Highway Entertainment enters into first look agreements with Frantic Films and marblemedia

Toronto, Canada  June 10, 2015 – Omnicom Canada Corp.s Highway Entertainment has entered into two separate first look agreements with production companies Frantic Films and marblemedia.  The deals are centered on Highways business model of funding content for key Omnicom vendors in Canada and abroad, with the intent of developing bespoke programming and branded content for broadcast and digital platforms.  

Highway is delighted to be working with the talented teams at Frantic Films and marblemedia as we continue to expand our partnerships with content creators, said Adam Ivers, President and CEO of Highway Entertainment.  These partnerships have limitless potential as there has never been a more opportune moment for great ideas to become a reality on one of any number of new, evolving or existing outlets.” 

Jamie Brown, CEO & Executive Producer of Frantic Films added, Highway has been at the forefront of innovative approaches in the financing and producing of content, and as a part of Omnicom, brings a wealth of resources to this relationship.  This collaboration allows Frantic to advance our best projects in a new way that will work to the advantage of everyone involved.

This partnership is a perfect collaboration for our companies as we are internationally known for our innovative business approaches, said Mark Bishop, Co-CEO and Executive Producer marblemedia.Highway Entertainment brings a forward-thinking model to financing content and marblemedia is thrilled to be working with them to develop primetime programming that will broadcast on all platforms.

Highway Entertainment

Highway Entertainment is a division of Omnicom Canada Corp., part of the Omnicom Media Group. Highway Entertainment was founded in 1996 to create programming opportunities. Highway Entertainment operates in the areas of program development, financing, production and distribution.

Omnicom Media Group

Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), the leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company, providing services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries. Omnicom Media Group includes the full service media networks OMD and PHD as well as a number of specialty media communications companies.

Frantic Films

Frantic Films is one of Canadas leading producers of film and television content.  It has produced hundreds of hours of award winning programs that have set ratings records and sold to over 130 countries around the world.  The Branded Content Division specializes in creating original integrated multiplatform entertainment and has been recognized as an industry leader for over a decade.  With offices in Toronto and Winnipeg, Frantic has also won numerous awards for corporate leadership and innovation. www.franticfilms.com.

marblemedia

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won two Canadian Screen Awards, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch, operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001.

www.marblemedia.com | @marblemedia | Facebook.com/marblemedia

marblemedia Attached to Develop An Innovative Primetime Series With CBC and The Gurin Company

June 10, 2015 (Banff, Canada) – CBC and The Gurin Company are pleased to announce a development deal with award-winning Canadian content creator marblemedia for the ground-breaking factual entertainment format series Take Sides

The concept is the first series to come out of the creative collaboration deal signed between the CBC and The Gurin Company, a global independent format and production house. marblemedia is attached to develop a 360 viewing experience, which promises an entertaining weekly live studio broadcast with integrated social media and simultaneous digital participation for the audience at home.

Every week, Take Sides will put a hot button topic “on trial,” with a team of comedic performers, improv actors and musical guests, who face-off in a classic courtroom structure. The topic on trial will be examined through a variety of methods including monologues, sketches, musical numbers, video shorts and other means that illustrate the “pros and cons” of the issue. Through real time audience involvement, a verdict is reached by Canadian audiences, who ultimately “take a side.”

“This collaboration with the CBC is an original and ground-breaking way for the network and creator to develop new ideas for the Canadian market and beyond,” said President and Executive Producer of The Gurin Company, Phil Gurin.  “With Take Sides, we’re creating a pioneering way to combine primetime comedy, entertainment, topical material and viewer interactivity in a live concept that is neither a talent competition nor game show.”

“At CBC we strive to offer audiences fresh and original content that will both entertain and inform,” said Jennifer Dettman, Executive Director, Unscripted Content, CBC. “We need to take creative risks, and are delighted to go into development on this very new and innovative factual concept.”

Take Sides is a fresh concept that plays nicely to the strengths of our company and we’re honoured to be leading this team in shaping such an entertaining concept,” said Matt Hornburg, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “This summer we will be going on a casting rampage, enlisting some of Canada’s funniest writing and comedic talent. We are creating something really special that Canadian audiences will find enlightening and engaging.”

