Network: CBC Television Network
Broadcast Run: 1965 to 1992
Broadcast Medium: Television
Aired weekly from Sept. 17, 1965 to April 11, 1992
For 27 years, The Tommy Hunter Show was the leader in Country Music television. It lasted longer than most shows of the same genre on American and Canadian networks for the simple fact that it was strictly about the music. It was a program under the Variety Department at CBC Television, but in name only. No sketches, no big production numbers; just some serious “pickin and grinin’ from the finest musicians in the business.
The show was built around the “Country Gentleman”, Tommy Hunter who was born in London, Ontario in 1937. He started working as a musician, at an early age. In 1956, as a member of the Sons of the West, he auditioned for the CBC show called Country Hoedown and given a job. After a successful stint on radio, his television show debuted in 1965 replacing Country Hoedown on the network. It stayed on the schedule until 1992, making it the longest running program of its kind on television. The show was notable for introducing new artists to a wider audience who are now household names, such as Garth Brooks, Bruce Cockburn, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Ricky Skaggs and The Judds. In 1978, at the age of 13, Ellie Twain [Shania Twain] made her first television appearance on the Tommy Hunter Show, in Toronto.
In 1976, the program changed its name to Tommy Hunter’s Country, for one season.
Host/performer, Tommy Hunter with regulars, The Rhythm Pals, Al Cherney, Donna Ramsay, Jim Pirie, Debbie Lori Kaye, the Andy Body Dancers, Red Shea, the Allan Sisters and Gordie Tapp.
Written by John Corcelli – July, 2006