Corner Gas has been very well received in Canada, quickly becoming one of the best known (if not the best known) Canadian sitcom on television today. Fans of the show appreciate the subtle prairie humour and the distinct Canadian feel to many aspects of the program, which is why you’ve got to wonder how it would ever fare south of the 49th parallel. Well, it seems we’re about to find out, because Corner Gas has just been inked for an 80 some-odd episode run on Superstation WGN.

The Chicago-based cable and satellite network is owned by Tribune Broadcasting Company, the same people that own such popular channels as KTLA Los Angeles, WPIX New York City, KCPQ (Fox) Seattle, and KHCW Houston. The first Corner Gas episode is scheduled to air sometime in early 2007.

As a refresher, Corner Gas has been airing on CTV and The Comedy Network since 2004. Based in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, we follow the everyday antics of Brent Leroy (played by the show’s creator and head writer Brent Butt), owner of the only gas station in town. Other key characters include Brent’s parents Emma and Oscar (played by Janet Wright and Eric Peterson), Brent’s sole employee Wanda Dollar (played by Butt’s real life wife Nancy Robertson), Ruby Cafe owner Lacey Burrows (Gabrielle Miller), and town nitwit Hank Yarbo (Fred Ewanuick).

On a side note, I had a chance to see these fine folks in the flesh at the recent Gemini Awards. For more on that (including pictures and videos), check out my blog entry, as well as the feature article I have over at The Commentary.

Some have said that Corner Gas has the same kind of appeal as Seinfeld in that both shows, really, are about nothing (it’s right in Corner Gas’s theme song — “There’s not a lot going on”). The dry humour is incredibly appealing (to me, and several other Canadians if ratings are to be believed). I’m glad to see Brent Butt enjoying the success that he is, and I hope that this latest deal doesn’t go straight to his head. He’s always come off as quite the humble person, and with the huge success of Corner Gas, he doesn’t seem to have changed much.

In fact, meeting him in real life, Brent Butt isn’t all that different from his on-screen avatar, Brent Leroy. A little goofy, but straight as an arrow.

There’s even word that they’re working on a Corner Gas movie. That’ll put Saskatchewan on the map (they can’t really put Dog River on the map, since, well, it’s not exactly real).

Brent Butt on continuing success

(filmed backstage at the 2006 Gemini Awards)