|Rick Brace - President, Media Business Unit|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Production locations||Montreal, Quebec|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
CityNews (corporately styled CityNews) is the title of news and current affairs programming on the Citytv network in Canada. It is a standalone local newscast on the network's Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver stations, while on the remaining City stations it airs as the news headlines segment during each station's Breakfast Television morning show.
Before the 2017-2018 relaunch of CityNews nationally, Citytv stations outside Toronto had their midday and evening news programs cancelled in 2006, and the remaining news programming on these stations (such as the nationally-broadcast CityNews International) was cancelled in early 2010.
The newscast was broadcast in Toronto as CityPulse as a pilot episode on September 28, 1975, and as a second pilot episode on September 12, 1976. The first regular episode of CityPulse aired on September 12, 1977. On August 1, 2005, the final CityPulse titled newscast aired and it was renamed CityNews the next day. While the station claims that it was the first news show to abandon the traditional anchor desk, CBS News in the United States had done this as early as the 1950s under Edward R. Murrow. Its main innovation in television news was to have its reporters play a more participatory role in their stories. Elements of it were also taken from then-sister station ATV in the Maritimes, whose Live at 5 newscast, launched in 1982, had lead anchor Dave Wright roaming around the ATV newsroom and talking with the reporters.
By the mid-1980s, the newscast's style, pioneered by Moses Znaimer, was promoted as a "format" for local news shows to copy around North America. The show has been duplicated by other television stations owned by CHUM Limited and its format has been licensed to several television stations around the world, such as Citytv Barcelona and Citytv Bogotá. Other attempts to clone the format with regional changes have also been attempted; notably, two American attempts at a CityPulse-style newscast debuted within months of each other in 1993: KCOP-TV in Los Angeles with 13 Real News, and KIRO-TV in Seattle with what was dubbed "News Outside the Box" (the latter station attempted to leverage its then-sister radio stations as well). Both attempts failed and by 1994 both stations had reverted to "traditional" newscasts.
Until 1987, the anchors on CityPulse sat behind an anchor desk in a dark studio with two orange-red-black striped beams and a television set between the two anchors. CityPulse at Six was anchored by Gord Martineau and Dini Petty for most of the years from 1980 to 1987. Weather presenters during that era included CHUM Radio veteran Jay Nelson, Brian Hill, Greg Rist, and David Onley. Sports anchors included Jim McKenny, Russ Salzberg, John Saunders, Debbie Van Kiekebelt, and Ann Rohmer.
CityPulse Tonight, known as CityPulse News at 10 prior to 1981, was anchored by Bill Cameron, later by Gord Martineau, and then Anne Mroczkowski. In 1987, Mroczkowski moved to the supper-hour show to co-anchor with Martineau. J.D. (John) Roberts began his news anchoring career as anchor of CityPulse Tonight after several years as an entertainment reporter and MuchMusic video jockey.
On May 4, 1987, CityPulse moved into a newsroom set at 299 Queen Street West in Toronto along with the other station operations, from 99 Queen Street East. After the move, CityPulse began to move the anchors away from a central desk, positioning them around the newsroom (such as the assignment desk, equipped with police radios, banks of monitors, and perhaps the most unique feature, a map of Toronto with blinking lights indicating major highways, positioned behind a large glass wall, allowing the anchors to draw on the glass with markers to indicate the locations of stories and incidents), or walking through the newsroom.
24-hour coverage, akin to the 24-Hour News Source format popular in the US at the time, was instituted in the early 1990s, initially to cover the Gulf War (known as Gulfwatch). The updates were refined into a regular feature after the end of the war. These were branded as CityPulse (Overnight) NewsFlashes, for shorter updates (typically a shot of the darkened newsroom, followed by shots of area traffic cameras; a ticker would display one or two headlines, sports scores, a weather forecast, and/or the time of the next update; the sounds of the newsroom and/or a police scanner would be heard underneath), or as simply CityPulse Updates, for longer updates anchored by a CityPulse reporter (often Kevin Frankish) from the assignment desk, who, in a unique twist, would operate the camera themselves via a control device.