About The Gurin Company

With the world as its market, The Gurin Company is a globally focused, full-service independent production company that produces, develops, and distributes reality-based television with worldwide appeal. Despite its proximity to Hollywood, The Gurin Company is dedicated to producing quality factual reality, studio game shows, and live events for both the domestic and international markets. Most notably, The Gurin Company has been the heart behind recent shows such as “So You Think You’d Survive” (The Weather Channel), “The Singing Bee” (NBC and CMT), and “Win, Lose, or Pawn” (CMT); as well as, CBS’ hit primetime show “Candid Camera”, long-time running “Lingo” on fGSN, and NBC mainstays “Twenty One” and “The Weakest Link.” Recently, Phil Gurin also won a 2013 Rose d’Or Award for “Oh Sit!” on The CW, and a 2014 Emmy Award for “Shark Tank” on ABC. Due to the success of the 45th and 46th Annual NAACP Image Awards, Phil has recently signed a three-year extension deal to continue producing the live award ceremony and red carpet show. The Gurin Company continues to attain a number of development projects with multiple broadcast networks and maintain extensive relationships with major broadcasters in the U.K., Germany, Latin America, France, and Japan.

gurinco.com | @thegurincompany | facebook.com/thegurincompany

About marblemedia

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won two Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch, operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001. www.marblemedia.com | @marblemedia | Facebook.com/marblemedia

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 Roopa Shah | Silver Spark Communications | roopa@silverspark.ca | 416.856.2666

 Stephan Petar | marblemedia | stephan@marblemedia.com | 416.646.2711 ext.232

Hi Opie! is Back For More Adventures in Kindergarten as Season 2 Enters Production

May 11, 2015 (Toronto, Canada) – Awarding-winning content creator marblemedia is pleased to announce that its hit live-action preschool series, Hi Opie! returns to production for a second season (39×7’). Developed in partnership with TVOKids and produced in association with The Jim Henson Company, the series has been renewed by TVO (Ontario), City Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan) andKnowledge Network (British Columbia). Start of principal photography has commenced in Toronto for Season 2.

The series centres around the social, emotional and intellectual escapades of Opie, a puppet custom-built by the experts at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™. As a kindergartner, Opie helps to show kids how to make the transition from home to school, teaching them skills needed to have a successful start in their educational careers. With each new day, Opie learns more about himself, his real kid friends and his teachers. Each story marks a new chapter in his personal growth as he learns through the process of play – having fun, asking questions, learning the consequences of one’s actions and of course, being curious.

Season 2 is set to have new interactive elements that will expand on the popularity of the current website (www.hiopie.com) and feature new activities including games and a mobile app.

“We were very excited by the positive response we received throughout the first season both during broadcast and online,” said Mark Bishop Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “We are eager to bring new episodes to audiences so they can embark upon more adventures with Opie!. The new playground location is especially exciting as it will provide a new place for motor skill development as well as mental and environmental learning.”

“TVO is thrilled to help teach preschoolers how to navigate their way through full-day kindergarten with a second season of Hi Opie!,” said Marney Malabar, Director, Kids TV, Children’s & Parents Media, TVO. “A strong foundation can be set in kindergarten and Hi Opie! is a perfect example of how TVOKids’ educational content inspires Ontario’s youngest minds to excel both inside and outside the classroom.”

The series will be produced by marblemedia in association with The Jim Henson Company under Executive Producers Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg. Other Executive Producers include Marie McCann, TVO’s Executive In Charge, Children’s & Parents Media, creator Barbara Slade (Angelina Ballerina, Rugrats) and The Jim Henson Company’s Halle Stanford, Executive Vice President of Children’s Entertainment. Returning for Season 2 is Co-Producer Lowell Dean of Lolofilms Productions Inc., series Producer Lawrence S. Mirkin (Fraggle Rock) and Executive Story Editor Kate Barris (Max & Ruby, Captain Flamingo). marblemedia’s Mik Perlus will also serve as Co-Executive Producer on the series.

Season 1 of the series was recently licensed to Netflix in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Worldwide distribution is handled by The Jim Henson Company, other than in Canada, Australia and France, which is administered by Distribution360, a marblemedia company.

For more information and updates, follow @HiOpie_TV or “like” Hi Opie! on Facebook.com/HiOpie.TV and join the conversation with the hashtag #HiOpie.

About marblemedia
marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch, operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001. www.marblemedia.com | @marblemedia | Facebook.com/marblemedia

About TVO
As the technological extension of Ontario’s public education system, TVO’s vision is to create a better world through the power of learning. TVO provides learning opportunities for Ontarians through innovative educational products, in-depth current affairs, groundbreaking documentaries, and award-winning TVOKids resources both inside and outside the classroom. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

About The Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy®-nominated Sid the Science Kid,Dinosaur Train, and Pajanimals, as well as the CG-animated preschool series Doozers. Features include Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, as well as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and MirrorMask. Television productions include Fraggle Rock, the sci-fi cult series Farscape, the reality competition, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, and Henson Alternative’s No, You Shut Up! currently airing on Fusion.

