings:

                     THE LAST TEMPLAR, HOWIE DO IT, XIII,
                         CHEF ABROAD, OUTLAW BIKERS,

                                   - AND -

                        Returning Hit Series Include:
                            PROJECT RUNWAY CANADA

                       SYNOPSES, SCHEDULE GRIDS visit:
                     User ID: canwest / Password: press

    TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ - Canwest announced details of its original
production slate today at their annual Fall Launch Presentation to advertisers
and industry in Toronto.
    In addition to unveiling an impressive roster of returning original
programming across conventional and specialty networks, Canwest proudly
revealed its line-up of new Canadian Original series for the 2008-2009 season,
including a total of three NBC simulcasts: romantic adventure-drama, THE LAST
TEMPLAR starring Oscar(R) winner Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) and Canadian
Victor Garber (Alias); comedy HOWIE DO IT starring comedian Howie Mandel (Deal
or No Deal); and political thriller, XIII starring Stephen Dorff (Blade) and
Val Kilmer (Wonderland, The Doors).
    "Building on our strong foundation of compelling storytelling, our new
programming is both diverse and distinctively Canadian," said
Barbara Williams, Executive Vice President, Content, Canwest Broadcasting.
"We're also delighted to bring back our home-grown original series featuring a
stellar selection of fan-favourites."
    For conventional networks Global and E! the slate of new programming
produced by Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, and Patricia Burn; Canadian reality
series INSTANT BEAUTY PAGEANT hosted by Cameron Mathison and
Debbie Matenopoulos; animated series PRODUCING PARKER starring the voices of
Kim Cattrall (Sex and The City) and Kristen Booth (M.V.P.); hot documentary
series E! TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY CANADA showcasing Canada's brightest stars, and
an all-new season of the fashion inspired PROJECT RUNWAY CANADA. Returning for
highly anticipated second seasons are the No. 1 new Canadian drama series(*) THE
GUARD; the No. 1 new Canadian comedy series(*) 'DA KINK IN MY HAIR and Aaron
Martin's (Degrassi: The Next Generation) creation, THE BEST YEARS, starring
Charity Shea.
    From the Lifestyle channels comes looks-obsessed reality series BEAUTIFUL
PEOPLE; culinary adventure CHEF ABROAD starring Canadian chef Michael Smith;
and famed renovation guru Mike Holmes hosting MAKE IT RIGHT: NEW ORLEANS on
HGTV. Returning originals include THE MAIN, SARAH'S HOUSE, and TIL DEBT DO US
    Across the Dramatic channels, new series include THE FOUNDATION, a comedy
series starring Mike Wilmont (It's All Gone Pete Tong); a behind-the-scenes
look at reality television with REALITY OBSESSED; PLANET SOAP; THE RAWSIDE
OF... and VICE GUIDE TO FILM. Returning originals will include a fifth season
of KENNY VS. SPENNY with even more pain-staking dares and new seasons of
    From the Factual channels, History Television debuts investigative series
OUTLAW BIKERS; a family of demolition experts provide explosive entertainment
in BLOWDOWN; Norm Christie re-visits some of history's most significant
battles in BATTLEFIELD MYSTERIES. Returning series include THE RE-INVENTORS;
the irreverent series URBAN LEGENDS II; chronicles of the organized crime
    Reaffirming the commitment to develop defining original series, Canwest
remains focused on producing the best of Canadian drama, comedy, lifestyle,
documentary and more - while integrating these programs into the nation's most
critically acclaimed primetime schedules. Premiere strategic partners include
NBC, Movie Central, The Movie Network, The NFB, APTN, The BBC, Lifetime, USA
Sci-Fi Network, and ABC Family.

    (*) Source: BBM-NMR Meter Data, Adults 18-49 (Sep 10/07-May 25/08)

    Programming Synopses:

    GLOBAL ORIGINAL PREMIERES (Broadcast Dates & Times TBC):
    (15 x 30 minute; animated)
    Follows the exploits of the McKenzie Brothers as they do their best to
"beat the system", avoid work, and have some fun in a changing Canadian
society. Produced by Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, and Patricia Burns.
    CAST: Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis

    (10 x 1 hour; documentary)
    Stylish, pacey and utterly compelling, COLD BLOOD is a visceral new crime
series that showcases ten extraordinary murder mysteries. Each episode tells
the gripping story of one spine-tingling murder investigation that's only
solved thanks to a dramatic last-ditch forensics breakthrough. A production
from Cineflix Productions.

