Canada AM



While CTV had its critics over the years for what was perceived to be a lack of
Carole Taylor
Carole Taylor
meaningful Canadian programming, there is no question that the network took a major leadership role in creating what quickly became Canada's most successful morning news/interview show ever. Within months of it coming on the air in 1972, it pushed NBC's Today Show into second place as Canada's choice of morning information viewing in homes - and particularly in hotels - across the country.

Dan Matheson, Valerie Pringle, Jeff Hutcheson
Dan Matheson, Valerie Pringle, Jeff Hutcheson

CTV had taken an unsuccessful stab at a news-oriented daily morning show before,with the short-lived Bright and Early (q.v.) in 1966-67. Now, with added resources, CTV had the potential of recapturing a significant television audience who hitherto had had only had US morning programming of this kind to watch. Another plus for the affiliates was the provision of 7 ½ hours of Canadian programming a week in their schedules, which they could offset with five hours of U.S. programming while maintaining their required balance of Canadian to foreign programming.

Canada AM launched on September 11th 1972, with former CBC weatherman Percy Saltzman and Toronto television personality Carole Taylor as co-hosts, and Dennis Macintosh as the newsreader. Starting as a 90-minute show, 7:00-8:30am, Monday -Friday, the program added a half-hour midway through the 1975-76 season. Then, in the fall of 1983, the start time was moved up to 6:30am, to provide a 2½ hour daily block of news, weather, interviews and lifestyle items from a Canadian point of view.

By then the program had gone through several changes in hosts, and the turnover
Seamus O'Reagan, Beverly Thomson
Seamus O'Reagan, Beverly Thomson
 continued as the strain of early-hours wakeup calls and disrupted family lives took its toll on even the hardiest souls. Carole Taylor and Percy Saltzman gave way to Helen Hutchinson and Norm Perry, and in subsequent years the program's hosts included Linda McClennan, Gail Scott, Pamela Wallin, Nancy Wilson, Keith Morrison, J.D. Roberts, Dan Matheson, Rod Black, Valerie Pringle, Lisa
LaFlamme, Beverly Thomson, Jeff Hutcheson and Seamus O'Regan.

Marci Ien from CTV Newsnet added the Canada AM news anchor role to her duties in 2003, replacing Leslie Jones.

Canada AM had its own dedicated studios at the network's headquarters in Toronto, but drew on correspondents and contributors from across the country and around the world. In September 2007 it celebrated 35 years on the air, and showed no signs of slowing down.

Marci Ien, Seamus O'Reagan, Beverly Thomson, Jeff Hutcheson, Mi-Jung Lee and Rena Heer
Marci Ien,Seamus O'Reagan, Beverly Thomson, Jeff Hutcheson, Mi-Jung Lee and Rena Heer

Starting on January 28th, 2008, Canada AM began broadcasting live in each time zone.  This meant providing six hours of live programming,  and involved the establishment of a Western anchor team to work out of a new Canada AM studio in Vancouver. Mi-Jung Lee joined the program as a co-anchor, with Reena Heer hired to do weather and special reports, and Omar Sachedina to do newscasts.

Omar Sachedina
Omar Sachedina

This experiment was ended on  June 9th, when the program reverted to a 3-hour package which ran live in the east and was delayed to local time zones elsewhere.

On November 8, 2011, CTV announced that Canada AM host Seamus O'Regan would bid a final good morning to viewers across the country on Thursday November 28th, and would join CTV National News as a Correspondent, effective Monday November 28th. O'Regan had already been putting his story-telling skills to use on the CTV National News series "Canadian Originals", profiling everyday Canadians from all walks of life.

On November 24th, it was announced that Marci Ien would be Seamus O'Regan's successor on Canada AM, taking on her new role Jan. 9th 2012, following maternity leave.  Friday, Nov. 24 was O'Regan's last day at Canada AM.

 Canada AM celebrated four decades of waking up Canadians with a special week of retrospective programming from Monday, Oct. 22 to Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.  The series continued through the 2012-2013 season, and was renewed for the 2013-14 season.

 As of February 2014, the three regular hosts were Jeff Hutcheson, Beverly Tomson and Marci Ien.

 

 

Marci Ien, Jeff Hutcheson, Beverly Thomson
                                          Marci Ien, Jeff Hutcheson, Beverly Thomson

 

 

 

 

Written by Pip Wedge - June, 2008