Merlin

Sunday, July 5 8 p.m.

Eager to repay Lancelot (Santiago Cabrera, HEROES) for saving him from a terrifying flying monster, Merlin (Colin Morgan) tries to help him become a Knight of Camelot. There is, however, one drawback: Lancelot is not of noble blood, and changing destiny is a very risky pastime.

Sunday, June 28 8 p.m.

A deadly plague spreads through Camelot. When it seems that sorcery can be the only possible explanation, Merlin (Colin Morgan) and Gaius (Richard Wilson) race to find a cure; meanwhile Gwen (Angel Coulby) is arrested and sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft. Meanwhile, with her sights set firmly on Merlin (Colin Morgan), Nimeuh (Michelle Ryan, BIONIC WOMAN) tricks him into drinking from a poisoned chalice, and he falls dangerously ill. Arthur (Bradley James) ventures deep into the Forest of Balor to find the antidote, but little does he know that he’s walking into a trap.

Canadians were spellbound by MERLIN last night, as 1.1 million viewers travelled to Camelot for the two-hour premiere of the series on CTV, winning the night as the most-watched program on television. The fantasy-filled premiere conjured up Sunday night fans of all ages, placing first with key demos A18-49 and A25-54.  With a Reach of nearly 3 million viewers, MERLIN attracted more and more viewers throughout the broadcast, peaking with 1.53 million viewers during its last half hour.

Next week, MERLIN continues on his mythical journey as CTV presents another night of family-friendly viewing. In the two-hour episode, “Mask of Nimeuh/The Poisoned Chalice” (Sunday, June 28 at 8 p.m. ET), a deadly plague spreads through Camelot. When it seems that sorcery can be the only possible explanation, Merlin (Colin Morgan) and Gaius (Richard Wilson) race to find a cure; meanwhile Gwen (Angel Coulby) is arrested and sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft. Meanwhile, with her sights set firmly on Merlin (Colin Morgan), Nimeuh (Michelle Ryan, BIONIC WOMAN) tricks him into drinking from a poisoned chalice, and he falls dangerously ill. Arthur (Bradley James) ventures deep into the Forest of Balor to find the antidote, but little does he know that he’s walking into a trap.

CTV, Canada’s Olympic Network, is also Canada’s largest private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV is Canada’s most-watched television network. CTV Inc. also owns radio stations across the country and owns or has interests in leading national specialty channels, featuring news, sports, factual, arts, entertainment, music, youth and fashion programming. CTV Inc. is owned by CTVglobemedia Inc., Canada’s premier multi-media company, which also owns Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. CTV is the official broadcaster of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and London 2012 Games of the Olympiad. More information about CTV may be found on the company website at www.ctv.ca.

Once upon a time in a mythical land far, far away, a sorcerer discovers that magic is his destiny. But, where magic is punishable by certain death, can young Merlin keep his powers a secret and fulfill his true potential? A fun, summertime getaway into a world where anything is possible, MERLIN airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV in simulcast with NBC, kicking off with a two-hour premiere on June 21 at 8 p.m. ET (visit ctv.ca to confirm local broadcast times). Set in the mythical city of Camelot, the fantasy drama series follows the clashes of the legendary young wizard (Colin Morgan, DR. WHO) and a teenaged Prince Arthur (Bradley James, DIS/CONNECTED) as they struggle to understand their destinies.

During its run in the U.K. last fall, MERLIN was the most-watched drama of the fall season on BBC One, attracting a series average 6.3 million viewers (26.8% share). The series also had a reach of 34 million, or over half of the U.K. population.* U.K. media were unanimous in their acclaim: “Excellent family entertainment,” said The Times; “A well-judged blend of fantasy, humour and excitement,” said The Daily Mail; “Our 21st century gets the version it deserves,” said The Mail on Sunday; and Sunday Express said, “Don’t miss MERLIN, which strides into the schedules like a knight in shining armour.” Premiering last March in Australia, the Sydney Sun Herald said “…this take is good, swashbuckling fun.”

“While the tales of Merlin and King Arthur are classic legends, this new series offers a fresh perspective on the iconic sorcerer in a way that will resonate with today’s audiences,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV’s President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. “MERLIN is escapist, summertime viewing for people of all ages.”

In MERLIN, Camelot is a fantastical realm of legendary beasts and mysterious people, in which magic has been banned by the ruthless tyrant, Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head, THE INVISIBLES, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER). When Merlin (Morgan),arrives in the kingdom, he quickly makes enemies which include the heir to Uther’s crown, the headstrong Prince Arthur (James). But guided by Uther’s wise physician Gaius (Richard Wilson, A Passage To India), Merlin is soon using his talents not just to survive, but also to unlock Camelot’s mystical secrets. As he does so, Merlin discovers that his destiny and that of the kingdom’s young leader-in-waiting, Arthur, are inextricably linked.