    HOWIE DO IT (NBC simulcast)
    (6 x 1 hour; comedy)
    HOWIE DO IT stars comedian and DEAL OR NO DEAL Host, Howie Mandel. Full
of hoaxes, trickery and fun, each week Mandel and his team of professional
pranksters will perform multiple hilarious and entertaining tricks on
unsuspecting targets. Produced by Alevy Production in association with 3 Arts.
    CAST: Howie Mandel

    (2 x 1 hour; documentary)
    This two-hour special (in conjunction with HGTV's six-part series of the
same name) will feature Mike Holmes and his crew as they rebuild hope in the
Lower 9th quarter of New Orleans, the area worst hit when the levee broke in
August 2005. They will be constructing one of five prototype homes with the
Make It Right Foundation, the charitable organization that Brad Pitt launched,
to be finished in time for the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina:
August 29, 2008. These homes are intended to be more than just replacement
dwellings for the displaced families of the Lower 9th, they are examples for
the world and the future - affordable homes that can withstand both natural
disasters and reduce energy consumption. Produced by Toronto-based The Holmes
    CAST: Mike Holmes

    (12 x 1 hour; reality)
    Direct from Ottawa, Ontario comes the highly anticipated second season of
PROJECT RUNWAY CANADA. Offering aspiring designers a chance to break into the
notoriously difficult-to-crack fashion industry, 12 talented amateurs compete
in head-to-head challenges for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be discovered
as the next "it" Canadian designer. Produced by Insight Productions.
    CAST: Brian Bailey

    THE LAST TEMPLAR (NBC simulcast)
    (2 x 2 hour; drama)
    Based on Raymond Khoury's best-selling novel of the same name, this
romantic adventure revolves around a Manhattan archaeologist as she is drawn
into a fast-paced mystery concerning the lost secrets of the medieval Templar
Knights. Starring Oscar(R) winner Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) and Canadian
Victor Garber (Alias). Produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises and directed
by Paolo Barzman.
    CAST: Mira Sorvino, Victor Garber, Scott Foley, Kenneth Welsh,
Omar Sharif

    XIII (NBC simulcast)
    (2 x 2 hour; drama)
    A political thriller, this action-packed miniseries follows the journey
of one man (Stephen Dorff), on the run after being accused of assassinating
the President of the United States. Suffering from amnesia and with a tattoo
of the Roman numeral XIII his only clue, he soon finds himself being chased by
a determined mercenary, "Mongoose" (Val Kilmer). A high stakes game of
suspense unfolds as XIII attempts to stay alive and discover his true
identity. An official Canada/France co-production, developed and produced by
Canadian Prodigy Pictures and French production company Cipango in association
with Power.
    CAST: Stephen Dorff, Val Kilmer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Stephen McHattie,
Ingrid Hart, Jonathan Higgins.

    (36 x 30 minute; news information series)
    A new, fast-paced, half-hour weekly news information series featuring the
best investigative journalism and talents of a team of award-winning
reporters. Airing each week, 16:9 will showcase modern and provocative
truth-seeking stories that challenge perceptions and provoke debate, in-depth
behind-the-scenes profiles of exemplary Canadians, as well as international
issues that have Canadian impact.

    THE GUARD Season 2
    Canada's favourite Coast Guard rescue specialists return to embark on new
challenges while continuing to endure the daily dangers of life out on the
Pacific Ocean. A co-production from Halifax Film Company (Michael Donavan and
Charles Bishop) and Brightlight Pictures (Steve Hegyes); created by
Michael Donavan and Ray Storey.

    'DA KINK IN MY HAIR Season 2
    A hilarious look at the lives, loves and daily struggles of Letty, Joy
and Starr - three very different women running a Caribbean hair salon as they
juggle dating, raising children and navigating a new culture, while catering
to a colourful clientele who are just as invested in their stylists' lives as
they are their 'wash and set'.

    E! ORIGINAL PREMIERES (Broadcast Dates & Times TBC):
    (6 x 1 hour; reality)
    It's the reality show that's invading malls across Canada! It all begins
when six ordinary women are ambushed while shopping. They're challenged by the
show's hosts, Cameron Mathison and Debbie Matenopoulos, to compete against
each other in a one-of-a kind beauty pageant. The race to win the crown and
the big prize begins that instant! They are given only three hours and a
limited budget to prepare for the swimsuit, evening wear, and talent contests.
Who will be crowned an Instant Beauty? From RTR Media Inc. and created by
Mark Wolper.

