Accurately described by CTV as “a fictionalized drama series that picks up where its real-life counterpart Canadian Idol leaves off”, CTV used smart scheduling by giving Instant Star its sneak preview debut with two half-hour episodes, 9:00 – 10:00pm, immediately following the performance finale of the second Canadian Idol series on September 15th 2004.
Instant Star began by following the life of Jude Harrison (played by Alexz Johnson) after she learned she had just won a televised singer-songwriter contest. Those involved in Jude’s ‘new life’ included Record Producer Tom Quincy (Tim Rozon), boyfriend Jamie Andrews (Kristopher Turner), and older sister Sadie (Laura Vandervoort). Other roles were played during the series by Barbara Mamabolo, Andrea Lui, Tracy Waterhouse, Simon Reynolds, Jane Sowerby, Tyler Kyte, Mark Taylor, Wes Williams, Craig Warnock and Cory Lee.
CTV launched the regular series on Sunday January 23rd 2005, with back-to-back episodes 7:00 - 8:00pm. Instant Star then moved into its Sunday 7:30 - 8:00pm time period on January 30th. In November 2005 the series was nominated for three Gemini awards, and won one for Graeme Campbell for Best Direction in a Children's Or Youth Program or Series. The second season of production on Instant Star completed production in December 2005, and ran on the Network from July 18th through August 29th 2006. Part two of season three began on CTV on May 27th 2007, with episodes from season three following in July.
The fourth and last season of Instant Star began on June 22nd 2008, still on Sundays at 7:00pm. New to the cast were Kyle Riabko (as the newest Instant Star winner, Milo), Cassie Steele and Tatiana Masiany.
Instant Star came from Degrassi: The Next Generation producers Epitome Pictures, and was produced in association with CTV. Series creator Linda Schuyler was Co-Executive Producer with Stephen Sohn, and the series was sold around the world in over 120 countries.
The series' cast won the Outstanding Team Achievement in a TV series - Family Award, at the 2007 Directors' Guild of Canada Awards.