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 hope this leads to the expansion of video for some of the Twit programming. I wonder what Leo exactly has in store for us.

  2. Leo your show – and you – were both pioneers – you stayed on in one form or fashion for a great deal longer than some well-known, prime-time, national network dramas.
    You’re to be congratulated. It was groundbreaking work that influenced those of us who now follow in your footsteps and who are lucky enough to work with you.

  3. Leo, congrats on the good run. Keep up the great work with TWiT – you’re certainly one of the leaders.

  4. Wow, that’s so sad, yet satisfying/rewarding as well to know that you were apart of a great staff! I’m excited to see what’s in store for you next in the television world!

  5. I was a huge fan back in the TechTV days. While I haven’t seen the show in nearly 4 years, it is sad to see another part of tech history die. But you guys at TWiT and those at Revision3 have done a killer job at almost reviving the old days. I will follow you where ever you go mister Laporte. Lead on.

  6. I’ve been an avid Canadian viewer for just over a year. I often found it useful to have my laptop open during the show, as I’d invariably be inspired to try something new or read up on something. The show will be missed.
    It’s also too bad that it’s stopping now, just as you recently started showcasing various medical imaging modalities on the show — you guys never got around to ultrasound, my particular research field. I was going to volunteer to come on and talk about it!

  7. I cannot wait for TWiT Live! As a geek/tech nerd living in New York, I haven’t seen any of the Canadian shows since G4 stopped showing Call For Help after the 12 second it picked it up. This will give everyone the opportunity to watch Leo and friends on a regular basis, regardless of where you live. That is a pleasure indeed. RIP Lab, hello the future!

  8. Leo and the gang at The Lab,
    As someone who has seen every Canadian CFH/Lab episode (thanks to the guys who maintain the torrent tracker, btw. I, too, eschew cable tv.), I just want to thank you for your work.
    I continue to listen to all that comes out of TWiT HQ and am looking forward greatly to your new venture. If you produce it, I’ll consume it.
    And once I figure out a way to make a recurring donation, I’ll be kicking in some coin, too.

  9. Hey Leo, You know the old saw, “When one door closes anther one opens”! I think this will be a terrific opportunity! Not to mention a chance for your American horde of fans to actually WATCH you new show!!! Personally,,, can’t wait! I think this is a great thing!
    Thanks for all your hard work!

  10. A fitting tribute to the once but was. Call for Help, The Screen Savers, The Lab, etc… will all continue within our fond memories.Here’s to TWiTLive \ //_ Live Long & Prosper!
    (I think I still have some of those ZDTV red cubes somewhere?)

  11. I have signed up for audible because they are your sponsor and this news finally made me click on the recurring button for Paypal for Twit.tv because i am excited for the coming video episodes and want to help fund it.
    Thanks Leo

  12. Call for Help was always the best tech show on TV and I was really disappointed when it was canceled by G4. It’s a great format and it’s a shame G4 would rather show reruns of Cheaters and Cops. But it’s nice to know that Leo still has a call-in show on the radio. I hope to see you in video again soon!

  13. Hi Leo. I’ve been listening to you for a few years now and although I know it’s hard to see something that you’ve put so much energy into go away, greater things are coming. I can feel it!
    Keep up the great work and God bless,
    David

  14. Hi Leo — I’ve watched every episode of C4H and The Lab since we had the cable put in, so I was a bit shocked when it ended so abruptly. You and the show will be missed. At least I’ve found a source for the eps that weren’t/won’t be aired here in Australia. I’ll be looking out for whatever you do next. If it involves computers and tech generally, I’ll be a viewer — paying or otherwise. All the best for now — and extend my fond regards to any others from the Lab crew you happen to see. I guess everyone’s scattered to the four corners. I watch Sean and Andy’s, and Ambers podcasts every week, so I hope I can add yours to my Miro soon! Cheers!

  15. Hi Leo,
    It is really a shame that CFH/The Lab is canceled. Thanks to you, I have discovered very cool and helpful things in the Tech world. I think I only missed very few of your shows since 2002/2003. You made technology more human and more fun thanks to your humor and enthusiasm.
    Time for me to cancel my G4Tech as I have absolutely no interest in watching endless reviews of Video games.
    Take care and I hope that we will see you soon on TV.