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities.  The Company is home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring Puppet-Up! – Uncensored, a live puppet improvisational show.

http://www.henson.com
www.facebook.com/hensoncompany
www.twitter.com/hensoncompany

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Molly Ray | Director of Communications | molly@marblemedia.com | 416.646.2711 ext. 232

Essential 11 and marblemedia Partner on New Hidden Camera Show for YTV and Disney XD

February 20, 2015 (Toronto, Canada) – Practical jokes are about to be taken to the next level!Essential 11 (Fools Gold, The Carbonaro Effect, Panic Button), a production company with an expertise in the hidden camera space, and award-winning content creator marblemedia (Japanizi: Going, Going, Gong!, Splatalot) announced that they have partnered on MADE UP, a new hidden camera show created by Mark Herwick (Code:9) and hosted by Andrew Chapman (Extreme Babysitting). The 13×30 minute series will premiere later this year on Disney XD (U.S.) and YTV(Canada).

MADE UP is a half-hour hidden camera series where kids pull clever pranks on unsuspecting family members. In each episode, a professional make-up artist uses special effects make-up to completely transform a teenager into a totally unrecognizable character.

The teens go undercover to test their disguises on the general public, learning to walk the walk and talk the talk along the way. Then, after a lesson with an acting coach, they join a cast of actors and take part in a hilarious prank that turns the tables on an unsuspecting adult family member. Viewers are in on the joke the whole time, from the make-up transformation to the hilarious reveal, in which the adults realize they have been fooled by a kid who is totally MADE UP!

MADE UP is a show the entire family can watch together,” said Essential 11 Executive Producer,Jesse Fawcett. “We’re turning the tables and putting kids in charge of planning and executing some amazing pranks.”

“The fact that the kids are in the prank in full disguise, face to face with their own family members without getting recognized is really mind-blowing!” said Creator and Executive Producer, Mark Herwick.

“Kids trying to fool adults is a classic scenario that transcends generations and is something everyone can attest to attempting at one-point in time,” said Matt Hornburg, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “Loaded with physical humour, surprises and larger than life pranks, MADE UP will speak to audiences both young and old.”

MADE UP is executive produced by Jesse Fawcett, Joey Case, Mark Herwick, Dan Sachoff,Jonathan Dueck, Matt Hornburg and Mark J.W. Bishop. Distribution360 will handle the distribution of the series.

Essential 11 Television Canada is a Toronto based production company specializing in factual entertainment with expertise in hidden camera. The Canadian controlled company is part of an international partnership with factual entertainment specialists Essential 11 Television USA based in Los Angeles and leading blue chip Australian Production Company Essential Media & Entertainment based in Sydney. Together the Group produces a range of genres including factual, scripted drama, comedy, animation and feature films and represents a unique strategic footprint across three leading English speaking media market.

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch, operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001. www.marblemedia.com | @marblemedia | Facebook.com/marblemedia

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Denise Anderson | Essential 11 (Sydney) | +61 (0)2 8568 3100 | denise.anderson@essential-media.com

Molly Ray | marblemedia | +1 416.646.2711 | molly@marblemedia.com

marblemedia gets cooking with celebrity chef Chuck Hughes

TORONTO, CANADA (February 1, 2016) – Awarding-winning content creator marblemedia and multi-talented celebrity chef Chuck Hughes (Chuck’s Eat the Street, Chef vs. Challenge) have partnered to develop a new prime time unscripted series ahead of Realscreen Summit.

In this new show Hughes goes back to basics to become an apprentice to the world’s best chefs. In each episode Hughes takes viewers on an intriguing journey into the mind of one master chef, revealing the unbelievable secrets of their extraordinary cooking style.

“Our strategy is to combine our original formats with top-tier talent. Chuck Hughes is an international household name with a respected brand reaching audiences through TV and books,” said Matt Hornburg, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “We love his energy and are excited to see him don another chef’s apron.”

“I am excited to be working with marblemedia, to be developing cutting edge programming with them,” said Chuck Hughes. “The mind of a chef is complex and to work with them to understand their processes will certainly be an interesting experience.”

Star of Food Network Canada’s Chuck’s Day Off and Chuck’s Week Off, Hughes passion for entertaining translates into unforgettable food and captivating television. He is the youngest Canadian chef to win Iron Chef America, was a celebrity chef on The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, an expert judge on Chopped Canada and has shows on the Cooking Channel (U.S.). Hughes is co-owner and executive chef of Montreal hot-spots, Garde Manger and Le Bremner, and has best-selling books (Garde Manger, Chuck’s Day Off). He is represented internationally by All Access Productions.

Visit Matt Hornburg and Vice President, Primetime Unscripted Development, Sean Connolly at Realscreen Summit.

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won two Canadian Screen Awards, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch, operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001.

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Stephan Petar | stephan@marblemedia.com

http://www.marblemedia.com | @marblemedia | Facebook.com/marblemedia

marblemedia Continues its Expansion by Welcoming Sean Connolly as Vice President, Primetime Unscripted Development

Toronto, Canada (January 20, 2015) – Award-winning content creation company marblemedia has hired former Our House Media executive Sean Connolly, in the newly created role of Vice President, Primetime Unscripted Development as part of the company’s ongoing expansion into primetime

Reporting to Co-CEO and Executive Producer Matt Hornburg, Sean is charged with building the company’s slate of unscripted projects, originating ideas in-house as well as fostering key creative relationships with producers, international format holders and broadcasters in Canada, the U.S. and U.K.

