Saturday, November 14, 2009


Well the Gemini Awards, celebrating excellence in Canadian television, are tonight, live from Calgary. And unfortunately, no one in Canada really cares.

There are a few reasons why no one really cares. The first reason is because this show, on Global, is up against Hockey Night in Canada, a show Canadians actually do care about. And guess what the matchup was tonight? You guessed it: Calgary at Toronto. So even though the Geminis were handed out in Calgary, I'll bet more people in Calgary were actually watching the hockey game on the other channel, CBC. Worse yet, it was a good game with a few good fights.Why the Geminis are putting this awards show up against Hockey Night in Canada, I have no idea. Friday or Sunday night would have been much better for this awards show. Seriously.

Second reason no one cares: Corner Gas, the wildly popular sitcom set in Saskatchewan that wrapped up its final season (pictured), was nominated for nothing. Nada. So nobody in Saskatchewan has much reason to watch, either -- though I guess the people in charge of the awards kind of redeemed themselves in the end by giving some sort of special tribute award not only to Corner Gas, but to Royal Canadian Air Farce and Trailer Park Boys which also went off the air.

I find it odd that Corner Gas wasn't nominated in the comedy category, it wasn't as if these other nominees were any great shakes. I can understand if another deserving nominee wins in the end, but to not even give Corner Gas even one nomination in any category -- I don't get it. It's not as if this show had totally lost it or was completely awful in its last year. (In another travesty, Lloyd Robertson got passed over for a Best News Anchor nomination. Needless to say, I have some difficulty taking these nominations very seriously.)

To be totally honest with you I think the Geminis have been totally overshadowed by a lot of other stuff going on in the Canadian TV industry this year - like this ridiculous fight between the cable companies and broadcasters over fees for carriage. In fact, the CRTC are going to have their hearings in Ottawa starting Monday on this whole issue of fees and it promises to be riveting television on your cable public affairs channel, CPAC.

This is a battle that has gotten very ugly in a short period of time, with stations getting closed down and with other stations and local newscasts being threatened with removal from the air. I still have pretentions about working in the TV industry again some day, so I kind of want to stay out of this whole dispute. I want it to be settled in a fashion where the whole industry comes out ahead and jobs get saved or even created. But I'm just not happy at all with the contempt being shown towards the most important people in this whole equation, the viewers. These TV players seem to be caring more about the almighty dollar and how to extract it from the public than about putting good shows on the air. The best interests of the folks at home are taking second fiddle to the interests of interest groups and conglomerates -- viewers seem certain to get hosed in the end, no matter what.

I find it amazing that any television of any quality is able to get produced in this kind of environment in Canada, with the networks looking to cut even further to the bone and with cable companies threatening to hike rates yet again if fees-for-carriage goes through. I hope it all gets sorted out for the best, but I kind of have my doubts. 

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