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.


Net@nite album artI’m back from MacMania V – and I had a wonderful time. I took a few still pictures, but I spent most of the time playing with the Sanyo Xacti HD1a. I’ll post some video in a day or so.

Meanwhile, our first episode of net@nite went pretty well Sunday night. We had a surprise visit from YouTube founder, Steve Chen (did you know the Google-YouTube merger talks started at Denny’s?), and a number of nice calls. Our host, Talkshoe, suffered some growing pains, but I expect most of the wrinkles will be ironed out by next week’s show. I told them that there would be a few people listening!

The high-quality edited version will go out on the Inside the Net feed Tuesday, but you can hear the raw and uncut right now at Talkshoe. Show notes are available on the net@nite blog.

I’ve also posted a brand new TWiT, recorded aboard the ms Veendam. It’s a completely new cast – none of the regulars were on the cruise – but I think it’s a very good show. Steve Stecklow, a senior writer for the Wall St. Journal was along to explain what the latest stock option backdating scandals mean, the very funny Andy Ihnatko weighs in on bottled water, and security and Perl guru, Randal Schwartz makes boat sounds. Stay tuned at the end for an interlude from our Captain.

I’m home this week, with lots of podcasts to record and post, then it’s back to Toronto for another week of Call for Help. The wonderful Cali Lewis of Geekbrief.tv will co-host once again for nine shows. The remaining six will be hosted by three different candidates to replace Amber MacArthur. Yes, on-the-air auditions. It’s a first for me, and I’m sure it will be a little scary for the propspective hosts, but that’s how they do things in Canadia. The shows will air some time next month.
undotv logoOh, and one more thing. While I’m in Toronto we’ll be holding a launch party for the new undo.tv. Save Tuesday, 11/14, on your calendar. We’re taking over No Regrets once again for the event. Details to follow.

My Three Hosts

Amber, some guy, and CaliIt’s been a great week in Toronto, but all too brief. The meetup on Tuesday, a talk with the seminarians at UofT’s Wycliffe College on Wednesday, TWiM on Thursday, then home on Friday. Oh and 15 Call for Help episodes in there somewhere, too. I’m breathless.

We miss Amber so much on Call for Help, but I did get to catch up with her, and record three(!) Inside the Net episodes, at the meetup. The first of those, a look at Nakama, a new moblogging site, will go up October 10.

We’re still searching for a Canadian replacement for Amber on Call for Help, but while we do we’re very fortunate indeed to have the poised and talented (and lovely) Cali Lewis of GeekBrief.tv filling in for her. Amber’s last episode and Cali’s first should be airing soon on G4techTV Canada and the HOW-TO Network in Australia. No truth to the rumor that we’re changing the show name to “Cali for Help.”

CNI Debuts Tuesday

Meanwhile Amber’s new show, City News International debuts Tuesday, October 10 on Citytv Canada-wide. She’ll be on every night. She tells me her US and Aussie fans can catch her pieces on the net every day – I’ll post a link as soon as I get one. Her live daily net culture segments on CP24 are also available on the live stream every weekday between 3:30 and 4p Eastern. Internet Exploder is required to watch that.

Check out her new blog/vlog Popnology. That’s also going to be the name of her new show on CP24. Great name! You’ll be able to subscribe to Popnology on iTunes soon, too.

I think flowers are in order, if not a Gemini award!

Toronto Meetup

Here we go again!

We have such a stellar bunch of people coming up for Call for Help next week we really thought we should do a meetup.

Tuesday, October 3, we’ll be recording Inside the Net live from the downstairs dining room at No Regrets in Liberty Village, T.O. The festivities and no-host food and drink start at 6:30p. Come by to meet:

and I bet we can talk some other Call for Helpers into stopping by.

RSVP at Upcoming.org – you’ll find directions and maps there, too. See you there!

Le Trio Nouveau

Our house artist, Tackie, has been at it again. He writes:

Greetings again Leo,

thumbnail of Le Trio Nouveau Been very busy of late, and regretably, have not had any spare time to devote to any side projects. Well had some spare time today, (ok, and all of tonight) so I followed Andy’s suggestion of updating “The Trio” with the new crew member.

The first screening of “Trio Nouveau”…

Hope you and the guys like it.

Kind regards,

Love it, Steve! Thanks!