The Geminis and Genies are dead. Long live the Canadian Screen Awards, or “Screenies,” which debut Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBC. The public broadcaster is devoting two hours to the closing gala of the Canadian film and TV industry shindig, which originates live from the Sony Centre in downtown Toronto. Martin Short hosts.
The folks at the Academy are trying to turn the page after the old award shows tumbled into rating oblivion the past several years. Global flew Cory Montieth north a few seasons ago to host when Glee was hot and still managed to draw just 363,000 overnight viewers to a Gemini romp.
I’ve whined for years that the eleventy billion-million nominations dumped annually on CBC and other broadcasters reduced the Geminis to joke status to Canadian viewers. The new awards have cut categories and combine both the film and TV nights and if the goal is to attract a bigger TV audience to promote Canadian screen efforts then those are steps in the right direction.
Short should boost the numbers and so should a relatively less competitive Sunday night, although The Walking Dead on AMC (thanks, Rogers) will cut into the second hour tally, as will the launch of the new Mark Burnett miniseries The Bible on History. CTV’s The Amazing Race at 8 will also have an impact, although at least there’s no Leafs game.
Folks on the TV side of the room should be in a party mood, with production in Ontario booming to record highs.

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