2013 Montreal election night coverage plans: TV prime time stays untouched

Graphics that will be used on Global Montreal's News Final election special.

Graphics that will be used on Global Montreal’s News Final election results special.

When the polls close at 8pm on Sunday, Montrealers will be turning to their televisions to watch the results come in. And many will be disappointed.

Though there are municipal elections happening throughout Quebec, and Montreal’s election in particular has been getting a lot of attention, none of the broadcast television stations in Montreal is carrying election coverage before 10pm. Most are keeping the lucrative Sunday primetime schedule as is, and holding live election coverage until the late evening.

For the all-news networks, meanwhile, it will depend on your preferred language (just like with every other story, Montreal/Quebec news is national news in French but not in English). RDI and LCN will have election coverage starting at 6:30pm (presumably covering cities across Quebec, not just Montreal), while the three English networks have no election specials planned.

Here’s what’s going on for each network:

Local television

  • Radio-Canada: Tout le monde en parle until 10:18pm, followed by Le Téléjournal (presumably leading with election news), then simulcasting RDI’s election special starting at 10:42pm going until about 1am
  • TVA: Regular Sunday night primetime (a special Le Banquier with Céline Dion, On connaît la chanson), followed by TVA Nouvelles at 10pm, then a movie at 11pm
  • V: No live election coverage (the network only airs newscasts in the morning now)
  • Télé-Québec: No live election coverage (Télé-Québec stopped having live news long ago)
  • MAtv Montréal: No live election coverage
  • CBC Television: Local news as usual at 11pm, focused on election results, hosted by Thomas Daigle. Prime time (Battle of the Blades) is untouched. Results throughout the night online.
  • CTV Montreal: Regular late local news at 11:30pm, focused on election results. Five field reporters, plus political panel. Hosted by Paul Karwatsky and Caroline Van Vlaardingen. Prime time remains untouched, but results are promised during “extended news breaks”, with an on-screen crawl when the winner is named, says news director Jed Kahane. Results throughout the night online.
  • Global Montreal: News Final is extended from half an hour to an hour, starting at 11pm. It will also be streamed online. Jamie Orchard hosts, with live reports from Tim Sargeant (Pointe-Claire), Elysia Bryan-Baynes (Beaconsfield) and Billy Shields (CDN/NDG). “We’re also working with the best election graphics in the industry,” says station manager Karen Macdonald. Former city councillor Karim Boulos will be in studio as an analyst. Online, election results and a live blog will be posted as of 8pm. Like its Focus Montreal mini debates, Global plans to focus on demerged on-island suburbs in results and analysis.
  • City Montreal: No live election coverage

Cable TV

On cable, we can expect extensive coverage from the French networks, but not so much from the English networks:

  • RDI: Election special from 6:30pm to at least 1am. Hosted by Patrice Roy, with Véronique Darveau providing results and Carole Aoun following social media. Reporters are promised at the four Montreal party HQs, plus Laval, the South Shore, Quebec City, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières, Estrie, Saguenay, Abitibi and eastern Quebec. Analysts include former mayor Jean Doré, former Quebec municipal affairs minister Rémy Trudel, former Baie St-Paul mayor Jacinthe Simard, and former CBC Montreal anchor Dennis Trudeau.
  • LCN: Election special from 6:30pm to at least midnight. Hosted by Pierre Bruneau, with Jean Lapierre and Mario Dumont as analysts.
  • CBC News Network: Nothing special scheduled. It will run The National from 9 to 10pm as usual, presumably with news from Quebec. Otherwise the primetime schedule is documentaries on Julian Assange, Princess Diana and a chimpanzee.
  • CTV News Channel: No election special, but CTV News Weekend with Scott Laurie is expected to check in regularly with Montreal reporters covering the election here from 6 to 10pm. After 10, it’s the usual plan of simulcasting CTV National News for the first half of each hour.
  • Sun News Network: Schedule lists the usual repeats of opinion shows from earlier in the week. There normally isn’t live programming after 5pm on Sundays.


On radio, things are much better, with news talk stations carrying live election coverage after polls close:

  • CBC Radio One (88.5 FM): Live coverage as of 8pm, hosted by Mike Finnerty, with analyst Bernard St-Laurent and results from Joanne Bayly.
  • CJAD 800: Live coverage as of 8pm (end time will depend on results, but probably at least midnight), hosted by Aaron Rand and Tommy Schnurmacher. “We will have a full complement of newscasters and reporters scattered on and off-island. We will also be providing a live feed of the victory speech of the next Mayor of Montreal,” says program director Chris Bury.
  • ICI Radio-Canada Première (95.1 FM): Live coverage from 8pm to 11pm, hosted by Michel C. Auger, with journalists Frank Desoer, Jean-Sébastien Bernatchez, Benoit Chapdelaine, Francine Plourde, Dominic Brassard and Alexandre Touchette. Bernard Généreux, president of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities and mayor of Saint-Prime, will be an analyst. Coverage is promised from all regions of Quebec with Radio-Canada staff. Quebec City and Gatineau will have their own local election night specials from 8pm to 10pm, the rest of the network will carry Auger’s show.
  • CHMP 98.5 FM: Election special from 8pm to midnight hosted by Paul Houde. Panelists Marie Grégoire, Liza Frulla and Jean Fortier, guests Pierre Curzi, Jean Lapierre and Mario Dumont, and journalists Philippe Bonneville, Chantal Leblond, Catherine Brisson, Any Guillemette, Julie-Christine Gagnon and Geneviève Ruel. Other Cogeco Nouvelles stations will also have election specials from 8pm to midnight:
    • Jean-François Gilbert in Quebec City at 93.3 FM (starts at 8:30pm)
    • Martin Pelletier in Sherbooke at 107.7 FM (starts at 8:30pm)
    • Roch Cholette and Louis-Philippe Brûlé in Gatineau at 104.7 FM (8pm to 11:30pm or midnight, depending on results)
    • Claude Boucher in Trois-Rivières at 106.9 FM, which will also be presented on local community channels Cogeco TV and MaTV.


And of course there’s online, where almost everyone is promising extensive coverage and live results.

I’ll be spending election night on the Gazette news desk, which has all reporting, editing and managing hands on deck, and will be feeding its website throughout the night.

Live blogs:

And, of course, you can just go to see the election results yourself.

The debates

The four main candidates for mayor were in what seemed like different debates every day, as just about everyone organize their own. If you missed them, here they are again (links to videos where I could find them):

In addition, Global Montreal held four short debates among mayoral candidates for demerged suburbs on the island on its weekly Focus Montreal show: Montreal West and Pointe-Claire on Oct. 19, and Beaconsfield and Hampstead on Oct. 26, and a debate among candidates for mayor of the Côte des Neiges/Notre Dame de Grâce borough on Nov. 2.

16 thoughts on “2013 Montreal election night coverage plans: TV prime time stays untouched

  1. Dilbert

    One thing for sure is doing the municipal elections on a Sunday is pretty much a great way to knock them out of the news cycle and make them less likely to be covered. TV news generally is on the second stringers and the backups over the weekend, and generally there is less hours of news coverage. The “all news” stations like RDI and LCN are pretty much on hold, repeating the same stories over and over with few people working on the news those days, few reporters in the field.

    To cover a major Sunday event would mean bringing in staff that would otherwise off, paying them overtime, putting together a whole package… and running it basically when people couldn’t care for it. Sunday night is traditionally some of the most popular programming, especially in French, and something I cannot imagine anyone wanting to spend a bunch of money to get rid of.

    Municipal elections generally are shoulder shrug events for many people, voter turnout is very low (last Montreal election was under 40%). With that low of a turn out, do you honestly think that people need to know the results “as they happen”?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      TV news generally is on the second stringers and the backups over the weekend

      The key word here being “generally.” For elections, everyone is brought in. CBC radio is bringing in Mike Finnerty, CTV is bringing in Paul Karwatsky, Global is bringing in Jamie Orchard, TVA is bringing in Pierre Bruneau, RadCan Première is bringing in Michel C. Auger. This isn’t the backup crew here. And that’s saying nothing about the producers, researchers and managers who are working either overtime shifts or who are going to get next Friday off.

      1. Steve W

        I agree with you that what usually happens(for elections, everyone is brought in even for a Sunday). Although for this Montreal election night coverage, I’m surprised how little TV coverage on the English side, & plus some of the major figures seem to be absent. No Mits on CTV Montreal coverage, No Andrew Chang & Debra Arbec on CBC TV Montreal(not even political junkie Nancy Wood).

      1. Dilbert

        “elections should follow TV media; rather than the other way round *rolleyes*”

        Nobody is saying that – it’s only saying that poor media coverage can be explained by the fact that municipal elections are held on a day when the media isn’t generally there to start with. It means in order to cover it, the media would have to go far out of it’s way, pay overtime and weekend rates to people, to cover an event that less than 40% will even bother to vote in.