By March 2008, CityNews Toronto was struggling in the ratings, coming in third (with an average of 100,000 viewers) after CTV (326,000 viewers) and Global (126,000). On January 21, 2008, CityNews at 5 debuted, drawing a scant 1% share of the Toronto market at 5 p.m.
In July 2008, Rogers filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to launch a separate 24-hour news station to be affiliated with Citytv Toronto, and to be known as CityNews (Toronto). The application was approved on December 10, 2008. The new station was in direct competition with CP24 which was launched on October 3, 2011 as CityNews Channel.
In December 2008, Citytv laid off the entire CityNews Entertainment unit. Entertainment reporters Larysa Harapyn and Liz West were released, and entertainment stories were then read by the anchors.
On January 19, 2010, CityNews at Noon, CityOnline and CityNews at Five were cancelled as part of layoffs and restructuring within the Citytv stations. Many long-time CityNews on-air personalities, including Anne Mroczkowski and Laura DiBattista, were let go.
Citytv Toronto reinstated the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on Saturday and Sunday evenings on March 5, 2011, with Pam Seatle anchoring the 6 p.m. newscast, and Melanie Ng anchoring at 11 p.m. On September 5, 2011, Citytv Toronto also reinstated CityNews at Five with anchors Francis D'Souza, Tom Hayes, and Avery Haines. The following day on September 6, 2011, Breakfast Television on all five of Citytv's owned-and-operated stations expanded to three-and-a-half hours, from 5:30-9 a.m. Avery Haines then left CityNews at Five to start a segment called "The Inside Story" that features on Tuesdays and Thursdays on CityNews at Six.
On August 13, 2012, CITY-TV expanded its nightly 11 p.m. newscast, CityNews Tonight, from 30 minutes to one hour.
In 2015, the station changed the format of its evening newscasts, removing the in-studio anchor and having all stories presented by videojournalists on the field. The reduced cost format is designed to appeal to younger viewers with a more "raw" presentation, and appeal to increased trust in the reporters and their journalism.
Prior to 2008, CityNews and local cable news channel, CP24 were a combined operation sharing the same newsroom and studio space at 299 Queen Street West. CP24 simulcasted Citytv news programs such as Breakfast Television and CityNews. CP24 also reran most CityNews programming immediately after it was done airing live.
In July 2006, Bell Globemedia (later CTVglobemedia and now Bell Media) announced a bid to purchase Citytv/CP24's parent company, CHUM Limited. A year later, the CRTC approved the sale on the condition that the Citytv stations be sold. Shortly after, the sale of Citytv stations to Rogers Communications was finalized.
For a short period, things remained the same; Citytv anchors continued to anchor and contribute to CP24 and shows were simulcast between the two channels until CTV/Rogers announced the restructuring of its employees between to two channels beginning in November 2007, such as the hiring of new CP24-only and CityNews-only personalities.
In November 2008, CP24 moved most of its operations from its original newsroom, shared with Citytv, to a new state-of-the-art newsroom on the second floor with windows facing Queen Street West and at the same time CP24 unveiled a new look to its on-screen format. CP24 continued to simulcast CityNews programming up until December 10, 2008, when CTV pulled almost all Citytv news programming with the exception of Breakfast Television. That night, CTV News at Six replaced CityNews at Six, which had remained in place since the channel began broadcasting in 1998. Critics had speculated that the latter change was due to the CRTC's approval of Citytv Toronto planning on launching CityNews Channel. One of the final ties was severed on March 26, 2009, when CP24 dropped its simulcast of Breakfast Television and launched its own morning show, CP24 Breakfast.
Following the layoffs at the Citytv stations announced on January 19, 2010, CP24 extended its Live at 5 broadcast from 15 minutes to 30, and also launched another half-hour newscast, Live at 5:30. The show was featured a CP24 personality that hosted both Live at 5 and Live at 5:30; having interviews and updating Toronto on what is happening in the city. In addition, two other CP24 anchors would host the show, one co-hosting at 5pm and the other co-hosting at 5:30pm, bringing Toronto's Top Stories. By July 2012, Live at 5 and Live at 5:30 were brought back to the regular CP24 news format and with just one anchor 5pm and one anchor for 5:30pm.
