POLITICS

Sun news network to shut down as of Friday morning

02/12/2015 10:34 EST | Updated 04/14/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The Sun News Network is shutting down Friday morning after negotiations to sell the troubled television network were apparently unsuccessful.

Sources tell The Canadian Press that the network will cease broadcasting early Friday morning.

Last December, a report in the Globe and Mail quoted a source "familiar with the negotiations'' who said that Moses Znaimer's ZoomerMedia Ltd. negotiating to acquire the network from Quebecor Inc.

ZoomerMedia operates print, TV, radio, digital, consumer shows, and conferences aimed at the over-45 demographic.

Sun News Network hit the airwaves in April 2011 with heightened expectations and the watchful eyes of media observers who nicknamed the channel "Fox News North."

The operations were plagued by tight production budgets which often left it with limited on-the-ground reporting and a large portion of its airtime dedicated to commentary and heavily editorialized news coverage.

The channel promised to balance the "lefty bias" of traditional Canadian media, but it also quickly drew controversy with its occasionally combative on-air approach.

One of the most famous examples happened when former "Canada Live" host Krista Erickson drilled Quebec-born dancer Margie Gillis about whether she could receive government money for her dance performances. The segment went viral and drew a record number of complaints from viewers who felt Erickson was being unfair, but the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council eventually ruled the "aggressive" interview was acceptable.

Last September, Sun Media's outspoken right-wing host Ezra Levant faced the ire of the Liberal party when he criticized Justin Trudeau for kissing a Toronto-area bride in a wedding photo. The bride later said Trudeau secured the groom's OK beforehand.

Levant's commentary also slurred Trudeau's mother, Margaret, and his late father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Sun News issued an apology after Trudeau said he would no longer speak to the outlet's reporters until there was an appropriate response.