Drain the wank tank and hose down the set: Ed the Sock is hot footing it out of City-TV. After 14 seasons, the final Ed & Red's Night Party airs tomorrow night (Friday) at 11:30.
Rogers, which acquired City-TV in the fallout of the CRTC decision to allow CTV to purchase CHUM, just doesn't think Ed fits with their brand. Truth is, he probably scares the crap out of the folks at Rogers, who seem intent on re-branding feisty little City into bland Omni 3.
Love him or hate him, you just never know what is going to come flying out of Ed's mouth, which is why fans love him and network executives fear him. There's just no way to muzzle the sock.
I've known Ed since he was a little bootie. He started out over 20 years ago as a goofy invention of Steve Kerzner, way back when Steve was the Doogie Howser of Newton Cable, a teen Tartikoff of Toronto community programming.
All these years later and here are the facts: Ed's Night Party, in its various incarnations, is the longest-running weekly comedy series and longest-running late night show in Canadian TV history.
Kerzner called the other day to bring me up to date on the Ed front. Sounds like there are lots of opportunities ahead, although Kerzner was off the record on most of it, waiting for deals to be signed, official announcements to be made, etc. But know this: Ed will be back, on radio, on TV and on the Internet.
In the old days Kerzner would have burned City-TV to the ground behind him. Older and wiser, he made a smart exit, telling reporters the split was mutual and there were no hard feelings. Truth was even Kerzner will admit that the wank tank and other Ed excesses needed to be scrubbed.
In the Toronto market on a Friday night, a parade of porn stars had driven Ed beyond established network hits like The Tonight Show. Kerzner knew what reeled the young male demo in, but also yearned for the days Ed could rip pretentious videos to bits as a MuchMusic sock star. He's missed there, and should get that old Fromage year-ender gig back.
A big draw in recent years on Ed & Red is Red, a.k.a. Mrs. Kerzner, Liana K, Ed's curvy co-star. Ed's had a lot of co-hosts over the years but Liana had the sass (not to mention sex appeal) to stick. Kerzner says his Missus is as much in demand as he is and will work sockless in an upcoming reality show on Ripe-TV, an on-demand enterprise Kerzner likens to the early, maverick days at City.
Kerzner will also finally get to leave the sock behind as he ventures over to CFRB radio for a "Steve & Liana" talk show. Other broadcasters, some pretty surprising, are also in talks for future projects.
So, bottom line, change is good, for people and socks. Here's to Ed--long may he run.