CityNews is the only newscast in Canada that operates its own weather monitoring stations across the Greater Toronto Area. In addition to 20 weather stations, CityNews introduced a CityNews Weather LiveEye, a mobile unit that can monitor the weather anywhere.
On June 21, 2007, CityNews launched CityNews Weather Online, a desktop program that is more convenient than accessing their website. The program includes features to alert the user when a weather watch or warning is issued.
In November 2008, CityNews launched CityNews Weather Webcast, which are video weather forecasts recorded each day by one of the weather team members.
On February 14, 2007, CityNews created the CityNews Webcast, a downloadable news podcast based in Toronto. There are three Webcasts uploaded on weekdays: in the morning, presented by Kevin Frankish from Breakfast Television; in the afternoon, presented by CityNews at Six anchor Gord Martineau; and the final Webcast in the evening, presented by the anchor hosting CityNews Tonight.
The CityPulse newscast originally began with the instrumental version of "Masterpiece" by The Temptations. In 1979, it was changed to a rendition of "Gonna Fly Now" by Maynard Ferguson; the theme was remixed and rearranged well into the 2000s. The theme for CityPulse Tonight continued to be "Masterpiece" until the early 1980s. From 1985 until 1994, "Pentatus" by Graham Shaw was used as the theme music for CityPulse Tonight. The current theme is a custom-composed music piece.
On May 30, 2011, Rogers Media announced plans to launch a digital cable specialty channel licensed as a Category B service with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission called CityNews Channel, a 24-hour news network based in Toronto that would bring together resources from a number of Rogers-owned news and media properties, including Citytv Toronto, 680 News radio, and Maclean's magazine. The channel features "an enriched and interactive screen format," likely similar to that of Bell Media's CP24, the channel's main competitor.
CityNews Channel was launched on October 3, 2011, using the same news wheel format as 680News, with traffic and weather reports on the :1s, sports news at :15 and :45 and business news at :26 and :56 past the hour. The channel's anchors were rotated depending on the time period. Rolling news programming airs weekdays from 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., weekends from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. and nightly from 7-11 p.m. ET; all Citytv Toronto news programming is simulcast on the channel (including weekday morning news/talk program Breakfast Television and nightly 11 p.m. newscast CityNews Tonight, which both feature an additional half-hour seen exclusively on CityNews Channel); an audio simulcast of 680News featuring live traffic camera feeds throughout Toronto also runs from 1-5:30 a.m. weeknights and midnight - 7 a.m. weekends.
Beginning April 14, 2012, Citytv Toronto ran a simulcast of CityNews Channel's weekend morning news programming every Saturday morning from 7-8 a.m. and Sunday mornings from 7-9 a.m. The channel abruptly ceased operations at 9 am on May 30, 2013.
CityPulse was launched in Vancouver in 2002 when CKVU-TV was rebranded as "Citytv Vancouver". With the expansion of Citytv from two to five stations in August 2005, the newscasts on all five Citytv stations were renamed CityNews.
On July 12, 2006, coincident with the announcement of CTVglobemedia's plans to take over CHUM Limited, all prime-time CityNews programs, with the exception of those on CITY in Toronto, were immediately cancelled, with 281 CHUM employees across the country laid off. On CKAL Calgary and CKEM Edmonton, CityNews at Six and CityNews Tonight was replaced with a new half-hour newsmagazine called Your City. CHMI Winnipeg had been slated to launch its own version in January 2007 according to a news release, but it never materialized. CKVU's newscasts were not replaced, although a noon newscast based on the Breakfast Television format called Lunch Television was launched in early 2009. CityNews at Noon in Calgary and Edmonton, and Lunch Television in Vancouver continued until January 19, 2010.
When the show made the transition to CityNews, it lost several features, such as the CityPulse Webtest, which had existed since the 1980s as a phone-in contest. The new format on CHMI, which had been called A-Channel News (which was later used by CTVglobemedia's A stations, under the name A News, prior to the rebranding of the A system to CTV Two in August 2011), had lost nearly half of its audience for the 6 p.m. newscast before its cancellation.
