Edward J. Delaney (1931-2009)

Edward J. Delaney
Edward J. Delaney

Year Born: 1931

Year Died: 2009


Delaney, Edward J. (1931-2009)

Edward Joseph (Ted) Delaney was born in Ottawa on August 29th 1931. The family moved to Barrie a few years later, and it was after spending some time selling cars that Ted got his first opportunity in the broadcasting business.
In July 1954, Ted joined Ralph Snelgrove’s radio station CKBB, Barrie, as a sales representative. The following year, Snelgrove opened CKVR-TV out of the same office in the same city, and by 1957 Ted had been made Sales Manager for the television operation. But by 1959, Ted’s sales abilities had come to the attention of CHCH-TV Hamilton, who made him their Toronto sales rep in 1959.

The obviously upwardly mobile E.J. Delaney was not with CHCH for long. The coveted Toronto second TV channel licence went to Baton-Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting in 1960, and in August of that year Ted became Sales Manager of the new television entity. While the station’s presence in the lucrative Toronto market was naturally an attractive prospect for advertisers, CFTO’s early years were handicapped to some degree because the station transmitting tower was in Agincourt, to the north-east of the city, while in those pre-cable days, Toronto homes tended to have their rooftop antennae pointed to the south, in order to get good signals from the three US network stations in Buffalo, and the CFTO signal was not very strong on local TV sets. Nevertheless, the combination of an attractive new schedule of programming and Ted Delaney’s aggressive sales tactics enabled CFTO-TV to survive several early financial crises and eventually to become the most consistently popular television station in the city. By the mid-Sixties, Ted had been made Vice-President, Sales and Marketing.

During the station’s early years, as the ‘flagship’ station of the CTV network to which CFTO was affiliated, CFTO had been responsible for producing many of that network’s programs, under the supervision of Murray Chercover, first as Executive Producer and later as Vice-President, Programming. When Murray left in 1966 to become Executive Vice-President and CEO at the CTV Network, Ted Delaney added the Programming Vice-Presidency to his responsibilities.

In the ‘sixties, CFTO had produced several series for CTV, including such shows as A Go Go ’66, It’s Happening, and Pig & Whistle. But as the ‘seventies arrived, CFTO had significantly expanded its studio production capacity and equipment, and Ted Delaney had to be on the lookout for new productions that could be brought to his top-of-the-line facility to keep the plant humming. The Hallmark Hall of Fame producers brought a production of Harvey to Toronto and to CFTO in 1971, with stars James Stewart and Helen Hayes, and there then began a long and mutually satisfying relationship with U.S producers Burt Rosen and David Winters.

Winters/Rosen had begun producing a syndicated one-hour music/variety show starring Barbara McNair, targeted on the US local stations’ 7:00 – 8:00pm time period which the US networks were not allowed to program. Burt Rosen approached Ted Delaney’s former colleague, now CTV President Murray Chercover, and a deal was worked out for the second season of the Barbara McNair Show to be produced at the CFTO studios. This was followed by a series of one-hour specials starring performers of the calibre of Lou Rawls, the Fifth Dimension and Sonny and Cher, and one with comedian George Kirby that spawned a series that played both on CTV and in the US, titled Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour.

Subsequently, other CTV series produced on Ted’s watch at CFTO for both Canadian and US exposure included Rollin’ on the River (with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and later adapted as a half-hour show titled Rollin’), and Bizarre (with John Byner), while the studios continued to turn out polished episodes of such series like Circus, Stars on Ice and Thrill of a Lifetime.

Ted Delaney was also a member of the CTV Program Committee. Chaired by the Network, this group consisted of programming representatives of each of the full affiliate stations, and was responsible for participation in the decisions both regarding Canadian productions for the CTV schedule and the acquisition of the U.S. series that generated the bulk of the revenues needed to operate the network.

During his time with CFTO-TV, Ted was also President of ancillary companies Glen-Warren Productions, Cleo Productions Ltd., and Agincourt Productions Limited, and Vice-President and General Manager of The Twenty-Fifth Frame Production Company Ltd., as well as serving as a director of several companies, including Baton Broadcasting Ltd., C.F. Haughton Limited, CFQC Broadcasting Ltd., and CKLW Radio Broadcasting Ltd.

In the mid-1980s, Ted earned the gratitude of thousands of Catholics when he cooperated with Toronto Archdiocese Communications Director Msgr. Brad Massman to begin broadcasting a “Mass for Shut-Ins”, later retitled “Mass for a Television Community” on CFTO on Sunday mornings.

By the time Ted retired from CFTO-TV in the early 1990s, many management changes had taken place at Baton Broadcasting, which would later result in the company acquiring ownership of several CTV affiliate stations, and with them control of the Network. But Ted could say with justifiable pride that he had been there at the beginning, and had contributed significantly to the evolution of CFTO-TV from its start as a local Toronto station to its eventual role as the controlling entity in a national network.

Ted Delaney died in Unionville, Ontario, on February 17th 2009.

Written by Pip Wedge – April, 2009