Movie Central and The Movie Network greenlight seven new original productions

    BANFF, AB, June 8 /CNW/ - Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (Western
Canada) and Astral Media's The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) today announced
that seven new Canadian original projects have been greenlit for production.
Featuring some of Canada's top creative talent, this new slate includes
original series Bloodletting, Phantom, The Pillars of the Earth, Living In
Your Car, Meet Phil Fitz, Durham County and the made for television movie

    Bloodletting, an eight-part drama series based on Bloodletting &
Miraculous Cures, the Scotiabank Giller Award-winning best-seller by Vincent
Lam, will begin production on June 29 in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario. With
the directing talents of Rachel Talalay (Terminal City, Kyle XY), Kari
Skogland (The Stone Angel, Terminal City) and Erik Canuel (Flashpoint, Bon Cop
Bad Cop), the series will debut on Movie Central and The Movie Network in
early 2010.

    Fakers, an original pay TV movie from the producers and director of Last
Casino starts production on June 20 in Montreal. This provocative story of
teen counterfeiters stars Greyston Holt (Durham County), Andrew Francis (L
Word, X-Men Evolution) and Alexia Fast (Flashpoint, The 4400) will premiere on
Movie Central and The Movie Network in spring 2010.

    Phantom, a four-hour, action-packed, dramatic mini-series, began
principal photography this past April in Montreal. This updated and urban
reimagining of the 1936 Lee Falk classic comic strip character includes second
unit filming in New York City and Costa Rica and stars Ryan Carnes (Desperate
Housewives), Sandrine Holt (24), Cameron Goodman (Mad Men) and Isabella
Rossellini (Alias). A co-production with SCI FI Channel in the U.S, Phantom
will debut on Movie Central and The Movie Network in spring 2010.

    Also in pre-production with Muse Entertainment, Tandem Communications and
Scott Free Films is The Pillars of the Earth, an eight-part limited drama
series based on Ken Follett's bestselling novel of the same name. This epic
has a stellar international cast, including Donald Sutherland (Dirty Sexy
Money) and Ian McShane (Deadwood, Kings), and will premiere in spring 2010 on
Movie Central and The Movie Network.

    The Nightingale Company, with creative talents behind The Line and This
is Wonderland: Order of Canada recipient George F. Walker, Dani Romain and
Joseph Kay return with a new half-hour comedy series Living In Your Car. Set
to begin filming in September and scheduled to debut in 2010, Living In Your
Car will also feature the talents of Winnipeg native David Steinberg (Curb
Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) as Creative Consultant and Lead Director.

    Movie Central and The Movie Network are also behind the edgy half-hour
comedy series Meet Phil Fitz from Halifax creator and executive producer,
Sheri Elwood (Defying Gravity), producers Mike Souther and Teza Lawrence of
Amaze Film + Television, E1 Television and David MacLeod of Big Motion
Pictures. This 13-episode series is set to shoot in partnership with Film Nova
Scotia in the early fall and will premiere in 2010.

    The Gemini Award-winning series Durham County starring Hugh Dillon
(Flashpoint) also goes into production in fall 2009 for a third season. Durham
County (season 2) premieres on July 13, 2009 on Movie Central and The Movie

    "Pay TV provides the creative environment that enables us to work with
some of the most talented teams in Canada's production industry," said Erica
Benson, Vice President, Programming, Movie Central. "With these partnerships,
pay TV is able to offer home-grown world-class drama series on par with the
likes of HBO and Showtime, including the return of the visually stunning and
critically acclaimed series Durham County."

    "Astral Media's The Movie Network has a strong commitment to Canadian
film and television and this new round of projects speaks to the proud role we
play in showcasing the talent behind this country's superior, award-winning
programming," said Diane Boehme, Director of Canadian Independent Production,
The Movie Network.



    Based on the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning book Bloodletting &
Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam and adapted by Governor General's Award-winner
Jason Sherman, Bloodletting follows a group of conflicted young doctors from
medical school through their internships and on to their years as emergency
room doctors. Their stories reveal that there are no miracles in hospitals,
just hard work, hope, pain, mistakes - and the occasional triumph. The series
is produced by Shaftesbury Films with executive producers Scott Garvie,
Christina Jennings and Julie Lacey.


    Muse Entertainment Enterprises and Back Alley Film Productions present
the third season of Durham County. Detective Mike Sweeney has joined a task
force that is investigating the brutal murder of two young boys who were drug
runners. While Mike's family life flourishes, tragedy strikes and his grief
forces him to solve a heinous crime that could implicate a friend and
confidant. Produced by Janis Lundman, Adrienne Mitchell, Michael Prupas and
Laurie Finstad Knizhnik; the series writers are Laurie Finstad Knizhnik and
Bruce M. Smith.