On June 8, 2007, the CRTC approved the CTV takeover of CHUM. However, the five Citytv stations could not be sold to CTVglobemedia due to concentration of media ownership regulations. On June 11, Rogers Communications announced that it would buy the five Citytv stations from CTVglobemedia. The sale was approved on September 28 and became official on October 31, 2007. CTVglobemedia retained ownership of CP24, the 24-hour Toronto local news station that shared many programs and personalities with Toronto's Citytv station, including CityNews.
On January 19, 2010, Your City, based in CKEM-TV Edmonton and CKAL-TV Calgary, Lunch Television, and the comedy show The CityNews List on CKVU-TV Vancouver were also cancelled. In Winnipeg, the news part of Breakfast Television is called CityNews.
The Jim Pattison Group stations (CFJC-TV Kamloops, CKPG-TV Prince George, and CHAT-TV Medicine Hat) produce their own weeknight local newscasts, but do not produce their own local versions of Breakfast Television nor title their newscasts under the CityNews branding. In fact, despite keeping the same on-air branding and logos used as affiliates of the E! system, they do not bear the Citytv branding. However, as part of a renewal of their affiliation agreements with Citytv on May 3, 2012, CKPG, CHAT and CJFC were to begin simulcasting the Vancouver edition of Breakfast Television from CKVU-DT, starting in fall 2012 as the stations began carrying 90% of Citytv's morning and daytime programming from the CKVU schedule grid.
Citytv Saskatchewan does not produce any CityNews newscasts or Breakfast Television as it is licensed as an educational cable channel. The newly acquired CJNT Montreal, however, began producing CityNews under the Breakfast Television banner in the fall of 2013.
On June 5, 2017, Rogers announced that it would return local early evening and late night newscasts to its Citytv owned-and-operated stations in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg and, through an expansion of CJNT-DT's news operations, Montreal. The hour-long newscasts - which aired at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. local time - premiered in Edmonton and Winnipeg on September 4, 2017, while the remainder of the announced markets will launch newscasts in early 2018. On July 12, 2018, it was announced that the new Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver newscasts would premiere on September 3.
Soon after the cancellation of the local CityNews broadcasts in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg in 2008, a new half-hour program called CityNews International was launched. The program was produced in the Citytv Toronto studios and featured many of the same on-air personalities as the local Citytv Toronto's CityNews. CityNews International aired at 6:30 and 11:30 p.m. in Calgary and Edmonton. In Winnipeg, it ran at 11:00 p.m., and in Vancouver at 6 and 11:35 p.m. In Toronto, Citytv aired the newscast at 11:35 p.m. CityNews International was canceled during the 2010 cuts. The title of the program remains in use on Citytv Toronto for the international news segments shown during its evening newscasts.
The replacement program in Calgary and Edmonton for the evening/late-evening program was a magazine type of show called Your City.
The show aired five nights a week at 6:00 p.m., with a repeat at 11:00 p.m. The format of the show consisted of a top story, a report about theatre or other cultural life, various restaurant and wine reviews and an assortment of other general interest stories.
The noon newscast aired in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. It was hosted by Francis D'Souza and Laura DiBattista in Toronto, Asha Tomlinson in Edmonton and Aisling Slattery in Calgary.
A lunchtime half-hour talk show about Toronto news and current affairs aired weekdays at 12:30 p.m., following Toronto's CityNews at Noon. The show encouraged audience participation with its phone-in format. Viewers could also e-mail and vote on a daily phone poll.
Lunch Television was hosted by Kyle Donaldson and Michel McDermott and aired in the Vancouver market. (An earlier program, also titled Lunch Television, aired on the original Toronto station during the 1990s.)
The only news now broadcast on this station is during its version of Breakfast Television. News updates on Breakfast Television are still branded as CityNews.
The only news now broadcast on this station is during its version of Breakfast Television. News updates on Breakfast Television are still branded as CityNews.