Network: CTV Television Network
Although the CTV Network service began to be available through its affiliates in October 1961, it was not until the following year that that service was expanded to include a national newscast. Prior to that time, each affiliate had been handling its own local news programming, and relying primarily on wire services for national and international stories.
The CTV National News launched on September 24th 1962 as a fifteen-minute program, scheduled at 10:30pm so as not to go head to head with the CBC’s 11 o’clock news, and to provide an alternative – and earlier – viewing choice. Unfortunately, this scheduling placed the CTV News up against one-hour U.S programming that had started at 10 o’clock on competing stations.
The consequent dismal ratings forced a move of the News to 11:00pm nightly in September 1963, with an expansion to twenty minutes (including commercials). Yet it was not until another twenty-five years had passed that the affiliates agreed to give up another ten minutes of their time, so that the CTV News could be scheduled for a full half-hour. And for many, many years, CTV newscasters were asked not to say “Goodnight” at the end of the broadcast, lest their doing so should prompt viewers to switch off their sets instead of staying to watch the local news which followed.
Baden Langton and Peter Jennings were the first CTV news anchors, Others to anchor the News from Ottawa were Ab Douglas and Larry Henderson, but the key survivor and the future franchise face of the CTV News was Harvey Kirck, who moved from Toronto to Ottawa in late 1963. He replaced Baden Langton, who had moved to ABC, whither he was shortly followed by Peter Jennings. Jennings had worked briefly with Kirck before his departure.
CTV News started life out of the studios of CJOH-TV, the network’s Ottawa affiliate. This gave it another difference from CBC news, which was produced in Toronto, and put CTV reporters closer to the action in the nation’s capital. Harvey Kirck and the main production unit were however moved to CFTO-TV Toronto in September 1966, but with Ab Douglas continuing to co-anchor for a while from Ottawa. When this arrangement ended, inserts continued to originate from Ottawa as the news demanded, and CTV later set up its own downtown News Bureau there.
Harvey Kirck was the chief news anchor for the News for the next ten years, during which time CTV’s audience share grew quite satisfactorily, and its use of electronic effects like chroma-key gave the newscasts a distinctive look which viewers appreciated. Yet the numbers still put CTV behind CBC in the ratings. Then, the move which removed any lingering doubts that CTV was serious about news came with the surprise announcement in the summer of 1976 that veteran news anchor Lloyd Robertson was leaving the CBC to join Harvey Kirck as co-anchor of CTV News. His first newscast with Kirck was on October 18th 1976.
The Kirck/Robertson team eventually settled into a very smooth working combination, and shared the anchor desk for seven and a half years, until March 1984 when CTV elected to make a change, and Robertson became the sole anchor. Harvey Kirck worked for a year on Canada AM, and then did two years of commentary for W5, before finally leaving the network in 1987.
Lloyd’s weekend counterpart was Sandi Rinaldo, who joined CTV as a news secretary in 1973, later worked as co-host of Canada AM, and became the weekend CTV News anchor in February 1985. She was still anchoring the weekend news in 2018.
By the end of 2005, all CTV affiliates’ local newscasts had been rebranded as CTV News plus the name of the city.
On July 8th, 2010, CTV’s Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lloyd Robertson announced that he would be stepping down from the anchor chair sometime in the middle of 2011, after 35 years as the Network’s national news anchor. He would continue to do work for CTV on W5 and other projects.
On July 9th, CTV announced that Lisa La Flamme, CTV’s national current affairs correspondent, would be Lloyd’s successor as the anchor for CTV’s national news.
She would replace Lloyd after a period of transition, during which they would share the anchoring role.
On June 2nd 2011, at CTV’s Upfront presentation of their new season product, Lloyd Robertson announced that his final appearance as CTV National News anchor would be on September 1st 2011.
His designated successor, Lisa Laflamme, would take over the Anchor chair effective September 5th, but Lloyd would continue on-air for CTV as co-host for the news magazine show W5.
On July 7th 2011, CTV announced that former CBC and Global newsman Kevin Newman would be joining CTV effective August 22nd, in a dual role. In addition to co-hosting the Network’s long running political series Question Period, Newman would be designated as CTV’s Digital News Evangelist, and would be responsible for helping to shape the digital future of CTV News. He would work with the Bell Media team to build the digital brand for CTV News as well as offering insight into the digital media strategy for other Bell Media properties.
Other major on-air contributors to CTV National News over the years, whether as anchors, bureau chiefs, correspondents or reporters, have included Peter Trueman, Henry Champ, Bruce Phillips, Tom Gould, Craig Oliver, Larry Stout, Peter Murphy, Tom Clark, Dan Matheson, Wally Macht, Dennis Macintosh, Charles Templeton, Peter Kent, Don Newman, Eric Malling, Scott Laurie, Mike Duffy, Roger Smith, Jim Munson, Robert Hurst, Lisa La Flamme, Kevin Newman, Marcia MacMillan, Jacqueline Milczarek, Marci Ien, Jennifer Ward, Brad Giffen, Jennifer Burke, Todd Battis, Genevieve Beauchemin, Rob Brown, Janet Dirks, Avis Favaro, Robert Fife, Daniele Hamandjian, Jill Macyshon, Richard Madan, Omar Sachedina, Joy Malbon, Jed Kahane, and John Vennavally-Rao.
Foreign correspondents have included Tom Kennedy, Janis Mackey Frayer, Joy Malbon, Tom Walters and Paul Workman.
On November 8, 2011, CTV announced that Canada AM host Seamus O’Regan would bid a final good morning to viewers across the country on Thursday November 28th, and would join CTV National News as a Correspondent, effective Monday November 28th. O’Regan had already been putting his story-telling skills to use on the CTV National News series “Canadian Originals”, profiling everyday Canadians from all walks of life.
Seamus O’Reagan left CTV in late 2012.
The CTV News originated nightly from the network’s studios in Toronto, 11:00 – 11:30pm, and was also seen an hour earlier on CTV Newsnet.
Written by Pip Wedge –