Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sun News Network, the rest of the story

So now I’ve watched a full daily cycle of programming on the new Sun News Network and can give my, more informed, first impressions. I don’t have to tell regular readers that I tend to be biased to the conservative side of things, though not necessarily on the side of the Conservative Party of Canada, which I have criticized from time to time.

My overall impression is a tepid, “Well done!” No first-day gaffes that I noticed, and production values seem first rate. Generally speaking, the programs are hosted by intelligent, attractive professionals who really seem enthusiastic about their jobs. 

I have been most impressed with the night-time Byline, which is hosted by Brian Lilley. Next favourite is the Charles Adler show. The other night-time shows are fair to good. But all need to up their game if they are to compete successfully with regular network entertainment shows.

I saw Michael Coren as a guest talking about his new book Why Catholics Are Right (McClelland & Stewart)—a strong performance, by the way. I gather Coren will be on multiple nights a week. Haven’t seen Warren Kinsella or heard which program he’ll be on.

The daytime line up is very different from the CTV News channel with its boring, repetitive news cycle whereby the same news is repeated every 20 minutes with only ads to break the tedium. CBC—biases aside—does a decent job in the daytime and will be Sun News’ main Canadian competitor, I’d think. Theo Caldwell did a pretty decent job with his The Caldwell Account, though he can be a bit preachy at times.

So far, no Sun News personality seems to be proving she/he has the “it factor” or star quality I’ve seen at, say, Fox News or MSNBC. Hopefully, some will emerge in the near future as they warm up to their jobs. I’d say dropping Mercedes Stephenson was a major mistake—assuming the network had a choice in that decision. I’ve seen her elsewhere on television and she’s excellent—as good as anyone currently on Sun News, and better than some.

I also hoped for a nightly current affairs discussion show à la “The Michael Coren Show” on CTS or CBC’s “At Issue” with Andrew Coyne, Allan Gregg and Chantal Hébert. I like the idea of three or four intelligent people discussing the important issues of the day. I’d also like a better alternative to the 5:00 p.m. politics-shows offered by CBC and CTV. But, please, not just political party hacks spinning the party line like we see on those two networks.

The Sun News is worth watching, but will not be my first choice for prime-time entertainment—I’m more likely to tune in during the day.


© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.


  1. ???You say you wont watch it for entertainment???It is a news channel you know!.Straight no BS news not for entertainment ,but as a way of getting the truth about what is happening politically.Some of us will also get entertained,but mostly informed.

  2. I think the show needs more news updates. I'm hoping for an alternative to the CBC as a news source. So far all I see is a lot of commentary. Good commentary, but I'd really like to see a flag news broadcast to compete with the National.

  3. Just a couple of observations.
    Ezra could be a one man show. A+ for him.

    As for David Akin, he lost control of the whole interview with Bob Ray. He never once interjected anything into Ray's rantings. No hard questions at all, he tried but wasn't able to so he just wrapped up the interview and appeared to be glad it was over.I said it before and I'll say it again,Akin doesn't fit in with Sun TV's format. I was really surprised and disappointed when I heard he was hired on with Sun . Back to Bob Ray, I've seen too much of that guy. I don't want to see the same guy on Sun trashing the Con's that I just finished watching on CBC doing the same thing. As for a similar format like Mansbridge on CBC, that works well, but only with different guests every night like on Fox News with Hannity.

  4. As rightly claimed, this is 'FOX NEWS NORTH'. Don't want this crap in Canada from the same funding sources as in the USA...the Koch Brothers, the Wall Marts etc..

    These guys will bring the same level of dysfunction in people and the economy as they did in the states for their personal benefit ...which is $$$$$s. They will buy off politicians, judges and change the whole landscape to the point that it becomes totally dysfunctional. Get rid of them. I am getting rid of them by canceling my subscription to this channel TONIGHT!