Ten Years After

I have a plane ticket to Vancouver for this Monday. I was scheduled to fly there to tape Week 44 of The Lab with Leo. Except I’m not. After 645 Canadian episodes of Call for Help and The Lab, Rogers has decided to cancel the show.
It’s a decision I can’t help but agree with.

Our Australian affiliate, the How-To Network, had stopped running the show due to poor ratings. The Canadian ratings haven’t been so hot, either. The slide began a year ago when Amber left the show. The entire staff left in January and I was left the last man standing. I’m not good with slow fades. It’s time to move on.

Rogers is planning to replace it with a daily, live show which is, ironically, what Call for Help used to be, but unless I pack up and move to Canada there’s no way I could host it, so we’ve parted ways amicably. I will always be grateful to them for keeping Call for Help alive these past four years. I have worked with many wonderful Canadians both in front of and behind the camera, many of whom will continue to be friends and partners as I segue into new ventures.

TV, like all performing arts, is full of transitions. It’s graduation day over and over again. You know you’ll see some people again, and you also know that others, many of whom have been close friends, will drift away never to been seen again. It’s sad, but it’s inevitable. Every new beginning is also the beginning of the end. I guess that’s life.

There will be new shows through May; we were producing several months ahead. Repeats of both Call for Help and The Lab will continue indefinitely. Everything comes to an end except re-runs.

Call for Help launched on May 11, 1998. It was cancelled April 2004 and revived by Rogers two months later. Ten years after its birth, four years after its resurrection, and after nearly 2,000 shows, Call for Help is finally over.

Except, it’s not. I’ll talk about the next chapter tomorrow.


This is Call for Help the way it was meant to be – with a handsome young host (hey it was eight years ago!) and guests Martin Sargent and Andy Ihnatko.

178 Replies to “Ten Years After”

  1. WOW, that’s really a bummer. I can’t believe the shows were getting low ratings. Technology IS the future… you will inevitably make a comeback, that’s for sure. LEO, I first saw your shows when I was around 13-14 on ZDTV… you were and will always be my greatest mentor in computers and technology (and if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have persued my bachelors in computer science). I look forward to seeing you in other great productions! You have my lifetime support!

  2. I wasn’t aware of “Call for Help”, but two weeks ago I was made aware of your podcast Leo and I’m glad it’s not going anywhere. I hang on your every word Leo. Keep up the good work. I’m telling people everyday about these wonderful shows.

  3. Leo,
    I really enjoyed being on your show. I promise to have the light bulb screwed in over my head next time I connect via Skype Video from Madison,WI
    WT

  4. when i re-emerged into the computer world (after a 20 year absence), Call for Help & then The Lab were my no.1 source of reliable tech information. Leo laPorte is by far the best tech show hosts i’ve seen
    It completely sux that the lab is no more
    I had to say something
    Peace

  5. Well Leo…as of this morning I have canceled my subscription to G4. Only read I paid for it was to watch Lab with Leo. I have watched you since the first Call for Help days. Wishing you all the best and hoping that you are back on a big, or small, screen soon!

  6. Sorry to hear that you’re going, especially now that I just got my neophyte uncle to subscribe to TechTV JUST FOR THE LAB!!! [Dear Rogers, Cancel my sub, Love, Me]. Now that the only show decent enough to watch [besides yours of course] is AOTS, it seems like such of a waste of a channel. Oh well, like all the previous posters, on to bigger and better things. Yours is a face the techworld can trust so I hope you can keep your sage wisdom coming in a form we can all enjoy!
    Cheers,
    Martin
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  7. I’d say that this is yet another reason for me to hate Rogers (my ISP / TV Cable provider), but maybe this will allow you to pursue other avenues like focusing more on TWIT.

  8. Thank you Leo!!! You will be missed. I was a big fan. I watched the screen savers, EVERY episode of Call for Help yes I said every! and EVERY episode of The Lab.I would record the show daily and then on Saturday mornings I would watch the whole week. I am very sad, you have taught me so much over the years. Your shows were the best on TV and G4 I paid extra just to get that channel to watch Screen Savers, Call for Help and then the Lab. Well now I have cancelled it why pay for the junk they have on there now.
    Thanks again Leo for all your help and I hope to find you again on the TV, in the meantime I will be downloading the podcasts.
    Best of Luck with whatever you do in the future.

  9. It’s all been said by those who have posted here and everywhere else around the web!
    So let me just say, thank you Leo, for the last 10 years and for what you continue to do with the TWIT network of shows. This is the future of broadcasting!
    You do it with class & dignity and have the talent to boot. A rare combination indeed.
    Thank you Leo!

  10. Leo in the hope you read this.
    I’m very sorry to hear that The Lab is finished. I’m hoping that you’ll be back as *you* are sadly missed. I do mean that.
    Having said that, it must be said that as a long time viewer of both Call for Help and The Lab I’ve got to say that the downward slide was too apparent.
    When the show changes came I saw it as a good thing that you could ditch the odd co-host (no names… but he played with cheese and wrote a bad book on Vista, he may be a lovely guy but he came across as an attention-hungry idiot.) but The Lab was just plain awful.
    I don’t know where you got the staff or the majority of the guests, but from a viewers standpoint they seemed to be there to play to a small ‘in crowd’. It went from an hour long show to less than 12 minutes of fast forwarding with the remote always to hand.
    Does anyone out there agree that there was a slide due to dumbing down and going for a mass audience that for an essentially tech show may not be there? When (!) you come back, please go for quality over mass ratings.
    OK, criticism over, so lets move on…
    Best of luck in all you do and I really hope to see you on screen soon.

