CBC's 'The National' wins Gemini Awards

CTV boycotts, claiming bias in favor of Toronto-based ops

TORONTO -- With the rival CTV network continuing to boycott the news categories at Canada's TV awards, there was no surprise in the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. sweeping the first night of the Gemini Awards on Monday night.

"The National," the CBC's flagship news show, repeated as the winner of Canada's best newscast and earned another trophy for best reportage for its Washington-based coverage of the U.S. economic crisis.

And perennial Gemini winner "The Fifth Estate," the public broadcaster's investigative news series, earned a slew of trophies, including for best news information series, and best host and best interviewer in a news information series.

The CBC's only real competition at the Geminis in the news categories, Global Television, came away with the prize for best special event coverage for its Canadian federal election night telecast.

The CTV in 2006 stopped submitting its newscasts for Gemini consideration to protest a focus on Toronto-based news operations, as opposed to local TV station coverage.

Ironically, CTV is pressing Ottawa and the country's TV regulator for a federal bailout of its local news operations after they were hard by TV ad slump during the economic downturn.

CTV did earn Gemini trophies on the TV sports front, as its cable sports channel, the Sports Network, saw Brian Williams named best sports program host, and TSN's SportsCenter series named top Canadian sportscast.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television also handed out documentary and lifestyle series awards Monday night before the Gemini organizers resume Tuesday night with awards for drama, kids, comedy and variety TV categories.

The top Gemini awards will be handed out Nov. 14 Calgary during a live broadcast on Global Television.