[02/01/08 - 11:52 AM]
NBC Picks Up 'The Listener' -- CTV's Original Drama Series from Shaftesbury Films
"The Listener" tells the story of a young man who can read people's thoughts, and act on them.

[via press release from NBC]


BURBANK, Calif. - February 1, 2008 - NBC has picked up "The Listener" (working title), a new CTV original drama from Shaftesbury Films, it was announced today by Teri Weinberg, Executive Vice President, NBC Entertainment.

Produced by Toronto's Shaftesbury Films, "The Listener" tells the story of a young man who can read people's thoughts, and act on them. NBC has ordered 13 episodes of the one-hour drama series, which was green-lit by CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, last December. Set in Toronto, "The Listener" is currently in pre-production with shooting scheduled to begin this spring.

"This deal is another example of us reaching out to the international community to find innovative and interesting programming. We are thrilled to have partners like CTV and Shaftesbury Films," said Teri Weinberg, Executive Vice President, NBC Entertainment. "'The Listener' is an intriguing series that fits squarely in our brand and we're excited NBC can bring it to the American audience."

"CTV has a long tradition of developing hit original programming in Canada," said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. "Today's announcement is the next step in the evolution of our development program. We are thrilled to partner with NBC and Shaftesbury in sharing this compelling Canadian drama with an American audience."

"We're delighted that 'The Listener' will broadcast on NBC in the U.S. and on CTV in Canada. Shaftesbury has built strong relationships with U.S. networks over the years. This opportunity to partner with CTV and NBC on a prime time series is the next logical step" said Christina Jennings, Chairman and CEO of Shaftesbury Films. "There seems to be a new pattern emerging at American TV networks, which have lately become more open to working with production companies outside the U.S."

In "The Listener," Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik, "In God's Country") is a young, big-city paramedic with the power to listen to people's thoughts. With his paramedic partner Osman Bey (Ennis Esmer, host of "The Toronto Show") as his sidekick, Toby juggles life as a telepathic sleuth with that of an urban twenty-something.

Created by Michael Amo ("Blessed Stranger: After Flight 111"), "The Listener" was developed by CTV with Shaftesbury Films beginning in 2006 with a pilot directed by Clement Virgo ("The Wire," "Poor Boys Game") produced last summer. "The Listener" was part of CTV's first venture into pilot production in 2007. It was the first time CTV had ordered pilots as part of its development of new Canadian television series.

"The Listener" is produced by Shaftesbury Films in association with CTV and NBC. Executive producers are Emmy and Gemini award-winning Christina Jennings (ReGenesis, The Murdoch Mysteries), Scott Garvie for Shaftesbury Films, Russ Cochrane (Whistler) and Michael Amo. The Listener is distributed in the United States by Program Partners.

Founded in 1987, Shaftesbury Films has established a reputation as one of Canada's leading producers of high quality film and television programming. Recent productions include the new one-hour drama series Murdoch Mysteries for Citytv, the fourth season of the TV series ReGenesis for The Movie Network, Movie Central and Showcase; the TV movies In God's Country and Eight Days to Live, both featuring Kelly Rowan and both delivering record breaking ratings for CTV; and The Robber Bride, the Emmy-nominated TV movie starring Gemini award-winner Mary-Louise Parker for CBC. Shaftesbury Films also produces a variety of kids' programming, including the highly successful kids' series Life with Derek, currently airing on Family Channel and Disney Channel, and broadcast in over 100 countries worldwide. Visit the Shaftesbury website at www.shaftesbury.ca.

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.

NBC Entertainment develops and schedules programming for the network's primetime, late night, and daytime schedules. NBC's quality programs and balanced lineup have earned the network critical acclaim, ratings success, particularly among young, upscale viewers, and numerous awards, including more Emmy Awards than any network in television history.

  [february 2008]  


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