Putting the band - and the city - back together: HBO Canada brings viewers to
post-Katrina New Orleans in HBO's Treme

           -  Latest series from David Simon and Eric Overmyer, the
        creative forces behind HBO's critically acclaimed television
                             masterpiece The Wire

      -  Premieres Sunday, April 11 at 10 p.m. ET/MT, day-and-date with
                               HBO in the U.S.

TORONTO, March 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 premiere of Treme on Sunday, April 11 at 10 p.m. ET/MT. From David Simon and Eric Overmyer of HBO's The Wire, Treme is a one-hour drama series that takes place during the rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans, and focuses on how a group of resilient musicians rebuild their lives through the enduring music and cultural traditions that make them, and the city, so unique.

Treme begins in fall 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina and the massive engineering failure that resulted in the flooding of 80 per cent of the city and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of residents. More than half the city's population is elsewhere and much of the city is wrecked, muddied and caked in mould. The tourists have yet to return, the money that follows them is scarce, and residents can take solace only in the fact that the city's high levels of crime have migrated to Houston and Baton Rouge. For those returning, housing is hard to come by, with many waiting on insurance cheques that may never arrive.

The drama unfolds with Antoine Bastiste (Wendell Pierce), a smooth-talking trombonist who is struggling to make ends meet; his ex-wife, LaDonna Batiste-Williams (Khandi Alexander) a bar owner concerned over the disappearance of her younger brother David; Toni Bernette (Melissa Leo), an overburdened underpaid civil rights attorney; Toni's husband Creighton (John Goodman), a university professor and local history expert who's becoming an increasingly outspoken critic of the institutional response to the disaster; Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn), a rebellious radio disc jockey and musician; Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens), Davis' occasional partner and a popular chef hoping to regain momentum for her newly re-opened restaurant; Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters), a displaced Mardi Gras Indian Chief who returns to find his home and his tribe, The Guardians of the Flame, scattered; and Albert's son Delmond (Rob Brown), an exile in New York playing modern jazz and looking beyond New Orleans for his future.

The series is named for the Faubourg Tremé (a historic neighbourhood just to the lakeside of the more celebrated French Quarter in New Orleans). Jazz itself was said to be born there, created by the slaves of Creole planters who were allowed to drum and chant on Sundays and market days in a public area that came to be known as Congo Square. In addition to honouring the actual chronology of political, economic and cultural events following the storm, Treme will also feature cameos by notable real-life New Orleanians and musicians and artists associated with the city's music, including Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison Jr., Galactic, Trombone Shorty Andrews, Deacon John, and the Rebirth and Tremé Brass Bands.

Treme is a ten-episode, one-hour drama series created, executive produced and written by David Simon and Eric Overmeyer. In addition to Simon and Overmeyer, the series is written by David Mills and George Pelecanos, and New Orleans natives Lolis Elis and Tom Piazza.

The series will be simulcast on HBO Canada HD, and will be available on demand. The first episode will also be available on The Movie Network OnLine with Bell TV 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. Experience Corus on the web at www.corusent.com.

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.

SOURCE The Movie Network

For further information: 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

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