Ford Nation dumped? Stay tuned for more program changes at Sun News Network

Toronto City Hall. Actual city halls in Canada’s largest city may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Rob Ford, Doug Ford, Kory Teneycke and Ezra Levant.

Does anyone seriously believe Sun News Network cancelled Ford Nation after its inaugural show on Monday because of Rob and Doug Ford’s “relative inexperience with the medium”?

Please!

Lots of people will accept at face value this claim about the loony-right-wing cable channel’s show starring the Ford Brothers, along with the equally fatuous suggestion “the brutal economics of cable TV” played a role. After all, both ideas come from no less an august source than the Globe and Mail in the self-described National Newspaper’s cover-to-cover reportage of the never-ending meltdown at Toronto City Hall, which, come to think of it, does look a little like a nuclear reactor building.

But let’s think about this for a minute.

The one and only broadcast of the program attracted, according to the same source, 155,000 viewers.

That compares with normal ratings of little more than 30,000 viewers for one of the network’s most popular shows, The Source, with the clownish Ezra Levant. And that’s when Mr. Levant is having a good day.

Mr. Levant took a break from his usual duties to act as one of the hosts of Ford Nation on Monday, gently lobbing softball questions at Toronto’s rapidly disintegrating mayor and his brother, who is now the chief magistrate’s sole remaining supporter on council.

It’s said here this is an audience that Sun News would only have surrendered under the most extraordinary of circumstances, and five hours spent on production time just doesn’t seem sufficiently extraordinary.

Now, about those five hours, I thought the private sector was supposed to be efficient. Isn’t that what Sun News keeps telling us? So how much time does it actually take to blip out even a stream of F-words, P-words and whatever other obscenities pepper the Ford Brothers’ version of public discourse?

C’mon, people! This time estimate strains credulity. Even if Ford Nation ratings were bound to start slipping after Rob Ford’s repeated come-to-Jesus moments started to grow tiresome to viewers still in possession of their faculties, those kind of numbers simply could not be ignored by a marginal operation like Sun News Network, which by its own admission will have to shut down if it doesn’t get some kind of a break soon from viewers or the federal government.

“It’s by far the most successful thing, from an audience perspective, the network has ever done,” the Globe quoted Kory Teneycke, a vice-president of Sun News, as saying.

So what’s really going on? Alert readers will recall that Mr. Teneycke is a former communications aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose office the same day gingerly waded into the issue by saying it was “troubled” by the “allegations” against the PM’s suddenly too-famous fishin’ buddy and fellow traveller. Allegations!

Employment Minister Jason Kenney, of course, was a little stronger in his comments, calling on the mayor for God’s sake to get out and end his occupation of Toronto City Hall, which is rapidly turning into the Hogtown House of Horror.

My guess is the PMO finally put in a call to Sun News and instructed the semi-official state broadcaster to pull the plug on the embarrassing spectacle right flippin’ now! Either that, or expect consequences – especially now that the CBC is behaving itself from the PM’s perspective.

Rob Ford’s long and public association with the prime minister, obviously, is not doing any favours for Mr. Harper or his party, with which the Canadian electorate is growing manifestly weary. And the more the Ford Fiasco is in the media, at home and abroad, the more embarrassing it becomes to the PMO.

The desire of the PMO to see the entire Ford Nation spectacle quietly brought to a conclusion must have been pretty obvious – making the phone call speculated upon in this space the simplest, and hence the most likely, reason for the swift and brutal demise of the astonishingly popular Ford Nation.

Of course, that was yesterday. Today, the Mounties alleged the prime minister’s former chief of staff committed bribery, fraud and breach of trust when he cut that famous $90,000 cheque to Senator Mike Duffy.

RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton said in court documents that Nigel Wright “did, without the consent in writing of the head of the branch of government, pay a reward or confer an advantage or benefit on Mike Duffy.” (Emphasis added.)

Given this opinion by the national police, can charges be far behind? And if charges are laid, can Mr. Wright be counted on to take the fall for his micromanaging former capo?

Given that, will the PMO still be as “troubled” by the potential distraction offered by the Ford Bros.?

Maybe we should stay tuned for more changes in the Sun News Network program schedule!

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

2 Comments on "Ford Nation dumped? Stay tuned for more program changes at Sun News Network"

  1. Teneycke was a former Communications Director for Harpo in the PMO which means he has passed his “Lying 101″ course.

    He was plucked out of there by Quebecor Inc (owner of SUN Media/News) to head up the CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF CANADA’S official right wing News channel that was to be modeled off of FOX News.

    Now, Brian Mulroney sits on the board at Quebecor.

    So, this is the biggest pack of lies ever uttered out of Teneycke’s mouth.

    Harper would have had CSIS and CSEC all over the Ford phone calls, Lisi’s calls and Metro Toronto’s calls before, during and after Gawker announced the video and the photo hit The Star front page.

    Ford has more skeletons in his closet and if one of them drops out that involves his cozy relationship with Harper, then the Commons Question Period could get nasty for Harper.

    So, it looks like Harper phoned Mulroney who then phoned Teneckye and had the Ford Bros put on ice!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/social/MyTake?action=comments

  2. Filostrato says:

    I imagine the huge market share of 155,000 claimed by Korn Kob Kory was probably due to the notoriety of the guests of “honour”. Some people couldn’t look away. After Teneycke’s promotion of corn ethanol as fuel, which uses more energy to produce than it provides when used as a gasoline additive, I don’t set much store on anything he has to say. He seems to have spent his life promoting deservedly lost causes, right from his days in the PMO.

    Something I read somewhere (I’m having trouble keeping all the sources straight in the last few days) said that the program took five hours to produce and eight hours to edit – or maybe the numbers were reversed – so it wasn’t considered a viable project, even with the undeniable draw of Tweedledum and Tweedledee and their enabler EzRant. A call from Dear Leader could have finally kicked it to the curb.

    Apparently the Ford Bros. new media person has dropped an anvil on any new one-on-one’s with any television or radio types, no matter who they are.

    You know, I almost felt sorry for the Robster after I caught a few minutes of his defence by Mommy and Sis. Dear lord, what a pair! But it vanished completely after he brought his obviously-depressed wife out to face the media scrum as proof that he was some kind of a good guy – or something. After that, I didn’t care what happened to him. I am worried about her, though.

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