Network: CTV Television Network
Broadcast Run: 2004 to 2009
Broadcast Medium: Television
Described by the Network as a “narrative comedy”, the half-hour series Corner Gas made its debut on CTV in January 2004, and immediately scored viewing figures of well over a million. Set in Dog River, a fictional Prairie town, the series unfolded around a gas station and adjacent coffee shop, where a bunch of locals might have been expected to lead somewhat dull lives. But the scripts gave immediate life to each of the characters, the casting was right on the money, and the first few episodes gave every indication that Corner Gas had great staying power.
Brent Butt, who was born in Tisdale Saskatchewan, created the series, and starred as Brent LeRoy, who ran the gas station. He was also a Co-Executive Producer, with David Storey (who also directed) and Virginia Thompson (who produced), and co-wrote the first script with Mark Farrell, whose writing skills were honed on such shows as Made in Canada and The Newsroom. Veteran Canadian actor Eric Peterson played Brett’s retired (and grouchy) dad, and other cast regulars included Janet Wright, Fred Ewanuick, Gabrielle Miller, Lorne Cardinal, Tara Spencer-Nairn and Nancy Robertson.
In its first few weeks on the air, Corner Gas was scheduled by CTV in several early evening time periods, including Thursdays at 8:00pm, Wednesdays at 8:00pm, and then Tuesdays at 8:00pm, as the network sought to find the ideal spot for its breakout hit. In the summer of 2004 the show moved to Wednesdays and then Thursdays. The series returned on Tuesdays at 8pm for the 2004-2005 season, later moving to Mondays at 8:00pm, and Corner Gas was back for CTV’s 2005-2006 schedule, again on Mondays at 8:00pm. As the season ended, the series not only notched its 50th episode, but created a record for Canadian drama series by having over a million viewers for every original episode. Its success continued into 2006-7, and the program was sold internationally to over 25 countries, including Australia and Finland. A sale to Chicago meant that in 2007 the program would be available to over 70,000,000 U.S. homes
The series made a feature of including cameo appearances by major names, including Pamela Wallin, Colin Mochrie, Dan Matheson, Darren Dutchyshen, Lloyd Robertson, Darryl Sittler, Julie Stewart, Kevin McDonald, curlers Randy Furbey and David Nedohin, the Canadian Idol judges and The Tragically Hip.
The series was produced in association with CTV by Prairie Pants Productions and 335 Productions, and was shot in Regina’s Canada/ Saskatchewan Production Studios and on location in Rouleau, Saskatchewan.
In June 2008, CTV announced with regret that Brent Butt had decided that 2008-2009 should be Corner Gas’s final season. In October, CTV announced that two new series would shortly be piloted, each starring one of the Corner Gas cast.
Nancy Robertson would star in Hiccups, a project to be written and produced by Brent Butt, while Fred Ewanuick would star in Dan for Mayor, which was created by Corner Gas writers Mark Farrell, Paul Mather and Kevin White.
The 107th and final original episode of Corner Gas was broadcast on April 13th 2009, and the show and its talented cast were saluted by the media across Canada.
As the series ended, creator Brent Butt said that there was a genuine possibility that in a few years’ time, there might be a feature film based on the series.
On November 14th 2009, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television presented a special Gemini Award to Corner Gas, with the following citation:
“Deriving its name from the roadside gas station in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, the first episode of Corner Gas aired on January 22, 2004 on CTV and attracted 1.5 million viewers. Seen in over 26 countries around the world, Corner Gas has received a total of six Gemini Awards and Season 1 of the hit comedy garnered an International Emmy nomination. Notable guest stars include Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, Adrienne Clarkson, Colin Mochrie, Lloyd Robertson, The Tragically Hip, Jann Arden, Shirley Douglas, Mike Holmes, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Buble”.
On December 16th 2016, The Comedy Network announced it had greenlit an all-new 13-episode half-hour series of an animated version of Corner Gas from 335 Productions and Vérité Films, as reimagined by Corner Gas creator and star Brent Butt. While no definitive casting for the voices was announced at this time, the producers also confirmed that beloved character Emma would live on in the animated world with the blessing of the late Janet Wright’s family. Janet Wright had died in Vancouver on November 14th 2016 at the age of 71.
The new series would come from Corner Gas executive producers Brent Butt and David Storey and Prairie Pantoons (335 Productions), and Virginia Thompson from Moving Mountoons (Vérité Films), in association with the Comedy Network. Animation would be produced by Prairie Pantoons, Moving Mountoons and Smiley Guy Studios.
On January 30, 2017, executive producer and star Brent Butt and The Comedy Network confirmed that actor and long-time friend of Janet Wright, Corrine Koslo, had been cast as the voice of the series’ beloved character, Emma Leroy, for the upcoming animated reboot. Koslo would join original Corner Gas cast members Butt, Gabrielle Miller, Eric Peterson, Fred Ewanuick, Lorne Cardinal, Tara Spencer-Nairn, and Nancy Robertson in the voicing of their respective characters Brent, Lacey, Oscar, Hank, Davis, Karen and Wanda. Voice recordings were already underway in Vancouver and Toronto, with the animation process following in May. The 13-episode, half-hour series was expected to premiere on The Comedy Network in 2018.
In early February 2018, it was announced that the Corner Gas animated series would debut on The Comedy Network beginning Monday, April 2 at 8 p.m. It also played on CTV from April 8th to June 25th 2018, and in June it was announced that ten new Corner Gas Animated programs would be produced in 2019. in January 2019 it was announced that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would make a cameo appearance on one of those programs.
In June 2019 Season 2 of Corner Gas Animated was announced as debuting on July 1st for an eleven-episode season, with guest appearances by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Michael J. Fox, Chris Hadfield, Russell Peters and Jann Arden.
Despite production limitations occasioned by the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, Season 3 of Corner Gas Animated premiered on Monday, Oct. 12 2020 at 9 p.m. Season 3 would feature guest appearances from Andrea Martin, Lance Storm, Brett Kissel, and more.