OMNI Television, The Biography Channel and Citytv honour some of Canada’s most outstanding individuals in the original biographical series, Extraordinary Canadians. This innovative, 12-part series presents a personal take on the lives of eminent Canadians from the perspective of celebrated writers who have shaped contemporary thinking. Extraordinary Canadians will air Sundays at 8:30pm ET/PT on Citytv, premiering Sunday, October 23, and later on The Biography Channel, airing Saturdays at 7:30pm ET/PT, premiering Saturday, October 29. The series will also air in Mandarin, Hindi and Italian language on OMNI Television in spring 2012.
Each episode of Extraordinary Canadians captures the relationship between writer and, subject, probing the distinctive link between the two. With revealing insights, each writer chronicles the life of a great Canadian from whom they have drawn inspiration. Iconic Canadians featured in this series include Glenn Gould, Emily Carr, Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Lord Beaverbrook. The series is adapted from the best-selling Penguin Canada book series, edited by John Ralston Saul. In conjunction with the launch of the television series, Penguin Group (Canada) will be releasing the first six books of the series in paperback this fall. For a full list of episodic descriptions visit Rogersmediatv.ca
“As a Canadian over the air multilingual broadcaster we are proud to make this home grown educational series also accessible to OMNI Television’s language audiences and play a significant role in the acculturation of Canadian ethnocultural viewers,” commented Madeline Ziniak, National Vice-President of OMNI Television.
The first episode features Mark Kingwell (The Outliers) telling the interesting story of Glenn Gould. The famed performer and interpreter of Bach’s Goldberg Variations is popularly seen as a genius, enigma and hypochondriac, who lived a life shrouded in mystery. Kingwell illustrates how Glenn Gould – the rock star of classical music – was in fact a great philosopher and innovator. In this intimate portrait, Kingwell looks beyond the eccentricities to the man behind the music.
In the second episode, Adrienne Clarkson, the Hong Kong-born former Governor General and renowned journalist, gives her very personal take on Norman Bethune, the Canadian most revered in China. From working to revolutionize health care in Canada to saving thousands of lives on the battlefield in China and Spain, Bethune devoted his life to universal medical access. Clarkson looks at this great hero, illuminating his remarkable humanism and the battles he fought to his dying day.
“This remarkable series has been over five years in the making,” says PMA Productions Producer Kenneth Hirsch. “There has been nothing quite like it before – a collection of biographies conceived simultaneously for books, television, print, and digital media. We have teamed up with the country’s most talented creators to craft a television series that will remain relevant for years to come. Rogers Media has proven the ideal broadcast partner – and I am thrilled to present this dramatic and engaging take on our recent history, in multiple languages, to Canadians across the country.”
OMNI Television has championed independent production funding for third-language documentary and drama programming. Extraordinary Canadians was funded by OMNI Television and The Biography Channel, divisions of Rogers Broadcasting Inc.