Another Coup for Canadian-Produced Television on U.S. Networks

Just when the party was still going on in Toronto a result of Canadian television’s Flashpoint being picked up by CBS and shown in a prime slot, NBC announced that it was adding “The Listener’ to its Friday primetime line up. A partnership between Shaftesbury Films and the CTV development team “The Listener” is a series about a young paramedic’s power to read peoples’ thoughts and is capturing the imagination of every one who watches. To show its faith in the program NBC has ordered 13 episodes.

The Listener stars Craig Olejnik – from In God’s Country – as Toby Logan, the paramedic with an abnormal power, and Ennis Esmer – from The Toronto Show – as Osman Bey, his partner in the “bus,” or ambulance. Its creator, Michael Amo, was involved heavily in Blessed Stranger: After Flight 111 and the 2006 pilot was directed by Clement Virgo – who directed The Wire – which came out in the summer of 2007.

What this does for Canadian television is open a crack in the door of respectability. There have been many great Canadian television programs but they had been clumped in with a lot of so-so productions and terribly-made movies. Lion’s Gate Films from Vancouver broke this mold with movies like Crash and W, to name a few. Now Canadian films are featured alongside the best in the world and do not have to rely on government subsidies and the bureaucrats that come along with that kettle of fish.

The audience appeal for The Listener is widespread because its twenty-something main characters will attract young watchers while the paranormal aspect will draw out many other watchers. These will be a similar audience that tunes in toMedium and Ghost Whisperer.

Fox International Channels will premiere the series on the first week of March 2009, in 180 territories. The Friday night slot for The Listener might put it opposite another successful television program, Flashpoint, which presently enjoys a good rating on this night. And though both shows come out of CTV’s development department they are two entirely different teams.

So mark March 9th on your calendar and watch two Canadian shows on two big American networks.

About the author

I am the author of four published novels and I find that blogging gives me better contact with people than writing stories, although I still write fiction. I have a tourism blog called "Travel to Nova Scotia" and one about the music business entitled "Music Before the Money."
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