This week, CHML’s Scott Thompson wanted to know all about this new and improved Gemini-Genie Award-O-Rama merger thingy.
Now, Scott knows asking me about awards shows, especially Canadian award shows, is like lighting a fuse. I’ve long been a critic of the current Gemini scam set up, which is all about tricking producers and talent into coughing up hundreds of dollars to pay for a plate of chicken. Then giving awards out to every network and studio in the country so they all would sponsor it. Getting asses in the seats and a room full of sponsors was always the plan, so eleventy-billion-million categories were invented so nobody would walk home empty handed.
This meant multiple nights of industry banquets. By the time the televised main gala rolled around, nobody took it seriously, especially viewers who, for the past 20 years, largely ignored it.
I was asked, along with Globe and Mail TV columnist John Doyle, actor Peter Keleghan and others in the TV industry, to sit in on some informal meetings to help slap the Geminis back into respectability. Helga Stephenson, the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, spearheaded this outreach. Marty Katz the ACCT Chair, was also at the table.
First thing they did was toss about 20% of the TV categories out the window. For that alone Stephenson deserves the Order of Canada.
The Academy has also decided to merge the Canadian film and TV televised galas into one rubber chicken night. Hell of an idea. This way they only have to book William Shatner once to host.
It will air in March of 2013, on CBC. All of Canada is spared the indignity of a TV gala the week after the Emmys that looks like a minor league hockey banquet by comparison.
Now we can only hope the broadcaster doesn’t screw it up. Here’s the task: make this a nice, tight, 60-minute plug for the best in Canadian TV and film. Fingers crossed.
Scott asks about a bunch of other stuff. You can listen in here.

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