Canada’s Bell Media Takes ‘Manhattan’ As SVOD Service Ramps Up To Rival Netflix

Over the past several weeks, Canada’s Bell Media has been teasing its upcoming SVOD service due to launch later this year and code-named “Project Latte.” Today, the group says it has secured its first exclusives for the platform. Among them, Lionsgate’s Manhattan which will be the debut “Project Latte Exclusive” and will later be joined by Lionsgate TV comedy series Deadbeat, and Fabrik Entertainment’s crime thriller Bosch based on the Michael Connelly series of books.

In a clear challenge to Netflix, Bell said in October that it would launch a streaming service with thousands of hours of content representing TV’s top premium brands, including the entire off-air library of HBO’s programming catalogue. It has also put deals in place with Sony Pictures Television for the exclusive Canadian subscription streaming rights to every single episode of Seinfeld; and it has pacted with Eagle Rock Entertainment for all episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, as well as all associated documentaries, specials, live performances and sketch highlights.

Bell calls Project Latte, whose real name will be revealed shortly, “Canada’s premium subscription on-demand video streaming service, providing the most robust lineup of superior television content in the country.” It will launch with 10,000 hours and be offered via set-top box, mobile apps, the internet, game consoles, and smart TVs. Bell owns over 30 local TV stations led by Canada’s No. 1 network, CTV, and has 41 specialty channels. It also co-operates HBO Canada with Corus Entertainment.

The series it announced today as the first Project Latte exclusives include the Sam Shaw-created and Thomas Schlamme-directed 13-episode atomic age drama Manhattan. The show was just renewed by WGN for a second season. Deadbeat is a 10-episode comedy series that stars Canada’s Tyler Labine and focuses on an offbeat medium for hire. That Lionsgate TV series is co-produced with and airs on Hulu in the U.S.

Eric Overmyer is showrunner on Bosch, the Fabrik Entertainment project which is distrbuted by Red Arrow International and currently in production for Amazon Studios. Titus Welliver stars as a relentless LAPD homicide detective as he pursues the killer of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court on accusations that he murdered a suspected serial killer in cold blood. The series premieres in 2015.

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