Will the last Gemini winner please turn out the lights

Lord knows I’m not a fan of the Geminis. Too many awards over too many nights devalues the Canadian television industry salute. It seems you just have to be a Gemini–or a Pisces or an Aries or a Leo–to win a Gemini.
Case in point: at Wednesday’s night two of three Gemini ticket sales opportunities, George Stroumboulopoulos took home a statue for Best Host or Interviewer in a General/Human Interest or Talk Program Series. How could he lose? He was the only legitimate contender. The Academy managed to scrape together two other names to give it the optics of a race, but Peter Mansbridge’s One on One and the little show plucky JR Diggs does out of his van are–the crazy wide net cast by the awkwardly-titled category aside–not nightly talk shows.
Nonetheless a lot of fine work in Canadian television is being saluted. I’ve got the full summary of Night Two in today’s Toronto Star entertainment section. (You’ll have to–gulp–buy a paper, there doesn’t appear to be a link). TV editor Deb Yeo wisely knifed out all my wisecracks.
Among the big winners: Call Me Fitz, which won six of the 16 awards it was nominated for, including statues for director Scott Smith as well as actors Rachel Blanchard and Ernie Grunwald. Veteran director Jeremy Podeswa took the drama prize for helming The Borgias. Degrassi, Flashpoint, The Borgias, The Kennedys and The Tudors were other multiple award winners on the night.
Degrassi won for Kids, robbing YTV comedy gem Weird or What? Speaking of weird, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil won in the Best Ensemble Comedy Performance category, beating Fitz and–coming off an exceptional year–22 MinutesDragons Den won for Reality and Battle of the Blades for Variety. The last honour came on a sad night for Blades‘ Insight productions, where colleagues were still reeling at news of Wade Belak’s sudden death.
The Kennedys somehow lost to a series from Hungary (Pillars of the Earth) for Best Miniseries. Guess it aired on the wrong network. At least Barry Pepper won for his exceptional performance as Bobby Kennedy.
Little Ksenia Solo, who steals every scene she’s in on Lost Girl, picked up a supporting win.
CBC led all networks with a record-tying eleventy billion-million Gemini nominations. Despite this, the popular St. John’s-based CBC series Republic of Doyle got about as much Gemini love as a hitchhiker with pets. How do you ignore Sean McGinley in the acting category? Hawco can take solace in the fact that Corner Gas and Air Farce were also punished annually for being popular.
In all, 61 statues were handed out Wednesday night at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In what is beginning to have the optics of a really expensive hockey banquet, 52 other Gemini’s were dispersed Tuesday at the opening night honouring the best in News, Sports, Lifestyle and Reality programming. Officials are combing the countryside for more chrome to supply next Wednesday’s closing gala saluting the best in comedy and drama. Host Russell Peters will kick things off live starting at 8 p.m. on CBC.

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