CBC Television Network

Way It Is, The

Network: CBC Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1967 to 1969

Broadcast Medium: Television

Aired Sunday nights at 10 PM for two seasons from September 1967 to June 1969.

CBC’s News and Public Affairs department grew to like the Sunday night time slot. Due to the success of This Hour Has Seven Days, Sunday and Close-Up, most viewers did as well. Ross McLean returned as Executive Producer of this one hour show moulded in a similar vein as its predecessors to produce compelling television. This show combined the efforts of up to 60 people. It was big on ideas, intelligent and meant to challenge viewers.

The principle host was John Saywell, an historian from York University but comfortable on television, along with a cast of new faces and experienced journalists. One of the new hosts was Barbara Frum who developed her tough interviewing style on this show, which led directly to As It Happens on CBC Radio and The Journal on television. [Two excerpts featuring Frum can be seen on ]

The other hosts: Patrick Watson, Warren Davis, Percy Saltzman, Ken Lefolii (named the show’s executive editor), Peter Desbarats, and Moses Znaimer. Segment producers included Perry Rosemond, Peter Herrndorf, who later co-created The Journal, and Patrick Gossage.

The subjects were varied, much like those on the programs The Way It Is succeeded: one-on-one studio interviews, music, commentary, panel discussions and documentary films. But McLean wasn’t necessarily interested in being controversial for its own sake. The editorial team nixed anything that would really rock the boat, politically speaking. That said, The Way It Is did contribute to the national debate and offer original productions along the way.

For instance, Douglas Leiterman produced a documentary called: Fasten Your Seatbelts: A Report on Airline Safety. Filmmaker Don Shebib produced a movie about San Francisco in the summer of 1967 and Beryl Fox produced some extraordinary segments about Vietnam. Generally speaking, though, The Way It Is must be considered a serious news show, in the context of its times. It marked the end of an era at CBC television but it also influenced programs that came afterward, namely the fifth estate in 1975 and The Journal in 1982.

Written by John Corcelli – May, 2005