“Sean brings a wealth of expertise with over a decade of experience at some of the industry’s top indie companies,” said Matt Hornburg, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “Sean is a passionate storyteller and a tremendous collaborator. He is a terrific addition to our team and will further fuel the company’s growth.”

Sean has held various executive roles at a number of notable companies including Red Apple Entertainment, Proper Television and his own indie Gorilla Media, where he created the international format Make The Politician Work (CBC), which was a ratings hit in New Zealand. He also has an extensive credit list with titles including Junk Raiders, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, Love Hunters and many more.

Sean will be joining the marblemedia at the Realscreen Summit, where they will be actively looking for new development opportunities.

About marblemedia

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch, operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001.www.marblemedia.com | @marblemedia | Facebook.com/marblemedia

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For more information, please contact:

Sarah Etherden | Principal, Phoenix PR |  +1 416.725.1696 | sarahe@phoenixpr.com

Stephan Petar | Coordinator, Marketing and Communications, marblemedia | +1 416-646-2711 |stephan@marblemedia.com

YTV Prescribes a Dose of Mystery with New Teen Drama Series Open Heart

(December 9, 2014 – Toronto, Canada) Corus Entertainment’s YTV will kick off the New Year with an exciting new drama series, Open Heart, produced by Epitome Pictures in association with marblemedia. Open Heart is a gripping mystery series, folded into a sprawling family saga, set against the high-stakes workplace drama of a hospital. At the centre of the story is Dylan Blake, the rebellious daughter of a fractured family of doctors, who uses her stint as a youth hospital volunteer to secretly investigate the mysterious disappearance of her father. The 12 x 30-minute series premieres Tuesday, January 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on YTV and will also debut day-and-date in the U.S. on TeenNick. For a sneak peek of the series, visit www.open-heart.com.

“YTV is witnessing a strong desire from teens who want to participate in the same serialized, high-stakes dramas that adults are currently enjoying, but with content that speaks to them; “Open Heart” is the perfect series to bring this to life on YTV,” said Jamie Piekarz, Director of Content, Corus Kids. “With the production team behind Degrassi and a stellar cast, Open Heart offers our teen fans a thrilling story to tune into every week with the added bonus of taking viewers beyond each episode and into Dylan’s world through engaging digital content.”

In the wake of her father’s disappearance, 16-year-old Dylan Blake falls in with the wrong crowd, gets arrested, and earns court-ordered community service volunteering at Open Heart Memorial, the hospital where her mother and sister are doctors and where her grandparents are board members.  All Dylan has to do is follow the rules. But the hospital is the last place Richard was seen alive, and while most think it’s a straight up case of abandonment, Dylan doesn’t believe it. Something bad happened to her father, if she can only prove it. Putting her old delinquent skills back into service, Dylan and her new friends, the bright and gossipy Mikayla and the handsome charmer Wes, begin a covert investigation into her dad’s disappearance, unearthing a trail of clues that lead them to some very unexpected places.

“In addition to being part of Dylan’s adventures on television each week, fans will also get to join her in the digital world, following her every step of the way and in real time,” said executive producer, show-runner and writer Ramona Barckert. “The best part? No waiting between episodes for more content – the Open Heart experience happens all week long. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s really cool!”

Exciting newcomer Karis Cameron (Signed, Sealed, Delivered; The Haunting Hour) stars as Dylan Blake with the series also starring Tori Anderson (The L.A. Complex, Warehouse 13, Flashpoint),Justin Kelly (Degrassi, Lost Girl, Latest Buzz), Cristine Prosperi (Degrassi, Nicky Deuce), Kevin McGarry (Being Erica, Saw 7), Patrick Kwok-Choon (Nikita, Rookie Blue, Being Erica), Jenny Cooper (Hemlock Grove, Scandal, NCIS, C.S.I. Miami, 24), Demore Barnes (Hemlock Grove, The Listener, Flashpoint), Jeff Douglas (Lost Girl, Rookie Blue), Elena Juatco (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Breaking the Rules, Sorority Surrogate), Mena Massoud (King, Combat Hospital, Poser) and Dylan Everett (King, Combat Hospital, Poser).

Viewers can immerse themselves in the narrative with a unique digital component that extends the on-air experience with immediate and exclusive content that places them in the centre of the mystery. The Open Heart: Unlocked! app, launching January 2015 on iOS and Android, invites fans to join the plot during and in-between episodes to keep up with Dylan’s ongoing investigation. The app unlocks Dylan Blake’s phone so viewers can scour her text messages, photo gallery and social media accounts to learn more about her private life and study the clues she collects. The Open Heart website continues the journey with exclusive character confessions and episodic bonus features.

