A teary debut for Gzowski's 90 Minutes Live
CBC Television convinced journalist Peter Gzowski to front this late-night talk show after the success at the helm of CBC Radio's This Country in The Morning. In 1976, late-night talk shows were new territory for CBC Television, and the show was panned from the start. But Gzowski soldiered on for two seasons, interviewing a host of personalities five nights a week at 11:30 p.m.
• Gzowski launched the first 90 Minutes Live program asking the audience to "wish us luck, eh." He would need it. The show was attacked mercilessly. The Toronto Sun described Gzowski as "gauche, erratic, inattentive, irrelevant, often rude, often sycophantic, coy and dull." Maclean's called the show "an embarrassing mix of awkwardness and incoherence."
• Despite the scathing reviews, the Globe and Mail gave this inaugural show, seen only in Nova Scotia and P.E.I., a positive writeup: "Gzowski Show Has Big League Aura."
• Freda Payne had the number 1 record on the disco charts with her debut album Band of Gold. But Gzowski admitted that he had never heard of her. Payne later blamed her teary reaction on her microphone, which had been painted white at her request.
• In 1964, Gzowski auditioned to be a co-host on CBC-TV's This Hour Has Seven Days, which became one of Canada's most influential public affairs program. Both Gzowski and Peter Jennings, long-time anchor of ABC News, were turned down for the job, which went to Patrick Watson and Laurier LaPierre.
• For a more complete look at Peter Gzowski, see the CBC Digital Archives topic Peter Gzowski: Voice of Canada.
Program: 90 Minutes Live
Broadcast Date: Feb. 23, 1976
Guests: Freda Payne
Host: Peter Gzowski
Edited for copyright reasons.
Last updated: June 7, 2013
Page consulted on December 5, 2013
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