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. i always loved watching call for help & screensavers back in the day when i first got familiar with you leo. sad to see this part of those memories fade away, but it is understandable and part of life.

  2. Sad to see you goHeard so many wonderful things about the show from Snowball and it sounded like fun
    Good job Leo
    And to put a nerdy spin on this
    Go rest our heroes

  3. Im sorry to hear that… I loved it when you were on techtv in the states. LONG LIVE TWIT!!!

  4. Leo, Sorry to hear the show is over, but seems to make a lot of sense. I’ve been a loyal listener to TWiT, TWiM, and MacBreak Weekly since they’ve come out. Many of the topics end up on my own podcast that I do with a few of my friends from work. Tried to make it MacWorld Expo this year to meet you and Alex, but things got in the way. Keep up all the great work!

  5. My family and i are with you through the next move. Much like buying local food, we’d rather consume our media directly from the source. we have faith in the next project. Thank you. Baltimore, Md.

  6. I have cancelled my G4/tech tv channel, The Lab was the last show worth watching and without Amber, the chemistry was never the same.
    I am thrilled however about your new venture Leo! I can finally get the Apple TV and have something worth watching on it. Especially as we still can rent/buy movie and tv shows up here in The Great White North.

  7. Very sad to see this happen. Leo you’re great at explaining difficult or technical things, in an easy to understand way.
    You will be missed here in Australia.
    p.s. I hope you still plan on coming out here for a visit sometime.

  8. Thanks for all your hard work, Leo.
    I was 13 years old when I fist discovered what was then ZDTV back in 1998. I initially watched it for Gamespot TV, but also got really interested in Call For Help and The Screensavers. I found that my interest grew and grew and became a loyal viewer just about every day. It was probably the thrill of my life to that point when you took a live call of mine back in 1999.
    Ten years later, I’m fresh out of college and I’m now working professionally as a web developer. And in all honesty, I have your shows to thank. Amongst other factors, growing up on ZD/TechTV helped to teach me everything I know.

  9. It’s unfortunate that the show got canceled but luckily when one door closes another opens, TWIT Live is going to be great!

  10. I’m so sorry to hear this, however I’m happy I still have a large repository of shows I can watch 🙂 If you ever need a new tech girl sidekick, I’m always available 😉

  11. A very profound and sad post. No matter what the ratings were, you have always helped people to understand the world of tech and how it changes and transforms our lives year after year. I have followed you for many years and just wanted to say thank you for all that you do. You inform and entertain us all at the same. We, your true fans, will follow you where ever you may go. In a totally non stalking way of course.

  12. You have a very powerful purpose Leo. It only has to be for the best and we all look forward to more wonderful work from you.
    Jamie
    Allthingsthatfly.com

  13. That is pretty sad, Call for help and The Screensavers where both a big part of my education, to see them both finally kaput is rather shocking. Thankfully, we still have TWiT.

  14. It’s often sad when a familiar chapter ends, but when one door closes, go find a window. In the US, we’ve missed the show for years, but we haven’t missed you. Why? Because the new internet media rocks, and we have you every week, ratings and corporate pressures be damned. Long live TWiT, indeed, sir.
    Keep up the great work and thanks for all the fish!
    Bob

  15. Sorry to hear about the cancellation. I’ve been hearing tidbits on twitter the last week or so.
    But, the bright side is the move to TWiT Live. I’m super excited about this. Throw in the new Tivo update and I’ll have Leo back on my TV soon!

  16. Being from Argentina I could never watch these shows, but I always wanted to. All I know is that both you, Leo, and Amber were involved, and I already know it was good TV.
    But as Michael said up there, one door closes and another one opens and TWiT Live! seems to be it – and I for one, am extremely happy and excited about this venture. Long Live TWiT!

  17. It’s sad when something like call for help fades away but if it was slipping and with the following of TWIT I’m sure that you will have more then enough to do. Keep on making those shows that we love!