  16. TechTV – back in the pre-G4 days, of course – was a viewing staple in my home. Call for Help, Screen Savers, et al. were unique and wonderful shows. The way I see it, however, is that the TV shows were a great recruiting drive for current and future TWiT programming. Keep doing what you do, Leo… and we’ll keep watching, listening and downloading. 😉

  17. The end of an era Leo that is always sad
    I personally want to thank you for all the great content over the years.
    I am very excited about your new plans though,and really enjoy the interactivity with your streams and the Techguy chatroom.
    Onward and upward

  18. CFH is never really gone, it just keeps changing into different formats and media? mediums? medius? In any case, whatever and wherever the show goes, Ill be following along on my computer, my TV, my iPhone and my RSS reader.
    The show is dead! Long live the show!

  19. Sorry to hear you won’t be coming back to Vancouver Leo. Call for Help/The Lab were great shows. It’s hard letting go of something you love but I know you’ll be happier doing your own weekly video net cast. It is the future and Twit Live is gonna kick! Thanks for keeping our appetite hungry for tech. I wish only the best for you and you’re future endeavors.

  20. Leo,
    What can I say? You are a major pro in what you do. You will have new experience beside the podcasts in informing people of the benefits, uses, and the fun of technology.
    I know you do that for me way back in 1998 and I will never forget it.
    Again, thanks for all the info, humor, kindness, and knowledge you have shown your fans through the years.
    To this day, I am your biggest fan.
    peace
    a

  21. Leo, had the pleasure of being a video caller to the Lab the first week of your restart. Sorry to hear the show didn’t work out, but looking forward to TWiT Live! Who needs mass market when you own the niche!!

  22. Onward and upward Leo, onward and upward. I’ve been a fan a long time, can’t wait to see what’s next.

  23. They only cancelled it cuz I figured out how to get the download, lol!I’ll miss that format–it was both entertaining and informative. As much as I love listening to you on KFI and your pod…..er….excuse, me, netcasts (lol!) I will miss seeing your pretty face on TV.

  24. Leo, you have no how influential Call for Help and The Screensavers have been for me. It was soon after falling in love with those shows in high school that I realized I wanted to work in technology. Now I’m working in tech support and towards becoming a tech journalist.
    Like many others here, I owe much of what I have today to those shows and your wonderful coverage. I’m glad to hear that it’ll be resurrected in some form, but it definitely won’t be the same.
    Good luck with the new show, and you can be rest assured that I and all of your other fans will be watching.

  25. loved the show when it was in the states. i’m way behind in my twit podcasts and need to catch up soon. us geeks are getting more and more of our tech programing on-line. besides twit i dwn load podcasts from cnet and revision. danny

  26. It’s my understanding that a big part of the reason the show was revived by G4TechTV Canada was that they were required to maintain tech content (rather than gaming content) as part of the channel’s charter and that they needed to have Canadian content. It sounds like the new show will qualify on both counts.
    I found that when I watched CFH or The Lab, I usually skipped over the viewer question segments. Your podcasts and presumeably TWiT Live are much more interesting to a geekier niche.

  27. I think I speak for every one when I say that TV networks just don’t get it. I hope that your new “TV” project will be the answer that I am looking for. Good look and I will make sure to support in any way that I can.

  28. R.I.P Call For Help & THe Lab With Leo, Great Show, i love Leo Laporte and all the Tech TV’ers, sad to see it leave (i will watch Re-Runs to keep it alive), btw, i am excited for what is going to happen ti TWiT Live. It is always good to put old things to rest. R.I.P CALL FOR HELP & THE LAB WITH LEO LAPORTE, LONG LIVE TWiT LIVE!
    Jordie (cooldude13233 in Leo’s DSL Extreme Chat)
    p.s. i always Wish to Meet you (Leo Laporte) person to Person 🙁

  29. The program “Call for Help” did give me a decent education on how to maintain my windows system before I took Leo’s advice and got a Mac for security reasons.
    Thank you Leo for having such an informative agenda of technical advice. I wouldn’t have made it without you.
    Forward march !!!

