Shirley Show, The

Broadcast Run: 
1989 to 1995
Broadcast Medium: 
Television

Shirley Solomon raised an occasional eyebrow, along with CTV’s ratings, when she hosted her own one-hour daily show on CTV. This often controversial, sometimes confrontational series came within a whisker of being picked up for broadcast on the US ABC Network, but ABC changed their minds at the last minute (cold feet, maybe?), and the proposed deal fell through. The Shirley Show was however sold later in syndication.

In each show, Shirley presided over a group of from 6 to 12 panelists, who would be invited to present their views on the day’s subject, which might be Teenage Suicide, Euthanasia, Husbands of Rape Victims, or the media issue of the day, but always open to spirited debate, and members of a studio audience would be invited to contribute their input. Occasionally Shirley would do one-hour, in depth celebrity interviews, with such names as Celine Dionne, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Caine.

Shirley was taped in downtown Toronto. It entered the CTV schedule in September 1989 at 1:00pm Monday to Friday, and enjoyed a very successful six-year run, which ended in September 1995. While despite the controversial nature of the show there were remarkably few complaints to either CTV or the CRTC, one episode caused an official complaint to be registered with the CRTC, who followed their normal procedure of referring such complaints to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. In dismissing the complaint, the CBSC said, in part:
“The Council is satisfied that the presentation of views on doctor-assisted suicide on The Shirley Show in question constituted a balanced treatment of this controversial issue.”

The same could be said of the entire series.

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