  18. Dude–you can’t have a nerd show without a hot chick. Rule number one. Merlin didn’t take you aside and tell you this?
    If content is king, the queen is the hot chick on the set.

  19. I’m looking forward to tWiT Live, and frankly, I see moving away from traditional media to New Media as just being ahead of the curve in what will happen to all things.
    “When I was a kid, we had Networks, not like the tWiT Network–we had to wait for the show to be on and then TiVo it! None of this internet downloading stuff that’s spoiled all you young whippersnappers!”
    But as long as there’s tech, there’ll always be demand for Leo “Tech Jesus” Laporte. (Don’t let the nickname go to your head, Leo–it came to mind when Veronica was talking about people “looking to you” on tWiT. Of course, it also brought several scenes from The Life of Brian to mind.)

  20. Dear Leo,Even though I’ve never seen The Lab –only heard about it from your podcasts– I can clearly see your pain over the cancelation of the show but also the admirable dignity of your character. I wish you best of luck on your new endeavour (TWiT Live) –I’m sure everything will work out fine!
    Best regards,
    Christos Varelas,
    Athens,
    Greece.

  21. I look forward to your new LIVE video broadcast on TWiT. Any chance you can keep that cute Canadian girl in Petaluma, CA?
    How is the first floor studio build out going?
    Any pictures of the progress?
    Best regards,
    Ernie
    Long Live TWiT!

  22. Leo, you gave us Amber, you gave us Andy. The shows were funny, information, a learning experience and a time when we could listen to some friends.
    Thanks for everything. I realize its not the end but as you say, a new chapter begins.
    Can’t wait.

  23. Although watched from a far (from Amsterdam, NL), I enjoyed the bits and pieces of The Lab on Google Video.
    I feel sad for the Canadians, but rejoice for the transatlantic guys and girls like me, who now get the chance to subscribe to even more geek speak with Leo 🙂
    Hope to hear more about your plans soon!

  24. Never fear – (pod|net)casting is hands down _the_ way.
    (net@night, mbw, twit-proper, etc will get us through – those of us hooked on leoware – until life streaming in Petaluma kicks in).
    I don’t think of myself getting caught-up in fandom, but here I am gushing away. Thanks, Leo !?!

  25. I am out in the UK and have never seen the show, so only know you from the TWiT network.
    But good luck. You have a huge opportunity with Live

  26. Leo,It was great working with you for the last few years. I can’t wait to see the new live show…we’ll definitely stay in touch:)
    -Matt

  27. I PVR’d it every day, and actually enjoyed the Lab even more than Call for Help! Reruns in tech seem odd, but I look forward to TWiT Video.
    Best of luck Leo!

  28. Excellent recap, Leo. You know what they say, for everything there is a season, and the end of one season is the beginning of another.
    I’m really looking forward to TWiT Live. With the new flexibility and power of the net, it can surpass anything you’ve done before.
    Thanks for always pushing ahead, Leo.
    Speaking of new seasons, Spring starts tomorrow. If only I didn’t live at the 45th parallel…

  29. Ah Leo. I know this was your baby for soo long. The key ingredient here is “how we get tech news.” I’m absolutely positive that the way we want to get that is from your podcasts..both the audio and video casts. TV is soo yesterday…TODAY is the net. See you there!

  30. Hi Leo. Coming to Vancouver to meet you, be on your show and hang out with Alex back stage was the highlight of 2007 for me! I look forward to seeing what you do next. Go well. Take care.
    – Randy

  31. I’m deeply saddened by this. It feels as though just as a chapter of TechTV has finally come to a close, so has a deeply rooted portion of my childhood.
    Although, at the same time, this leaves me with extreme excitement to see where TWiT will go from here.
    The TechTV community is stronger than ever right now and we all owe it the death of the TV network.
    It’s been one hell of a ride so far Leo, and I thank you for it. I can’t wait to see where we all go from here.

Comments are closed.