|Presented by||Beverly Thomson
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of episodes||daily|
|Running time||3 hours|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original run||September 11, 1972– present|
Canada AM is a Canadian breakfast television news show, that has aired on CTV since September 11, 1972. It is currently hosted by Beverly Thomson and Marci Ien, with Jeff Hutcheson presenting the weather forecast and sports. The program currently airs only on weekdays, and is produced from CTV's facilities at 9 Channel Nine Court in Toronto.
In addition to CTV's local owned-and-operated stations (O&Os) in Eastern Canada as well as affiliate station CITL-DT Lloydminster, the program also airs on independent station CJON-DT (NTV) in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as CTV News Channel, the network's 24-hour national news service. The program previously aired on CTV's O&Os in Western Canada, until they launched their own all-local morning news programmes called CTV Morning Live in fall 2011.
CTV's first attempt at a morning show, Bright and Early, launched in 1966 and was cancelled the next year; among the presenter lineup was future federal Liberal cabinet minister Jim Fleming, who read the news headlines.
Ray Peters, the head of Vancouver's CTV affiliate CHAN-TV, had been an avid viewer of NBC's Today Show, and lobbied CTV to reinstate a morning program in order to compete with the American networks. Peters had intended the show to be produced out of Vancouver, but agreed to a Toronto-based production in order to bring CFTO-TV's owner John Bassett on board. The 90-minute program launched under the title Canada AM on September 11, 1972, with Carole Taylor and Percy Saltzman as hosts, and Dennis McIntosh as newsreader. Taylor left the show in 1973 to host W5, and was succeeded by Elaine Callei; however, Callei left the program again within a few months, and was in turn succeeded by Helen Hutchinson.
Prior to 2008
For most of the 1990s and 2000s, Canada AM had a consistent running time of two and a half hours, airing between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m. local time, with most affiliates repeating the previous night's late local news at 6:00 a.m. As the program is produced live for the Eastern Time Zone, the program would be "delayed" in Atlantic Canada to 7:30-10:00 AT / 8:00-10:30 NT.
The first half hour would typically consist of a rundown of news headlines, sports, and weather, followed by a lengthy business news segment currently produced by Business News Network; for a few years the 6:30 half-hour was in fact a semi-autonomous program known as AM Business. From 7:00 on, the program used a format more in line with its U.S. counterparts. In its final seasons as CTV's Vancouver affiliate, CHAN-TV (known on air as BCTV) would pre-empt the first 30 minutes in favour of its own morning newscast, and eventually delayed the remainder of Canada AM by an hour, i.e. 8 to 10 a.m. (it did not carry the additional hour discussed below).
The program also includes opt-outs for news updates from a local anchor at each station at the end of each half hour. The network would always produce an alternate national segment for stations not using the opt-outs, as well as CTV News Channel.
In fall 2000, CTV decided to match NBC's expansion of Today by adding another hour of Canada AM from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. local, which aired on O&Os and some affiliates. This would include a "coffee talk" segment as well as other lifestyle features. As a result, CTV dropped the recently renamed Live with Regis and Kelly. As Live continued to have strong ratings stateside, the Canadian network re-added the talk show in fall 2001, bumping the "coffee talk" hour to 10:00 a.m. in most areas, before abandoning the final hour entirely later in the season.
During the early to mid-1990s, Canada AM also aired a one-hour weekend edition, although this was essentially a "best-of" package of that week's regular shows. Another weekend program, Good Morning Canada, was launched in the early 2000s but was also pre-taped using segments from local stations; it was cancelled in 2009.
Canada AM underwent a format change on January 28, 2008, which saw the show expand to six hours of live programming between 6 a.m. and noon ET every weekday. Local CTV stations across the country aired Canada AM live between 6 and 9 a.m. local time (7 and 10 a.m. Atlantic Time, 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. Newfoundland Time), while the complete six-hour, live edition aired on CTV Newsnet. Between 6:00 and 6:30 am ET was Early Edition, originally aired only in the Eastern, Atlantic and Newfoundland time zones, while it still aired on CTV Newsnet.
The format change was marked by the addition of a second on-air team from CTV B.C. in Western Canada, consisting of host Mi-Jung Lee and weather presenter Rena Heer in Vancouver, and news anchor Omar Sachedina in Toronto. The shift from the Eastern to Western hosting teams took place at 7 a.m. PT (10 a.m. ET), meaning that only viewers in Alberta, British Columbia and part of Saskatchewan saw the western team on their local CTV station, although all other Canadians could watch the western team on CTV Newsnet or out-of-market CTV stations carried by cable providers.
On June 6, 2008, CKNW in Vancouver reported the cancellation of the Vancouver-based portions of Canada AM. Biographies of Mi-Jung Lee and Rena Heer were taken off the show's website the same day. CTV announced that it would revert to the program's original format (the additional 6:00-6:30 half hour will continue as well), stating that the decision was in response to viewer feedback from western Canada indicating a preference for the prior format.
