NBC Heads North To Pickup CTV's The Listener
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.