Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rogers Continues to Sock Citytv Traditions

A reader lamented on a previous post that it was all over. I was hoping not. I was hoping that Rogers would keep the Citytv flavour, but maybe freshen it up a bit, like it has with the introduction of Murdoch Mysteries. But from today's Toronto Star story about Rogers telling Ed to put a sock in it, it seems that everything and everyone that made Citytv unique is heading out the door.

The change actually began a couple of years ago with the abrupt firing of Harold Hosein. Then we heard Marilyn Dennis was leaving CityLine; viewers are still reeling from that news, made real by her last show airing in May. On June 12th, The Star reported that Speakers Corner was disappearing from television sets as of the end of this season, though it may or, more probably, may not reappear as an online feature. I could be wrong, but James Haggerty (Vice-President and General Manager of Citytv Toronto) musing about making it a web show felt to me like a sop to the fans. In the great Canadian corporate tradition of treating long-time employees badly, Rogers axed Silverman Helps, not giving either Silverman or loyal viewers a chance to wrap up the show next season, a mean-spirited decision made more unbelievable by the fact that Silverman Helps apparently received 20,000 requests a year. That's a lot of pissed-off people to leave swinging in the wind, with no hope. Last year, I watched the MMVAs on Citytv and asked how would it be different next year. Well, CTV decided not to broadcast it on the main network, so unlike all the previous years, only MuchMusic subscribers could watch it on television. Not good. And now the long-running comedy show Ed and Red's Night Party is being dumped in the Citytv washing machine as of the end of August. I personally couldn't care less, but I do find it a bit strange that Rogers would cancel a show that "regularly beats American late-night competition in local ratings." (Toronto Star, 25 June 2008) That's no mean feat for a Canadian show to be able to do that. They'd better have one heck of a replacement lined up!

The creator and voice of Ed The Sock points out that although he understands Rogers' moves, "he admits there should be a fear of alienating old viewers." (Toronto Star, 25 June 2008) No kidding! Rogers ought to have a very big fear of that, as it was the shows that had Citytv stamped all over them and the long-time Citytv personalities that grew the station's viewers and size. I highly doubt it was the nightly airing of Great Movies.

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