Comic-drama hits target at TV awards

MONTREAL — The acclaimed comic-drama “Slings & Arrows” is going out with a bang.

The series was the big winner at the Gemini Awards, the Canuck TV awards, which were handed out at a televised ceremony Sunday night in Regina.

The Rhombus Media production — which earned rave reviews when it played on the Sundance Channel in the U.S. in 2005 — garnered four prizes Sunday, including one for best dramatic series. The awards were for the third and final season of the series, which ran on the Movie Network and Movie Central in Canada.

Thesp Paul Gross won the Gemini as best lead actor in a drama for his portrayal of Geoffrey Tennant, the nutty artistic director of the New Burbage Festival, a theater festival loosely based on the real Stratford Festival.

The series follows the misadventures of the folks toiling at the fest.

Martha Burns also won for best lead actress in a dramatic role for her part in “Slings & Arrows” as actress Ellen Fanshaw. The show also nabbed a Gemini for best writing in a dramatic series for Susan Coyne, Bob Martin and Mark McKinney.

In a ceremony earlier this month, “Slings & Arrows” had won another Gemini, with Stephen Ouimette taking the hardware for best supporting actor in a dramatic series.

The 22nd annual Gemini Awards aired on CBC TV Sunday night.

The other big winner at the Gemini Awards was the top-rated CTV sitcom “Corner Gas,” which went home with three awards.

The popular laffer about the goings-on at and around a gas station in a small town in Saskatchewan won as best comedy series and the cast — lead actor Brent Butt, Lorne Cardinal, Fred Ewanuick, Gabrielle Miller, Eric Peterson, Nancy Robertson, Tara Spencer-Nairn and Janet Wright — won for best ensemble performance in a comedy series. “Corner Gas” writer Mark Farrell also won for best writing in a comedy series.

Chris Haddock won for direction in a drama series for his work on the gritty CBC thriller “Intelligence”, longtime “Hockey Night in Canada” host Ron MacLean won as best host on a sport program for the CBC hockey franchise, and Phyllis Ellis won for best individual performance in a comedy series for “The Wilkinsons.”

The trophy for best music, variety program went to the “2006 MuchMusic Video Awards”, Gord Martineau from “CityNews at Six” on Chum Television won as best news anchor, and the Donald Brittain Award for best social/political documentary program went to the Barna-Alper production “Fatherland”. Measha Brueggergosman, Kevin Breit and Lou Pomanti won for best hosts in a variety program for “Words to Music: The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.”

The Canada Award was given to the hit CBC sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” a award that had been previously announced.

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