Discovery Canada polishes Jade Fever

Jade Fever

Bell Media’s Discovery Canada has picked up Omnifilm Entertainment’s Jade Fever, the specialty net announced Wednesday.

The first season of the unscripted series, which includes 12 half-hour episodes, will bow on Discovery on Tuesday, March 31 at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (EST). Two episodes will air back-to-back each week over a six-week period.

Jade Fever follows a family of jade miners and their Chinese-Canadian business partner as they search for the precious stone in Northern B.C.’s Cassiar Mountains. The producers were aiming to create a mining show that was character-based, and also wanted to explore a topic – jade mining – that many Canadians may not be familiar with, said executive and series producer David Gullason.

“No one knows anything about it. People know what gold is, but no one knows even how jade looks in the ground,” Gullason told Playback Daily, adding that northern B.C. boasts some of the largest deposits of fine jade in the world.

The producers brought the series to Realscreen Summit earlier this year, where there was strong interest from international buyers, Gullason said. He also said the series would be well suited for the Asian market, as much of the demand for jade comes from the region.

According to Edwina Follows, director of commissioning and production for Discovery Canada, Jade Fever offers a unique take on two genres Discovery’s audiences have responded well to: aspirational, resource-based series in the vein of Raw Television’s Gold Rush: Alaska; and “living off the grid” shows such as Discovery Studio’s Alaska: The Last Frontier.

Jade Fever held immediate appeal to us because it is really a type of mash-up of both of these genres,” Follows said.

The series is also fronted by a woman – Claudia Bunce – which Follows hopes can up co-viewership opportunities on the channel.

“We wanted an opportunity to feature a strong, female protagonist. We hope that she will bring more female viewers to the channel because we know that companion viewership is the best way to gain new eyeballs,” said Follows.

Jade Fever is produced by Omnifilm Entertainment in association with Discovery Canada. Gabriela Schonbach serves as executive producer on the series along with Gullason.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrect stated that Jade Fever will premiere at 9 p.m. on March 31. The first episode will air at 8 p.m., followed by the second episode at 8:30 p.m. Playback regrets the error.