Canada AM co-host 'saddened and disappointed' by show's cancellation
Jeff Hutcheson looking forward to spending more time at home on P.E.I.
Former Canada AM co-host Jeff Hutcheson had already announced he was retiring to his home on P.E.I., but was still sorry to see the show broadcast its last episode on Friday.
Hutcheson, who first appeared on Canada AM in 1992, had already announced last month he was retiring, but CTV announced on Thursday that the next day's Canada AM would be the last.
So as it turned out, Hutcheson's last day on the show was also the last day for Canada AM itself.
"I was profoundly saddened and disappointed, but I get it," Hutcheson told CBC Island Morning host Matt Rainnie.
Commuting from P.E.I. to Toronto
Hutcheson has been living on P.E.I. for more than a decade, commuting weekly to Toronto for his hosting duties.
As difficult as that may sound, he said it's something you get used to.
I've been flying back and forth here for almost 12 years, you miss a lot of stuff.- Jeff Hutcheson
"How I did it was, it was all part of the routine," he said.
Hutcheson also pointed out that the 90-minute flight could get him home faster than someone commuting from Toronto to Hamilton.
Hutcheson said it was important to him on Friday to acknowledge what his family put up with over the years.
"I knew that I had to thank my family," he said.
"On this shift, when you're doing what I did, I've been flying back and forth here for almost 12 years, you miss a lot of stuff, and I just wanted to acknowledge them, that they have been great."
Hutcheson estimates he has spent 2,600 nights away from his wife, and the longest single stretch of time they have spent together is 21 days.
"So we're going to see how this works now," he said.
Changes were already happening
Hutcheson said it had become clear in recent months that CTV was rethinking what it was offering in the morning.
I think you're going to see a show that's more entertainment/lifestyle.- Jeff Hutcheson
The show was moved out of the news division in October and to in-house productions, which handles The Social, Marilyn and etalk.
Hutcheson started to notice a new approach to the program.
"When Adele came out with the Hello video, we ran the entire six-minute video, and I thought, 'OK, things are changing,'" he said.
"It was something we hadn't done before."
CTV announced Monday that Ben Mulroney and Anne-Marie Mediwake have been tapped to host CTV's upcoming Your Morning.
"I think you're going to see a show that's more entertainment/lifestyle, maybe a little less newsy," said Hutcheson.
"In this world, they're following what they think is the next shift."
'So much cool stuff'
During his time at Canada AM Hutcheson did more than 400 remotes. He said getting out and meeting the audience, and seeing the country, was the highlight for him.
"I got to do so much cool stuff," he said.
"Shows in every province, seeing places like Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, which is one of my favourite places, just being able to experience all of Canada."
Over the last few years Hutcheson also came to enjoy the immediacy of communicating with the audience over social media, which he described as spectacular.
'Still sinking in'
Hutcheson said it could take him a while to get used to the idea that there is no more Canada AM.
"It's odd to me that even if I wanted to go to work this morning I couldn't, because there's no show," he said.
"I think it's still sinking in. I think it will sink in for awhile."
While he is retired, Hutcheson still has some projects on the go, and plans to keep busy with more.
But that doesn't mean he won't be spending more time on the golf course as well.
With files from Matt Rainnie