September 28, 2004
'Corner Gas' cast pumping for viewership
By ANGELA ANDERSON
The cast of the CTV hit Corner Gas hopes to fuel the show's ratings today by giving Calgarians free gas.

To promote the second season of the comedy, cast members will be pumping out 10,000 litres of free fuel to more than 200 drivers at a gas station to be revealed on Jack FM at 6:45 a.m.

The only catch, jokes creator Brent Butt, is that drivers will have to sign a contract promising they will watch the new season.

"If they don't, I will get my lawyers on them," says Butt, who in addition to being a writer and producer is the show's star.

The gas giveaway tour began yesterday in Vancouver.

After today, the cast will migrate to hometown Regina, and then Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto.

"We are hoping to reach people who aren't yet aware of the show," Butt says.

With an average of 1.15 million viewers per episode last season, there aren't many people who haven't at least heard of Corner Gas. Last season made the show the most-watched Canadian series ever.

"It's great that people responded this way," Butt says.

For the new season, which kicks off Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. on DE, the Corner Gas writers have decided to stick with the formula that works.

"There won't be any huge changes. People liked last season, so we're going to keep the slow, comfortable pace," Butt says.

There are some advantages to being both the show's creative force and its star, he adds.

For example, in the season premiere, every woman in Dog River -- where the show is set -- begins to believe that Butt's character, a gas bar owner also named Brent, is attractive.

"That angle was my idea," says Butt.

Despite the newfound attention, Brent carries on stuffing his face with food, pumping gas, oblivious to how hot the ladies find him.

Only Lacy (Gabrielle Miller), the flighty cafe owner who just moved to Dog River, doesn't understand what the big deal over Brent is.

But Corner Gas' success is due as much to its relatable character and locale as to its quotient of clever jokes.

With so much of Canada being rural, viewers can easily identify with a small town like Dog River.

"So many people have said, 'I know someone exactly like Oscar,' for example. People can relate to the characters." says Miller.