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Robert Hoyt, Ken Lefolii, Douglas Leiterman, and Patrick Watson on the set of This Hour Has Seven Days in the 1960s. Seven Days was an irreverent hour of television that didn't shy away from controversial subject matter during its run from October, 1964, to May, 1966. (HANDOUT)
Robert Hoyt, Ken Lefolii, Douglas Leiterman, and Patrick Watson on the set of This Hour Has Seven Days in the 1960s. Seven Days was an irreverent hour of television that didn't shy away from controversial subject matter during its run from October, 1964, to May, 1966. (HANDOUT)

Douglas Leiterman, co-creator of CBC’s This Hour Has Seven Days, dies Add to ...

Canadian television producer and journalist Douglas Leiterman, who co-created the popular and controversial CBC public affairs show This Hour Has Seven Days, has died.

He died at his winter home in Vero Beach, Fla., on Dec. 19, according to a death notice. He was 85.

The native of South Porcupine, Ont., got his start in journalism in British Columbia before going on to become a Parliament correspondent for the Southam News Service in Ottawa.

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He then joined the CBC and worked on a number of documentary series, including Document, which he executive produced with Patrick Watson.

He and Watson would go on to launch This Hour Has Seven Days in 1964, a mix of hard-hitting news and interviews alongside comedy and satire. During celebrations of its 75th anniversary, the CBC called it “the most defiant and controversial program in Canadian broadcasting history.”

Despite drawing millions of viewers, the edgy, unpredictable show was cancelled after just two seasons, which caused a public uproar that reverberated all the way up to the office of then-prime minister Lester B. Pearson.

Leiterman would leave the CBC after the show’s cancellation and continued to work on documentaries through his company Hobel-Leiterman Productions.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Beryl Fox, his daughters Lachlan, Catherine, Julia and Barbara, and sister Phyllis King.

No funeral is planned, but a celebration of his life is to be held in May.

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