Flashpoint, Call Me Fitz top 2011 Gemini nods

The series' lead the pack with 17 and 16 nominations respectively.

Two European-set costume dramas, CBC’s The Tudors and Bravo!/CTV’s The Borgias, will challenge two crime shows, Showcase’s Endgame and CTV’s Flashpoint, and The Movie Network’s teen soap Skins for the Best Drama trophy at the Gemini Awards.

The nominations, unveiled Wednesday in 110 categories by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, underline how pay TV and specialty channels now dominate the one-hour drama, TV movies and miniseries categories in Canadian TV, while conventional networks rule in the news, sports and documentary competitions.

CTV’s Flashpoint leads the Gemini field with 17 nominations going into Canada’s TV awards. But close behind is HBO Canada’s Call Me Fitz with 16 noms.

And TMN/Movie Central’s Living in Your Car, TMN’s The Pillars of the Earth and History Channel’s The Kennedy’s each earned 10 nominations.

Those hauls are proof that TMN and Movie Central, and specialty drama channels like Showcase, are airing Canada’s most innovative and edgy dramas, according to Gemini voting.

In the Best Comedy competition, Call Me Fitz and Living in Your Car will challenge Gemini perennials like CBC’s 22 Minutes and Rick Mercer Report, as well as TMN’s first season of Good Dog.

Teza Lawrence, executive producer of Call Me Fitz, said the pay TV drama has been a hit with audiences because programmers at TMN and Movie Central urged the series to push the creative envelope from the start.

“[Call Me Fitz] pushes some boundaries. It’s an edgy show. And audiences are gravitating towards programming that pushes their buttons a bit,” she said at today’s Gemini press conference.

Pay TV dramas also dominate the Best Dramatic Mini-Series or TV Movie category, with TMN/Movie Central’s Fakers, TMN’s Sleepyhead and The Pillars of the Earth challenging The Kennedys and Teletoon’s My Babysitter’s a Vampire.

With most conventional network jettisoning point-of-view documentaries, the CBC predictably dominates the Best Doc Series competition.

The CBC docs Africa on the Move, Geologic Journey and Meltdown: The Secret History of the Global Collapse will contend against History Television’s Rodeo: Life on the Circuit and APTN’s The Uluit: Champions of the North.

There’s also no surprise TSN dominates the Best Sports Analysis Show, with the sports specialty securing nominations for Oil Change, SportsCentre: Year in Review, The Reporters with Dave Hodge and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Anniversary Special from CTV/TSN going up against the CBC’s 2010 FIFA World Cup Preview Show.

The National Film Board of Canada is also a lock to win in the Best Original Digital Media Program as all five entries hail from the public producer, including This Land, Welcome to Pinepoint and The Test Tube with David Suzuki.

On the children’s programming side, nominations in the Best Host in a Pre-School, Children’s or Youth Program or Series went to TVO’s Gisèle Corinthio for her work on TVOKids, Adamo Ruggiero for YTV’s The Next Star and Jeremie Saunders for CBC’s Artzooka!

At the press conference, Ruggiero said The Next Star may not have the profile of Canadian Idol or Battle of the Blades, but has a loyal and digital-savvy young audience.

“YTV addresses young people. And they are the biggest culture spread-of-word agents these days,” he said.

The 26th Geminis will air live on the CBC on Sept. 7 from Toronto and will be preceded by two nights of pre-gala prize-giving in late August.

A full list of Gemini nominations is available at www.Academy.ca.

From Playback Daily