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Global Television celebrates 40 years on the air

TORONTO – Global Television went on the air 40 years ago.

The network began as a province wide network.  At the time, it was a daring concept dreamed up by Canadian broadcasting pioneer Al Bruner.

The idea was to fill the schedule with independently-produced Canadian shows and to lure respected journalists to a newsroom that won praise for integrity and innovation led by the face of Global News, Peter Trueman.

But within a few months, the network started to run out of money and collapse loomed.

New partners came in with a new formula for survival.

Global became known as the Love Boat network because it found the way to turn a profit was to fill the evening schedule with popular American shows.  It worked.

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But Canadian programming still found a place; the comedy classic SCTV was filmed at Global studios in Toronto.

And the news division sometimes made news; notably Ottawa bureau chief Doug Small’s budget leak in 1989.

Amid the parade of notables on the anchor desk, the late, legendary Bob McAdorey was the one who could crack everybody up.

As the network turned 15 years old, there was a shakeup in the corporate structure.

Winnipeg-based Izzy Asper led the expansion into a coast-to-coast broadcasting force as the Canwest Global System. In 2000, the Aspers ventured into publishing, buying the National Post and the former Southam group of papers.

And just a week before 9/11, a long-held dream, Global National, went on the air.

Global National found a new and substantial audience as an early-evening national newscast and in 2012 was the first Canadian program to win the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence.

After Canwest was forced to seek protection from its creditors, Shaw Communications took over the company in 2010.

“For all the news employees at Global, it’s been a new lease on life to have a company come in and invest in our news programming, invest in our community,” Station Manager for Global Toronto Ward Smith said.

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“We’ve been able to do more in the last couple years than we’ve been able to do in the last 10 years.”

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