TORONTO – “Canada AM” fans expressed shock on Thursday as CTV announced the seminal morning program would be ending its 43-year run just a day later.
“There was no warning,” said Elaine Uskoski, a holistic health practitioner in Caledon, Ont. “I don’t think that’s fair to the fans.”
“I’m just stunned,” added Katia Ulysse Saint Vil, a political communications professional in Ottawa, who watched the show nearly every day.
“I would never think that the show would be ending just like that.”
CTV declined a request for interviews on Thursday but said in a statement that it was making the move in order to evolve its programming.
“As the television landscape continues to evolve, so too must our programming. We look forward to building upon the success of ‘Canada AM’ as we move forward,” said Randy Lennox, president of entertainment production and broadcasting at Bell Media.
“We invite viewers and fans to join us as we say goodbye tomorrow and acknowledge the lasting legacy this series and its talent — both now and in the past — have had on Canada’s broadcasting industry.”
CTV said co-hosts Beverly Thomson and Marci Ien will continue to stay with Bell Media while Jeff Hutcheson will begin his previously announced retirement.
Thomson will move to CTV News Channel while Ien will develop new projects with Bell Media In-House Productions.
Billed as “Canada’s most-watched national morning newsmagazine,” “Canada AM” has been airing since 1972, providing news and lifestyle headlines as well as interviews with stars and newsmakers.
CTV said it will announce a new program for the 6 to 9 a.m. timeslot next week. A simulcast of live CTV News Channel programming will air in the timeslot on CTV beginning Monday.
Friday’s episode will be a tribute to both the program and its hosts.
The show has been home to many of CTV’s broadcasting greats, including Craig Oliver, Sandie Rinaldo, Tom Clark, Lisa LaFlamme and Seamus O’Regan.
“I really liked the way they reported the news,” said Ulysse Saint Vil.
“One of the things I also like about is that, I think that in Canada, black people are not very well represented in the media and seeing Marci Ien was also one of the reasons why I was watching every morning.”
Uskoski said she enjoyed the team’s “sense of humour, their relevancy to what’s going on, their interviews.”
“I liked that they had entertainment on the show. It’s probably more about Jeff’s sense of humour. I liked the camaraderie between them. It was fun to watch.”