A few weeks prior, CTV cancelled the extra local news segments that appeared at :00 and :30 minutes past the hour, reverting to updates only at :25 and :55 minutes past the hour.
Following the cancellation of the western edition, CTV continued to produce the 9:00 ET hour of Canada AM until September 2008. During those three months, CTV Newsnet aired 4 hours of Canada AM from 6:00-10:00 ET (3:00-7:00 PT), and 2 hours of its own news content from 10:00 a.m. to noon ET to replace the cancelled western edition. CTV B.C. also reverted to its original local updates (until they were cancelled in March 2009).
The 9:00 ET hour of Canada AM was handled differently on the main network depending on the time zone:
- Eastern, Atlantic and Newfoundland Time Zone viewers did not notice a schedule difference at all because the 9:00 ET edition was only available on cable.
- Pacific Time Zone viewers were able to see the second and third hour of the eastern edition, but the first hour was preempted with the live 9:00 ET edition at 6:00 PT. The first hour of the eastern edition could only be viewed on CTV Newsnet between 3:00-4:00 a.m. PT.
After the 9:00 ET hour of Canada AM was cancelled, CTV Newsnet (later rebranded as CTV News Channel) began airing an extra hour of its own news content, presented by Marci Ien. From that point onward, the program aired without deviations in every time zone, including Early Edition at 6:00 AM.
In March 2009, CTV stopped producing local opt-out news updates in most markets in order to reduce costs at its local stations. The two exceptions are CTV Toronto (where Canada AM is produced) and CTV Atlantic (which reuses the staff already on hand for sister channel CTV Two Atlantic's morning show). NTV also continues to utilize the opt-out for local news updates.
As part of Bell Canada's re-acquisition of CTV in 2011, CTV's new owner Bell Media announced the launch of new all-local morning newscasts (titled CTV Morning Live) to be produced at the network's stations in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver effective fall 2011. (In the latter three markets, local morning newscasts on Global stations usually have higher ratings than Canada AM.) As a result, Canada AM no longer airs on CTV's owned-and-operated stations in Western Canada, and is instead available only via CTV News Channel, or out-of-market CTV stations from Lloydminster or Eastern Canada.
The new programs will complement existing local morning shows produced under the Bell Media corporate umbrella in Eastern Canada, namely CP24 Breakfast in Toronto, and CTV Morning Live in Ottawa and Atlantic Canada. However, the existing programs do not replace Canada AM on the CTV stations in their respective markets; instead they air on co-owned local outlets (CP24, CTV Two Ottawa and CTV Two Atlantic respectively) in competition with the national show.
Seamus O'Regan left the show on November 24, 2011 to become a correspondent for CTV National News. Marci Ien took over as co-host upon returning from maternity leave on January 9, 2012. No replacement for Ien's previous position as newsreader was named, and the duty of reading the news headlines at the top of each half-hour now alternates between Thomson and Ien.
For several years, in the 1970s and 1980s, the theme music was an instrumental version of The Moody Blues' "Ride My See-Saw", which is from their In Search of the Lost Chord album of 1968. During the same era, CTV's newsmagazine series W5 was using Supertramp's "Fool's Overture".
- Percy Saltzman 1972–73
- Carole Taylor: 1972–73
- Elaine Callei: 1973
- Helen Hutchinson: 1973–78
- Pierre Pascau: 1974–75
- Norm Perry: 1975–78; 1981–90
- Pamela Wallin: 1981–85
- Linda MacLennan: 1985–87
- Nancy Wilson: 1987–89
- J.D. Roberts: 1990–92
- Keith Morrison: 1992–94
- Valerie Pringle: 1992–2001
- Dan Matheson: 1995–2001
- Lisa LaFlamme: 2001–03
- Rod Black: 2001–02
- Seamus O'Regan: 2002–11
- Beverly Thomson: 2003–present
- Marci Ien: 2011–present
- Pip Wedge (June 2008). "Canada AM". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- Nolan, p.84
- Nolan, p.160
- Nolan, p.161
- Gittins, p.108
- Gittins, p.110
- Canada AM moving to unique six-hour format, CTV.ca, January 9, 2008
- CTV press release, June 6, 2008
- CTV cuts 24 staff at Canada AM across the country, axes Montreal morning newscast, Canadian Press, March 10, 2009
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2011-03-07). "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-163, Appendix 1". Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- CTV (2011-07-25). "Eleanor Coopsammy and Kris Laudien to host CTV MORNING LIVE, Launching this Fall (press release)". Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- Nolan, Michael (2001). CTV, the network that means business. University of Alberta. ISBN 978-0-88864-384-1.
- Gittins, Susan (1999). CTV: The Television Wars. Stoddart Publishing Co. Limited. pp. 230, 296. ISBN 0-7737-3125-3.