  30. After TechTV was destroyed, I stopped watching, but I recently found Leo and all his podcasts and The Lab (thanks to Mininova I can still watch some re-runs). So, in a way, it’s sad that the show has ended right as I’ve begun watching it again.
    I think you’ll have greater success with the new show, though, and you can definitely count me in as loyal viewer. Good luck on everything, Leo!

  31. Leo,
    I’m very sorry to hear this! We only just discovered you on The Lab in the past year or so. We’ve learned so much from you and your gang so we’ll be keeping an eye out for your next venture.
    Onward and upward!

  32. To some this will sound silly I know. But the news of your show being canceled does sadden me more that it should. Last Sunday my wife passed away, and for the last ten months I had to make countless long journeys back and forwards to Sydney. I also had to spend long nights at home without her. But the one constant and anchor throughout has been you, your net casts and The Lab.
    I know I’m a silly old bugger, but among the many tears I shed for her, there will also be one for you.
    Best of luck
    Mick

  33. Oh man! What’s wrong with Rogers? I’m pissed again. But then, I think for you, Leo, it’s probably not so bad since I always feel so bad for you to have to fly to Canada every time you need to do the show. It can be very tiring and stressful for you and your family.
    I think the best thing is to start your own show yourself and do video casts like many others like Morgan Webb, Cali Lewis. You will still have your loyal fans and viewers and can do whatever you want.
    Man, I’m so sorry to hear this again. My best wishes for your future endeavors. I’m just thankful again for the web workshop plug for my Palm Discovery website. I will always be thankful for that plus all the time you’ve spent for the tech community.
    Cheers!

  34. Love the picture with Andy and Amber. Those were great times at CFH in Canada. Things starting giving out when Andy left the show. Once Amber left, I kept thinking it was time for Leo to go completely solo.
    The shows end, but Leo keeps on ticking. Looking forward the next chapter! Canada will miss you! 🙂

  35. I really don’t know what to say I watched both your shows religiously and know it’s all over I feel so sorry for you Leo. I hope you will continue with your podcasts and maybe go it live. If you do so please notify me I will be there.

  36. The Lab was way too Mac oriented, and was missing a good slice of potential viewers by miscaluclating viewer interests. The decline started with the vanishing of the PC tips, not Amber

  37. Call For Help and TechTV may be gone, but so long as there are people with the passion for helping others with technology, the spirit of it all with continue. Like Leo said, it’s the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another.

  38. Without G4TechTV Canada picking up Call For Help (and my having decided to “treat myself” to digital cable finally), I would have never known the joy of your wonderful show. Never would have seen the scary and wonderful inner workings of Andy’s fruit based mind. I would have eventually run into Amber when she became a CityTV’er, but wouldn’t know of her love of cool alt rock, iPods, and especially her right hook (usually directed at Andy). I would not have communicated with Sean Carruthers on occasion, about this that and the other thing. Would not have half the Free Files, if not for Mikey Laz. Would know significantly less about computers in general, if not for Mr Excel, Hak5, Steve Gibson, Merlin Mann, Alex Lindsey, Cali Lewis, Patrick Norton, and the list goes on and on. And while I have enjoyed “The Lab” for what it is, and what it meant to keeping you, Leo, coming to Canada, it has never been as must see as Call For Help was (and frankly still is). I will miss seeing your congenial face on my TV with new episodes Leo, but rest assured, much like a drug dealer, you let me have the first sample for free, and now I have to come back for more.
    Plus you will get to see your family more. And they will see you.
    I wish you all the best with TWiT Live whenever/wherever it happens. I will be in the queue awaiting the beginning, yet again.

  39. Dang, I *finally* got Digital Cable last week. I was really enjoying The Lab.
    I remember watching Call For Help back in the day when I had the DTV hookup, good times.
    RIP

  40. I find it ironic that 2 minutes prior to me clicking the link to get to this page, I signed up to donate my $2 every month to TWiT. I have been a long time fan of the Call for Help show and Lab with Leo and recorded many shows on my PVR. Lucky for me I’m in Canada and I could watch easily.
    I can’t wait to see the up and coming video/TV you plan to make in your new studio.
    Keep on “Doin’ the TWiT”

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