    (13 x 30 minute; animated)
    An edgy send-up of the daytime talk show genre, PRODUCING PARKER follows
the outrageous adventures of the overworked and underpaid producer Parker and
her quirky crew. A co-production from Breakthrough Films and Television
(Ira Levy, Peter Williamson and Kevin Gillis) and Philippine Animation Studio
Inc. (Jun Camerino and Eliza Tamayo); created by Laura Kosterski, Kevin Gillis
and Carolyn Newman.
    CAST: Kim Cattrall, Kristen Booth, Aaron Abrams, Jamie Watson,
Peter Keleghan, Sarah Cornell

    (10 x 1 hour; documentary)
    E's True Hollywood Story, a Tinseltown institution, provides the inside
scoop on the world of entertainment and now the Emmy-nominated documentary
series reveals the real Story on the shows, stars and secrets of Canada's
Hollywood elite, including Jim Carrey, Kim Cattrall, and Kiefer Sutherland.
The Canadian edition is produced by Tricon Film and Television Inc. (Andrea
Gorfolova and Jameel Bharmal).

    E! NEWS WEEKEND Season 2
    E! is Canada's destination for everything entertainment and E! News
Weekend offers viewers a weekly re-cap of entertainment events in Canada, the
U.S. and around the world. Coming to viewers from the E! studios located
inside the Hard Rock Cafe and set against the bustling backdrop of Toronto's
Dundas Square, the show is located in Canada's celebrity hotspot. Hosted by
Arisa Cox and Jason Ruta.

    THE BEST YEARS Season 2
    Samantha Best returns to Charles University for a sophomore year of
friendship, love, struggle and learning what it means to build your own family
once you're old enough to make your way on your own. Produced by Blueprint
Entertainment (John Morayniss and Noreen Halpern); created by Aaron Martin.

    (4 x 60 minute; factual)
    Fall 2008
    Shot on location in France, Britain, North Africa and Spain, BATTLEFIELD
MYSTERIES investigates the real and often unknown stories behind history's
most significant battles. Hosted by historian Norm Christie (In Korea), each
episode features computer generated animation, eyewitness accounts and
Christie's own insights and hands-on investigative techniques. Produced by
Breakthrough Films and Television, Toronto (Peter Williamson).

    (13 x 30 minute; lifestyle)
    Fall 2008
    "Looks Matter" is the Darwinian philosophy that has made a worldwide phenomenon. In cities all over the world,
members judge applicants on their physical appearance; those accepted then
build an online community for dating and networking, which blatantly excludes
the average, extolling the virtues of a superior outer package. European
playboys Robert and Greg have already established their controversial site in
Japan, Asia and Europe, and are now set to invade Canada. But is Canada
beautiful enough to belong to the world's ultimate little black book? Produced
by Toronto based Tricon Films (Andrea Gorfolova).
    CAST: Robert Hintze, Greg Hodge

    (4 x 60 minute; factual)
    Fall 2008
    This series gives new meaning to the term 'explosive action' as a family
of demolition experts travels the world blowing down structures built to
withstand time, gravity and natural disasters. The series profiles the
implosions of four cooling towers on an active nuclear site, the Frontier
Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip, the Bal Harbor Hotel in Miami, and a
mobile service tower used to launch Titan Missiles at Cape Canaveral. As much
an art as a science, each structure requires a new rulebook as no two are ever
the same. From Parallax Productions in Vancouver.

    (13 x 30 minute; lifestyle)
    Fall 2008
    Come along with chef and host Michael Smith on his latest culinary
adventure, CHEF ABROAD. He takes viewers around the world and behind the
scenes with an all-access backstage pass into the fast-paced hidden world of
chefs, cooks and cuisine that most of us only dream about. From documenting
the tension of pulling off a dinner for the Prince of Jordan, to chronicling
how chefs prepare delectable meals in the frozen Arctic, CHEF ABROAD reveals
new food frontiers and fascinating characters. Produced by Halifax based Ocean
Entertainment Ltd.
    CAST: Michael Smith