Open Heart is executive produced by Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn, Ramona Barckert, Matt Hornburg and Mark Bishop. Directors are Stefan Brogren and Samir Rehem. Writers include Ramona Barckert, Chris Pozzebon, Scott Oleszkowicz, Brendan Gall, Brendon Yorke and Barbara Haynes. Production Executives for Corus Entertainment are Jamie Piekarz and Chris Bell and for TeenNick, Kim Powers. The series is produced with the financial participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund, the Cogeco Program Development Fund, Bell Fund and RBC Royal Bank.

About Epitome Pictures

Toronto-based Epitome Pictures has produced award-winning youth and family drama for more than 34 years. Its flagship programs, including The Kids Of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and the current series, Degrassi: The Next Generation, now known simply as Degrassi, have been honoured with multiple Gemini Awards, Teen Choice Awards, the Television Critics Association Award, The Peabody Award, two International Emmy© Awards and three Primetime Emmy© nominations. Past Epitome series include The L.A. Complex, Instant Star, Riverdale, and Liberty Street. In August 2014, Epitome began production on a new family mystery series, entitled Open Heart, slated for international broadcast in 2015. Epitome Pictures is part of DHX Media Ltd. (TSX: DHX.A, DHX.B).

About marblemedia

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch and operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001. www.marblemedia.com.

About YTV

Celebrating 25 years in television, YTV is a leading cross platform entertainment brand for kids and families. The channel offers quality entertainment with hilarious animated and live-action comedy series, popular Nickelodeon series, blockbuster movies, top-rated original Canadian programming, music, celebrities and the channel’s after-school block, The Zone. Through its multiple platforms and exclusive digital and interactive content, YTV is the voice of Canadian youth culture. YTV is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Follow Corus PR on Twitter @CorusPR

Follow YTV on Twitter @YTVofficial

Follow Open Heart on Twitter @OpenHeart_TV,#OpenHeart

 

For more information, please contact:

Kate Calder and Cristina Mancini

Corus Entertainment

kate.calder@corusent.com and cristina.mancini@corusent.com

416.479.6319 and 416.479.6334

Iain Christiansen

Director of Talent Relations, Unit Publicist

Epitome Pictures Inc.

Iain Christiansen IChristiansen@epitomepictures.com

416.752.7627

The Jim Henson Company to Debut Live-Action Pre-School Series Hi Opie! at MIP Junior and MIPCOM, for Series and Format Sales

Hollywood, CA (September 8, 2014) — The Jim Henson Company, a leader in family entertainment for over fifty years, will unveil for the first time at MIP Junior and MIPCOM the new live-action pre-school series, Hi Opie!  Produced by marblemedia, in association with The Jim Henson Company, the property is being presented as both a finished English language series (13×30’ or 39×7’) and as an international format. Hi Opie! was developed with TVO and produced in partnership with TVO, City Saskatchewan (Rogers Broadcasting Limited) and Knowledge Network.

Designed for preschoolers, the series stars five-year-old Opie—a puppet custom-built by the experts atJim Henson’s Creature Shop.  Opie and his real kid classmates are in their first year of kindergarten—uncertain of what to expect.  With each new day, Opie learns more about himself, his friends and his teachers. Each story marks a new chapter in Opie’s personal growth as he participates in, struggles with and inevitably succeeds in kindergarten activities. With the guidance of their teacher, the kids in the TV classroom and at home learn through play—having fun, asking questions, imagining and continuing to be curious.  The series premiered on September 1, 2014 on TVO, City Saskatchewan and Knowledge Network.

“By taking ‘Hi Opie!’ into television homes around the world, we are helping to prepare children for school as well as the everyday issues they may encounter,” commented Richard Goldsmith, EVP, Global Distribution and International Consumer Products at The Jim Henson Company, about the unique television series. “Many of our television and digital platform partners are looking for a cost-effective format that can be locally produced and still feature an exceptional and beloved Henson puppet, and we look forward to helping children everywhere to learn and play with Opie.”

Hi Opie! was a natural collaboration for marblemedia, The Jim Henson Company and our development partner TVO,” said Mark Bishop, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “With marblemedia’s reputation for creating live-action kids properties, The Jim Henson Company’s talent for creating iconic puppet characters and TVO’s commitment to giving early learners the tools to succeed in school, preschoolers and their parents will be drawn to this inspirational, educational and timeless series.”

The Jim Henson Company will oversee all television, DVD, digital distribution and format rights (other than in Canada, France and Australia, which will be handled by Distribution360, a marblemedia company), as well as all consumer products rights worldwide

marblemedia will launch an extensive interactive component in September at hiopie.com. The online content, hosted by Opie himself, will reinforce the core messages of the brand by offering kids meaningful interactive stories, explanatory environments, as well as activities and games that entertain and deliver important educational takeaways. The website will be available for international licensing.

