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July 26, 2018 11:05 pm  #1

Friday Flashback: City TV Election Coverage – Suited To A “Tee”

They were never the conventional station to go to for that most tedious of coverage – election night results. Yet City TV, during the Moses Znaimer/CHUM era, always had a way of making them as differently entertaining as possible.
For many years, they held a soiree on camera as they waited for the numbers to come in, literally taking the expression “party politics” to heart. There was even a guy playing a grand piano on the set, tickling the ivories between Colin Vaughan’s latest insight and Peter Silverman at one of the ridings, endlessly tasting the free food on offer.
And they often had clever or catchy names associated with the shows. Plus, as one former newsroom employee told me, there was something most viewers never saw. Every single election, whether federal, provincial or municipal, would come with its own T-shirt for staff members to show who was on the crew and who wasn’t.
Here’s a look at some of those iconic but almost never seen vestments. I’m not entirely sure of the year for each one, but they show the range of material that a normally – shall we say frugal? – company splurged on for one night’s coverage.

CityVote 1985
I think this was a municipal vote that saw one-day federal MP Art Eggleton take the Toronto mayor’s chair.

“Dynasty On The Line” 1985
I believe this was used for the first election of Liberal Premier David Peterson, ending a long run for the Progressive Conservatives.

CityPulse Party Politics
A classic example of the mindset that gripped the station in the 90s, and a testament to the kind of party they would hold to try to get both guests to attend and viewers to tune in. The fact that it looks like a Soviet logo isn’t a coincidence.

Push For Power
I have no idea what year or race this was for, but yep, there’s another new T-shirt to go with it.

CityVote 1994
Nothing special about this title or this Ontario election. But the results were unforgettable. For the first (and possibly last) time, the NDP won the night and the Bob Rae years were upon us.  For many, the New Democrats are still trying to live it down.

1997 MegaChoice MegaChange
This was perhaps the most unusual municipal election in Toronto history. It was the first one held after Premier Mike Harris created the so-called “MegaCity,” and led to the mayors of some of the former cities going against each other. North York’s Mel Lastman emerged the winner over contender Barbara Hall.

CityVote 2000 & Won
Gotta hand it to the folks at City – they always came up with a clever turn of phrase for their election night coverage. This one was another example, when the Liberals’ Jean Chretien took the P.M. prize over his challengers.

CityVote 1999 “Mike Check”
It’s out of sequence but the City guys reached the pinnacle of great titles (and T-shirts) with this one – the voters’ referendum on Mike Harris in 1999. The name “Mike Check” was a play on words on both the P.C. Premier and a common broadcast term.

Sadly, the era of imaginative political coverage has ended with the rise of Rogers. In fact, if memory serves, they did only an abbreviated on air election night show in the last vote, which Doug Ford won. I guess the era of great titles and great T-shirts are over. But for those of us watching at home, it sure was fun while it lasted.

Next week - the long unseen oddities of local and national TV.


July 27, 2018 8:50 am  #2

Re: Friday Flashback: City TV Election Coverage – Suited To A “Tee”

The CityVote 1994 shirt had to be for the Metropolitan Toronto election coverage.

The NDP were elected in 1990 and defeated in 1995.


July 27, 2018 8:53 am  #3

Re: Friday Flashback: City TV Election Coverage – Suited To A “Tee”

You may be right. It was tough to figure out the timeline of everything I was given. If so, I stand (or as I'm typing this,) sit corrected.

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