Fond memories, tears as CTV's Canada AM signs off after 43 seasons
Published Friday, June 3, 2016 7:53AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 7, 2018 3:33PM EST
CTV's Canada AM co-host Marci Ien choked up as she bid a final farewell for the show, which ended its 43-season run on Canadian television on Friday.
Co-hosts Ien, Bev Thomson and Jeff Hutcheson choked up as they signed off after a morning spent looking back at the show's four decades on the air.
"This is the end of the road for me and I've enjoyed every single minute," Hutcheson said in his final goodbye. Hutcheson previously announced that he plans to retire this summer, while his co-hosts will be moving on to other opportunities at Bell Media.
"I have worked beside these two for over 12 years, and we are family," he said. Hutcheson also thanked his wife, his children and his grandchildren for their support. "I'll miss you," he said to the audience, before adding: "I'm coming home."
Thomson called the show "the highlight of my career," before delivering a heartfelt “thank you” to the Canada AM staff for all their contributions.
"Canada, it's been a love affair," Ien said in her goodbye. "Thank you for allowing us into your living rooms and bedrooms… each and every morning."
Many of Canada AM's frequent contributors, including movie critic Richard Crouse and BNN's Michael Kane, paid tribute to the hosts during their last segments on the show. Kane hailed Canada AM's producers for helping him and Hutcheson interact "as though we were best buddies," despite the fact the two men never met in person in 10 years. "That kind of attests to the magic that the Canada AM people were able to work, in my mind," Kane said.
"In 12 years, I missed two Fridays," Crouse said during his movie review segment, adding that those two absences were for surgeries. "You literally had to put me in the hospital to stop me from coming in."
Several CTV staffers interrupted Hutcheson's last weather reports. CTV News Channel anchor Marcia MacMillan, who occasionally hosted the show, was the first to interrupt.
"Can I just come in and say goodbye?" she asked Hutcheson, as he stood in front of the weather board. "I'm on the air," Hutcheson said. "I know," MacMillan answered, before stepping into the camera shot for a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "That's a first – the kiss, I mean," Hutcheson said. "Next?"
Hutcheson faced a parade of Canada AM writers and producers during his next weather segment, as each one came on air for a hug, one after the other.
The studio was filled with current and former staffers, including former co-host Seamus O’Regan, now a Liberal MP in Ottawa.
CTV announced on Thursday that the flagship morning show would be airing its final episode Friday. A replacement morning show will be announced next week. Until then, CTV News Channel will simulcast in Canada AM's 6-9 a.m. timeslot beginning Monday.
Canada AM first hit the airwaves on Sept. 11, 1972 as Canada’s first morning television news program and ran for 43 seasons.
Over its four decades on the air, Canada AM has helped launch the broadcasting careers of many individuals, including Pamela Wallin, Valerie Pringle and CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme, Sandie Rinaldo and Craig Oliver.
Jeff Hutcheson joined the show on a full-time basis in 1998, followed by Bev Thomson in 2003. Marci Ien started with the show as a news anchor in 2003, before becoming a co-host in 2011.
Hutcheson announced last month he would be retiring this summer. Thomson plans to move over to CTV News Channel, while Ien will develop new projects with Bell Media In-House Productions.
The trio shared a message Thursday to thank viewers.
“We are incredibly thankful to our viewers from coast-to-coast-to-coast who have been with us on this journey and a heartfelt part of our TV family all these years,” they said.
“We are extremely proud of Canada AM. It has been our privilege to be part of this historic Canadian series that brought us the opportunity to work with such an incredible team.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued several tweets on Friday morning, thanking the show for "so many great times" over the years. "For decades, Canadians woke up with @CTVCanadaAM," he said in one tweet. "We say goodbye today with wonderful memories and our best wishes for the staff and crew."
Former Canada AM executive producer Lis Travers, who now works as General Manager of CTV News Channel and CTVNews.ca, tweeted her thanks to Ien, Hutcheson and Thomson on Friday.
Many journalists and prominent Canadians also turned to Twitter to bid farewell to the long-running show.
Final #CanadaAM show today. A morning staple for decades. I was first on in 1986!!— Tony Clement (@TonyclementCPC) June 3, 2016
Several long-time viewers shared their memories of the show on Twitter.
@CTVCanadaAM remember when Bev dropped the diamond!!!— Anne Louise (@AnneLouiseC) June 3, 2016