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June 14, 2020 4:39 pm  #1


City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

I was chatting online with an old colleague of mine who spent several years at City TV, both at 99 Queen St. E and their later location at 299 Queen W. The subject of some of the people who worked in that newsroom when it was run by Moses Znaimer came up. And I have to say, I’m still amazed by the talent that went through the doors of a place that always ran on the cheap. My friend related some of their names and has given me permission to reproduce his email.
 
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You’re right in thinking that Citytv under Moses was one of the cheapest places you could ever work. You practically had to give away your first born just to get a pen out of the supply cupboard. (And God help you if you didn’t already have a pen to sign it out with!)
 
Anyway, on the subject of who worked there, you’re probably aware of the famous story of how future SNL star Dan Aykroyd was the announcer for a terrible – and incredibly cheap – locally shot game show called “Greed,” hosted by Rummy Bishop, a relation of Rat Pack member Joey Bishop. What a terrible show that was, but Aykroyd cut his teeth on it.
 
Meanwhile, the newsroom had its share of future stars. Most people remember John “J.D.” Roberts, a former CHUM jock and CityPulse 10 PM anchor, who now covers the White House for Fox News. He left City to anchor a newscast at CBS affiliate WTVJ in Miami, and was discovered down there by the network.  I think he believed he would eventually get the CBS Evening News anchor chair, and quit when the prestigious appointment went to someone else.
 
Richard Maddan is currently with CTV News in Washington, and always wanted a bigger stage than just a local TV station. He finally got it at the White House.
 
Thalia Assuras started as a reporter, worked her way up to an anchor and eventually turned up on CBS and ABC. She now runs a media training outfit in Washington, D.C. (I remember the day her hiring was announced, the then-news director cynically said, “Boy, the Greek community is going to love me after this!”)
 
Muhammad Lila worked as a local reporter for a brief time, and later – to my astonishment – turned up on CNN and ABC, reporting from a lot of war zones. I’m not sure what he’s up to now, but he appears to be a reporter for hire.
 
(Both of the two above names were very nice people, but among the most humourless I’ve ever met. I can’t recall ever hearing either one of them tell a joke or crack a smile in the entire time I worked with them, but I guess some people really earn the title of “serious” journalist.)
 
But perhaps the two biggest surprises are people who let humour be their stock in trade and worked in the newsroom while they were honing their laugh craft.
 
Debra DiGiovanni is a successful and sarcastic stand up comic who once answered the phones in the newsroom. I’m not sure how she stifled her caustic responses when viewers called up to complain about the most ridiculous things. I don’t know how long she lasted, but I can distinctly remember her sitting at the reception desk.
 
And then there was a guy who worked briefly at CityPulse as a cable puller. That’s really all he did as he was biding his time waiting for his other career to take off. And take off it did. He’s since become one of the world’s leading (and presumably highest paid) comics on the circuit and recently starred in his own series called “The Indian Detective.” If you ask Russell Peters about those days, he’ll admit to having done that job – but I strongly suspect he prefers pulling legs to pulling cable.

 

June 15, 2020 5:01 pm  #2


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

One of my favourite CityPulse reporter/anchors was Natalie Pujo who relocated to a TV station in Denver, Colo.  She is now "Dr."  Natalie Pujo and has a psychology practice in Hermosa Beach, Calif.  Dr. Pujo is a graduate of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles.
We shouldn't forget Ben Chin, who it is said, pitched Moses for a job at CityTV when he was working at Joso's restaurant on Davenport Rd.  He is now a senior advisor to the PM, in the Prime Minister's Office.    There are probably dozens of others who transitioned from broadcasting to other professions over the decades.

 

Last edited by tvguy (June 15, 2020 5:02 pm)

 

June 15, 2020 5:10 pm  #3


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

And let's not forget The Bare Naked Ladies, who first got noticed coming down and playing songs at Speakers Corner.


 

     Thread Starter
 

June 15, 2020 6:31 pm  #4


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

Hi RA,
Let me chime in here.....
Natalie came from CJCL Metro 1430 before she worked at City.

How about Barbra Laskin, she was the first story I ever cut as a jr. editor at CityPulse.  Very nice to work with as I recall, because it wasn't too long after she went stateside I think to WNYW?

Or how about Terilyn Joe or TJ as we used to call her.   What a mouth on that gal!   So she rushes in with raw tape in hand to cut a story, in all the confusion that was CityPulse Tonight, somehow the raw tape gets mixed up with a voice over tape and she accidentally bulk erases the raw instead of the voice over tape. Oops!  Or just before going to air she's in the women's bathroom (right next to editing) prepping her hair and looks at me and says "I have to get rid of this JF look Foxer" What's the JF look? Just Fucked. Oh please, get the soap out!  Thought she ended up at KGO. If anybody talks to her, ask her about the "plum sauce", she'll die laughing.

And last but not least, Anita Kartalija, I think she came from CKO. I don't think she got along with management, but look who's talking now, she's working at RBC Financial, and laughing all the way to the bank!  Good for you Anita!

 

June 15, 2020 9:34 pm  #5


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

I remember Lorne Honickman from City TV

 

June 16, 2020 7:45 am  #6


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

Has anyone seen a Kevin Frankish documentary on Citytv?
That was the reason given for his departure from BT.

 

June 16, 2020 8:15 am  #7


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

Yes Terilyn Joe spent 1992-99 at KGO ABC 7  in San Francisco. In 2000, she moved to KNTV in San Jose just as the station had become the Bay area's NBC affilliate after 50 years at KRON. She left KNTV in 2002. 

 

June 17, 2020 2:06 pm  #8


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

I wasn't familiar with Terilyn Joe. One match for a quick search of what she's up to is an historical article about a throwing incident (eggs and tomatoes!).

 

June 25, 2020 4:02 pm  #9


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

zed wrote:

Has anyone seen a Kevin Frankish documentary on Citytv?
That was the reason given for his departure from BT.

I'm not sure how many people know that back in the Moses Znaimer days, City sold its format and look to a station in Bogota, Colombia. It's still around and in fact, is probably doing more of the old City format than the current ones here are.

Oh, and after exploring its website, I think I found may have found Kevin Frankish! https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/laughing.png


https://i.ibb.co/Hgs4LXB/city.jpg


 

     Thread Starter
 

June 25, 2020 4:18 pm  #10


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

Hi RA,
To the best of my memory now that I'm 65, I think Moses sent Dom Sciullo down to South America to train camera persons to become "videographers" when he was trying to sell the brand to other countries. As I remember he shot the tape/story and we cut it for him.

 

June 25, 2020 4:31 pm  #11


Re: City TV Alumni You May Never Have Known Worked There

Dominic Sciullo has done very well for himself. He's the COO and co-founder of First Studio Toronto, a massive production entity that will produce film and TV shows, if the virus ever allows production to resume. It's scheduled to open next spring in Markham. According to its website:

First Studio Toronto will span over 800,000 square feet. It will have the single largest purpose-built soundstage called “Super Stage”... [making it the] largest in North America.

Dominic Sciullo of First Studio Toronto

http://firststudiocity.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/soundstages.jpg

     Thread Starter