Geminis take dramatic turn with 2008 noms

'Murdoch Mysteries' leads the field with 14

TORONTO -- Dramas took pride of place Tuesday as the 2008 Geminis, Canada's TV awards, unveiled nominations in Toronto.

Shaftesbury Films' "Murdoch Mysteries," based on Maureen Jennings' detective novels, led all comers with 14 nominations, including best drama and guest actor noms for Vincent Walsh, Gavin Crawford, Stephen McHattie and Dmitry Chepovetsky.

Close behind was Back Alley Film Prods.' "Durham County," with 13 mentions, including best drama and best actor noms for Hugh Dillon ("Flashpoint") and Justin Louis.

Rounding out the drama competition is Peace Arch Television's "The Tudors," with 12 nominations; White Pine Pictures' "The Border," with nine; and Watcher Films' West Coast crime drama "Intelligence," with five nominations, including best actor for Ian Tracey.

Other multiple nominees include two miniseries: "The Englishman's Boy" from Mind's Eye Entertainment, with 12 noms, and Norstar Filmed Entertainment's "Would Be Kings," with eight.

The big splash for drama marks a departure from years past when the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. dominated the competition with its news and factual shows. This year the public broadcaster earned nine nods for its flagship newscast, "CBC News: The National," and 11 for perennial Gemini contender "The Fifth Estate," an investigative news show.

The spotlight on homegrown dramas also comes as they penetrate U.S. network schedules, with the Toronto-set cop drama "Flashpoint" on CBS' Thursday night schedule and NBC set to begin airing Shaftesbury Films' "The Listener" in the fall.

Another surprise Tuesday was the CBC's "Little Mosque on the Prairie" failing to make the comedy category for the second year straight. The comedy lineup will see "Corner Gas" once again vie for top honors with rivals including "This Hour Has 22 Minutes," "Odd Job Jack" and "Rent-A-Goalie."

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television will hand out pre-broadcast Geminis over three nights from Oct. 20-22, with the biggest hardware awarded during a live Nov. 28 broadcast in Toronto.

Click here for a complete list of Gemini nominees.