Sportsnet Central Montreal, hosted by Elias Makos, centre.
Sportsnet Central Montreal, the weekly half-hour sports panel discussion show on City Montreal, has been cancelled by Rogers Media. Thursday’s show will be its last.
(UPDATE: It looks like there’s a project to try to revive the show on ICI.)
Host Elias Makos dropped the first hint of the cancellation during last week’s show, describing it as the “penultimate” one. Rogers confirmed to me today that it has decided to end the show. It sent me this statement:
Rogers Media is evolving its local strategy to better serve the Montreal community. In doing this we’re deepening our commitment to local news with the launch of daily newscast CityNews in Winter 2018. As a result of this re-focused strategy, SN Central will have its last broadcast this Thursday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m. We’d like to thank Elias Makos and all of our contributors for their smart and entertaining commentary on Montreal’s sports scene.
City will continue to provide coverage of Montreal sports teams and events on Breakfast Television, featuring Joanne Vrakas, Derick Fage, Catherine Verdon Diamond, Elias Makos and Domenic Fazioli as well as through our new CityNews newscast, launching Winter 2018.
Makos remains with City, as the new media producer and occasional fill-in host or weather presenter on Breakfast Television.
The last show will be broadcast mere hours before the condition of licence requiring the station to broadcast the show expires. As of Sept. 1, City Montreal (CJNT-DT) has standard conditions of licence regarding local programming.
The cancellation of the show makes sense since the new evening newscasts would take over all three of its timeslots. But that won’t happen until next winter.
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Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff
Montreal Connected, the weekly sports show that airs on City Montreal, has five episodes under its belt. So now seems as good a time as any to review it.
If you haven’t seen it yet, segments from the show are posted on Citytv.com. Each show, hosted by Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff from a different location each week, is composed of a handful of segments (usually five, sometimes more), mostly profiles and other feature stories that don’t lose their value within 24 hours. The parts between the segments are little more than quick intros from the hosts, perhaps with a cheesy joke thrown in.
Neither Weir nor Lozoff are new to television. They speak well and come across as warm and friendly. But there’s an artificial, forced nature to the way they introduce their segments and even the way they do their voiceovers. Their pitch goes up and down like a ninth-grader’s oral book report. Their smiles seem forced half the time, and their attempts to play off each other even more so. Maybe it’s just because they’re doing something that’s so new and they need to get comfortable with their new jobs and each other. Or maybe they’ve been taught to do television this way.
I don’t want to exaggerate the situation. They’re not cringe-worthy bad. But they need to loosen up a bit. The fact that this show is edited rather than live-to-tape, meaning every segment is recorded separately and usually with multiple takes, works against them here.
But during those genuine moments when the real Weir and Lozoff shine through, they’ve very likeable. Once they get comfortable in their new roles they should feel more like old friends than door-to-door salespeople.
One thing Montreal Connected should also get credit for is using the talent available to them. Associate producer Kelly Greig, senior producer George Athans and new media producer Elias Makos have all had at least one segment in front of the camera (Greig already looks like she’s a regular) despite their primary roles being behind the scenes. Athans is making good use of the flexibility of his staffing.
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City Montreal staff (so far). Seated: Montreal Connected Executive Producer George Athans (left), City Montreal Executive Producer Bob Babinski (right). Standing, from left: Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff, New Media Producer Elias Makos, Montreal Connected Associate Producer Kelly Greig, Montreal Connected Director of Photography and editor Ian Graham
After years of wanting to get into the Montreal market, and months after acquiring a station here, City television is finally ready to dip its toe into local programming. It announced last week that May 30 would be the premiere of Montreal Connected, the station’s weekly half-hour sports show, and named its two hosts.
I spent Monday afternoon with the staff at the station for a story that appears in Thursday’s Gazette that introduces the anglo community to the show and its two hosts, Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff.
As is usually the case, I learned plenty more about them, the staff behind the camera and the station that I couldn’t cram into that story, so I’ll lay it all out here.
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Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff (Photo: Rogers Media)
CJNT, which officially became City Montreal in February after it was bought by Rogers, will launch its first local program a week from now.
Rogers Media announced on Wednesday the details of its new weekly sports show called Montreal Connected (formerly “Connected Montreal”), which starts May 30. Here they are in point form:
- Schedule: Half an hour a week, Thursdays at 7pm, with repeats Saturdays at 3:30pm and 7:30pm and Sundays at 6pm. The show will also air on Sportsnet East on Saturdays at noon.
- Hosts: Alyson Lozoff, the Sportsnet reporter for Montreal (did you know she’s also a lawyer?), and Wilder Weir, a producer and former hockey reality show star
- Contributors: Include Sportsnet personality Stephen Brunt, Globe and Mail Quebec sports reporter Sean Gordon, Gazette Alouettes reporter/columnist Herb Zurkowsky, and LNH.com managing editor Arpon Basu
- Behind the scenes: As previously announced, former water ski champion George Athans will be the show’s producer, with Kelly Greig, formerly of CBC Montreal. They will work under Executive Producer and Local Content Manager Bob Babinski
The show promises to be “an in-depth look at the city’s professional and amateur teams, along with athlete profiles and feature stories on local, national and international sports.”
City Montreal is also launching a culture/lifestyle show in July, and its main local programming, a three-hour local morning show, in August.