IT'S the birth of a new national TV network, and the delivery room happens to be right here in downtown Winnipeg.
In advance of the Sept. 1 launch of UNIS, a new French-language channel focused on francophone culture and communities outside of Quebec, a special gala event will take place Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre.
The event, being recorded by Winnipeg-based Les Productions Rivard for broadcast on UNIS's Sept. 1 launch day, is open to the public and will feature performances by Radio Radio, Chic Gamine, Crystal Plamondon, Alexis Normand, Christian Essiambre and Frédéric Ouellet. Nicolas Ouellet will host the gala.
"We're honoured that they've chosen Manitoba to produce this gala," said Rivard co-founder and event producer Louis Paquin. "I guess we're a bit well known for our variety shows; we've done a lot of them, (including) working with APTN on the Aboriginal Day Live! show, so they know us as a variety producer, and that's why they asked us to produce this gala event."
UNIS, an offshoot of Montreal-based TV5, will be carried locally by both Shaw and MTS TV.
According to its broadcast licence, approved last August by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, UNIS's focus will be on reflecting the diversity of Canada's francophone communities, particularly those outside of Quebec.
As such, 75 per cent of its daytime and evening programming must be Canadian, and 60 per cent of its programming expenditures must be devoted to content produced or co-produced by independent producers based outside of Quebec.
"It's a good window for all francophones ... it's a great opportunity, and we're hoping the community will really get behind it," Paquin says.