Why The Ford Brothers Won’t Save The Sun News Network

For nearly three years now, The Sun News Network has been searching for an audience that doesn’t exist.  Despite launching with much fanfare in April 2011 (during an election year, no less), its ratings are routinely in the thousands range.  It doesn’t help matters that it can only be seen in less than half of Canadian homes.  It also doesn’t help matters that it generates little to no respect from critics.  But there might be hope coming next week.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his Councilman brother, Doug, will be co-hosting a new show called Ford Nation which begins this coming Monday at 8 p.m.  On paper, it sounds like a winner.  Both men are notoriously outspoken hotheads who have attracted not only intense media attention in The Big Smoke lately but even more scrutiny internationally.  Let’s face it, they’re hot properties right now.  Everybody is talking about them.

But here’s the thing.  Sun News is not carried on every cable provider in Canada.  Furthermore, it’s relegated to the digital wilderness, a lonely broadcasting netherworld where unloved specialty channels are routinely ignored by already gouged subscribers.  Thanks to the CRTC denying them mandatory carriage status, in order to get the channel you have to specifically order it.

How many people not entirely fed up with these two are willing to fork over whatever price they have to pay to see them rant dishonestly on a weekly basis on a channel they otherwise wouldn’t watch?  I’m willing to bet it’s a very small number.

I’m also willing to bet that Sun News will ultimately regret ever hiring them in the first place.  Why?  Consider Rob Ford himself.  For the past six months he’s been the laughingstock of the entire world thanks to his chronic bumbling in the aftermath of his crack video scandal amid further allegations of maniacal behaviour.  Somehow, he’s been able to hang on to his job despite repeated calls for him to take a hint and go away already.  Even being recently stripped of some of his mayoral powers (with more to come) still hasn’t awakened him to his uncomfortable new reality.

On Thursday, while attempting to refute the latest set of accusations against him, regarding one in particular, he basically said there’s no way he told a female co-worker he wanted to “eat her pussy” when “I’m happily married and I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.”  It should be noted that this was said live on morning Television.  Uncensored.

Is this the kind of “straight talk” the Sun News folks are hoping for?  Or maybe they prefer his “drunken stupor” stories.  Or the dramatic pauses he sometimes takes to answer simple “yes” or “no” questions.  Hey, I know!  Maybe they’ll ask one of his staffers to repeatedly call in pretending to be a supporter.  Or maybe they would rather he forgo the talking altogether and have him walk through a claustrophobic press line in the most agitated state possible.  Maybe bring the wife along.  She loves that shit!  Unfortunately for Sun News, almost all of his most newsworthy moments take place in environments beyond his control.  Has he ever acted this crazy while broadcasting his own show?

Up until recently, the Fords already had a media platform on Toronto radio station CFRB.  But thanks to the Mayor’s ongoing antics, the show, which aired for almost 2 years, has been scrapped.  Bizarrely, Sun News appears to be the only company willing to be associated with him right now (despite The Toronto Sun Editorial Board publicly calling for his resignation.)  For a floundering channel so desperate for credibility in the TV world of Canadian news, is this really the best move for them?

Look, maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe Ford Nation will be a huge success and a major turning point for the poor man’s Fox News.  However, since the mayor does his best work saying consistently outrageous things impulsively in press scrums and council meetings, why would anyone watch him act normal and controlled on a TV show that’s hard to find?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, November 16, 2013
2:29 a.m.

UPDATE & CORRECTION:  Ford Nation won’t be seen on a nightly basis as erroneously noted, it will be seen on a weekly basis.  The correction has been made to the original text.  My apologies for the mistake.

Meanwhile, according to this Huffington Post Canada article, if Rob Ford is indeed serious about running for reelection next year, as absurd as that sounds, he won’t be able to keep his Sun News gig.  Once he officially declares his candidacy for mayor on January 2, he’ll be yanked off the air.  Will this maddening circus ever leave town?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, November 17, 2013
2:30 p.m.

UPDATE 2:  Despite 155,000 viewers tuning in for the debut broadcast, Sun News has already cancelled the show.  I’m willing to bet that if it had returned for a second airing, the ratings would’ve plummeted.  But thankfully, we’ll never know.  Meanwhile, Canadian Press TV Critic Bill Brioux gives Ford Nation the review it probably deserves.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
10:10 p.m.

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Published in: on November 16, 2013 at 2:29 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] a new TV gig on the struggling Sun News Network not too long afterward but, despite decent ratings, it was cancelled after only one airing.  Councillers voted to strip him of much of his powers which had real-life consequences just […]

  2. […] Questions About The Rob Ford Crack Video Scandal, What Will Be The Last Straw For Rob Ford?, Why The Ford Brothers Won’t Save The Sun News Network and Rob Ford’s Secret iPod Playlist.  Six, if you count his inclusion in Winners & […]


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