Hi Opie! is Executive Produced by marblemedia’s Marc Bishop and Matt Hornburg, along with creator and Co-Executive Producer Barbara Slade (Angelina Ballerina and Rugrats).  Halle Stanford is the Executive Producer for The Jim Henson Company.  Lawrence S. Mirkin (Fraggle Rock) is the Series Producer; Kate Barris (Max & Ruby, Captain Flamingo) is the Executive Story Editor; Lowell Dean of LoloFilm Productions Inc. is Producer/Director; and Phil McCordic is the Series Director.  Hi Opie! was developed with TVO and produced in partnership with TVO, City Saskatchewan (Rogers Broadcasting Limited) and Knowledge Network.

For more information and updates, follow @HiOpie_TV or “like” Hi Opie! on Facebook.com/HiOpie.TV and join the conversation with the hashtag #HiOpie.

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. Honoured with Playback’s Outstanding Achievement Award (2013) and named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by Playback, marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, has been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer by The Hollywood Reporter. With over 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, notable projects include: the live-action preschool series Hi Opie!; the comedic Japanese game show Japanizi: Going, Going, Gong!; the award-winning hit preschool series This is Daniel Cook and This is Emily Yeung; and the physical game show Splatalot. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001 and owns a 50-acre production ranch in addition to operating a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office.www.marblemedia.com.

The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Pajanimals as well as the new series Doozers, a CG animated preschool series. Features include The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, MirrorMask, and the upcoming Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, and television productions include Fraggle Rock the sci-fi cult series Farscape, and the reality competition Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities, the Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring “Puppet-Up! – Uncensored,” a live puppet improvisational show. www.henson.com.

TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

City™ television stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Saskatchewan offer viewers intensely-local, urban-oriented, culturally-diverse television programming. A distinct alternative to other conventional television stations, City engages its viewers with dynamic on-air personalities and delivers an entertaining mix of news, local-interactive formats such as: Breakfast Television and Cityline; as well as local Canadian and US acquired prime time entertainment programming. City is a part of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, a division of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI and NYSE: RCI), which is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. For more information on City stations and programming, visit Citytv.com.

Media Contacts:  Michelle Orsi/Carol Holdsworth | 360 Marketing Communications | 1.310.418.6430/1.805.252.1848 | michelle@360-comm.com or carol@360-comm.com

Stephan Petar | marblemedia and Distribution360 | +1 416.646.2711 | stephan-petar@marblemedia.com

TVO gets kids ready for school with Hi Opie!

TORONTO, Aug. 6, 2014 – TVO premieres new children’s series Hi Opie!, about a 5-year-old who navigates his way through the struggles and successes of kindergarten for the first time. Hi Opie! is a TVO developed live-action series, teaching preschoolers kindergarten readiness skills, helping to ease their transition from home to school.

The show features Opie, a custom-built puppet created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, as he interacts with new real kid friends, gets to know his teachers and discovers a whole new world, all while learning important life lessons.

Targeted to ages 3-5, preschoolers and their families can tune in to watch the sweet and lovable Opie as he overcomes challenges and works toward a positive resolution at school.

In Opie The Special Helper, Opie gets chosen as the classroom’s Special Helper and learns about sharing when he forgets to split his responsibilities with another classmate.

Opie’s Gotta Go presents a classic kindergarten predicament when Opie doesn’t want to miss the lesson on making a glow-in-the-dark comet, but he’s really “gotta go”.

Special guest appearances by media personality Pay Chen (The Pay Chen Show) and musician Jason Collett (Broken Social Scene) in the episodes, Not Ms. Doney and Opie Rocks, offer great co-viewing experiences for parents to join in on the fun with their kids.

Kids can get a sneak peek of episodes on tvokids.com from August 18-22 and on TVO August 25 at 7 am and 12 pm ET, August 29 at 7 am ET. The series premieres on September 1, 2014 and will air daily Monday to Friday at 10:30 am and 1 pm. In addition to the on-air broadcasts, families can play along with Opie in his virtual interactive classroom at tvokids.com/games/hiopie.

“This fall marks the implementation of Full-Day Kindergarten province-wide and Hi Opie! provides kids the skills they need to make a successful transition into school, for the first time,” said Pat Ellingson, Creative Head of Children’s & Parents’ Media, TVO. “As Opie explores and reaches new goals, he helps role-model the ways in which children can excel in kindergarten and throughout school.”

“Kids will love Opie for his enthusiasm, sensitivity, silliness, and insatiable curiosity – all traits that kids recognize in their own experience,” said Lawrence S. Mirkin, Series Producer, Hi Opie! “Families will genuinely enjoy sitting down together to watch Opie on his journey.”

