CTV Television Network

Oscar Peterson

Network: CTV Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1974

Broadcast Medium: Television

One of the bolder programming moves by a CTV affiliate in the early 1970’s was BCTV Vancouver’s commitment to a 13-week half-hour series featuring the Oscar Peterson Trio, with Oscar on piano, Ray Brown on bass and Herb Ellis on guitar. Through his exposure as part of Norman Granz’s touring Jazz at the Philharmonic group of star jazz musicians, the Canadian pianist had gained international fame, and his records sold in large numbers. The fact remained – and, sadly, remains – that jazz has never drawn large audiences to television, and despite strong production values, this brave effort by the Vancouver CTV affiliate was just that, and the series was a short-lived venture.

However, jazz fans in Canada were ecstatic to see their music performed on network television. Name guests for the series included Dizzy Gillespie and Carmen MacRae. CTV’s program sales staff had some success in selling the series internationally, which helped BCTV recoup some of its substantial costs.

CTV used the series as a summer replacement, to boost its Canadian content if not its ratings. 

Written by Pip Wedge – February, 2003