Seamus O'Regan says goodbye to 'Canada AM'
Published Thursday, November 24, 2011 9:17AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 6:40AM EDT
Saying goodbye to a job you love isn't easy. Seamus O'Regan knows that feeling all too well.
It's been 10 years since O'Regan first sat down in the co-host's chair of "Canada AM," CTV's national morning show. On Thursday, O'Regan will do his duties one last time before he embarks on a new chapter of his career as a correspondent for CTV National News.
The countdown to this moment has been tinged with many emotions for the broadcast journalist from St. John's, N.L.
"Leaving ‘Canada AM' will be difficult. It's been my family for 10 years and it's been a wonderful, rambunctious group of people to work with. We're friends," O'Regan said.
That playful spirit was hard to miss in the days leading up to O'Regan's exit.
Every morning, O'Regan was treated to a clip from his early days on "Canada AM." The clips left everyone on set crying with laughter.
On the day that I sat down to talk to O'Regan, his colleague Jeff Hutcheson had just played a clip of his pal's first time on "Canada AM" on Dec. 19, 2001.
The boyish O'Regan, then 30 years old, shared the table with Hutcheson and Lisa LaFlamme.
O'Regan's hair was short. His confidence was enormous. The size of his suits hasn't changed even today, as Hutcheson enviously pointed out.
O'Regan buried his face in his hands, looking on with a mix of laughter, shock and pure, cold, dread.
"Unbelievable," O'Regan said, shaking his head.
"That was 10 years ago -- 10 years. That's a career by anyone's standards today," he said.
"Frankly, I'm amazed at how self-assured I appeared in that clip. I certainly didn't deserve to feel that way. I didn't have much experience back than. It was a big gamble on the part of the network to put me in that position."
O'Regan came to "Canada AM" after appearing on "talktv's" current affairs program, "the chatroom," which he joined in 2000.
The crossover seemed natural to O'Regan's bosses. Still, the move challenged the fledgling co-host.
"When I started here I certainly had my own anxieties and fears that I had to overcome," said O'Regan.
"I used to spend so much time writing the perfect questions for guests and not enough time listening to them. But that skill came over time," he said.
"Canada AM's" early wake-up calls were also tremendously difficult for O'Regan.
The show's hosts and production crew arrive at CTV around 4:30 a.m.
"It's still hard for me to do, even after 10 years," O'Regan said, with a grin.
"It's been three hours of live TV each day, five days a week for 48 weeks a year -- and that's for 10 years. That's a lot of TV and that's a lot of interesting people," he said.
Over the last decade, O'Regan has interviewed the world's top political figures and celebrities. He's talked to real-life heroes and ordinary Joes who have made news in ways that showed the best of humanity and the worst.
In every case, telling a good story remained O'Regan's true thrill on the job.
"I've always wanted to tell great news stories and do it in a way so people will feel like they're a part of it," said O'Regan.
"At the end of the day, I think the moments I'm most proud of on 'Canada AM' are when news broke on our watch and we put that to air," said O'Regan.
From London's tragic bombings to a devastating tsunami, O'Regan and his colleagues came together and proved their worth.
"Those moments when everything jelled as we followed these big, news-breaking stories were special," O'Regan said.
In his final words on the show, O'Regan shared his thoughts on his co-hosts.
He called Hutcheson "utterly consistent and so well prepared" and described Thomson as the big sister he never had.
O'Regan also expressed his gratitude to "Canada AM's" viewers.
"I owe the viewers a great deal. They stuck with me," he said.
O'Regan will face new challenges at CTV National News.
"There's a huge learning curve here for me," said O'Regan.
"On ‘Canada AM' I could interview people live for four or five minutes of time. Now, I'll have to tell stories in a more visual and succinct way. That's going to be new for me, but I'm looking forward to it," he said.
However, that thrill of telling a good story -- especially in this social media age -- remains.
"Social media is changing the nature of this business as we speak and I welcome it," said O'Regan.
"People only have so much time in a day. They're looking for news they can trust. I want to play a part in that choice at this time of great time of change," he said.
The move to CTV National News is, a dream come true for O'Regan, who started his broadcast career at the age of 10 as a regional correspondent for the CBC radio show "Anybody Home?"
"When I think of where I am today in my career I almost can't believe it," said O'Regan.
"Going to CTV National News is pretty daunting. But I work hard. I always have," he said.
"When I started at ‘Canada AM' I was a gamble. That's not the case anymore. But I still feel the need to prove to people that I deserve to be where I am," O'Regan said.
"From ‘the chatroom' to CTV National News, I've been put into these positions by people who had faith in me. I want to make sure that they know they made the right decision."
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