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Last night at 8 p.m., more Canadians chose Corner Gas, than an all-new simulcast episode of Prison Break on Fox/Global. Corner Gas reeled in 1.5 million viewers vs 1.45 million watching Prison Break.

When measuring the half hour only (8-8:30 p.m), Corner Gas was unbeatable, with 6 per cent more total viewers head to head.

At 9 p.m., an encore episode of Criminal Minds on CTV nearly dethroned Heroes. Criminal Minds delivered 1.11 million viewers on CTV, just shy of Heroes (1.29 on Global/NBC).

Then at 10 p.m., the night’s biggest audience belonged to CSI: Miami, which delivered 2.83 million viewers to CTV, nearly three times the audience than watched 24.

In all, CTV had Monday night’s top 3 most watched programs of the night (CSI: Miami, CTV Evening News, Corner Gas).

All audience figures are courtesy of BBM Nielsen Media Research and represent a nation-wide picture of television viewing in Canada.

American Idol continues its record-breaking pace in Canada. Audiences for last night’s Season 6 premiere on CTV grew throughout the two-hour broadcast (8-10 p.m.) to peak at 3.6 million viewers in its last half-hour (9:30 – 10 p.m.)

The final average audience was 3.04 million, the biggest audience ever for an American Idol season premiere and up 3 per cent compared to last year’s season opener. It was the most-watched program on Canadian television last night in all demographics, both nationally and in Toronto and Vancouver.

All audience figures are courtesy of BBM Nielsen Media Research and represent a nation-wide picture of television viewing in Canada.

Corner Gas returns Monday Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV with the first new episode of the New Year. Eight new episodes remain leading up to the Season 4 finale in which all signs point to Brent LeRoy selling the Corner Gas station and moving on from the family business.

In Monday’s episode, entitled “Mother’s Day”, Brent’s in the doghouse when Hank proves to be a better son to Emma than Brent. Meanwhile, things backfire when Lacey pokes fun at Davis because he can’t wink.

Corner Gas - Corner Gas, Season 4 - Mother's Day Miss this episode? Buy it here.


Corner Gas - Corner Gas, Season 4 Buy Season 4 here.

As American Idol makes its long-awaited return, CTV announced today further details about the upcoming cross-country, musician-friendly search for the next Canadian Idol. In addition to releasing audition venue information, the network also confirmed today that the tour will now begin Feb. 3-4 in Vancouver, one week later than previously announced, allowing prospective competitors additional time to prepare for the auditions. With the 10-city audition tour now kicking off in less than three weeks on the West coast, full details about how, where and when to audition are now available on the Canadian Idol website at http://www.idol.ctv.ca.

As previously announced, for the first time in North America competitors can audition while playing musical instruments. Like last year, the 2007 Canadian Idol “Easy-Access” tour makes it easier than ever to audition. There is no need to line up as competitors can arrive any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on each day of the auditions. As well, almost all of the auditions are scheduled on weekends and most of the auditions will be held at malls.

The auditions will be held at the following venues (all information subject to change):

City Dates Venues
Vancouver, BC February 3-4 Metropolis at Metrotown
Calgary, AB February 10 – 11 Southcentre Mall
Saskatoon, SK February 17 – 18 Market Mall
Winnipeg, MB February 24 – 25 Portage Place
London, ON March 3 – 4 White Oaks Mall
Montreal, QC March 10 – 11 Triplex/Old Montreal Forum
Ottawa, ON March 17 – 18 St-Laurent Centre
Halifax, NS March 24 – 25 Halifax Shopping Centre
St. John’s, NL April 4 Village Shopping Centre
Toronto, ON Starting April 11 TBC

Auditions for Canadian Idol are open to all Canadians between the ages of 16 and 28 (inclusive) as of February 1, 2007. Prospective competitors are encouraged to visit the Canadian Idol website, http://www.idol.ctv.ca, where they can download and complete a Regional Release Form which is required to audition (Release Forms will also be available at the auditions).

Featuring host Ben Mulroney and judges Farley Flex, Jake Gold, Sass Jordan and Zack Werner, Season 5 of Canadian Idol returns to CTV this June, building on the success of the series’ fourth season. After a record 12,000 auditions kicked off the fourth edition of the series, Season 4 ended with an astonishing 36.4 million votes cast by viewers – more than one for every man, woman and child in the country. Season 4 reached 55 per cent of the English Canadian population, meaning that one out of every two people in the country watched some part of the series last summer.

The search for the next great filmmaker is coming to Canada. CTV announced today it has signed on as the exclusive Canadian broadcast partner for On The Lot, the new unscripted television series from two of the biggest names in film and television, Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg.

CTV also announced today that Burnett and Spielberg are actively searching for Canadian competitors for the series: aspiring homegrown filmmakers interested in winning a one million dollar development deal with DreamWorks Studios. As of today, short films can be submitted as entry into the first part of the competition. To enter, applicants 13 years of age and older must submit a self-directed short film, up to five minutes in length, before Friday, Feb. 16, 2007 (see “How to Apply,” below). Producers will then visit Toronto in March for an invite-only casting call for Canadian competitors (see “Canadian Casting Call,” below).

