September 20, 2007 11:58 ET

VisionTV to Present Panel Debate on Controversial Tommy Douglas Miniseries

Hour-long special to be streamed prior to broadcast on VisionTV Web site

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 20, 2007) - VisionTV, Canada's multi-faith and multicultural television network, has produced a one-hour panel discussion program to accompany its broadcast of the controversial two-part miniseries Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story.

Hosted and moderated by acclaimed broadcaster Valerie Pringle, Prairie Giant: Beyond the Controversy will air on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT and will repeat at 2 a.m. ET/11 p.m. PT, immediately following part one of VisionTV's Prairie Giant broadcast.

VisionTV will also stream the discussion panel on its Web site,, prior to broadcast. This is the first time that the network has pre-released a program online.

The four-hour Prairie Giant miniseries, produced by Regina, Sask.-based Minds Eye Entertainment, makes its VisionTV premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. and midnight ET/6 p.m. and 9 p.m. PT.

The award-winning production recalls the life and times of fiery prairie politician Tommy Douglas (played by Michael Therriault): former premier of Saskatchewan, leader of the federal New Democratic Party, father of Canadian medicare, and the man voted the "Greatest Canadian" in a nationwide contest in 2004.

Controversy erupted at the time of Prairie Giant's original broadcast on CBC-TV in March 2006, over complaints that the miniseries contained historical inaccuracies - particularly related to the portrayal of former Saskatchewan Premier James G. Gardiner.

Prairie Giant: Beyond the Controversy explores the debate over the production and the larger question of historical accuracy in the fictional portrayal of past events. The program features commentary and insight from four expert panelists:

- Randy Burton, political columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix

- Alan Gordon, associate professor of history at the University of Guelph

- Christopher Moore, a Toronto-based historian, author and broadcaster

- Filmmaker John N. Smith, the director of Prairie Giant

Said Mark Prasuhn, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Programming for VisionTV: "The question of creative license within the context of historical dramatization is a challenging one. Creators must weigh the importance of fidelity to the historical record against the demands of dramatic storytelling. By opening up the question of historical accuracy in the Prairie Giant production to wider debate on our network and our Web site, we hope to get people thinking and talking about the miniseries and the issues that it raises."

For more information on VisionTV, Prairie Giant, and the network's other drama programming, please visit

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