Teen drama, 'Chop Socky' win at awards gala

Epitome Pictures’ teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation” has earned top marks at the second of three galas celebrating the Geminis, Canada’s TV awards.

Tuesday’s gala handed out 21 prizes in the lifestyle and youth TV categories at Toronto’s Liberty Grand complex. “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” which airs on CTV in Canada and the N in the U.S., won best children’s or youth fiction program or series.

Brit animated series “Chop Socky Chooks,” produced by Decode Entertainment, Aardman Animations and CSC Prods., won for animated program or series.

The non-fiction youth program prize went to CCI Entertainment’s kids reality show “Ghost Trackers,” (YTV, Discovery Kids Canada) while Cookie Jar’s animated “Will & Dewitt,” about a boy and his pet frog, picked up honors for pre-school program.

Robert Daniel Pytlyk won for direction in a youth program for an episode of teen reality series “Drug Class,” and Pierre-Luc Granjon and Pascal Le Notre won for direction of an animated program for “Leon In Wintertime,” produced by the National Film Board of Canada. An episode of “Iggy Arbuckle” landed Robert Pincombe, Shelley Hoffman, Karen Moonah the prize for best writing in a children’s series.

Direction prizes went to Michelle Metivier for The Police episode of “Tribute Bands” (lifestyle series) and Shelagh O’Brien for “Triple Sensation” (reality series)

“Chef School” (Red Apple Entertainment) nabbed the award for lifestyle/practical info series, while “MTV Live” (Canada’s MTV) picked up best talk series.

Host prizes went to Bryan Baeumler for “Disaster DIY” (lifestyle) and Bob McDonald for “Heads Up! (children’s series), while the case of “Wapos Bay” won for ensemble performance in an animated series. Alexz Johnson landed performance trophy for “Instant Star” (CTV, The N).

The Geminis for original music went to Tom Szczesniak, Carolyn Hay and Ray Parker for “Ruby Gloom” (animated) and David Krain for “Mantracker” (reality).

CBC’s lone Gemini of the evening was for best lifestyle segment for an item on young jazz singer Nikki Yanofsky, produced by Douglas Arrowsmith, Dominique Banoun and Tony Marchitto.

“The 2008 Juno Awards” (the Canuck equivalent to the Grammys) won the production design award in a non-fiction program.

The industry awards for drama, variety and comedy will be handed out at a gala on Wednesday.

The 23rd Gemini Awards conclude Nov. 28 with a televised gala that will be simulcast on E! and Showcase.

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