Canada’s Today Show, On For 44 Years, Cancelled With Just 24 Hours Notice To Viewers, Staff
That’s what all the people say.
You’re riding high in April… shot down in May.”
–Francis Albert Sinatra
More than most other occupations, working in television can provide a false sense of security. After all, everything looks and feels so glamorous… especially for those on-air: The hair stylists, the makeup artists, the active Twitter feed to validate (sometimes falsely) one’s relevance, the bright lights of a studio, the biggest names in politics, entertainment, sports or business (or all of the above if hosting a morning show) coming on just talk to you.
…Until it isn’t.
CTV’s Canada AM, basically the north-of-the-border version of NBC’s Today Show, will be going off the air as of today. Shows come and go all the time, so no biggie, right? Well, no. Because in this case, according to The Toronto Star, viewers were told of said cancellation just yesterday. Even worse? Most of the show’s staff just found out yesterday as well.
Riding high in April… shot down in
May early June.
“I must say, it was a bit surreal,” says Seamus O’Regan, a former co-host of Canada AM who is now the member of parliament (going from TV to politics apparently isn’t just an American thing). “There is certainly shock that we are losing a very important national voice for news.” O’Regan flew to Toronto and is appearing on the show’s final broadcast today.
A CTV spokesperson says a new program — yet to be officially named — will air in same timeslot. Canada AM has been on the air for 44 years. John Roberts, formerly of CBS and CNN and currently with Fox News, once hosted the show.
The reaction on Twitter Canada is one of shock, sadness and anger:
— Nancy Jamieson (@nljco) June 3, 2016
— André Picard (@picardonhealth) June 3, 2016
— Sujit K. Reddy (@Sujit_K_Reddy) June 3, 2016
That basically sums up the sentiment this morning…
So if you’re thinking of getting into the broadcast news biz, know this:
The hours will be horrible to start.
You won’t get paid much. When Bernie Sanders talks about raising the minimum wage, there might as well be a list of entry-level jobs in television in the examples-of-those-underpaid section.
And… even if you make it way up the food chain like the hosts of Canada AM, job stability — more than most other occupations — is never truly on solid footing. This is particularly true in today’s fractured media landscape where there’s more competition than ever before as traditional living room programming (like Canada AM) is becoming less and less profitable thanks to social media and mobility.
That’s life (that’s life), that’s life and I can’t deny it
Many times I thought of cuttin’ out but my heart won’t buy it
But if there’s nothin’ shakin’ come this here July
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball a-and die
Nothing is likely coming Canada AM’s staff from the network come July.
Swift cancellations like this usually don’t have happy-ending Plan Bs.
Such is life in the not-as-sexy-as-it-looks world of broadcast news, where more than a few staffers at Canada AM now need to find a paying Plan B that likely will entail working in another industry just to make ends meet… all thanks to CTV management that couldn’t even give them the common courtesy of a few weeks notice.
Follow Joe Concha on Twitter @JoeConchaTV
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.