Canada AM moving to unique six-hour format
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2008 10:28AM EST
Canada AM is expanding and will soon be live in every Canadian market.
Starting on Jan. 28, Canada AM will begin producing a total of six hours of live programming between 6 a.m. and noon ET every weekday.
Local CTV stations across the country will broadcast Canada AM live between 6 and 9 a.m. local time, while the complete six-hour, live edition will air on CTV Newsnet.
In order to keep the show going for six hours each weekday, Canada AM will now include a Western anchor team.
Veteran British Columbia journalist Mi-Jung Lee will join Canada AM co-hosts Beverly Thomson and Seamus O'Regan, co-hosting the program from Canada AM's new Vancouver studio.
Popular weather anchor Rena Heer -- also based in Vancouver -- will work with Jeff Hutcheson in delivering the latest in weather news.
Rounding out the Canada AM team will be Vancouver native news anchor Omar Sachedina, who joins Marci Ien in Toronto to deliver the latest breaking news.
The format is something altogether unique and will be the first time a national North American morning show on a conventional network will be totally live across all time zones.
"We're doing this to make sure we give you the best coverage of local and national, international stories," says O'Regan. "We'll have more breaking news, more live coverage, and more on the stories that you care about."
The first hour of Canada AM will feature headline, national and local news with Marci Ien, along with weather and special features from Jeff Hutcheson.
Thomson and O'Regan will then lead coverage from Toronto starting at 7 a.m. ET, continuing to deliver Canada AM's unique blend of news and lifestyle stories with top newsmakers, celebrities and musical stars.
Western viewers will see Lee take over hosting Canada AM at 7 a.m. PT from Vancouver with Heer handling weather and Sachedina delivering the latest news developments. Local anchors from each market across the country will continue to join Canada AM throughout the morning to deliver the latest in local news, weather and traffic.
Western co-host Mi-Jung Lee says she's looking forward to the new format.
"With our new, expanded live format, we'll be able to hear from the people making news in the West, give a stronger voice to the issues here," she says.
"For example, in B.C., people's lives are so connected to the outdoors -- whether it's their job, or how they spend their spare time. And there's a strong environmental consciousness. These are issues that interest people coast to coast.
"And of course, with the 2010 Olympics approaching, there will be no shortage of fascinating issues and stories originating from Vancouver and Whistler."
Lee is no stranger to Vancouver viewers. She joined BCTV in 1992, reporting in a variety of areas and anchored Weekend News Hour Final at 11:30 p.m. In 1998, she joined Vancouver Television and was the co-anchor of VTV Live at 5. When the station changed hands to CTV, she was assigned to lead the late-night local news.
The South Korean-born Lee moved to Vancouver when she was four and has spent most of her life here. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC, graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Journalism from Ryerson University and has won or been nominated for a number of journalism awards.
Canada AM's new Western weather anchor Rena Heer also says she's looking forward to providing Canada with the West's perspective.
"We want to introduce the rest of the country to an evolving and news-making part of the country that is growing and developing faster than we can keep up," she says.
"We'll be adding a fresh, exciting perspective to morning news in this city with a morning show that warmly invites you in and then gets you going for the rest of the day."
Heer, also a B.C. native, was born and raised in the small mill town of Clearwater, B.C. and moved to Burnaby after high school to attend Simon Fraser University.
After completing her undergraduate degree in Communications, Heer got her broadcasting start in 2002 at Channel M, Vancouver's first multicultural television station, joined Global News in Vancouver as a Traffic Reporter and Weather Specialist in 2005, and has just become the newest on-air member of CTV News.
News anchor Omar Sachedina says he thinks Canadians will appreciate the new format.
"We've all got busy lives. The world is changing rapidly. You need to know what's going on around the country -- and around the globe -- quickly and with context," he says. "Canada AM has established itself as the No. 1 morning show, featuring breaking news and interviews with some of the leading personalities of our time. I'm excited to be part of such a dynamic team."