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The era of the endless Gemini Awards ends tonight

The Gemini Awards are dead. Long live the Geminis.

That's the gist. Tonight's final instalment of the Gemini Awards (CBC, 8 p.m.) lasts for an hour on TV. Online, you can watch it for hours and hours, with Tom Green as your host and guide. I think. Not much about the Gemini Awards is very clear.

On TV, host Russell Peters will be brisk and waggish, as a handful of major awards for Canadian TV are handed out. There will even be music. But it's an hour long and that's it.

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Little wonder. Last week, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television spent two long nights handing out awards. Call Me Fitz, the acerbic comedy airing on HBO Canada, won a whole bunch of statues.

According to reliable sources, this will be the last Gemini shindig that resembles a shambles. Oh sure, maybe tonight's hour will be loads of fun, but the three-night whirligig of awards-gorging will be over forever.

One night this past summer there was an intervention. CBC and certain other parties stepped in and, when the sun rose the next morning, the Academy had replaced its entire board of directors. The intervention was years overdue. For almost a decade, the Academy has undermined Canadian film and television and utterly diminished the value of a Gemini Award. Too many awards being handed out. Way too many. Year after year, there were strange lapses in the nominating procedure. The year Corner Gas finished its triumphant run, the show didn't receive a single nomination. Some broadcasters and several shows simply stopped participating in the Gemini process.

And then there was the sad example of the televised awards show itself. For several years it aired on Global, on a Saturday night, competing with Hockey Night in Canada for viewers. Last year, the sound disappeared from the broadcast for a lengthy period.

Six awards will be handed out tonight. One is Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role. That should be between Angela Asher for 18 to Life and Tracy Dawson for Call Me Fitz. Dawson will probably get it. In Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role, Peter Keleghan should win for 18 to Life, but so might Jason Priestley for Call Me Fitz.

For the category Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role, Enrico Colantoni is favoured for Flashpoint, but Callum Keith Rennie should get it for Shattered. Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role should go to Krystin Pellerin for Republic of Doyle. The shutout of Doyle in numerous categories has been a disgrace. Seriously, it's MIA in the Gemini weirdness this year.

Best Dramatic Series is between The Borgias, Endgame, Flashpoint, Skins and The Tudors. If The Tudors wins again, this is a joke category. Best Comedy Program or Series is between Call Me Fitz, Good Dog, Ha!ifax Comedy Fest 2010, Living in Your Car, Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Call Me Fitz is the favourite, but you never know what will happen. Living in Your Car deserves mention for its sheer inventiveness.

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Congratulations to all the nominees. If you win, enjoy it, because the Gemini Awards will never be the same. And a good thing too.


GOP Candidate Debate (MSNBC, 8 p.m.) should be a fascinating wingding, and not just for the politically obsessed. This will be the first debate in which Texas Governor Rick Perry participates. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and several other candidates whose names escape everyone will be there at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, but Perry is the one who has the opportunity to make a substantial impression.

Recent opinion surveys of Republican voters put Perry in front of the pack, but he is yet to be tested in public debate. A particularly fascinating subtext will be watching Bachmann and Perry try to outdo each other in appealing to conservative voters. Mind you, as of Tuesday, Perry was saying he might have to skip the debate to deal with the wildfires raging in Texas. Go figure the tactic behind that.

Check local listings.

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About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More

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