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CityTV: for viewers who don't like TV.

"My creative development has been to get away from the idea that programs are invented in little boxes called offices, and executed in big expensive boxes called studios," said Moses Znaimer, president and executive producer of Citytv. "That's why we wired the building to shoot itself Boasts Znaimer: "Welcome to my living movie."

Concurred Jay Switzer, who is vp and station manager of programming: "I hate to use the word unique,' but that's the only way I can describe us. "We're downtown, we're a storefront with no studios, we have 100,000 square feet and we're us." Not even 20 years old, Citytv is a "local" station with international alliances. "Ninety per cent of Toronto has been 'cablefied' in the past 10 years, so you have to be different to succeed," said Switzer.

He continued, "Toronto is one of the most competitive cities in the world. There are over 50 channels among which to choose. But we are in the streets with the people-and this seems to work."

Znaimer is the producer who brought to audiences the play Tamara, in which the audience follows the actors around the many rooms of an Italian mansion. His television shows are similar: the Citytv crew has no studios in which to work.

"We've got a mix of talk, news, movies and music shows," said Switzer. "Plus, we've got some tabloid material mixed in-we always try to be controversial."

Citytv's image makes it distinctive. It reflects the image of the city with Korean, Greek, British and Italian reporters and VJ's from all nationalities, ages and sex. There are shows like Life on Venus Avenue (an advice column show aimed at the lovelorn), The Electric Circus (a live 90-minute dance show), and Cityline (a viewer participation show).

Said Switzer, "God knows, there's a large recession in Canada. But thankfully, it hasn't affected us. We're doing extremely well." Twenty other countries are able to receive City's shows, such as FT (Fashion Television), MT (Music Television), The New Music and programming from two specialty channels, MuchMusic and MusiquePlus.

The plan is to include franchises of stations whose format would be similar to Citytv. Now that deregulation and privatization are sweeping Europe, a Citytv is a "natural."

"I've always been a video junkie," said Switzer, "I live five blocks from my job. That TV station is my life."
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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