Riverdale, Canada's first English Soap Opera Gets Cancelled


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Attention News Editors:


    OTTAWA, February 1 /CNW/ - Riverdale, Canada's first successful prime
time soap opera, has been cancelled.
    ``We had a dream,'' said Linda Schuyler, President of Epitome Pictures
Inc., ``a dream that Canada would have its own prime-time soap opera, like
every other country in the world outside North America.  That dream has
    Riverdale's creators prided themselves on ensuring that the soap was as
culturally and ethnically diverse as Canada itself, featuring three
generations of Canadians from different walks of life, social strata and
religions in the storylines.  Through reflecting those real Canadian
experiences back to everyday Canadians, Riverdale created an intensely loyal
fan base of nearly 700,000 viewers per week.  Approximately half of those
viewers were in the 18-49 year-old demographic coveted by advertisers.
    ``Every other country in the world has soap operas which reflect their
local lifestyles as a staple of their prime time schedules.'' said Schuyler.
``The key to soap operas is that they cost much less than conventional
high-end drama, but have an intense appeal to their audiences.''
    The production costs of Riverdale were approximately half that of a
high-end drama such as Da Vinci's Inquest or Cold Squad.  ``In these days of
financial restraint we were convinced that an appealing soap opera, costing
much less than other drama shows, would make excellent fiscal sense for the
Canadian broadcasting system,'' said Riverdale Executive Producer Stephen
Stohn.  ``Apparently we were wrong.''
    The loss will also be felt by local production personnel.  ``I am proud
to say that our show is 100% Canadian,'' said Supervising Producer Sari
Friedland.  ``Riverdale employed a completely Canadian staff, including
writers, cast and crew.''  At the time of cancellation Riverdale had options
on 26 Canadian performers in anticipation of another season.  ``Fully Canadian
productions like ours are getting harder and harder to do as the rate of
industrial and service production quickly overtakes domestic production,''
continued Friedland.
    ``We are extremely proud of everyone involved in Riverdale,'' concluded
Schuyler.  ``The dream may have ended, but nothing can take away from us our
pride in our cast, creators, writers, crew and supporters-and the determined
effort they all made to change the way Canadians see themselves on
    Further information about Epitome Pictures Inc. is available at its
website www.epitomepictures.com and further information about Riverdale is
available at www.riverdale.ca


For further information:  Shelley Scarrow, Epitome Pictures Inc.,
(416) 752-7627

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