The young, up-and-coming leads are joined by a talented cast including legendary actor John Hurt (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) as the voice of the Great Dragon, a wise creature who can help Merlin fulfill his destiny; Santiago Cabrera (HEROES) as Lancelot, a great fighter with dreams of becoming a knight serving Camelot; Katie McGrath (THE TUDORS) as Morgana, the orphaned ward of King Uther; Angel Coulby (Magicians) as Guinevere, a servant of noble heart and friend of Morgana; and Michelle Ryan (BIONIC WOMAN) as Nimueh, an evil sorceress determined to destroy King Uther Pendragon and Camelot.

In the two-hour series premiere, “The Dragon’s Call/Valiant” (Sun., June 21 at 8 p.m. ET), Merlin is at the cusp of adulthood, heading to Camelot where he hopes to find adventure and a use for his hidden talent:  magic. However, at the mythic city, he finds all is not quite as he’d dreamed. Then, Camelot hosts its annual sword tournament and knights from throughout the realm have come to compete for its coveted title. Amongst those hoping to win the crown is Knight Valiant.

With stunning CGI effects by The Mill – Academy Award®-winners for their work on Gladiator – coupled with Shine Television’s Emmy® Award-winning production team, MERLIN comes to life on the screen like never before. The series was shot in Wales, France and England.

MERLIN is a Shine production for the BBC. FremantleMedia Enterprises has invested in the series alongside Shine Television and BBC One, and is the exclusive international rights holders for distribution, licensing, and home entertainment (excluding the U.K.).

Cannes, France (October 15, 2008) – Prepare to fall under the spell of Merlin. CTV announced today it has secured the exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to the widely sought-after hit series from FremantleMedia Enterprises. CTV joins some of the world’s leading broadcasters, including NBC in the United States, that have acquired the highly anticipated series, which just debuted to critical and ratings acclaim on the BBC. The announcement was made on Day 3 of the MIPCOM international television market in Cannes, France. Featuring a stellar cast and magical special effects, the 13-part, one-hour drama series joins an impressive mid-season schedule returning to CTV in 2009, including Lost, American Idol and Dancing With the Stars.

Merlin premiered last month on the BBC, enchanting audiences and conjuring an impressive 7.15 million viewers, making it the most watched drama series of the week. U.K. media were unanimous in their acclaim: “This has all the right ingredients to be a Saturday evening hit for the whole family to enjoy,” said TV Times; “Our 21st century gets the version it deserves,” said The Mail on Sunday; and The Times called it “a razzy prime-time drama.”

Set in the mythical city of Camelot, the action-packed fantasy drama revisits the saga of a teenaged Prince Arthur (Bradley James) and the clashes with his young wizard, Merlin (Colin Morgan, Doctor Who). The story centres on these two ambitious young men, struggling to understand their destinies on the path to becoming extraordinary. The young, up-and-coming leads are joined by a stellar cast including Santiago Cabrera (Heroes) as Lancelot, Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Uther, Richard Wilson (A Passage To India) as Gauis, Angel Coulby (Magicians) as Guinevere and Katie McGrath (The Tudors) as Morgana. Legendary actor John Hurt lends his iconic voice as the Great Dragon.

“This series takes viewers back to a time before Merlin, the boy, becomes the great mythical sorcerer we know so well today,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV’s President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. “With a compelling cast, spectacular special effects and an epic scope, Merlin provides a contemporary take on a timeless story for viewers of all ages.”

Commented David Ellender, CEO FremantleMedia Enterprises, “FME and CTV already share a strong partnership and it’s great to be working together on another exciting brand such as Merlin, one of the most promising dramas we have amongst our portfolio.”

The eagerly anticipated series begins long before Arthur becomes King. Arthur’s father is Uther Pendragon, who has outlawed magic in the mythical city of Camelot. Gaius is the court physician who takes Merlin under his wing and helps guide him with his magical powers. It’s a rites of passage story that sees Merlin and Arthur on the cusp of adulthood – both on their journey to greatness in a time before history began.

Visually, Camelot comes alive for television like never before. Shine Television’s Emmy Award winning production team brings Merlin to life, with the spectacular CGI effects created by The Mill, the Oscar winning visual effects team behind Gladiator. The series was shot in Wales, France and England.

Merlin is a Shine production for the BBC. FremantleMedia Enterprises has invested in the series alongside Shine Television and BBC One, and is the exclusive international rights holders for distribution, licensing, and home entertainment (excluding the U.K.).