National Canada Tonight logo, used from 1998 to 2001. The BCTV version used BCTV's logo in place of the maple leaf.
|Starring||Tony Parsons (national edition)
Bill Good (BCTV edition)
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of episodes||N/A|
|Running time||30 mins.|
|Original network||WIC/BCTV (1993-2001)
|Original release||1993 – August 31, 2001|
|Followed by||Global National|
Canada Tonight was a Canadian television newscast which aired on stations owned by Western International Communications (WIC) from 1993 to 2001. It was produced out of the studio of CHAN-TV (BCTV) in Burnaby, British Columbia. There were two versions of the newscast; the one seen outside BC was anchored by Tony Parsons, and the one seen in that province was anchored by Bill Good. The BC version, seen only on BCTV, featured more stories related to Vancouver and BC, as well as local weather and some national news reports sourced from CTV, which WIC's other stations were unable to use.
As a charter CTV affiliate, BCTV had carried the network's Toronto-based national newscast. However, the late night time slot for CTV National News was seen by BCTV as a competitive disadvantage against the early evening network newscasts on the U.S. television networks, in particular the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. After failing to convince CTV to introduce a suppertime national newscast, BCTV decided in the mid-1970s to instead retool its own early evening local newscast into the News Hour, presented by Tony Parsons. News Hour later became the most-watched newscast in the region, and remains so to this day.
Executives at BCTV also perceived a Toronto-bias in the production of CTV National News, and as such continued to push for a Vancouver-based national newscast. The station produced pilots for CTV's board in 1990; however, the proposal was turned down by the network. As a result, WIC decided in 1993 to launch its own early evening semi-national newscast, Canada Tonight. The newscast was produced out of BCTV's studio, and also aired on WIC's independent stations in Alberta and Hamilton, Ontario.
Following Canwest Global's purchase of WIC in 2000, the Global Television Network announced its plans to launch a new network newscast in September 2001, to be produced by a newly established national news division based at BCTV (itself to become a Global owned-and-operated station). In the interim, Canada Tonight replaced First National, a regional newscast seen on Global stations in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba (by this point, CHCH-TV Hamilton had replaced Canada Tonight with an expanded local newscast).
One unusual feature of the national version of the newscast which normally aired on Friday evenings was a segment called "Satellite Debris", presented by BCTV sports anchor Squire Barnes, which featured some of the week's humorous or less newsworthy news items. On the Friday before the NFL's Super Bowl in the United States, it also previewed some of the advertisements that could not be seen in Canada through cable or satellite distribution due to simultaneous substitution regulations. (On BCTV, this segment aired as part of the 6:00 p.m. News Hour, and indeed continues as part of the Friday newscast on Global BC.)
- 2001 Vancouver TV realignment, which signalled the end of the newscast
- Nolan, p.178
- Gittins, p.230
- Gittins, p.296
- 50 years of TV for BC: The highlights, Global BC website. Accessed online March 21, 2011.