    (6 x 1 hour; lifestyle)
    January 2009
    Mike Holmes and his crew are going to rebuild hope in the Lower 9th
quarter of New Orleans, the area worst hit when the levee broke in August
2005. They will be constructing one of five prototype homes with the Make It
Right Foundation, the charitable organization that Brad Pitt launched, to be
finished in time for the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina: August 29,
2008. These homes are intended to be more than just replacement dwellings for
the displaced families of the Lower 9th. They are examples for the world and
the future - affordable homes that can withstand both natural disasters and
reduce energy consumption. Produced by Toronto-based The Holmes Group.
    CAST: Mike Holmes

    (5 x 1 hour; factual)
    Fall 2008
    The new series OUTLAW BIKERS takes a wild ride into the world of the
outlaw motorcycle clubs. Delving into the structure, rituals, and criminal
activities of each club, undercover federal agents try to infiltrate some of
the most infamous and dangerous bike gangs in the world. Produced by
Barna Alper, Toronto (Loren Mawhinney) and Wall to Wall, UK.

    (13 x 30 minute; factual) Fall 2008 With sexy shenanigans, weird and
wonderful story plots, dark intrigues, tearful revelations, betrayals and
bust-ups - soaps are a genre loved by millions. The brand new original series
PLANET SOAP celebrates the world of soap operas. Examining topics like "the
most vicious catfights in soap history", each half hour episode will also
feature soap star favourites sharing their best and worst moments in the
profession. Produced by Ron Carroll for Toronto based AJE Prodcutions.

    (13 x 30 minute; factual)
    Fall 2008
    REALITY OBSESSED follows the adventures of Murtz Jaffer - Canada's most
dedicated and obsessed fan of reality TV - as he takes his fandom to the
extreme, tracking down celebrities, producers, agents, studio executives and
fellow reality-obsessed viewers across North America. From Survivor to The
Amazing Race, Murtz digs up behind-the-scenes gossip and secrets, bringing
viewers along for the ride. Produced by Les Tomlin for Toronto based Peace
Point Entertainment Group.
    CAST: Murtz Jaffer

    (4 x 30 minute; dramatic)
    Winter 2009
    Follows the inner workings of a dysfunctional but well-funded non-profit
charity and its less than scrupulous Executive Director. Created and produced
by Jennifer Wilson and Michael Dowse (Cardinal Film Inc). Executive producer
is Foundry Films (Daniel Iron).
    CAST: Mike Wilmot

    (8 x 60 minute; factual) Fall 2008
    THE RAWSIDE OF... is an uncensored and raw glimpse into the hearts, minds
and lives of music stars and their conflicts. Get at the very core of an
artist's existence through uncensored conversations and unlimited access.
Witness the private lives and process, and the intense exploration of music as
we penetrate the ever-present buffer zone. Featured artists will include The
Cliks, Die Mannequin, Brendan Canning from Broken Social Scene, Born Ruffians,
Metric and more. Produced by Chris Szarka for Toronto-based Georgian Inc.

    (6 x 30 minute; factual) Fall 2008
    Hosted by Shane Smith, writer, filmmaker and co-founder of Vice Magazine,
this series uncovers the unexplored film culture around the world. Spending
time with some of his favourite filmmakers such as Werner Herzog and
Gaspar Noe, Shane takes a look inside some of the world's least known and
understood national cinemas including North Korea, Nollywood, Lollywood and
the Narcocinema of Mexico. Produced by Eddy Moretti for Toronto based Vice.
CAST: Shane Smith

    What do you get when you combine the legal profession, long hours and
extreme boredom? You get Sam Caponelli, Robin Howland and Clark Claxton III,
three over-paid and under-stimulated lawyers at the Bay Street law firm Fagen
& Harrison. Season Three finds these three lawyers up to their old tricks,
trading assistants for muffins, participating in the adult film world and
running for city councillor. Produced by Temple Street (Dave Fortier and
Ivan Schneeberg); Created by Adam Till and Fabrizio Filippo.

    More extreme antics, more intense rivalries and more pain-staking dares
from two of television's craziest and most dysfunctional roommates. Produced
by Blueprint Entertainment and Breakthrough Films & Television. Trey Parker
and Matt Stone (South Park) continue their role as Executive Producers of the
series by John Morayniss, Noreen Halpern, Peter Williamson, Ira Levy and
Abby Finer and stars/creators Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice.