    Steve Unger used to have a great life, now he's about to have a real one.
A corporate exec jailed when he was caught cooking the books, he's newly
released from prison and under a court order to teach an ethics class to
others just like him. Shunned by family and friends and clinging desperately
to the last vestige of his former self - his luxury sedan - Steve struggles to
simultaneously help and exploit everyone he meets. This half-hour, comedy
adventure series is produced by The Nightingale Company.


    Meet Phil Fitz is a new, half-hour comedy about a morally bankrupt
salesman who's forced to become business partners with his inner conscience:
Larry, a prissy do-gooder with a heart of gold. Created and executive produced
by Sheri Elwood (Defying Gravity), the 13-episode series is set to begin
production in the fall and will be produced by Mike Souther and Teza Lawrence
of Amaze Films, E1 Television and David MacLeod of Big Motion Pictures and
will be produced in partnership with Film Nova Scotia. E1 Television
International is the international sales agent.


    Produced by Muse Entertainment, Phantom is a modern-day re-invention of
the popular adventure comic strip The Phantom, created by Lee Falk in 1936. A
law student is shocked to learn that he was adopted and is actually the son of
The Phantom, a caped crime fighter. He joins the Phantom team in the jungles
of Bengalla to train in martial arts and combat, and emerges as the next
Phantom. The series' creative team includes executive producer Michael Prupas,
producer Irene Litinsky and screenwriters Charles Knauf and Dan Knauf.


    During a civil war, a famine and religious strife, a magnificent
cathedral rises in Kingsbridge. Based on the bestselling novel by Ken Follett,
this is the story of the intertwining lives of a master builder, a noblewoman,
the Prior of Kingsbridge, an artist and a woman from the forest who casts a
spell. In association with CBC, this Movie Central and The Movie Network
original series is a co-production of Muse Entertainment and Tandem
Communications with the association of Scott Free Films Ltd., with an
outstanding international ensemble cast that includes Ian McShane (Deadwood,
Kings), Donald Sutherland (Dirty Sexy Money, Cold Mountain) and Rufus Sewell
(The Eleventh Hour, The Illusionist). The Pillars of the Earth is directed by
Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Battlestar Galactica, Heroes), written by John Pielmeier
(The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Agnes of God) and executive produced by Michael
Prupas and Rola Bauer with producer John Ryan. Currently in pre-production.


    Fakers tells the shocking story of three ordinary teenagers from one of
Canada's most elite schools who created a major counterfeiting operation under
the noses of their teachers and parents, and how it all came crashing down. An
original pay TV movie, Fakers is a Cite Amerique production with producer Greg
Dummett (Last Casino, Lost and Delirious), directed by Pierre Gill (Last
Casino) and written by Jesse McKeown (DaVinci's Inquest, Robson Arms).
Currently in pre-production.

    Movie Central is a 24-hour-a-day, commercial-free premium pay TV service
available to Western Canadians. Exclusive multi-year output agreements with
major Hollywood studios ensure that Movie Central is the preferred destination
for box office titles. In addition to being the first window, Canadian home to
the best of HBO and Showtime, through its investments, pre-buys and licence
fees for Canadian feature films and original series, Movie Central is
recognized as a major force in the Canadian independent film and television
production industry. The launch of Movie Central On Demand and Movie Central
High Definition demonstrates that Movie Central remains committed to being
first with innovations that enhance the viewing experience. Visit the Movie
Central website at

    Movie Central is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc. 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.
The company's multimedia entertainment brands include YTV, Treehouse, W
Network, CosmoTV, VIVA, Movie Central, HBO Canada, Nelvana, Kids Can Press and
radio stations including CKNW, CKOI and Q107. Corus creates engaging branded
entertainment experiences for its audiences across multiple platforms. A
publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto (CJR.B) and New York
(CJR) exchanges. Experience Corus on the web at

    The Movie Network is a pay television service available in eastern
Canada. With premiere access to Hollywood hit movies, new and exclusive HBO
content, critically-acclaimed Showtime series and first-rate Canadian
programming, this pay-television service presents Canadians with some of the
best television entertainment available. The Movie Network service includes
five 24-hour multiplex channels - M, HBO Canada, MExcess, MFun! and MFest -
which deliver diverse and entertaining programs in an uncut and
commercial-free television environment. The Movie Network also offers The
Movie Network HD and HBO Canada HD, two dedicated high-definition channels
providing hundreds of titles in HD; and The Movie Network OnDemand, a
Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) service, available in select areas across
eastern Canada. For more information, please visit

    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 iMedia. 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 further information:

For further information: Movie Central (Western Canada): Lindsay
Sutcliffe, (416) 530-2248,; The Movie Network
(Eastern Canada): Roopa Shah, (416) 956-8584,

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