U.S. deal will close this month

TORONTO — Canadian commercial broadcaster CTV has ordered the original digital-only series “Backpackers” from Toronto’s Smokebomb Entertainment, Shaftesbury’s digital media division, the companies jointly announced at the Mipcom TV mart on Tuesday.

A Shaftesbury spokesperson confirmed a U.S. deal will be announced this month.

“Backpackers,” which offers a live-action narrative and an interactive choose-your-own-adventure app, is the first stand-alone digital series ordered by CTV, a division of Bell Media.

It will run across the full suite of CTV and Bell Media’s digital platforms.

The eight-part series follows two best friends searching for the fiancee of one of them during a pre-wedding European vacation. Principal photography starts spring 2013 on location in Europe, with delivery to CTV in the second quarter.

“Backpackers” is funded by the Canada Media Fund’s experimental stream and Ontario’s interactive digital media tax credit.

“Our order of ‘Backpackers’ speaks to our strategy to conceive, commission and deliver new and innovative stand-alone content to the full spectrum of Bell Media’s digital platforms, for advertisers and young audiences alike,” CTV Networks’ senior VP of programming Mike Cosentino said.

Smokebomb developed original digital series “Totally Amp’d,” “State of Syn” and “Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs,” as well as online and mobile companion experiences for broadcast properties.

On Monday, Shaftesbury’s L.A. office picked up “Do-Over,” a new half-hour, music-fuelled tween series from “Hannah Montana” creator Michael Poryes. Shaftesbury and Germany’s ZDF Enterprises will co-manage distribution.

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