Posting this for people who think I hate Canadian television because I hate the Gemini Awards. I love Canadian television--that's why I hate the Gemini Awards.
Several years ago, the Canadian TV academy invited myself and several other TV critics to lunch. Pretty sure John Doyle was at the table, along with Andy Ryan, probably CP's John McKay at the time, possibly Eric Kohanik. Maybe six, seven years ago now, think I was at The Toronto Sun at the time.
They wanted to know what they should do to get people to watch the Gemini awards. Since they asked, we told them. Get the Trailer Park Boys to host, we begged. Stop with the 99 categories, we pleaded. Enough with the "Best Craft Services on a Movie, Miniseries or TV-Movie with a Budget over $100,000." Turn this into a show people might actually take seriously.
Did they listen? They did not. Not that TV critics know everything or even anything, but it quickly became clear that nobody was at all interested in any of the suggestions. They just wanted to know if the chicken was to our liking, and when they could expect our cover stories.
Now it is several years later, and the Awards have kicked around a few networks, and people are excited that a little over 300,000 viewers found it on Global on Saturday night.
So here is what I say to that, repeated from the comment I made in the last post.
The new portable people meters are boosting anything that is a live event. The Geminis had to go up this year.
The show still finished 49th for the night in Canada, behind not just Hockey Night in Canada but Global's 11:30 airing of SNL, reruns of Family Guy and The Simpsons on Global, Disney's Jonas, Teletoon's Foster's Home and Family's Zeke & Luther. It did squeeze in ahead of Cash Cab on Discovery.
My beef with the Geminis is that it is never anybody's priority as a TV show. Year after year, the only thing that matters to this academy when it comes to this show is asses in the seats on banquet nights at $250 a pop. The other thing that seems to matter is that every single broadcaster and Gemini sponsor gets a table full of awards. I'm sure it's a great party if you're there, but as an industry showcase, as a promotion directed at everyday Canadian TV viewers, as a legitimate competition, it is a succession of lost opportunities.
Maybe I'm just a little extra sensitive because I'm a Gemini. I just think if the MMVA's can draw twice this on MuchMusic, there is a way to make the show that salutes Canadian television exciting and relevant and actually viewed. As Rob Salem observed in Monday's Toronto Star ("A TV show so Canadian, you could cringe"), hiring Loverboy's Mike Reno just doesn't cut it.