Corner Gas: Record setting season finale and new season announcement!

Corner Gas Draws 2 Million in Record Setting Season Finale; “Dream Team” Story Department Unveiled as CTV Announces Production Order for Corner Gas Season V

– All-star collection of comedic writers now set for Season V –
– 19 new episodes begin production this spring –

Toronto, ON (March 13, 2007) – Last night’s highly anticipated season finale of Corner Gas drew a season-high 2 million viewers, the most successful season finale to date and the second largest audience ever for Canada’s #1 comedy. For CTV, the big-buzz-finale capped another memorable year for Corner Gas, which charted an astonishing 67 per cent audience growth since its season premiere last September. The series finishes its 19-episode run with an average audience of 1.52 million viewers, reaching as high as #16 on Canada’s Top 20 list of most watched programs. For the fourth consecutive year, Corner Gas remains television’s #1 comedy (Canadian or American) and the most watched Canadian scripted series (see “The Ratings” below for a complete ratings summary). The memorable finale will encore Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on The Comedy Network and is available on demand on The CTV Broadband Network at CTV.ca.

With another successful season in the record books, CTV today confirmed to series producers a full 19-episode production order for a 5th season of Corner Gas. Production crews are now gearing up for a May, 2007 return to their Saskatchewan-based sets and soundstages. With their return, Corner Gas remains the only network comedy series to be entirely based and shot in Saskatchewan.

Armed with the new production order, Corner Gas executive producers Brent Butt, David Storey and Virginia Thompson today unveiled their Season V story department, a six-person team that now stands as the most formidable creative lineup the series has ever boasted. The newly assembled “dream-team” story department features:

Brent Butt – star/creator/writer/director/executive producer
Kevin White – supervising producer/writer (showrunner)
Mark Farrell – producer/writer
Norm Hiscock – consulting producer/writer
Gary Pearson – story editor/writer
Andrew Carr – story editor/writer
In addition to signing on the Emmy Award winning Norm Hiscock (Saturday Night Live, King Of The Hill, Kids In The Hall) and the highly acclaimed Gary Pearson (MadTV, This Hour Has 22 Minutes), the executive producing team today appointed Corner Gas veteran Kevin White as series show-runner. Together with star/creator/director/co-executive producer Brent Butt, producer/writer Mark Farrell (The Newsroom, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and story editor/writer Andrew Carr (Comics), it’s a virtual all-star collection of Canada’s most prolific comedy writers (See – “Addendum: The Season V Corner Gas Story Department” for bios on each).

“Congratulations to the entire Corner Gas creative team, cast and crew who together, continue to define the comedy genre in Canada,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the Media Group. “Like its legions of fans who make a weekly appointment with the series, we look forward to finding out what’s in store for the residents of Dog River in Season 5.”

“I haven’t been this excited about starting a season since we went into development on Season 1,” said Butt. “We had our first writers meeting in Toronto and we just sat around laughing ourselves sick. As immature and obnoxious as that may sound, it really bodes well for scripts.”

“Building a team of this calibre was an exhilarating experience,” said Executive Producer Virginia Thompson. “There is so much mutual respect among these writers for their individual achievements and bodies of work. It’s going to make for a spectacular Season 5 of Corner Gas.”

The Ratings – Last Night
With 2 million viewers, the Corner Gas season finale charted 29 per cent more viewers than its season-to-date average.
It won the 8-8:30 time-period with 40% more viewers than House (Global, 1.4M, 8-9 p.m. ET).
Corner Gas outperformed the simulcast airing of 24 (Global/Fox, 9 p.m. ET) by 45 percent.
It also earned a statistical tie with CSI: Miami and together are the co-winners of the night. The Corner Gas lead in also provided CTV’s Robson Arms with its highest ever audience (747,000).
The Ratings – This Season
With 19 episodes now in the history books, Corner Gas finishes its fourth season:
With a 19-episode average of 1.52 million viewers,
Finishing as high as #16 on Canada’s Top 20 list of most-watched programs,
The only scripted series to earn a place in the Top 20,
As Canada’s #1 comedy (Canadian or U.S.),
With 67 per cent growth since it debuted in September, 2006
Corner Gas averaged 33 per cent more total viewers than the next most-watched comedy (up 33 per cent vs. The Simpsons on Global, up 34 per cent vs. Little Mosque on the Prairie on CBC).
The Ratings – The Series
Monday’s finale marked the series 69th consecutive million-plus episode, since its launch in January, 2004.
Last night’s finale was the second time the series has reached the 2-million mark, second only to the Season 3 Christmas Special, “Merry Gasmas”, which pulled in 2.2 million viewers (BBM).
In its four-year run, no Canadian or U.S comedy series has been more popular in Canada.
Addendum – The Season V Corner Gas Story Department:

