MTV edges out Stroumbo

Surprise win sees MTV Live take Gemini for best talk series over The Hour. 'A real honor, and by that I mean shock,' says producer Alex Sopinka

The speediest Gemini Award ceremony in recent years, clocking in at one hour 15 minutes, handed individual hardware to shows including Degrassi: The Next Generation, MTV Live and Chef School on Tuesday night, while no nominee managed multiple wins.

In all, 20 prizes for lifestyle, children’s and youth programs were doled out during the second of four galas in Toronto.

Degrassi picked up its third win for best children’s or youth series, beating out fellow Epitome Pictures/CTV contender Instant Star and TVOntario’s Tumble Town Tales.

‘I’m sure you’re thinking ‘Boy, this show is old, it’s been around,” said Degrassi creator Linda Schuyler upon accepting the award. ‘But it’s actually Stephen [Stohn] and I that are getting old!’ she quipped, nodding to the Epitome president — her husband — who was nearby. Schuyler also paid tribute to the show’s writers for keeping it ‘fresh and vibrant.’

Instant Star redeemed itself in the performance category, where lead Alexz Johnson — who was absent from the awards — nabbed the prize for her acting chops on the episode ‘Let It Be’ over Degrassi‘s Lauren Collins and Shane Kippel.

CBC’s The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos was unable to repeat its win from last year for best talk series, edged out by MTV Canada flagship program MTV Live, with producers Alex Sopinka and Pam De Montmorency accepting the award.

‘This is a real honor, and by that I mean ‘shock,” reacted Sopinka.

Other CBC programs did pick up wins, including CBC: News Sunday for best lifestyle/info segment, while reality series Triple Sensation garnered the directing prize for Shelagh O’Brien. Triple Sensation is also up for best reality program, which will be revealed at the main Gemini gala on Nov. 28.

Canwest lifestyle channels came away with hardware following wins for Slice’s X-Weighted in the best human interest series category, while Food Network Canada’s Chef School was named best lifestyle/practical information series.

Disaster DIY‘s Bryan Baeumler picked up his first win as best host in a lifestyle info series. Baeumler was nom’d in the category last year for the HGTV show, in which he assists do-it-yourselfers with home renovations.

‘I spend 12 hours a day staring at the camera and there’s about 12 people behind it… this is for them,’ said Baeumler, a contractor by trade, who promised he wouldn’t use his Gemini as a hammer.

Teletoon’s Chop Socky Chooks, from Decode Entertainment, scored best animated program, while best preschool series went to Cookie Jar’s Will & Dewitt.

Jim Corston of Toronto’s CCI Entertainment was on hand to receive the Gemini for best youth nonfiction series for Ghost Trackers, a reality show about the paranormal, airing on YTV.

The $1.5-million interactive component of Discovery Channel’s high-profile Race to Mars nabbed a win in the cross-platform project category for QuickPlay Media and Montreal’s Galafilm.