Friday, 15 September 2017

Jeanne Beker: Bringing a passion for fashion to TV

Long-time Fashion Television host Jeanne Beker on the set of the show that really mae her famous
2016 Canada Walk of Fame
Jeanne Beker: Bringing a passion for fashion to TV

She did more than anyone else in Canada to bring fashion to television – and she is still doing it. Starting back in the 1980s and continuing on to today on The Shopping Channel, Jeanne Beker has become the epitome of style.

City Television
Back in the 1980s, there were just two national television networks – CBC and CTV. The third channel on the rural cable network was Channel 7, which was part of a loose affiliation of TV stations across Canada. That’s why periodically, we would see Global News, and anchors such as Peter Kent, out of Toronto.

Channel 7 also broadcast various shows produced by Moses Znaimer and his City Television. There was a news magazine called, “That’s Life” hosted by Ann Rohmer and Peter Feniak, and “The NewMusic”, hosted by J.D. Roberts and – Jeanne Beker.

Znaimer would go on to pioneer Muchmusic and the whole City-TV network that still exists.

Roberts would move to Muchmusic, then become John Roberts and become a TV news anchor in the United States.

Jeanne Beker, who hosted “The NewMusic” from 1979 to 1985, would move on to pursue her passion for fashion and be the heart, the soul, and the face of Fashion Television, often called FTV.

Fashion Television
According to, “Fashion Television began when Moses Znaimer, CITY-TV’s head honcho, wanted to make use of the fashion videos being created by big designers. What was originally to be simply a half-hour special was expanded to seven one-hour segments (under the title FTV and later FT-Fashion Television), and then to a weekly half-hour show beginning in September, 1986.”

To be honest, I do not have a lot of memories of Fashion Television, but it always seemed to be on Channel 7 on Saturday afternoons, when I was flipping channels.

My overriding memories are of how glamorous and beautiful Beker was, and that thundering theme music. It was the intro of “Obsession” by Animotion they used in the opening of Fashion Television, which was eventually shortened to FTV.

Fashion Television would have immense staying power, staying on the air in syndication until Beker announced in 2012, via social media, the show was ending.

Parting thoughts
Some times there are just uniquely Canadian personalities who carve out a special niche in pop culture, people who become synonymous with their subject matter.

This is the best way to describe Jeanne Beker, who really was the last word on fashion in Canada, and a leading commentator all over the world. Her clear voice and signature style made her one of a kind.

It is only appropriate she would eventually take the leap and start her own fashion line. That was the last time I saw her – not commenting on fashion, but describing her own designs being modelled live in studio on The Shopping Channel.

It is the fitting next step in the long and distinguished career of Jeanne Beker.

The Canadian Walk of Fame recently unveiled the stars of a number of outstanding individuals on June 7 and Robvogt80s will be honouring those people in a series.

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