Hi Opie! was developed in partnership with TVO and is produced by marblemedia in association with The Jim Henson Company. The series will also premiere on September 1, 2014 on City Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan) at 9:00 am CST and on Knowledge Network (British Columbia) at 11:50 am PT. Hi Opie! is produced with the financial participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund, Canada Media Fund and The Bell Fund.

For more information and updates, follow @HiOpie_TV or “like” Hi Opie! on Facebook.com/HiOpie.TVand join the conversation with the hashtag #HiOpie.

About TVOKids

TVOKids exists to help Ontario’s 21st-century learners be successful in school and in life. Developed for every kind of young learner and covering virtually all Ontario Curriculum areas for Grades JK-5, TVO-produced children’s programs, web activities and mobile apps are built in collaboration with TVO’s on-staff educator and classroom-tested to ensure specific educational objectives are met. According to a 2011 Ipsos Reid poll, Ontarians rate TVOKids both the most trusted and most educational children’s media brand in Canada. TVOKids airs daily on TVO from 6 am to 7 pm. The award-winning tvokids.com is home to over 170 educational games and TVOKids offers a growing inventory of educational mobile apps for all platforms.

About TVO

TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

About marblemedia

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch and operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001.www.marblemedia.com, @marblemedia and Facebook.com/marblemedia.

For further information:

Media Contacts:
Nicole Morrison
TVO Public Relations Specialist
416.484.2600 x2281
nmorrison@tvo.org

Sarah Etherden
Phoenix PR for marblemedia
416.725.1696
sarahe@phoenixpr.ca

Epitome Pictures Starts Production on Open Heart for YTV and TeenNick, developed in association with marblemedia

Halifax, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Vancouver. (August 5, 2014) Three-time Emmy®-nominated production company Epitome Pictures (Degrassi, Instant Star, The L.A. Complex), a DHX Media company, is starting production today on OPEN HEART a new original teen, live-action drama series. The 12 x 30-minute series was commissioned by YTV and TeenNick and is developed in association with marblemedia.

Exciting newcomer Karis Cameron stars as lead character Dylan Blake with the series also starring Tori Anderson, Justin Kelly, Cristine Prosperi, Kevin McGarry, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Jenny Cooper, Demore Barnes, Jeff Douglas, Elena Juatco, Mena Massoud, and Dylan Everett. The family mystery series will shoot this August through October in Toronto. DHX Media will handle worldwide distribution for the show.

Steven DeNure, President and COO of DHX Media said: “DHX Media has a proven track record in creating standout, globally successful live-action shows for the tween and teen demographic. With the addition of Epitome to our group, we have added significant strength in this area and OPEN HEARTpromises to be an exciting, relevant drama of the caliber of Degrassi.”

OPEN HEART is a gripping mystery series, folded into a sprawling family saga, set against the high-stakes workplace and relationship drama of a hospital. Dylan Blake, the rebellious daughter of a fractured family of doctors, uses her stint as a youth hospital volunteer to secretly investigate the mysterious disappearance of her father. OPEN HEART is being produced with the financial participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund, the Cogeco Program Development Fund, Bell Fund and RBC Royal Bank.

The series stars:

Karis Cameron (Signed, Sealed, Delivered; The Haunting Hour) as Dylan Blake, the gutsy and headstrong heroine who is determined to unravel the mystery that plagues the halls of Open Heart Memorial

Tori Anderson (The L.A. Complex, Warehouse 13, Flashpoint) as Dr. London Blake, Dylan’s brainy older sister and first-year resident

Justin Kelly (Degrassi, Lost Girl, Latest Buzz) as Wes Silver, the cool and playful charmer, with a smart mouth that gets him out of trouble just as often as it gets him into it

Cristine Prosperi (Degrassi, Nicky Deuce) as Mikayla Walker, the bright and bubbly ally to Dylan who distracts herself with all the hospital’s social drama

Kevin McGarry (Being Erica) as Dr. Timothy “Hud” Hudson, the first-year medical resident and rugged bad boy of Open Heart Memorial

Patrick Kwok-Choon (Nikita, Rookie Blue, Being Erica) as Seth Park, loveable hipster-nerd lab tech, whose knowledge of biochemistry is exceeded only by his collection of indie novels and ironic t-shirts

Jenny Cooper (Hemlock Grove, Scandal, NCIS, C.S.I. Miami, 24) as Dr. Jane Blake, mother to Dylan and London, and the leading trauma doctor who would rather save lives than deal with her own family affairs

Demore Barnes (Hemlock Grove, The Listener, Flashpoint) as Dr. Dominic Karamichaelidis, the handsome attending emergency physician and resident advisor who doesn’t mind being the bad guy if it means saving lives