BRENT BUTT – star/creator/director/executive producer/writer
Brent Butt has been thrilling audiences across the country with his depiction of small-town life for over 15 years. He has been a regular on the Just For Laughs TV show, as well as other programs on A&E, HBO, CBC, CTV, Global, and The Comedy Network. His one-hour Comedy Now! special earned him a Gemini Nomination in the category of “Best Comedy Performance”. He was named “Best Male Stand-Up’ at the 2001 Canadian Comedy Awards and was subsequently selected to represent his country on the World Comedy Tour in Australia. He followed that by hosting the “Just For Laughs – Asian Tour” in Singapore. His invitation to appear on the CBC 50th Anniversary Special entitled All-Star Comedy Homecoming secured his reputation as one of the funniest people in the country, as he performed alongside the most noted comedic minds from the past five decades of Canadian entertainment.

KEVIN WHITE – supervising producer/writer
Kevin White adds writer to his supervising producer credit for Corner Gas and was formerly the show’s executive story editor. He is also the head writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes and his stand-up material was featured in his own episode of Comics. White has won a Canadian Screenwriting Award for Best Comedy Writing (2002) and has received four Gemini nominations in the same category.

MARK FARRELL – producer/writer
Multi-talented comedian Mark Farrell returns as producer of Corner Gas and has directed four episodes of the hit comedy series. A five-time Canadian Screenwriting Award-winner and a seven-time Gemini Award-winner, Farrell’s writing credits include numerous episodes of Corner Gas, along with episodes of Made in Canada, the Rick Mercer special Talking to Americans and episodes of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, where he also serves as an Executive Producer. As an actor, Farrell appeared in the comedy series Married Life and The Newsroom, the pilot episode of Corner Gas and in the feature film Snow Falling on Cedars.

NORM HISCOCK – consulting producer/writer
Norm Hiscock returns home after getting his start as a writer for the critically acclaimed sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall, where he served as the show’s head writer for its last two seasons and helped co-write the Kids in the Hall film, Brain Candy. Hiscock’s writing credits also include three seasons on Saturday Night Live and almost six seasons as a writer for the animated series, King of the Hill, where he served as the show’s Co-Executive Producer for the last two seasons. Hiscock also won an Emmy Award and an Annie Award for “Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television Production” for his work on the series.

Recently, Hiscock worked as a consulting producer on the CTV series Alice, I Think. He also developed, wrote and executive produced two pilots, The Altar Boy Gang and The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show, which is currently airing on Comedy Central in the U.S. He currently has a film in development with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

GARY PEARSON – story editor/writer
Gemini Award-nominated writer Gary Pearson brings his impressive list of writing credits to the Corner Gas writing team. For three seasons, Pearson worked as a writer on the news satire series, This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Other writing credits include Mad TV, Train 48, Just For Laughs with Ryan Belleville, Just For Laughs with Russell Peters, 50 Years of CBC Satire with Leslie Nielsen and The Juno Awards. Pearson was also a member of the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated comedy troupe “Chumps” and starred in CBC Radio’s Chumps Without A Net for two seasons. On television, Pearson appeared in episodes of Kids in the Hall, The Newsroom, Sketchcom, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Lissen Missy, Jonathan Cross’s Canada, Goosebumps, ENG, Sister Mary Explains it All and The War Next Door.

ANDREW CARR – story editor/writer
Andrew Carr has been a part of Corner Gas since the beginning, working as a writer and story editor for the past four seasons. Carr got his start in stand-up comedy and has over fifteen years of stand-up experience, he’s performed all across North America and toured with Brent Butt, who brought him to the Corner Gas team. Carr’s television credits include appearances on Comics, Animal Miracles and John Doe. His radio credits include Definitely Not the Opera and Madly off in All Directions.

Entitled “Gopher It,” the season final episode picks up as Dog River is run rampant with prairie dogs – or gophers – among other alarming events. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper becomes the second PM since Diefenbaker to visit Dog River, he wades into a local controversy which he blames on the previous Liberal government. As the episode unfolds, Brent closes shop, Lacey moves home, and the fate of Hank, Oscar, Emma, Wanda, Karen and Davis are put into question – not to mention Corner Gas itself. But in the end, Hank wakes up from what was one big bad dream and all is well again in Dog River.

Corner Gas is produced in association with CTV by Prairie Pants Productions, comprised of Virginia Thompson (Incredible Story Studio, renegadepress.com) of Vérité Films and 335 Productions, a partnership of Brent Butt and David Storey (Blackfly, The Seán Cullen Show). Louise Clarke is CTV’s Director, Western Independent Production. Brent Haynes is Director of Programming for The Comedy Network. Ed Robinson is Senior-Vice President, Comedy and Variety Programming, CTV Inc. Susanne Boyce is President, CTV Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group.

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