Defying Gravity

10:00pm – Sunday, August 9 on CTV

Taboos are broken and lines are crossed as personal and professional relationships aboard the Antares and on Earth continue to intensify. The unseen power behind the mission begins to create both cellular and psychological transformations among the astronauts.

As Canadian astronaut Julie Payette preps for the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour tomorrow morning to join fellow Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk on the International Space Station, CTV is also preparing to defy gravity. The new CTV/SPACE drama series DEFYING GRAVITY debuts Sunday, August 2 at 9 p.m. ET in a special two-hour super-simulast premiere on CTV, /A\ and ABC. CTV’s fourth cross-border scripted series continues August 9 in its regular timeslot, Sundays at 10 p.m. on CTV (visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times). Created by GREY’S ANATOMY’s James Parriott and executive produced by DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES’ Michael Edelstein DEFYING GRAVITY is a sexy, provocative space thriller set in the very near future, following eight astronauts – from five countries including Canada – on a mysterious mission through the solar system.

CTV drama series DEFYING GRAVITY premieres August 2 at 9 p.m. ET

As the Canadian representative on DEFYING GRAVITY’s International Space Station Antares, smart and to-the-point biologist Jen Crane (Canadian actress Christina Cox) suffers no fools. Wise and supportive, with an opinion on everything, her “honeymoon in space” is derailed when her husband Rollie is removed from Antares in the eleventh hour, only to be replaced by Ted Shaw, with whom she has an illicit history.

Following the CTV/ABC broadcast premiere, encore episodes of DEFYING GRAVITY air on demand on the CTV Video Player at CTV.ca. The series will premiere on SPACE at a later date.

On November 4, 2008, CTV, along with Fox Television Studios and Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions Limited, jointly announced the series co-venture, with CTV as lead broadcaster. Production began January 17, 2009 in Vancouver and wrapped June 19. Three weeks later ABC announced it had ordered DEFYING GRAVITY for broadcast in the U.S., the fourth drama series CTV has been involved in to also air on a major U.S. network in primetime.

“DEFYING GRAVITY is a sexy, beautifully shot drama full of mystery, suspense and intrigue,” said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. “With a stellar international ensemble cast set against the backdrop of space millions of kilometres from Earth, Jim and Michael have delivered a drama that is truly out of this world”.   

“DEFYING GRAVITY has been a labour of love from the very beginning,” said Creator and Executive Producer, James Parriott. “Part of what made it so was the wonderful collaboration with our partners in Vancouver. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the show getting its ideal on-air home in Canada, the United States, and around the world.”

In the two-hour DEFYING GRAVITY series premiere (Sunday, August 2 at 9 p.m. ET), two of the eight novice astronauts onboard mysteriously develop heart ailments only hours after leaving Earth’s orbit for Venus and a six-year inter-planetary sojourn aboard the spaceship Antares. Replacing the ill engineer, Ajay Sharma (Zahf Paroo) and Mission Commander Rollie Crane (Ty Olsson), are experienced astronauts Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston) and Ted Shaw (Malik Yoba). Donner’s arrival disturbs the ship’s geologist Zoe Barnes (Canadian Laura Harris), who is linked to him by a strange dream and a romantic encounter from their early training days.

Although nearly every facet of life on the Antares is broadcast to avid viewers on Earth by documentary producer Paula Morales (Paula Garces), there is also a hidden force that appears to be controlling events from within the spacecraft. With the real purpose of the mission known only to flight director Mike Goss (Andrew Airlie) and a select few, the Antares finally leaves Earth’s orbit for the immensity of interstellar space.

In the second hour, some rocky and intriguing developments confront the crew as they learn to adjust to life on board the Antares, now well on its way to Venus. In spite of the libido-suppressing HALOS supposedly worn by everyone on board, pilot Nadia Schilling (Florentine Lahme) continues her seductive designs on Donner. Zoe still hears strange cries, seemingly coming from Storage Pod 4 – which is off limits to most of the crew.  After Ted, now spaceship commander, is briefed by his wife, scientist Eve Shaw (Karen LeBlanc), about the true nature of the mission, he enters Pod 4 and is confronted by a frightening maelstrom.

Meanwhile, back at Mission Control, Commander Goss holds a press conference, ostensibly to explain the abrupt removal of Ajay and Rollie from the Antares. Skeptical British reporter Trevor Williams (Peter Howitt) is determined to discover the truth.

