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September 25, 2020 9:05 am  #1


Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

The Toronto Star profiles Ali Velshi, who many here may remember from his time on both City TV and CTV. He's currently a regular presence on MSNBC, where last week he made the grade by being personally attacked by Donald Trump - a sort of newsman's badge of honour these days.

Ali Velshi was hit by a rubber bullet, mocked by Trump — just another rite of passage in the Canadian’s storied career

City TV was run on the cheap for many years when Moses Znaimer owned it, which is why it's so amazing how many on-air CityPulse staffers went on to bigger and better things on American networks. Velshi is just one example.

Thalia Assuras wound up on CBS for several years. Muhammad Lila, who wasn't at City for long, became a foreign correspondent for ABC for a time. The late John Saunders made his mark at ESPN. (Sports anchor Kathryn Humphreys was said to have been offered gigs at the sports giant, but turned them down because she didn't want to go to the U.S.)  And of course John (J.D.) Roberts left CBS and is now the White House correspondent for Fox News.

And then there are the non-news types. Comedian Russell Peters was a cable puller at the station. Debra DiGiovanni answered phones in the newsroom while pursuing her stand-up career. And Dan Aykroyd was the announcer on the old cheapo City TV game show "Greed" back in the early 70s.  

That's quite a list for such a small station and I'm sure I've left several others out. 

 

September 25, 2020 9:28 am  #2


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

Don't forget Ivan Reitman, who got his start directing GREED on Citytv (with Dan Aykroyd as the announcer) and always thanks Moses for giving him an early break!

 

September 25, 2020 10:00 am  #3


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

I didn't know that about Reitman. Amazing. Everybody starts somewhere.

Interesting that the Star article doesn't mention Velshi's time at City.

     Thread Starter
 

September 25, 2020 10:15 am  #4


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

RadioActive wrote:

I didn't know that about Reitman. Amazing. Everybody starts somewhere.

Interesting that the Star article doesn't mention Velshi's time at City.

I believe he was also on the old ROB TV (before BNN) 

 

September 25, 2020 10:24 am  #5


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

And for a time, he was with CNBC down south, too, before moving over to that company's MSNBC.

     Thread Starter
 

September 25, 2020 1:32 pm  #6


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

His first job south of the border was  12 year stint at CNN,  starting in 2001.  He then went to Al Jazeera in 2013 for 3 years before signing on with MSNBC/NBC.

Last edited by Media Observer (September 25, 2020 1:38 pm)

 

September 25, 2020 1:49 pm  #7


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

Media Observer wrote:

His first job south of the border was  12 year stint at CNN,  starting in 2001.  He then went to Al Jazeera in 2013 for 3 years before signing on with MSNBC/NBC.

Jeez, City TV, CTV, CNN, Al Jazeera, CNBC, MSNBC - can't this guy keep a job? https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/laughing.png
 

     Thread Starter
 

September 25, 2020 3:03 pm  #8


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

RadioActive wrote:

Media Observer wrote:

His first job south of the border was  12 year stint at CNN,  starting in 2001.  He then went to Al Jazeera in 2013 for 3 years before signing on with MSNBC/NBC.

Jeez, City TV, CTV, CNN, Al Jazeera, CNBC, MSNBC - can't this guy keep a job? https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/laughing.png
 

https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/grin.png

 

 

September 25, 2020 3:18 pm  #9


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

A friend of mine who toiled at City TV for many years sent me this in an email. He gave me permission to reprint it here, as long as I didn’t use his name. I thought it was interesting enough, so I agreed.
 
------------- 
 
I read your recent post about the Citytv alumni. I worked in the City newsroom for a quarter of a century (but it felt like longer!) when it was owned by Moses, CHUM, and then Rogers.  I knew all those people you mentioned, including Ali Velshi, although I would hardly call them friends, more like co-workers.
 
With the exception of JD Roberts, the people you refer to (Velshi, Thalia Assuras, Muhammad Lila) all had one major thing in common – they were the most serious people I have ever met. If you’re at all familiar with newsrooms, they can be a mixture of kibitzing, gallows humour, and just general joking around between the bouts of seriousness. It’s a way to keep workers loose as they often deal with pretty terrible stories and sad situations in the city and the world.
 
Yet I can't remember those three (and Monika Deol if memory serves) ever cracking a single smile in all the years I worked with them. And it didn’t seem to matter who they were dealing with. They never laughed, they never joked, and I don’t remember them ever schmoozing with the staff.
 
Yet to their credit, they went on to have some very big career moments working for the American networks. Granted, they were all talented in their own way, but I’m not sure if being super serious and focused was the main reason for their success or not or for their apparent lack of a sense of humour. Perhaps that’s just the way they were.
 
I do know, while they seemed like nice people for the most part, few of us ever got to know them and they didn’t always entirely seem to be having a very good time at work. Not that that’s a job requirement.
 
Anyway, just thought you’d get a kick out of a personal remembrance of those days when there wasn’t always something funny in the news – and sometimes, in the newsroom.
 
(And by the way, someone brought up the name change from CityPulse to CityNews. I can tell you, a lot of us were completely baffled by it as well. All those years of branding (not to mention the expense of having to change all the truck wraps and everything else with the name on it) were wiped out in a single decision. To this day, I still hear people refer to it as CityPulse, although it hasn’t been called that in decades. Why they did it, I still don’t understand.)

     Thread Starter
 

September 25, 2020 4:16 pm  #10


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

Media Observer wrote:

His first job south of the border was  12 year stint at CNN,  starting in 2001.  He then went to Al Jazeera in 2013 for 3 years before signing on with MSNBC/NBC.

He did business reporting for CNN along with Christine Romans who is still there. On MSNBC he often refers to his Canadian citizenship more recently in regards to the different way that Covid has been handled in Canada compared to the US. Also in the past when discussing health care in general. Although he is a general anchor on MSNBC ( on Weekend mornings these days)  you usually know that he is business centric in that he has had financial advisers/analysts on his show from the right as well as the left.


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September 25, 2020 6:41 pm  #11


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

That's odd about Ali Velshi not having much humour since he comes across as fairly easy going on TV when interacting with other anchors or reporters.  He is focused when reporting but if he gets into some chit chat with the anchor as he often did on CNN I found him to be pleasant and personable even funny.  

Fitz is correct he did/does refer fairly often to his Canadian background and being from Canada and Toronto.  I laughed once when there was a story about something in Canada on CNN and Wolf Blitzer then introduced Velshi for the next story and Velshi said...ahh Canadians, my people....Blitzer laughed and said that he, being originally from Buffalo, spent so much time in Toronto in his youth that Canadians were sort of his people too....

Steve Paikin interviewed Ali a few years back on the Agenda, interesting interview and hearing Velshi's take on the differences and similarities covering US and Canadian politics.

Last edited by paterson1 (September 25, 2020 6:42 pm)

 

September 25, 2020 7:47 pm  #12


Re: Former CFRB, City TV and CTV Newsman Ali Velshi Thriving On MSNBC

Indeed I find the humour thing very odd. I have heard him crack one liners and have funny exchanges with other hosts including Stephanie Ruhle when he used to co-host with her on MSNBC.

Even when he switches to other reporters. I read about but did not see a time when he went to Hallie Jackson and she seemed not to appreciate that he was making fun of her eating a sandwich just before she was on camera.


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