The Three Canadian Children's Programs Each Capture The $25,000 Prize as Chosen by Kids from Across the Country

OTTAWA, Nov. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Shaw Rocket Fund is pleased to announce the winners of the ninth-annual Shaw Rocket Prize, with three independently-produced Canadian programs earning the most votes by children from across the country to claim top honours at a gala event held this evening in Ottawa.

Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood by Toronto production company 9 Story Entertainment, The Next Step by Toronto's Temple Street Productions and The Phantoms by Halifax's Dream Street Productions each won a $25,000 prize by claiming top honours in their respective age categories. These wins mark the first time three separate awards have been given out in the history of the Shaw Rocket Prize.

More information on the winning programs is as follows:

Preschool Category (ages 0-to-5) - Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood
An animated series whose title character, Daniel, is a shy yet brave four-year-old tiger living in the Neighbourhood of Make Believe. With the help of his neighbours, family, and friends, including O the Owl, Prince Wednesday and Katerina Kitty, Daniel has fun while learning all the key skills necessary for school and for life.

      Children (ages 6-to-12) - The Next Step
The Next Step follows the 'A-Troupe' dancers - from the relationships they form to the challenges they face - as they strive to win a series of dance competitions. While auditions are being held to find the ten dancers that could take A-Troupe to the regionals, the arrival of an amazing new dancer means no performer's spot is guaranteed. 

Youth/Family (ages 13-to-17) - The Phantoms
Inspired by real events, The Phantoms is a two-hour made-for-TV movie following a newly-formed high school basketball team and its difficult road to recovery after a devastating crash that took the lives of seven players and the wife of the coach. The Phantoms is a moving story about determination, courage, healing, and the power of community.
"On behalf of the Shaw Rocket Fund, we would like to congratulate our three programs for winning top honours at tonight's event," said Annabel Slaight, Chair of the Shaw Rocket Fund. "The overwhelming quality of all the entries we received this year is a true testament to both the high level at which these production teams function and the strength of the Canadian television industry as a whole."

Hosted by Global News Chief Political Correspondent Tom Clark, the Shaw Rocket Fund awards were presented at the gala to the production teams of the three winning programs by the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

"Our Government is pleased to celebrate our country's excellence in children's programming," said Minister Glover. "Thanks to the talent recognized through the Shaw Rocket Prize, the future is bright for our children's television and digital media production sector."

Barb Williams, Senior Vice President, Content for Shaw Media was also on hand at the gala, and commented on both the unbridled creativity shown by all the programs during the evening as well as the leadership role Canadians have taken in creating children's television content.

"The Shaw Rocket Prize allows us all to celebrate the creative spirit of our homegrown producers in developing some of the best programming for children and families in the world," said Barb Williams. "This award epitomizes the dedication Shaw and Shaw Media have to supporting original Canadian content while providing viewers with access to the best programming possible."

The Shaw Rocket Prize is presented each year to independently-produced Canadian children's, youth, or family program and its associated digital content. New this year is the addition of three categories defined by audience targets.


The finalists of the 2013 Shaw Rocket Prize's three categories were selected by an international jury of industry experts. This jury was comprised of Evan Baily - President, Consolidated Baily Inc.; Sarah Muller - Head of Acquisitions and Drama Development, CBBC; Adina Pitt - Vice President, Content Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Cartoon Network and Boomerang; Karen Vermeulen - SVP Global Sales and Coproduction, Zodiak Kids, SVP Global Projects, Zodiak Rights; and Brian Wright - Senior Vice President of Live Action Development, Nickelodeon Group.

Once narrowed to five finalists, a jury of children from across Canada chose their favourite programs by voting on each finalist's television and digital media content online throughout October and November.

About Shaw Rocket Fund
The Shaw Rocket Fund is a forward-thinking, not-for-profit production fund that focuses on stimulating excellence in the Canadian children's production industry through investment and various initiatives such as the much celebrated Shaw Rocket Prize. The Fund is a passionate champion for the children's production sector to ensure that Canadian children's media experience is enhanced with high quality programming, recognizing that entertainment for kids has become a multi-platform experience and part of children's everyday lives. To date, the Shaw Rocket Fund has proudly invested $150 million towards high quality television programs and their associated digital media content. Shaw Rocket Fund is supported by Shaw Communications, Shaw Pay Per View, a division of the Shaw Cablesystems, and Shaw Direct.