On the Lot is a groundbreaking new television series by reality show mastermind, Mark Burnett, and legendary producer and director, Steven Spielberg. Executive produced by Burnett and Spielberg for FOX in the United States and now CTV in Canada, the series will debut this spring. Each week over the course of the summer, 16 filmmakers selected from applicants from around the world will produce short films in every genre. Viewers will vote on the productions and one filmmaker will be eliminated each week. The last filmmaker standing will take home a seven-figure development deal with DreamWorks – and the keys to a brand new office On The Lot (see “About the Show,” below).

“Canadians have a great track record of competing with the best from around the world, both on reality TV and otherwise,” said Burnett. “We look forward to seeing what Canada has to offer.”

“From Louis B. Mayer and Jack Warner to Norman Jewison and David Cronenberg, Canada has produced some great movie-makers over the years,” said Spielberg. “On The Lot could be the big break that the next great Canadian filmmaker is looking for.”

“On The Lot delivers an innovative concept backed by an exceptional pedigree and as a result, CTV is thrilled to bring this project to Canadians,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. “Burnett and Spielberg together for the first time – who could ask for anything more?”

CANADIAN CASTING CALL

Submissions from filmmakers around the world, including Canadians, will be accepted until Feb. 16. Then, producers will visit several North American cities for invite-only casting calls, including Toronto in March. Western Canadian filmmakers selected for interviews will travel to Seattle around the same time to meet producers. Afterwards, applicants will be winnowed to a group of 16 talented filmmakers. These finalists will be brought to Hollywood, where they will be divided into teams and will begin the journey toward their “big break.”

ABOUT THE SHOW

Premiering in late spring on CTV and set to air in more than 40 countries, On The Lot will feature a cast of 16 undiscovered filmmakers competing to win the support of the show’s viewers, who will decide their fate in a weekly audience vote. The competition will air over two nights weekly, with a one-hour “Film Premiere” episode followed the next night by a half-hour “Box Office” results show.

Every week, each team will produce short films from a chosen genre, running the gamut from comedies to thrillers, personal dramas to romance, sci-fi to horror. They will have access to the best resources the industry has to offer –professional writers, cast and crew – and possibly even Hollywood celebrities.

After the teams have battled time frames, budgets and all the usual chaos that goes along with filmmaking, their films will debut and be critiqued in front of a live audience during the “Film Premiere” episode. Judges will include a high-ranking motion picture executive, a prominent film critic and a succession of well-respected guests, such as directors who are experts in the week’s featured genre.

But the filmmakers ultimately will be judged by the harshest critics of all … the public. It will be viewers whose votes determine which films should be left on the cutting-room floor. On each “Box Office” results show, the director whose feature garners the fewest votes will be sent home.

As the competition continues and more directors are eliminated, the remaining filmmakers will have to work individually, creating a new short film every week until only the most talented filmmaker is left. Anointed the winner, the last director will head to DreamWorks, meet Steven Spielberg and will be shown their new office … On The Lot.

Hundreds of video submissions are now up and ready to view and critique on the series’ companion website at www.thelot.com. In addition to series info and application forms, the website also offers movie news and box office results, as well as message boards, personal blogs and photo galleries.

HOW TO APPLY

1. Applicants should submit both a 30-45 second “Intro Video” and a short film no more than five minutes in length.
2. Download application forms, including Application Rules and Requirements, Applicant Information Sheet and Submitted Materials Release, from the series website at www.thelot.com.
3. Upload the video submission onto the series website, www.thelot.com.
4. Mail a copy of the video submission on DVD or VHS, along with signed application forms, postmarked no later than February 16, 2007, to: On The Lot Submissions, P.O. Box 149, 9663 Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210, USA.
5. Applicants under the age of 18 are required to send a signed parental consent form.
6. For full application details, visit www.thelot.com.

Additional details about On The Lot, including a host and judging panel, will be announced later this year by CTV.

The sun will set for the last time on The O.C. when the series ends its four-season run Thursday, February 22 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV (check local listings). The countdown has begun, with new original episodes airing each week through the last episode on February 22. Viewers can access previously-aired episodes of The O.C. on demand on The CTV Broadband Network at CTV.ca.

Set in Orange County, California, The O.C. premiered in August 2003. It follows a group of friends and families whose lives were changed by the arrival of an outsider – Ryan Atwood – to their ocean-side community of Newport Beach.

The O.C. revived the teen drama genre while including humorous and heartfelt adult storylines. Shortly after its summer premiere, The O.C. became a pop culture phenomenon. Four seasons later, its actors are household names while its indie music (and subsequent six soundtracks) and hip California wardrobe are sought-after in stores. The show’s Newport Beach locale also has become a popular tourist attraction as fans visit the real locations featured in their favorite episodes.

“The O.C. Season Four finale will also be the series finale. This feels like the best time to bring the show to its close,” said Josh Schwartz, creator and executive producer of The O.C. “Thanks to the hard work of our cast, crew and writers, we have enjoyed our best season yet, and what better time to go out than creatively on top. It has been an amazing experience and a great run. For a certain audience, at a certain time, The O.C. has meant something. For that we are grateful.”

The O.C. stars Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen), Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen), Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan Atwood), Adam Brody (Seth Cohen), Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper), Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts), Autumn Reeser (Taylor Townsend) and Willa Holland (Kaitlin Cooper).