TORONTO – There were some farewell tears but for the most part, the hosts of “Canada AM” kept the mood upbeat and by-the-book on Friday as the venerable show aired for the last time.
A day after the unexpected announcement that CTV would be abruptly cancelling the show after 43 seasons, co-hosts Beverly Thomson, Marci Ien and Jeff Hutcheson greeted viewers with smiles and only briefly acknowledged the show’s fate before getting straight into the day’s headlines.
The finale included many photo and video montages from “Canada’s most-watched national morning newsmagazine,” which started in September 1972, offering news and lifestyle stories as well as interviews with stars and newsmakers.
Thomson, Ien and Hutcheson appeared at ease, filling the broadcast with laughs.
“I’m going to do the weather the way people really want to do the weather,” said Hutcheson, delivering the forecast with a “you’re welcome” to cities getting sun and apologies to those getting rain.
He also relished a look back at the most memorable moments from his online viral video segment, “Things I Learned on the Internet.”
In his parting words, he thanked his co-hosts as well as his wife and children.
“On this shift you miss a lot and they’ve been great,” said Hutcheson. “I wasn’t there for a lot and they have played this really well.”
As they closed the show, each host grew emotional.
“Thank you to all of you for coming this morning,” said Thomson, who added that working on the show has been the highlight of her career.
“Mostly, thank you at home.”
Ien called her time on “Canada AM” “a dream come true” and choked back tears as she ended the show with her signature line: “Bye, Canada.”
“Canada, it’s been a love affair,” she said. “Thank you for allowing us into your living rooms and bedrooms, dare I say, each and every morning.”
Former host Seamus O’Regan, now a Newfoundland MP, was seen standing behind the scenes as cameras panned to the show’s crew.
Several other “Canada AM” contributors, including BNN reporter Michael Kane and film critic Richard Crouse, also appeared on the last show.
CTV said a replacement show will be announced next week. Until a new show is announced and goes on the air, a simulcast of live CTV News Channel programming will run in the “Canada AM” timeslot, beginning Monday.
Thomson and Ien will continue to stay with Bell Media while Hutcheson will begin his previously announced retirement on June 17. Thomson will move to CTV News Channel while Ien will develop new projects with Bell Media In-House Productions.
While fans were shocked by the decision to pull the plug on “Canada AM,” which helped launch the broadcasting careers of Pamela Wallin and Valerie Pringle, among others, industry observers said the move reflects a shifting media landscape.