    In this third season, Cake, the hockey-crazed, recovered-from-everything
go-to guy we've grown to love, deals with his rebellious teenage daughter
after learning he was a father at the end of last season. Wrestling fever
grips the goalies, threatening to keep them out of the nets and in the ring,
and a soccer game may decide the fate of Café Primo when Johnny's nemesis from
the "Old Country" arrives. RENT-A-GOALIE is a Georgian Entertainment
production. Executive Producers are Christopher Szarka, Christopher Bolton and
Nicholas J. Gray.

    Host Anthony Sedlak is back in the second season of this Canadian
original series. In each episode Anthony selects one main ingredient around
which he bases his recipes. With feature ingredients ranging from lobster to
prosciutto to goat cheese, Anthony's passion for cooking and knowledge of food
inspires the cook in us all. Produced by Toronto based Savoury Productions.

    Since the first patent was issued over 500 years ago, inventors from
around the world have been trying to build the next big thing. But for every
brilliant creation, there are thousands that never get off the drawing board.
This series proves that not all failed inventions are failures as Matt Hunter
and Jeremy MacPherson dig up history's lost inventions, build them, test them,
and try to make them work. Some designs will crash and burn, but a few others
might actually prove brilliant when given a chance. Produced by Regina-based
Partners in Motion.

    Money is the number one cause of failed marriages. Rare is the couple
that agrees on how the pot should be divided and the bills paid. Most families
are in debt, and with debt comes family arguments, tears, tantrums and
marriages on the verge of divorce. To save families from the doldrums of debt,
each episode follows financial wizard Gail Vaz-Oxlade as she helps families go
from red to black by getting to the root of their destructive spending habits.
Produced by Jamie Brown for Winnipeg based Frantic Films.

    SARAH'S HOUSE Season 2 (HGTV)
    In the second season of SARAH'S HOUSE the talented Sarah Richardson takes
to the suburbs and transforms a typical back-split from drab to dramatic over
the course of 13 episodes. Sarah demystifies the entire renovation and design
process, balancing wants and needs, headaches and sweat equity to help you
create the home you're after. At the very end Sarah learns how much her
Herculean efforts reflect in the home's new value, and if it is indeed the
best reno on the block. Produced by Toronto based Primevista Television Inc.

    In URBAN LEGENDS, host Mark Dolan guides viewers through a series of
strange, but somewhat familiar tales we all know, love and sort-of believe.
Each week he presents three urban legends and challenges viewers to figure out
which one is actually true. Decipher fact from fiction with all new episodes
that revel in the magic of storytelling and the irresistible draw of trivia.
Produced by Toronto based Cineflix (Sam Linton).

    UNDERWORLD HISTORIES returns with four more cities and four incredible
chronicles of crime. Through dramatic first hand testimony, the second season
lifts the lid on key events in the organized crime history of four cities: the
infamous Kray brothers in swinging London, the war between the Bloods and
Crips in Los Angeles, mobster Whitey Bulger's stranglehold on Boston, and the
undercover operation that brought down the mob in Chicago. Co-produced by
Toronto based Barna Alper Productions, (Loren Mawhinney) and Wall to Wall, UK.

    Catch another exciting season of tracking down pop culture favourites
from both television and film circles. Through new, exclusive interviews and
archive footage, the series takes a look at what made them famous, and shines
a spotlight on how they live their lives today. Produced by Larry Day for
Calgary-based Pyramid Pictures Inc.

    About Canwest Broadcasting:

    Canwest Broadcasting operates two conventional television networks,
Global Television and E!, and twenty of the country's most popular specialty
channels, including HGTV, Mystery TV, National Geographic Channel, Showcase,
Slice(TM) and TVtropolis. Canwest Broadcasting is a division of Canwest Media

    About Canwest Media Inc.

    Canwest Media Inc is a subsidiary of Canwest Global Communications Corp.
(; TSX: CGS and CGS.A).
    An international media company, Canwest is Canada's largest publisher of
paid English language daily newspapers and owns, operates and/or holds
substantial interests in conventional television, out-of-home advertising,
specialty cable channels, web sites and radio stations in Canada, New Zealand,
Australia, Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United

For further information:

For further information: Publicity Contacts: Jacqueline Kendall,
Publicist, Global, (416) 934-7850,; Grace Park,
Publicity Manager, Global, (416) 967-2484,; Pam Mollica, Sr
Publicity Manager, Lifestyle Networks, (416) 967-4067,;
Rupinder Gill, Publicist, Fact and BBC Networks, (416) 934-7853,; Amy Waters, Snr Publicist, Dramatic Networks, (416)

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