CASTING SET FOR RIVERWORLD AND THE PHANTOM TWO SCI FI CHANNEL FOUR-HOUR BACK-DOOR MOVIE PILOTS FROM RHI ENTERTAINMENT

The lead roles in Riverworld and The Phantom — two of SCI FI Channel and RHI Entertainment’s recently announced trio of four-hour movie events — have been cast and production on both back-door movie pilots began Monday, April 6.

Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica/Dollhouse) and Laura Vandervoort (Smallville) star in Riverworld based on the popular award-winning series of novels by Philip Jose Farmer. Penikett stars as Matt Ellman, an American war zone reporter who has witnessed the worst of humanity first-hand yet still grasps on to an optimistic spirit. When a suicide bomber kills both Matt and his fiancée Jessie, played by Vandervoort, they awaken, separated in a mysterious world where everyone who has ever lived on Earth, seems to have been “reborn” along the banks of a seemingly endless river. Determined to locate Jessie, Matt joins forces with a 13th century female samurai warrior named Tomoe (Jeananne Goossen) and American novelist Sam ‘Mark Twain’ Clemens (Mark Deklin). Together they sail upriver in search of its source, and to discover where they are and who put them there. Alan Cumming (Tin Man) guest stars as the mysterious ‘Caretaker.’ Riverworld (Airdate 2010) is produced by Reunion Pictures and is shooting in Vancouver, BC. RHI will distribute internationally.

Ryan Carnes (Desperate Housewives/Dr. Who) has been cast in title role of The Phantom and his alter ego Chris Walker in this re-imagined version of the classic comic book transported to present day. Isabella Rossellini will guest star in a villainous turn as ‘Lithia,’ the head of an experimental mind control program. Also starring are Cameron Goodman as Chris Walker’s love interest, Renny and Sandrine Holt (24/The L Word) as The Phantom’s trusted advisor Guran.

A favorite costumed hero for more than six decades, The Phantom relies on his wits, physical strength and skill with weapons over superhuman powers. Production will begin on Monday April 6 in Montreal with Director, Paolo Barzman (The Last Templar) at the helm. The Phantom (Airdate 2010) is produced by Muse Entertainment. RHI will distribute internationally.

Reunion Pictures (www.reunionpictures.ca) is a Canadian-based company that develops and finances high quality television and multi-platform properties. Launched in 2004 with the partners’ experience of having collectively produced over a billion dollars worth of award-winning filmed entertainment, Reunion Pictures has received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, and has won Genies and Gemini’s as well as the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Television, a #1 US network mini-series (10.5), and two #1 cable mini-series (Tin Man and Earthsea, both produced with RHI Entertainment for SCI FI Channel).

Muse Entertainment is a leading film and television producer known for its well-crafted and high-quality productions with strong international appeal. Since its founding in 1998 by Michael Prupas who serves as the company’s President and CEO, Muse Entertainment has produced, co-produced or provided production services on more than 100 TV movies and mini-series, television series and feature films. For theatrical release, Muse Entertainment produces its own independent movies and also provides production services for Hollywood and New York studios and independents. For television, Muse Entertainment produces dramatic series, television movies and family programs.

RHI Entertainment (NASDAQ: RHIE) develops, produces and distributes new made-for-television movies, miniseries and other television programming worldwide, and is the leading provider of new long-form television content in the United States. Under the leadership of Robert Halmi, Sr. and Robert Halmi, Jr., RHI has produced and distributed thousands of hours of quality television programming, and RHI’s productions have received more than 100 Emmy Awards. In addition to the development, production and distribution of new content, RHI owns rights to more than 1,000 titles, or over 3,500 broadcast hours of long-form television programming, which are licensed to broadcast and cable networks and new media outlets globally. For more consumer information visit www.rhitv.com

SCI FI Channel is a television network that fuels the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic science fiction and fantasy programming, as well as a dynamic Web site (www.scifi.com). Launched in 1992, and currently in 95 million homes, SCI FI Channel is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. SCI FI will become Syfy on July 7, 2009.

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