(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).
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.
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 Open Heart on Twitter @OpenHeart_TV,#OpenHeart
For more information, please contact:
Kate Calder and Cristina Mancini
416.479.6319 and 416.479.6334
Director of Talent Relations, Unit Publicist
Epitome Pictures Inc.
Iain Christiansen IChristiansen@epitomepictures.com