13-week tour to visit all 10 provinces, one territory, beginning February 11

Toronto, ON (January 12, 2005) – CTV will canvas the country from coast-to-coast, visiting every single province and even one territory, in the search for Canada's next Canadian Idol, it was announced today.

Producers have confirmed that the 2005 Canadian Idol Audition Tour has been expanded to an extensive 13-week cross-country trek to 13 cities – up from nine last year. The audition cities are (from West to East): WHITEHORSE, Vancouver, Calgary, SASKATOON, Winnipeg, SUDBURY, LONDON, Toronto, Montreal, MONCTON, CHARLOTTETOWN, SYDNEY and St. John's (cities in all-capitals represent new destinations).

The expanded tour is an effort to source previously untapped areas of the country for talent. The 2005 tour takes the Canadian Idol production team to new regions of Canada never visited before, including Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, New Brunswick, Northern and Southwestern Ontario, Northern Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

"Canadian Idol is about providing opportunities for young talent who otherwise might not have the chance to be showcased on a national stage, nor be heard by industry professionals and the public alike," said Ed Robinson, Senior Vice-President of Comedy and Variety Programming, CTV Inc. "By going to even more regions of the country, we're confident in fielding the best crop of talent yet."

The 13-week tour begins Feb. 11 in Vancouver before traveling eastward to Calgary (Feb. 16), Saskatoon (Feb. 21), back to Whitehorse (Feb. 26), on to Winnipeg (March 1), Sudbury (March 5) and London (March 9). After a three-week hiatus, the tour begins again in Charlottetown on April 6 before continuing on to Sydney (April 9), St. John's (April 12), Moncton (April 15) and Montreal (April 19) before wrapping up in Toronto with six days of auditions beginning April 25 (all dates subject to change).

Once again, auditions for Canadian Idol are open to all Canadians between the ages of 16 and 26 (inclusive) as of February 1, 2005. More information about the audition process can be found on the Web at www.idol.ctv.ca, the online portal for the series. CTV will announce rules and regulations as well as venue information in the coming weeks.

Last year, almost 10,000 hopefuls auditioned over a nine-week period in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and St. John's.

In December, CTV announced the return of Canadian Idol for a third season, featuring host Ben Mulroney, judges Farley Flex, Jake Gold, Sass Jordan and Zack Werner, and comedic correspondent Jon Dore. In addition, CTV announced today that for the third consecutive year L'Oréal Paris has returned as major broadcast sponsor of the series.

Season 3, set to debut this summer, builds on the record-breaking success of the series' second season. By the end of Season Two, ratings had increased by 14 per cent, with significant gains made in Canada's two largest markets, especially among younger demos. In Toronto, ratings among men aged 18-34 increased by 23 per cent while in Vancouver viewers also increased 23 per cent among Adults 18-34. Canadian Idol finished with a per episode average of 2.2 million viewers and was viewed by over 17 million Canadians in total, representing 64 per cent of the English population.* Canadian Idol remains the most-watched Canadian series (English language) since the advent of electronic measurement.

Canadian Idol is produced in association with CTV by Insight Productions, along with Atlantic Canada-based Rink Rat Productions and Alberta-based Aquila Productions. John Brunton and Barbara Bowlby are Executive Producers. Mark Lysakowski is Supervising Producer. Senior Producer is Sue Brophey. Ed Robinson is Senior Vice-President, Comedy, Variety and Talk, CTV Inc. Rick Lewchuk is Senior Vice-President, Program Planning and Promotion, CTV Inc. Susanne Boyce is CTV President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group