Axed CBC drama wins top Gemini
TORONTO – The choice showed Intelligence, but the timing was kind of awkward.
The critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged series Intelligence, which officially was cancelled by the CBC last winter, took home the award for best drama series at the 2008 Gemini Awards, which were held last night in Toronto.
The last new episode of Intelligence aired almost a year ago, so it made for a bit of a weird atmosphere last night when Intelligence beat out fellow best-drama nominees The Border, The Tudors, Durham County and Murdoch Mysteries.
But we don’t mean “weird” in a way that suggests Intelligence, which starred the excellent Ian Tracey and Klea Scott, wasn’t worthy. In fact, yours truly was a devoted follower, and we always wondered why more Canadians weren’t tuning in.
Regardless, last night must have been pretty sweet for Intelligence creator Chris Haddock. Sadly, he was not in attendance last night to share his, uh, “opinion.”
However, mentalist The Amazing Kreskin cracked wise by “predicting” Intelligence would be “renewed for two more seasons.” Priceless.
In an interview that appeared in Sun Media outlets in November 2007, Haddock blasted the CBC, claiming the public broadcaster had become “hostile” to his kind of story-telling and had not adequately promoted his show.
CBC executive director of network programming Kirstine Layfield strongly rejected Haddock’s accusations, pointing out no creator of a series ever thinks their show is being promoted enough. Layfield claimed the CBC brought Intelligence back for a second season “in good faith” because of the quality of the series, but the ratings simply did not improve.
Haddock subsequently attempted to take an American-ized version of Intelligence to Fox in the United States, but Fox’s initial interest was not followed by firm commitments.
The Gemini Awards were hosted by veteran Canadian actor/director Jason Priestley, who first made a name for himself playing Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills 90210 in the 1990s. Priestley had a hilarious taped opening bit about proving he was Canadian to the likes of Brent Butt, Megan Follows and the Trailer Park Boys.
Among the presenters last night was Shenae Grimes, the young Canadian who plays Annie Wilson in the new 90210, following her portrayal of Darcy Edwards on CTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation. Priestley referred to Grimes as being from “the new, old, 9021-oh, let it go already.”
“It’s so exciting to be home – it’s about time,” said Grimes, who is from the Toronto area. “I haven’t been here since June. The cold is crazy.”
Another presenter last night was Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, who currently is starring in the apparently doomed ABC series Eli Stone. Fortunately for Henstridge, she was on hand to accept a Gemini Award in person for best actress in a dramatic program or mini-series, for her role in CTV’s Would Be Kings.
“To feel that in my home country people recognize my work on that level is so, so flattering,” Henstridge said.
Project Runway Canada took home a Gemini for best reality program or series.
Best comedy program or series was won by CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
Cock’d Gunns, which originally aired on IFC, took home trophies for best ensemble performance in a comedy and best writing in a comedy or variety program.
Best dramatic mini-series was won by The Englishman’s Boy, and Nicholas Campbell’s work in that program earned him an award for best actor in a mini-series.
Justin Louis and Helene Joy won best-actor and best-actress in a drama for their performances in Durham County, which aired originally on The Movie Network and Movie Central.
“Acting in Canada you often don’t feel you get the attention you deserve, so this is great,” Joy said.
Best direction in a drama series went to Holly Dale for Durham County.
Leah Miller and Brendan Fehr won the viewers’ choice polls for hottest female and male, respectively.
Best dramatic series: “Intelligence.”
Best comedy program or series: “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”
Best dramatic miniseries: “The Englishman’s Boy.”
Best reality program or series: “Project Runway Canada.”
Best performance by an actor in a continuing leading dramatic role: Justin Louis, “Durham County” (episode “What Lies Beneath”).
Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Nicholas Campbell, “The Englishman’s Boy.”
Best performance by an actress in a continuing leading dramatic role: Helene Joy, “Durham County” (episode “Guys and Dolls”).
Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Natasha Henstridge, “Would Be Kings.”
Best ensemble performance in a comedy program or series: Inessa Annie Frantowski, Brooks Gray, Andy King, Rebecca McMahon, Leo Scherman, Morgan Waters: “Cock’d Gunns” (episode “A Taste of Success”).
Best host or interviewer in a general/human interest or talk program or series: George Stroumboulopoulos, “The Hour With George Stroumboulopoulos.”
Best host or interviewer in a sports program or sportscast: Ron MacLean, “Hockey Day in Canada.”
Best news anchor: Ian Hanomansing, “CBC News at Six.”
Best writing in a comedy or variety program or series: Brooks Gray, Andy King, Leo Scherman, Morgan Waters: “Cock’d Gunns” (episode “Ready, Aim, Fire”).
Best direction in a dramatic series: Holly Dale, “Durham County” (episode “What Lies Beneath”).
Axed CBC drama wins top Gemini