Canada AM Expands - More Live Broadcasts! - January 28

CTV’s Canada AM Expands with Live Broadcasts in
Every Market, a New Western Anchor Team
and a New Vancouver Studio, Jan. 28

— Journalists Mi-Jung Lee, Rena Heer and Omar Sachedina join Canada AM Team —

— Canada AM Delivers more live local and national news beginning Jan. 28 —

— Six hours of live Canada AM to air on CTV Newsnet —

Toronto, ON (January 9, 2007) – Robert Hurst, President of CTV News and Current Affairs, announced today that starting on Monday, January 28, CTV’s Canada AM – Canada’s #1 Morning Show – will expand to six hours and go live in every Canadian market. This is the first time a national North American morning show on a conventional network will be totally live across all time zones. As part of the new format, Canada AM will now deliver more live national and local news. Hurst also announced that Canada AM will expand its on-air family with the addition of a Western anchor team – out of a new Vancouver studio.

“This is an exciting new era for Canada AM,” said Hurst. “The new format and the addition of a Western team allows us to do what we do best – deliver breaking news to Canadians as it happens. Establishing Canada AM’s Vancouver studio also allows us to deliver an increased focus on the region and the countdown to the 2010 Olympic Games.”

A breakdown of what’s new on Canada AM:

Canada AM – Live Across Canada
Every weekday morning, Canada AM will produce a total of six hours of live programming between 6 a.m. and 12 Noon ET. Local CTV stations across the country will join Canada AM live between 6 and 9 a.m. local time (check CTV.ca for local broadcast times).

New Canada AM Western Team
Canada AM will expand its on-air family with the addition of a Western anchor team joining Beverly Thomson, Seamus O’Regan, Jeff Hutcheson and Marci Ien.

Veteran British Columbia journalist Mi-Jung Lee joins Canada AM as co-host, based from the show’s new Vancouver studio. Popular weather anchor Rena Heer – also based in Vancouver – joins the team and will deliver weather and special reports. Rounding out the Canada AM team is Vancouver native and accomplished news anchor Omar Sachedina, who will join Canada AM’s Western team to deliver the latest breaking news. Full biographies for Mi-Jung Lee, Rena Heer and Omar Sachedina are below.

“Mi-Jung, Rena and Omar are a wonderful addition to the Canada AM family,” said Lis Travers, Executive Producer for Canada AM and Vice-President of CTV News. “With an expanded team based out of both Toronto and Vancouver, Canada AM is adding more voices to deliver a truly national perspective on the news and issues concerning Canadians.”

Canada AM – More National News, More Local News
The first hour of Canada AM will feature headline, national and local news with Marci Ien, along with weather and special features from Jeff Hutcheson. Canada AM co-hosts Beverly Thomson and Seamus O’Regan will then lead coverage from Toronto starting at 7 a.m. ET. They will continue to deliver Canada AM’s unique blend of hard news and lifestyle stories with top newsmakers, celebrities and musical stars.

Western viewers will see Mi-Jung Lee take over hosting Canada AM at 7 a.m. PT from Vancouver with Rena Heer handling weather and Omar Sachedina delivering the latest news developments. Local anchors from each market across the country will join Canada AM throughout the morning to deliver the latest in local news, weather and traffic.

Complete Canada AM on CTV Newsnet
A complete, six hour, live edition of Canada AM will air every Monday to Friday morning on CTV Newsnet beginning at 6 a.m. ET.

Canada AM Western Team Bios
Mi-Jung Lee, Western Co-Host of Canada AM
Mi-Jung Lee joins Canada AM from CTV British Columbia where she anchored and produced the station’s popular late-night newscast. Mi-Jung played a key role in CTV’s award-winning coverage of the forest fires in B.C. in the summer of 2003, when the network won the B.C. Association of Broadcasters award for Best Breaking News Coverage in 2003.

Mi-Jung began her broadcast career in 1990 as a reporter and part-time anchor on Victoria’s CHEK-TV. She joined BCTV in 1992 and anchored Weekend News Hour Final at 11:30 p.m. Mi-Jung was nominated for a Jack Webster Award for Best TV Reporting in B.C. for a series of stories she broke on a Native foster child. In 1998, Mi-Jung joined Vancouver Television and was the anchor for the popular VTV Live at 5. In 2000, she was nominated for a Leo award for Best TV Anchor. When the station changed hands to CTV, she was assigned to lead the late-night local news.

Born in Choon Chun, South Korea, Mi-Jung was four when her family moved to Vancouver. She majored in English Literature at the University of British Columbia. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC she attended Ryerson University and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Journalism.

In addition to her successful career in broadcasting, Mi-Jung is active with local charities and enjoys spending time with her family.

Rena Heer, Canada AM Western Weather Anchor
A B.C. native, Rena Heer was born and raised in the small town of Clearwater, B.C. and moved to Burnaby, B.C., after her high school graduation to attend Simon Fraser University. Rena got her broadcasting start in 2002 at Channel M. Rena’s duties as community relations manager and host of the cooking series Fusion Fare, exposed her to many aspects of the broadcasting business. In 2005, Rena took on the role of Weather Specialist and Traffic Reporter at Global BC in Vancouver. In January of 2008, she joined the Canada AM team.

Rena is committed to various local charities and has participated in fundraising activities for the Firefighter’s Burn Fund, the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the Surrey Foundation and BC’s Children’s Hospital.

Omar Sachedina, Canada AM Western News Anchor
Omar Sachedina joins Canada AM from Citytv, where he was a reporter and anchor for Toronto’s television news channel, CP24. Born and raised in an Ismaili Muslim household in Vancouver, Omar is of South Asian descent. His parents immigrated to Canada from Uganda. Omar’s broadcast career started at Global Television in both Vancouver and Montreal. He also worked at CNN International in London, England, before becoming a reporter for CTV News in Northern Ontario.

Curious about his East-African homeland, Omar recently traveled to Uganda on a PBS Frontline/World fellowship to produce a web documentary on the return of Indians after the 1972 Asian Expulsion. He has also reported on the HIV/AIDS crisis in Kenya. Omar speaks Kutchi, Gujarati and French. One of Omar’s passions is traveling. Some of his favourite places are Beijing, Dubai, New York and London. Omar has a degree in political science and philosophy from McGill University and a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University.

About Canada AM
Canada AM is television’s morning star and Canada’s most-watched national morning newsmagazine. Since its launch in 1972, Canada AM has brought Canadians a unique blend of hard news and lifestyle stories featuring in-depth interviews with top newsmakers, celebrities and musical stars. Lis Travers is the Vice-President and Executive Producer for Canada AM and Robert Hurst is the President of CTV News.

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