In 1956, he began performing as a rhythm guitarist on the CBC Television show, Country Hoedown. The Tommy Hunter Show began as a CBC radio program in 1960 and went on to replace Country Hoedown on CBC Television in 1965; Hunter's show was picked up by TNN in 1983 and ran on CBC until 1992.
The book Cue the Elephant by Knowlton Nash (1996, McClelland & Stewart) featured some disparaging remarks from the show's make-up artist. "He could sell himself terrifically but there was no love lost between Tommy and the crew. Some of the guys loathed him ... Everybody made snide remarks behind Tommy's back ... people might say he was the biggest jerk in the world. But that was not my experience. For me, I saw a very easy down-to-earth manner. But Tommy does generate anti as well as pro feelings from people ... he didn't trust people around him, he became a monster to some."
People who performed on The Tommy Hunter Show early in their careers include: