CTV kills Canada AM on 24 hours’ notice, will replace it with younger version

Canada AM, which for 44 years was the national morning show on CTV, is no more. On Thursday, owner Bell Media announced that Friday would be the last show.

While it gave a chance for the show to say goodbye, it wasn’t much of one. Producers cobbled together a tribute show with lots of still pictures (many of them poor-quality social media posts taken from cellphones, and almost all from the past few years) and well wishes people sent in through Facebook, Twitter and email.

The reason for the cancellation wasn’t budget cuts, or a desire to cut down on Canadian content, or an evil plan to save money by rebroadcasting CTV News Channel (Canada AM was already simulcast on CTVNC), but rather a desire to reboot the morning show format and maybe attract a younger audience.

On Monday, Bell Media announced its replacement: Your Morning, hosted by Ben Mulroney and Anne-Marie Mediwake. (Pop Goes The News had spread a rumour that the two of them would host this show when the Canada AM cancellation broke.) The show will debut in late August.

The basics are the same: Three hours each weekday morning, airing on CTV stations in Eastern Canada (CTV-owned Western Canada stations air local morning shows under the CTV Morning Live brand), and simulcast on CTV News Channel.

Mulroney and Mediwake are joined by “anchors” Melissa Grelo, Lindsey Deluce (news) and Kelsey McEwen (weather). Mulroney and Grelo will continue in their other jobs as hosts of eTalk and The Social, respectively.

The most telling detail about the new show is that it’s produced by the people behind CTV’s other daytime programs, The Marilyn Denis Show and The Social, including executive producer Michelle Crespi. So expect the new show to have a feel similar to those shows.

That also means moving, from suburban Agincourt (20 kilometres from downtown Toronto), where it shared space with CTV Toronto, TSN and CTV News Channel, to 299 Queen Street West downtown, the historic home of City TV and MuchMusic, that currently hosts CTV’s daytime programming, eTalk and BNN, among others.

The fact that CTV is calling this a new show with a new name, and not simply announcing new hosts and a new studio for Canada AM, should indicate how Bell Media feels about the Canada AM brand. The fact that it’s almost a half-century old was a source of pride, but also a problem. It’s your mother’s morning TV show. So even though it’s the same idea with the same time slot and broadcast in the same places, the new show gets a new (awful) name, a new studio and a new look.

Canada AM hosts Beverly Thomson and Marci Ien will stay with Bell Media, and Jeff Hutcheson had already announced plans to retire.

Even if we accept that ending Canada AM was a choice that had to be made, it’s unfortunate that it was on such short notice. The show could have finished out the summer and been given a proper chance to say goodbye. Or even just a few extra weeks to put together a proper tribute. It certainly would have been good for ratings.

CTV News Channel anchor Marcia MacMillan hosts the newscast temporarily replacing Canada AM.

CTV News Channel anchor Marcia MacMillan hosts the newscast temporarily replacing Canada AM.

Instead, we have CTV News Channel’s Marcia MacMillan getting up earlier, doing headlines at 6am. CTV stations without their own morning shows will rebroadcast that until Your Morning gets off the ground.

49 thoughts on “CTV kills Canada AM on 24 hours’ notice, will replace it with younger version

      1. Paulette Poitras tunstall

        I’m done….. Way to much Ben and grello. Why the young stuff yet again. Real news is what we want……I’m done

  1. Dolores Kathleen

    They want to attract a younger audience. Seems to me young people don’t have much time to watch morning TV because they’re probably working or going to school. Who does the “research” for these stations anyway?!! If I want to see Ben Mulroney I can watch Entertainment Tonight (or whatever it’s called!).

  2. Fred Arshoff

    Todd said on Facebook starting next week he will host the 6AM 9AM time slot on the main neto<work and on News Chanell till the new show kicks off, He won`t be on of course when he takes his vacsation in July. This week he is doing the 9 to noon show on the News Channel

  3. Ted Duskes

    For some reason, things that Bell owns are becoming manhandled.
    Maybe the higher-ups at Bell are like Dick Cheney (before his transplant) – no human heart.

  4. Graham

    Any other media show with a 44 year run would have had a better send off than this. A format change I get, but the 24 hour notice was extreme. Could have had a bump in the ratings if they did a week worth of shows with past hosts, guests or highlights. Then again, it’s just a sign of the times.

  5. dilbert

    CTV’s move to kill Canada AM rapidly is actually pretty easy to understand, and makes perfect sense.

    Mostly, it’s about timing. Kill the program as you go into summer (when less people will watch, because of the change of things like school hours, summer holidays, vacations, and so on) and replace it going into the fall (when people start to re-establish their daily schedules for the next 6 to 8 months.

    Nobody wants to promote the CanadaAM name or brand for one second longer than is needed. Boosting ratings on a program that is going out the door (and being replaced by something aimed at a different demographic) isn’t exactly a plus. Killing it quickly and quietly is probably the best outcome. The time also helps people to stop referring to it as a “CanadaAM replacement” and instead to focus on the new show itself.

    Moving it out of “news” and putting it into “entertainment” is also a brilliant move. I don’t have any proof, but I suspect that the production costs will be a bit lower, and the standards / requirements for the behind the camera crew would be different. Done in the same / similar set as the other shows, it’s also very likely to be significantly cheaper to produce overall. Briging in much younger hosts and perhaps turning the entire format on it’s head is not a bad move either.

    RIP CanadaAM – last time I watched, Norm Perry was still there…. wow!

    1. jaypeegee

      Terrific…those of us who WERE still watching it have an uneasy feeling that we will all be killed quickly and quietly when it is deemed our time has come.

  6. Anonymous

    The writing was on the wall back in 2011 when Bell reacquired ownership of CTV and promptly took Canada AM off of its western stations. Also, they never did go back to a dedicated newsreader, as it once had.

  7. Media Man

    Well it may be a budget thing or the other reasons here.
    One, I agree with you wholeheartedly that they should have given more time to have a proper sendoff.. Maybe bring back some of the former hosts, past great clips, etc.

    This was bush league as it’s finest, but then what can you expect from suits in an ivory tower who most likely have never been in a radio or TV studio.

    The other observation is it’s kind of obvious that this was in the works for weeks judging by the Pop Goes the News article and Miss Mediwake leaving CBC in late April for other opportunities.

    So another example of the Bell Media hypocrisy.!!

  8. Marco

    Outside of Toronto this new show will likely be the best bet in terms of content. I am not sure why CTV would have the team behind The Social and Marilyn Dennis produce Your Morning if they are going after the younger viewers though.

  9. Andrea Werner

    Shame on CTV Television Network and Bell Media for the abrupt cancellation of Canada AM – a quintessentially Canadian and much loved show that enjoyed a very loyal following of viewers, of which I was one.

    Daily mornings over countless years started with coffee and 30mins of Canada AM. The show was a gentle start to a very hectic life and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my mornings with the excellent hosts of the show.

    You should know that I have booked several Canadian trips thanks to the enjoyable travel segments on the show. Where else does this level of consumer loyalty and trust translate into such significant spending?

    Their total lack of consideration for a nation of viewers that considered Canada AM part of their lives is utterly disappointing.

    I believe the new morning show concept is a big mistake. We do not need another bouncy piece of fluff that targets the same demographic they are already appealing to with their vacuous entertainment shows such as The Social and Etalk. Variety is key and CTV has none of it. Is the Marilyn Denis show next on the chopping block? God forbid a person over 40 should remain on air!

    After a brief glimpse of what is coming via the interim news format they’ve been airing this week, I for one am bowing out of CTV in the mornings. A word of advice, the incessant grinning and excessive make-up that seems to be a requisite of the hosts is unnatural and unnecessary. If you’re that happy, or look that way, you’re unconscious on some level and that inspires neither trust nor respect.

    Thanks for nothing CTV and Bell Media.

    1. Pembroke Ontario Long Time Viewer

      I agree 100%! I too thoroughly enjoyed the show each morning. I have no interest whatsoever in the replacement current running CTC News on CTV Ottawa. Ottawa is Canada’s capital for goodness sakes! Where is our local Ottawa morning new clips running on bottom of screen? Huge mistake on my part, viewer statistics will certainly decline!

  10. David Leonardo

    There is a global marketing misconception under way that believes young people have ample disposable income. The truth is that the over-50 demographic has all the money, so there is a serious marketing disconnect.

    Bell Media is another corporate victim of this fallacy as they attempt to attract the young profitable audience. Down the road the Canada AM replacement will be a money-losing show and I will be without sympathy for the blunder.

    David Leonardo

    1. Fagstein Post author

      There is a global marketing misconception under way that believes young people have ample disposable income. The truth is that the over-50 demographic has all the money, so there is a serious marketing disconnect.

      It’s not just a question of how much disposable income someone has, it’s also a question of how likely someone is to be influenced by advertising. People in their early 20s are buying their first car, first home, and first items for a child. That’s when you build brand loyalty.

      And whether Bell Media believes it or not is irrelevant. The advertisers are the ones who demand audiences of a certain type.

      1. dilbert

        They were facing a similar problem to newspapers: The viewers (readers) that they do have are getting older, and not getting replaced by younger people. Those viewers tend to die off, and don’t get replaced. It’s a slow but steady decline over time.

        Trying to overhaul it would mean making the existing viewers less comfortable, while trying to see “your mother’s morning show” to younger people. That’s harder work than just selling a younger, new cast on a new show.

        Bell is going towards the remaining ad dollars in morning TV, and trying to id it by cheaping out a bit too. It’s actually a skillful move.

      2. David Leonardo

        Mr. Fagstein

        Building brand loyalty with young people goes back to even before my college days and that’s four decades ago. So I can give you some personal anecdotal evidence that this is another marketing fallacy.

        When I was in college the beer companies fought to get their product on campus. I became a Labatt 50 drinker, but in a matter years later to turned upscale brands, then wine. In college I regretfully bought Ford, and then another later. The cars rusted on me and I have never touched Ford again. I voted Liberal three times, and have never since.

        This young loyalty branding is impermanent and belongs to the days of the horse and buggy.

        As an aside, I enjoyed your response to my comment, but we both need to think about this.

        David Leonardo

  11. Anonymous

    Regarding this demographic thing, it seems to me that young people are less likely to watch any of the morning newsmagazine shows regardless of Canadian or US network. Just as the nightly network news shows on American & Canadian tv have fallen into the 50+ viewership demographic, I’m sure the morning shows are not far off the mark, so wouldn’t it have been better to maximize and serve better the captured demographic that’s loyal to you…today’s seniors have a lot of disposable income & more purchasing power now than past generations and should be targeted accordingly.

  12. Pefder Magfrok

    Ben Mulroney is Exhibit A on why I don’t watch network TV anymore. Seriously if this is the best CTV can do… The man has more negatives than the Donald and Hillz combined. I stopped eating plastic fake manufactured food a while ago and I did the same with plastic fake manufactured TV the next day.

  13. Ellen

    Mornings will not be the same. I grew up watching it with my parents, as they had it on every morning. The news cast clicked, they were informative and enjoyable to watch. There comradity was awesome. What a shame to see them go.??

  14. Stéphane Dumas

    I think completely killed Canada AM might be a big mistake. Maybe reducing this schedule could had been a compromise. There’s was a time when Canada AM beginned at 7AM and before that there was shows like “University on the air” and “Morning exercises”.

    Just for a memory trip timeline, here the morning tv schedule from Tele-Presse from the week of July 25 to August 1, 1981 on page 6. http://collections.banq.qc.ca:8008/lapresse/src/cahiers/1981/07/25/10/82812_1981072510.pdf

    I also think Internet as well perhaps as Netflix, Amazon Prime had played a role on the demographic thing.

    Just imagine what if NBC pulled the plug on “Today Show” or CBS pulling the plug on “CBS Morning show”?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      CBS has reinvented its morning show several times over the past decade. As for the Today Show, it too has changed. “Today” is more of a brand that encompasses several shows with different hosts.

  15. It's Me

    Supposedly, the anchors of Canada AM were given notice weeks ago about it ending and they actually made the choice to have an abrupt end, instead of a week-long goodbye. If this is so true.

    Now what that means could be anyone’s guess… did they want it as it actually played out with an abrupt 24 hours notice, or did they want some notice given to fans and have everything play out as normal until the last day with a final goodbye? One would assume the former since its how it actually played out. But either way you look at it, it’s an odd way to go about it whoever’s idea it was.

  16. Margaret Sjoholm-Franks

    Who watches those shows these days anyways ? ..the news are old, unless there is breaking news..most of the people never get to try the recipes and so forth. Those shows are for the times of Mad Men, when housewives stayed at home

      1. Paulette Poitras tunstall

        We do…… Those of us that are more interested in Canadian and world news than bilberry and kardashians

  17. Anonymous

    I’ve been watching and totally dislike it. Canada AM gave me news but also feel good stories so i wasn’t depressed about nothing but bad news.
    As for Ben he just doesn’t do it, i will not watch anything he does as well as many of my friends.
    As another viewer commented it’s not the younger crowd who is home watching.

    1. Amberjad

      They expect a younger viewing audience to watch. Well they will all be working and there children for some will be at day care. So who will be left the elderly but I don’t think they would watch other than change the channel. Global has a good morning program.

    2. Karen

      I totally agree. I find the new format too frantic and the cute little weather gal needs to cut back on caffeine. I used to love easing into my morning with Canada AM and I refuse to get sucked into the excitable vortex of this show.

  18. Patricia

    I am so missing my fix of Canada AM — it was how I started my morning!!!
    I enjoy Marilyn Dennis and watch it when I come home for lunch — I actually record it so I can do that –the social media celebrity shows have their place but we have more than enough of them—but I do not want to watch Ben and the younger celebrity co hosts— I want my news I want Michael Kane — I enjoyed their wonderful banter Marci, Bev & Jeff….they injected laughter to my morning while still providing current news and keeping me up to date.
    I don’t know about anyone else but before my empty nest happened I did not have time in the mornings or at lunch to watch any TV I was running around getting the kids fed and ready — Now that I can enjoy my morning news before heading off to work, they have taken it away. :((
    I AM SO DIsappointed and wonder where these stats came from to make such a drastic change —-

  19. Cathy

    I absolutely hate it that Canada AM was cancelled and why do they need to attract a younger audience what’s wrong with the older loyal audience I don’t look forward to turning on the TV in the morning at all anymore and how come we don’t see Bev or Marci anywhere in the news…

  20. Deb Mcgriskin

    The worse thing you did was cancell Canada am.. Who wants to watch the young team of news people who just dont fit with their arrogance and youth. Marci bev were not old but they were interesting . Funny and you could relate to them. No cardboard smiles and pastey teeth with no personality.. Sorry but I will never watch the new news.. Again.. Terrible!!

  21. Kimberly Snider

    I don’t like it at all!! It is not the same atmosphere as before…..before it was light and personable. The anchors were very warm and felt like such a natural part of your morning. Very relaxing. Now it just seems like another cookie cutter show that does not feel personable and feels heavy and very business like. Canada AM was a bright spot that delivered not just the news but the Canadian spirit. Now it is just a piece of fluff with a bunch of facts that is easy to just turn off and walk away from?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I don’t like it at all!! It is not the same atmosphere as before

      Maybe wait until the show starts before declaring you don’t like it?

      1. Anonymous

        I’ve watched the new show and definitely don’t like. If it was a financial move to kill Canada AM I really don’t get it. From their perspective, all the commercials I used to see over and over again because I watched Canada AM will be seen in my house no longer. They’ve effectively killed the morning ad media into my home. Canada AM was pretty much the only thing watched live in our house, everything else is DVRed. From my perspective, which they obviously don’t care about … what an AWFUL format. It’s like ET for mornings.

  22. Pingback: CTV’s Your Morning: A formulaic morning show that misses chances to inform | Fagstein

  23. JES

    I have watched the morning show. What a joke! Poor imitation of the slick shows US produces. Everyone tries to be like the View and never makes it. After Canada AM was abruptly stopped at least your still could watch the news with Todd or Marcie but now it is just a joke. Way to go Bell. Another screw up.

  24. janetsterritt

    Worst show I have ever seen in my life. A poor imitation of the slick USA shows. The View wannabe. Way to go Bell. Another screw up! Rogers sure looks good now!

  25. Anonymous

    What a mistake you made to cancel Canada AM it’s true your new show is just another wannabe View or any other “talk show/entertainment” who are so busy talking above each other and giving their opinions it’s hard to focus on one person. That’s not news. My grandson who lives with me he’s 16 used to enjoy the straight informative news and also Jeff with his segment what I learnt from the Internet today. We would watch this while having breakfast before school, so yeah bad executive call guys. The way you treated the staff is typical of the times no respect or consideration, did you actually think this through didn’t you think of all the loyal viewers does it matter who is watching as long as the ratings are there? Michela a satisfied viewer but no more!

  26. Anonymous

    Ben Mulroney is too hyper, he is not a good interviewer and always interrupts the other hosts, he could take some lessons from Peter Mansbridge, on how to interview someone, without anecdotes about his own extended family. this is not a news show, it is just an extension of the other lifestyle shows on CTV.

  27. Anonymous

    Truly miss Canada AM with Beverly Thomson and Marci Ian and don’t watch this new show since they left ….. so boring !!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Margq

    We miss Canada AM sooooo much!!!
    We are seniors trying painfully to get accustomed to Your Morning…
    Jeff hopefully is happily retired.We see Marcie on the Social,but where is Beverly Thomson?
    How could Bell wrench those three from us so cruelly?

  29. Martin

    I am also disappointed in Bell Media’s decision to remove Canada AM. I like Ben M but he does not belong on morning TV. Lack of real news at this hour has turned me to watch CBC news in the morning and now I tend to go to CBC for my news morning and night. Sorry CTV but this is not a news worthy show. Also I miss the local weather which was always shown for the area I was in. ( I travel) the weather given is lacking detail for the country and has become to general in content.
    Martin Gagnon


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