With state-of-the-art CGI effects by award-winning visual effects company Stargate Studios (HEROES, GREY’S ANATOMY, UGLY BETTY), in collaboration wit veteran set designer Stephen Geaghan (THE OUTER LIMITS) and his team, DEFYING GRAVITY is a stunning visual production. The series comes to life by anticipating scientific technologies of the future; from the massive, spectacularly detailed spacecraft to innovative visual effects, which depict the astronauts’ weightless realities, and their descent onto planets so far untouched by man. The series was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia.

DEFYING GRAVITY is a co-venture produced by Fox Television Studios and Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions Limited in association with CTV, the lead broadcaster. Starring a diverse, international ensemble cast led by Ron Livingston (Office Space) and Vancouver-native Laura Harris (24), the hour-long, 13-episode series will also air on the BBC in the U.K. and on ProSieben in Germany.

The series’ international ensemble cast is led by Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers) as Antares’ flight engineer Maddux Donner; Canadian Laura Harris (24) as ship’s geologist Zoe Barnes; Malik Yoba (New York Undercover) as Antares commander Ted Shaw; Canadian Christina Cox (Blood Ties) as Canadian biologist Jen Crane; Florentine Lahme (IMPACT) as pilot Nadia Schilling; Paula Garces (THE SHIELD) as pilot, scientist and on-board documentary producer Paula Morales; Eyal Podell (24) as psychiatrist and medical officer Evram Mintz; and Canadian Dylan Taylor (House Party) as theoretical physicist Steve Wassenfelder. The cast on planet Earth is led by Canadian Andrew Airlie (REAPER) as Mission Control Commander Mike Goss; Canadian Karen LeBlanc (ReGenesis) as scientist Eve Shaw; Canadian Zahf Paroo (Battlestar Galactica) as grounded flight engineer Ajay Sharma; Canadian Ty Olsson (MEN IN TREES) as grounded mission commander – and Jen’s husband – Rollie Crane; and Canadian Maxim Roy (MVP) as flight surgeon Claire Dereux. Episodic Director and Canadian Peter Howitt also plays the role of British journalist Trevor Williams.

DEFYING GRAVITY was created by award-winning, Emmy® Award-nominated writer/producer James Parriott (executive producer on GREY’S ANATOMY and UGLY BETTY). Parriott and Emmy® Award-nominated producer Michael Edelstein (executive producer on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) are executive producers, along with Omni’s Brian Hamilton and Michael Chechik. Ron French (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) is the producer. DEFYING GRAVITY is produced by Fox Television Studios and Omni Film Productions (producers of CTV’s critically-acclaimed series ROBSON ARMS) in association with CTV and Germany’s ProSieben. Fraser Robinson is Director of Content for SPACE. Robert Hardy is Development Manager, Western Production for CTV. Brett Burlock is Director, Program Development for CTV. Susanne Boyce is President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

9:00pm – Sunday, August 2 on CTV

Super-simulcast with /A and ABC
Two of the eight novice astronauts onboard mysteriously develop heart ailments only hours after leaving Earth’s orbit for Venus and a six-year inter-planetary sojourn aboard the spaceship Antares. Replacing the ill engineer, Ajay Sharma (Zahf Paroo) and Mission Commander Rollie Crane (Ty Olsson), are experienced astronauts Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston) and Ted Shaw (Malik Yoba). Donner’s arrival disturbs the ship’s geologist Zoe Barnes (Canadian Laura Harris), who is linked to him by a strange dream and a romantic encounter from their early training days. Meanwhile, back at Mission Control, Commander Goss (Andrew Airlie) holds a press conference, ostensibly to explain the abrupt removal of Ajay and Rollie from the Antares.

9:00pm – Sunday, August 2 on /A

Super-simulcast premiere with CTV and ABC

Also airs at 9 p.m. AT on /A Atlantic and 9 p.m. MT on ACCESS
Two of the eight novice astronauts onboard mysteriously develop heart ailments only hours after leaving Earth’s orbit for Venus and a six-year inter-planetary sojourn aboard the spaceship Antares. Replacing the ill engineer, Ajay Sharma (Zahf Paroo) and Mission Commander Rollie Crane (Ty Olsson), are experienced astronauts Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston) and Ted Shaw (Malik Yoba). Donner’s arrival disturbs the ship’s geologist Zoe Barnes (Canadian Laura Harris), who is linked to him by a strange dream and a romantic encounter from their early training days. Meanwhile, back at Mission Control, Commander Goss (Andrew Airlie) holds a press conference, ostensibly to explain the abrupt removal of Ajay and Rollie from the Antares.

