CBC Television Network

This Hour Has Seven Days

Network: CBC Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1964 to 1966

Broadcast Medium: Television

May 8, 1966 marked the final broadcast of one of the most interesting and controversial programs in CBC history. This Hour Has Seven Days was a public affairs show with a difference. It debuted on October 4, 1964 with a studio audience, unheard of for a news show, with music by Dinah Christie, who sang original tunes based on the news of the week, and an interview with Marguerite Oswald, mother of Lee Harvey Oswald. Over the next two years, the program offered viewers in-depth analysis of the major social and political stories of the past week.

This Hour Has Seven Days

The principal hosts were Patrick Watson and Laurier Lapierre, who brought to viewers a serious look at the issues beyond the headlines. It was based on the BBC program called That Was The Week That Was, a mix of documentary material, music, satire and interviews. Watson created This Hour with Douglas Leiterman in 1964. The format was quite theatrical: a dark set, hot lights, cigarette smoke and interviews with two journalists and one guest, made for some riveting television. Unfortunately, its controversial style was too much to bear for CBC executives and the show was cancelled after two years.

Nevertheless, This Hour set new standards of broadcast journalism in Canada and the U.S., with shows like W5, 60 Minutes and the fifth estate, all debuting within fewer than 10 years of its cancellation.

Executive Producer: Douglas Leiterman
Producers: Ken Lefolii, Beryl Fox, Allan King, Larry Zolf, Warner Troyer and Jack Webster.
Hosts: Laurier Lapierre, Patrick Watson and John Drainie [in the first year], Carole Simpson and Dinah Christie.

Further reading:

This Hour Has Seven Decades by Patrick Watson, McArthur & Company, 2004

Inside Seven Days: The Show that Shook the Nation, by Eric Koch, Prentice-Hall Canada, 1986

Written by John Corcelli – April, 2002