        It’s not about “following media”, it’s only explaining why the media doesn’t show up.

        1. Fagstein Post author

          It means in order to cover it, the media would have to go far out of it’s way, pay overtime and weekend rates to people, to cover an event that less than 40% will even bother to vote in.

          And for the most part, it does exactly that.

          1. Dilbert

            Really? I don’t see them doing that.

            No “election desk”.

            No 6 hours of endless coverage.

            No special sets, no special programming, and certainly nothing pre-empted to allow for coverage.

            What you got at most was a few extra print reporters at work, and pretty much that seemed to be more to transpose the election website results to dead tree format.

            There really wasn’t a big move on this one, no matter how you slice it. It’s a story, but not one that merits interrupting people’s lives to go on and on about it.

            1. Fagstein Post author

              No special sets, no special programming, and certainly nothing pre-empted to allow for coverage.

              Only CBC used a special set during the last provincial election. I don’t see why one is necessary.

              I should also point out that Global did extend its late newscast to a full hour from a half-hour. But otherwise, you’re right, it was business as usual, albeit with far more reporters than you’ll usually see on Sunday nights.

              1. Steve W

                Global got off on a bad start to their broadcast, when they listed the wrong numbers in Saint-Laurent(VSL) borough at beginning(they had Alan Desousa last), but anchor Jamie Orchard noticed it right away. It quickly got corrected.

                On radio side, CJAD went full out, broadcasting Montreal Election coverage from 8pm to well past Midnight. They were the only English outlet airing the full Denis Coderre speech live. The two analysts they used were the same ones used by CTV Montreal. I could tell CJAD Election host Aaron Rand is a big Melanie Joly fan. CBC Radio One(88.5 FM) almost full out, going live from 8-10pm on Montreal Election coverage. On all the broadcasts in English, heavy emphasis on the West Island(almost nothing in East End).

  2. Michael

    And then people wonder why only 39% of people vote in Montreal. And another pet peeve of mine, move municipal elections to Mondays like other levels. It doesn’t help that elections happen on weekends as far as voting is concerned.

      1. Michael

        People don’t see voting as a leisure activity. They do their regular weekend stuff and by the end of the day are too tired to bother going to vote. They’re doing family stuff. The saving grace when I ran in municipal in 1982 as far as participation is concerned was that when church services let out, people would go vote right after. Today, not so much. Fewer church services, fewer people attending. If people don’t vote this time, they deserve anything that happens for the next 4 years.

  3. Media Man

    The problem for starters here. unlike the French all-news stations which are based here so there will be French local coverage but the English services in based in TO, so does one think that TO could care less about Montreal mayor..
    I am still surprised though not one of the anglo stations would have at least start coverage around 9…considering what’s been happening around here the last two or three years..and can’t think this is not an important election…
    Also, would you see in the major American cities that the big local stations wouldn’t cover their municipal elections. Fat Chance.!!

  4. William

    I don’ care that it wasn’t on TV, I followed it just fine on Twitter and the election website…..after all the corruption, two mayors falling, and people too lazy to get off their arses and vote, is it any surprise the networks would go with the pablum that doesn’t interfere with their ad dollars?

    Looks like a 40% turnout, give or take 1%…..I hear anyone complain in the future who didn’t vote, they are getting a smack in the head.

    1. Mario D.

      The turnout percentage is a false debate.

      Did you see any youngsters at the poll ? I sure did not see many and i can understand why. They have been told to step aside cause they do not have the experience to become politically recognized and now are being asked to come quietly to vote when a good bunch of those are crooks and responsible for the present situation ?
      Add to that the illiterates wich at last count was what ? 39 % of the population ?
      And finally add all those that do not speak either french or english and i think that pretty much covers it completely !

  5. K.Trudel

    Maybe networks figure that since voter participation is so low, audiences would be even worse. Especially when you start considering Montreal as a minority in Quebec, Quebec as a minority in the English-speaking market, and of course, though important, Montrealer English speakers who are interested in the results of the vote, are probably not a large enough number to cater to.

    It’s probably not a language issue as much as it is the odd cross-section of having few province wide English media who are not also Canada wide media (and as such see Montreal as one of a few big cities in Canada), and the fact that the provincial media are so Montreal centric as to inhibit the importance of English speaking media that focus on Montreal.


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