Elena Juatco (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Breaking the Rules, Sorority Surrogate) as Scarlet, the first-year medical resident, whose stunning beauty often leaves her razor sharp medical skills underestimated by others

Mena Massoud (King, Combat Hospital, Poser) as Jared, the snarky and upfront head of the youth volunteer program who plays by the rules and relishes the marginal authority his position gives him

Dylan Everett (Degrassi, Wingin’ It, The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story) as Teddy, Dylan’s old friend – a bored rich kid and a very bad influence

“It’s so exciting to be starting production on Epitome’s first new series as part of DHX Media, working with outstanding broadcast partners in both Canada and the U.S.” said executive producer at Epitome Pictures, Linda Schuyler. “I’ve always enjoyed telling stories about the high school experience. WithOPEN HEART, I am looking forward to exploring the drama that can unfold in a completely different environment.”

“For me, OPEN HEART is a dream show, blending together my favorite television genres and following a strong, complicated teen heroine as she finds her place in the world,” said executive producer, show-runner and writer Ramona Barckert. “I’m very excited to introduce everyone to Dylan Blake and all the fun characters that surround her.”

“With the popularity of serialized dramas, YTV is thrilled to be adding a new series to our prime-time slate,” said Jamie Piekarz, Director of Content, Corus Kids. “OPEN HEART will have our teen viewers on the edge of their seats with mystery, suspense and family drama”

“This brand-new family mystery series is a great way to extend our relationship with Epitome,” said Keith Dawkins, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr. “The team behind Degrassi will now bring our viewers an original storyline and introduce new faces to TeenNick.”

OPEN HEART is executive produced by Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn, Ramona Barckert, Matt Hornburg and Mark Bishop. The series is developed in association with marblemedia, which is also taking the lead in producing a fully integrated interactive digital component to the series. Directors are Stefan Brogren and Samir Rahem. Writers include Ramona Barckert, Chris Pozzebon, Scott Oleszkowicz, Brendan Gall, Brendon Yorke and Barbara Haynes. Production Executives for Corus Entertainment are Jamie Piekarz and Chris Bell and for TeenNick, Kim Powers. 

About YTV

Celebrating 25 years in television, YTV is a leading cross platform entertainment brand for kids and families. The channel offers quality entertainment with hilarious animated and live-action comedy series, popular Nickelodeon series, blockbuster movies, top-rated original Canadian programming, music, celebrities and the channel’s after-school block, The Zone. Through its multiple platforms and exclusive digital and interactive content, YTV is the voice of Canadian youth culture. YTV is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc.

AboutTeenNick
TeenNick, Nickelodeon’s 24-hour TV network exclusively for and about teens and tweens, is available in almost 73 million households via cable, digital cable and satellite.  Featuring a roster of ever-popular Nick favorites, original programming and award-winning series, the brand presents an authentic teen experience, with all its emotional intensity, energy and humor, across multiple platforms and integrated social media.  TeenNick and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

About Epitome Pictures

A DHX Media company, Toronto-based EPITOME PICTURES has produced award-winning youth and family drama for more than 34 years. Its flagship programs, including The Kids Of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and the current series, Degrassi: The Next Generation, now known simply as Degrassi, have been honoured with multiple Gemini Awards, Teen Choice Awards, the Television Critics Association Award, The Peabody Award, two International Emmy© Awards and three Primetime Emmy© nominations. Past Epitome series include The L.A. Complex, Instant Star, Riverdale, and Liberty Street.

About DHX Media

DHX Media Ltd. (www.dhxmedia.com), a leading broadcaster, creator, producer and marketer of family entertainment, is recognized globally for such brands as Yo Gabba Gabba!, Caillou, Teletubbies, In the Night Garden, Inspector Gadget, Johnny Test, and the multi-award winning Degrassi franchise. DHX Media Ltd. is the owner of Family Channel, the most-viewed children’s television channel in Canada, as well as Disney Junior (English & French) and Disney XD. The Company markets and distributes its library of more than 10,000 episodes of entertainment programming worldwide, and licenses its owned properties through its dedicated consumer products business. DHX Media Ltd.’s full-service international licensing agency, Copyright Promotions Licensing Group Ltd. (CPLG), represents numerous entertainment, sport and design brands. DHX Media Ltd. has offices in Toronto, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Halifax, London, Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Munich and Amsterdam, and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker DHX.

About marblemedia

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. With nearly 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, marblemedia has been honoured by Playback Magazine with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to being named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by the publication. marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch and operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001.www.marblemedia.com

For further information, please contact:

North American Media:

Iain Christiansen

Director of Talent Relations & Unit Publicist – Epitome Pictures Inc.
416.752.7627 (o) – 647.338.4590 (m)

ichristiansen@epitomepictures.com

International Media:

Aimee Norman at DDA Blueprint PR for DHX Media +44 (0) 20 8985 4708 oraimee@ddablueprint.com