- CTV marks the legacy of CORNER GAS with special broadcast of first and last episodes, this Saturday -
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TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Exactly ten years ago today (Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004), a comedy about a bunch of nobodies who got up to a whole lot of nothing in the fictional prairie town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, made its smash-hit debut on CTV. That series was CTV's original comedy CORNER GAS, which for six seasons - and 107 episodes - would become a national treasure. When 1.15 million viewers tuned in to the series premiere, a new benchmark was set for original Canadian television productions. CTV celebrates CORNER GAS with the first back-to-back broadcasts of the series' premiere and finale episodes, this Saturday, Jan. 25 at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET on CTV. Rewind to 2003, when Writer/Executive Producer Brent Butt, who starred as gas station proprietor Brent Leroy, first scribbled his idea for a TV show on a piece of scrap paper. Little did he know that he was about to create some of the most beloved characters in Canadian television history - Oscar Leroy (Eric Peterson), Emma Leroy (Janet Wright), Lacey Burrows (Gabrielle Miller), Hank Yarbo (Fred Ewanuick), Davis Quinton (Lorne Cardinal), Karen Pelly (Tara Spencer-Nairn), Wanda Dollard (Nancy Robertson) - and change the landscape of Canadian television.
"Brent Butt's vision continues to have a lasting legacy on the Canadian television productions that followed," said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production. "The series has created an increased confidence in the Canadian television industry, leaving behind a long list of great talent in front of and behind the camera, who honed their craft on CORNER GAS and went on to work on many other Canadian productions."
Originally developed by Brent Butt for CTV and The Comedy Network, CORNER GAS began production in the summer of 2003. Its premiere was supported by an unprecedented PR and promotional push, headlined by the "CORNER GAS Free Gas Giveaway Event", which saw $15,000 worth of free gas given to the first 400 cars at a downtown Toronto gas bar. The campaign set a new standard on how Canadian productions are promoted.
Six years later, CORNER GAS ended on a high when a record-breaking 3.02 million viewers tuned into the series finale on April 13, 2009. The finale was a new audience high for CORNER GAS and is still the largest audience on record for a Canadian scripted television series. During its entire six-season run, CORNER GAS maintained an impressive average audience of 1.4 million viewers for each of the 107 episodes that aired. CORNER GAS has been nominated more than 80 times for numerous awards, including an International Emmy®-Award, Gemini Awards, Leo Awards, Director's Guild of Canada Awards, Canadian Screenwriting Awards, and Canadian Comedy Awards. The series won six Gemini Awards, including Best Comedy Series.
The series, which aired in over two dozen countries worldwide, went on to become a cultural phenomenon, spawning two chart-topping books, sold-out comedy tours, a successful line of clothing and merchandise, a top-selling series of DVDs, a beloved Christmas special and song, several notable guest stars, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and a thriving tourist industry in Rouleau, Saskatchewan.
CORNER GAS was produced in association with CTV by Prairie Pants Productions, comprised of Virginia Thompson of Vérité Films and 335 Productions, a partnership of Brent Butt and David Storey, who also served as a Director on the series.
Viewers can still re-live the laughs with encore broadcasts of CORNER GAS, Monday-Friday at 9 and 9:30 a.m. ET/PT on CTV Two and Monday-Friday at 4 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy.
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About Bell Media Independent Production
Bell Media has commissioned some of Canada's most-watched and most-acclaimed original programming, working with the best Canadian independent producers in the country. Hit CTV series include ratings success stories SAVING HOPE, THE LISTENER, MOTIVE, the #1 new Canadian scripted series of the 2012/13 season, and THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, the record-breaking, Canadian-produced complementary version of the hit international series. Joining CTV in early 2014 are hit international format MASTERCHEF CANADA and multi-cam office comedy SPUN OUT. Among the scripted series on Bell Media pay and specialty channels are the two-time Emmy®-nominated hit DEGRASSI, the recently renewed and internationally acclaimed ORPHAN BLACK, BITTEN, and TRANSPORTER, and upcoming dramas 19-2, SENSITIVE SKIN, and KILLJOYS. Bell Media specialty channels are also home to reality series such as BRAVE NEW GIRLS, game shows MATCH GAME and POP QUIZ, and factual series HIGHWAY THRU HELL and CANADA'S WORST DRIVER, among others. In 2013, Bell Media ordered 27 original Canadian series and currently has 84 projects in various stages of development.
CTV is Canada's #1 private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV has been Canada's most-watched television network for the past 12 years in a row. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, digital, and Out-of-Home. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network's website at CTV.ca.
Source: BBM Nielsen
CTV electronic audience databases incorporate data beginning in 1994.
Audiences prior to August 31, 2009 based on BBM Nielsen Media Research Mark II meters.
Image with caption: "Cast of CORNER GAS (l-r): Gabrielle Miller, Brent Butt, Fred Ewanuick, Eric Peterson, Janet Wright, Nancy Robertson, Tara Spencer-Nairn, and Lorne Cardinal (CNW Group/CTV)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140122_C4445_PHOTO_EN_35759.jpg
For further information:
Jim Quan, Bell Media, 416.384.5311 or [email protected]