Ok, so there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the upcoming premiere of Defying Gravity, a new hit series from the creators of Grey’s Anatomy which is set to air on CTV. But fans of Grey’s Anatomy are about to find that the formula for the show isn’t so different from one that we are already familiar with. How? During scenes, the show is set to be narrated by one of the characters, who speaks in a context rich with metaphors; the male lead character on the show is said to sleep with one of his female students during a drunked one night stand. Ok, so the series takes place in space on a 6 year journey, and isn’t always shown in the presence, since a good part of the series focuses upon a flashback to times when the crew trained and came together both profesionally and romantically. But yes, overall, Defying Gravity sounds just like the Grey’s Anatomy of space.

Does that mean I won’t tune in? Probably not; sometimes it’s a case of if it’s not broke don’t fix it, and creators might just hit it out of the park again with this new series. But then again, Private Practice tried to follow a similar formula to its sister show, and that wasn’t a huge success, so I guess we’ll have to see.

 

DEFYING GRAVITY, a new CTV drama shot in Vancouver, will also air on ABC in the U.S., CTV and production partners, Fox Television Studios and Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions Limited announced today. Executive produced by series creator and award-winning writer/producer James Parriott (GREY’S ANATOMY, UGLY BETTY) and Michael Edelstein (DESPERATE HOUSWIVES), DEFYING GRAVITY follows the journey of eight astronauts, from five countries, who embark on a mysterious mission through the solar system. The series becomes the fourth Canadian dramatic series that CTV has been involved in to be picked up by a major U.S. network in primetime in the last two years, an unprecedented achievement. The U.S. pick up of co-venture DEFYING GRAVITY by ABC joins CTV Original Series FLASHPOINT (CBS), THE LISTENER (NBC) and THE BRIDGE (CBS).

DEFYING GRAVITY is a co-venture produced by Fox Television Studios and Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions Limited in association with CTV, the lead broadcaster. Starring a diverse, international ensemble cast led by Ron Livingston (Office Space) and Vancouver-native Laura Harris (24), the hour-long, 13-episode series will also air on SPACE in Canada, the BBC in the UK and on ProSieben in Germany.

“CTV is committed to being in business with the best creative talent. We have been looking to partner with Jim and Michael, and DEFYING GRAVITY offered the right opportunity,” said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. “Out of the gate, we signed on as a production partner and lead broadcaster and the experience has been terrific.”

Executive Producer Michael Edelstein, said, “Working with CTV has been such a gratifying experience for Jim Parriott and me.  Susanne Boyce championed the show from day one and without her vision and support, DEFYING GRAVITY may not have happened.  We are so grateful for the collaboration and look forward to doing many more seasons together.”

Inspired by the fictional BBC docudrama Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, and dubbed “GREY’S ANATOMY in space” by series creator James Parriott, DEFYING GRAVITY is a sexy, provocative space thriller. It’s set in the very near future against the background of our solar system, in which eight astronauts from five countries (four women and four men) undertake a mysterious six-year international space mission covering eight billion miles. Hurtling into the vast challenge of infinite space, the eight astronauts and the ground personnel that support them are on a mission, which has a powerful and awesome mystery at its core. The intimate relationships among the astronauts and the ground crew, as well as their actions, from the past and the present, on earth and in space, are all connected. Episodes are divided between the present, as the Antares travels towards Venus, and the past, with flashbacks to the earlier years when the astronauts were in the grueling selection and training process.

The series’ international ensemble cast is led by Ron Livingston (Office Space) as Antares flight engineer Maddux Donner, Laura Harris (24) as ship’s geologist Zoe Barnes, Malik Yoba (New York Undercover) as Antares commander Ted Shaw, Christina Cox (Blood Ties) as biologist Jen Crane, Florentine Lahme (IMPACT) as pilot Nadia Schilling, Paula Garces (THE SHIELD) as pilot, scientist and on-board documentary producer Paula Morales, Eyal Podell (24) as psychiatrist and medical officer Evram Mintz, and Dylan Taylor (House Party) as theoretical physicist Steve Wassenfelder. The cast on planet Earth is led by Andrew Airlie (REAPER) as Mission Control Commander Mike Goss, Karen LeBlanc (ReGenesis) as scientist Eve Shaw, Zahf Paroo (Battlestar Galactica) as grounded flight engineer Ajay Sharma, and Maxim Roy (MVP) as flight surgeon Claire Dereux. Episodic Director Peter Howitt also plays the role of BBC journalist Trevor Williams.