  11. Leo,
    As everyone has said before, it is a sad day to see shows that those of us whom are confuser techies loved so dearly go. However, like you said it is time to move onward and upward. So as many others will continue to do, so shall I. I look forward to your continued podcasts. A big Thank You for all you have done.
    Good Luck Leo and as my former pastor always said, Keep Looking Up.
    David

  12. Leo and Gang
    Thanks for the wonderful show. I started my career in IT about 5 years ago and your shows were very helpful to me. I hope that we will see you again on Canadian television soon.
    Thanks again
    Lisa
    Brantford, On, Canada

  13. I wouldn’t be able to list all the tech things I have learned from you. Can’t believe you didn’t have the ratings. This is the age of technology, and you are the guru. Thanks Leo for helping me and so many others enter the tech age. I’m 63, but because of you I can keep up with the young generation. I’ll be tuning into TWIT from now on! Thanks Leo.

  14. Hey Leo,
    You and your CFH/Lab Team will be missed.. there is no one who can replace you.. I hope that Rogers will come to their senses and bring you back.. All the best to you and I hope that we will see you on the air (not re-runs) again.
    Be Blessed

  15. Leo has been the only source for REAL information of computer fixes. All the other shows have been more about selling and less about using. Leo always talked about functionality, how to get your stuff to work for you or how to get it working again. I will miss him and his crew. Most of what I know I learned from watching Call for Help and the Lab with Leo.
    Now all I have is CNET and, again, they are about the product, not functionality.

  16. CFH is like an old comfortable pair of shoes. Loved them and all the things your experienced with them but when the sole (soul) is gone it is ultimately time to move on. Sad to see if really gone for good but I am sure Leo will just make the next chapter even better as usual.

  17. I never had access to TechTV/G4. I always envied my friends when I went to their houses. Catching an episode here and there.Now it’s gone from TV, I can hardly imagine why your ratings went down.
    Leo, I wish you good fortune in whatever you do, I’ll do my best to tune in (or log on) whenever and wherever i can!
    Thanks for teaching me alot over the years, can’t wait to see what’s next.

  18. Hello Leo,
    I can’t believe this is actually happening. I have been watching your shows since I was13 till this day, learning everything about Windows and other stuff you guided us through back in the days. I actually got my-self out of problems and avoided many problems thanks to you and your great helps and tips <3 – I’m really going to miss you guys, oh well.. thank god there are those re-runs 🙂 Anyways, I hope you do come back with a big bang with some new shows in the near future!
    Bye,
    Vinoth.
    P.S – Damn you Rogers, damn you :’-( *Shakes fist rapidly*

  19. g4 has destroyed the network, nothing but garbage, reruns are on it.Attack of the show is the dumbest thing on TV. I only have g4 for reviews on the run and xplay, and even that I don’t watch. With TSN2 around the corner, I know exactly what I’m dropping and getting.

  20. Just learned that the show was cancelled ??!!
    ====================================
    What will I do now that Leo and all the gang is gone ?
    What will I do know at 6 pm every day ?
    What will I do, that I was doing since the Screen savers ?
    What will I do, I missed those firy shoes so much ?
    What will I do, I missed those flashy (or not) shirts ?
    What will I do now to get tech answers ?
    What will I do now with the fact that I was so proud to have appeared ont the show twice ?
    What will I do now ?
    Pity, oh great pity !

  21. After the G4 take over, I kept my subscription for only one reason. Yes, for Leo and the gang on Call For Help/The Lab. Now that this has been canceled as well, (shame on Rogers) there is no longer a need to subscribe, and for what G4 did to TechTV, I hope they die a long……slow……DEATH!!!

  22. I have asked and searched why this show and your crew were NO longer on tv! This is a sad note…if it wasn't for your show and the very entertaining and knowledgeable folks who helped out, I'd be in bad shape computer wise today!!!Leo…come back!!!! I can't believe your #s were too low, tisk tisk, I don't believe it! This is all coming from a MAJOR company who week after week, year after year keep telling us rural folks we'll have hi speed in a couple months ~ been 4 YEARS NOW!!Get a life Rogers!!

  23. Hey Leo,I was wondering why they were playing reruns all the time? Canceling the show was never even on my radar. They must be crazy. As one commenter said, “most of the other shows are about products not tech help”. Shame on Rogers!I have learned a great deal from your shows, Thank You.I just purchased 2 iPod Touch for my wife and I for Christmas and I was looking forward to getting your input on how to best use them and all the new “apps” that are coming out. Unfortunately, I am in a rural area with no high speed internet, so I can't watch your podcasts (netcasts) so I don't know how I will cope without you. I am sad to see you go.God Bless, in all you do. Please get back on a network somewhere and hopefully I will be able to get it. Thanks again,

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