DEFYING GRAVITY was created by award-winning, Emmy-nominated writer/producer James Parriott (executive producer on GREY’S ANATOMY and UGLY BETTY). Parriott and Emmy-nominated producer Michael Edelstein (executive producer on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) are executive producers, along with Omni’s Brian Hamilton and Michael Chechik. Ron French (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) is the producer. DEFYING GRAVITY is produced by Fox Television Studios and Omni Film Productions (producers of CTV’s critically-acclaimed series ROBSON ARMS) in association with CTV and Germany’s ProSieben. Fraser Robinson is Director of Content for SPACE. Robert Hardy is Development Manager, Western Production for CTV. Brett Burlock is Director, Program Development for CTV. Susanne Boyce is President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

– Canadian/U.S. co-venture between Fox Television Studios and Omni Film Productions –

– CTV and SPACE to broadcast new sci-fi drama with the BBC and Germany’s ProSieben –
– Vancouver-based series created by GREY’S ANATOMY’s James Parriott and executive produced by DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES’ Michael Edelstein–

– Ron Livingston signed on to star –

Toronto, ON (November 4, 2008) – CTV, along with Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions Limited and Fox Television Studios, jointly announced today they will partner on a new, one-hour Canadian drama series, DEFYING GRAVITY. Executive produced by series creator and award-winning writer/producer James Parriott (GREY’S ANATOMY, UGLY BETTY) and Michael Edelstein (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES), DEFYING GRAVITY is a Canadian/U.S. co-venture that will air in Canada on CTV and SPACE, in the United Kingdom on BBC and in Germany on ProSieben. Starring Ron Livingston (BAND OF BROTHERS, Office Space), production begins on 13, one-hour episodes in Vancouver, British Columbia in early 2009. Casting is currently underway for a Canadian female lead to join Livingston. Canadian television director David Straiton (HOUSE, LIFE) has signed on to direct the series’ first episode.

DEFYING GRAVITY is a sexy, provocative relationship drama set in the very near future against the background of our solar system, in which eight astronauts from five countries (four women and four men) undertake a mysterious six-year international space mission covering eight billion miles. With the eyes of the world upon them – everything they do is monitored, and every emotion they feel, scrutinized – they soon discover that their real assignment is not at all what they thought.

“We are thrilled to join forces with James Parriott and Michael Edelstein, renowned for some of television’s most engaging, award-winning ensemble dramas,” said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. “Along with Fox Television Studios and Omni Film Productions and our partners at BBC and ProSieben, we can’t wait to see how the drama unfolds a billion miles from Earth.”

David Madden, executive vice president, programming, Fox Television Studios, said, “We are honored to be producing this series with enormous talents like James Parriott, the showrunner behind GREY’S ANATOMY and UGLY BETTY, and one of the finest writers in television today; and Michael Edelstein, who was a driving force behind DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. It’s a tribute to James’ script that we have been able to attract an actor like Ron Livingston, who not only made a permanent imprint in film comedy with Office Space, but who was so memorable in SEX AND THE CITY and so moving in telefilms like BAND OF BROTHERS and our own 44 MINUTES. This series dramatizes man’s first venture beyond the orbit of the moon – it’s romantic, daring, and deeply exciting, and we expect it to be a skyrocket.”

“Omni Film is tremendously excited to lift off on this historic journey,” affirmed Canadian Executive Producer Brian Hamilton for Omni Film Productions. “DEFYING GRAVITY is a unique programming event which will appeal to fans of relationship dramas like GREY’S ANATOMY, and passionate sci-fi aficionados as well.”

DEFYING GRAVITY was created by award-winning, Emmy-nominated writer/producer James Parriott (executive producer on GREY’S ANATOMY and UGLY BETTY). Parriott and Emmy-nominated producer Michael Edelstein (executive producer on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) are executive producers, along with Omni’s Brian Hamilton and Michael Chechik. Ron French (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) is the producer. DEFYING GRAVITY is produced by Fox Television Studios and Omni Film Productions (producers of CTV’s critically-acclaimed series ROBSON ARMS) in association with CTV.