For 35 years, Tiny Talent Time shone a spotlight on kids who could sing, dance, juggle and play instruments. There was no cash prize for being the best, no panel of judges looking down their noses and sniffing in disdain, no voting someone off the stage. It was a gentler time, and one CHCH is getting back into this weekend.
Yes, Tiny Talent Time returns to CHCH on Saturday with the first of 12 new half-hour episodes (a second season has just been announced). And while the brand has been updated from the original that ran from 1957 to 1992–a stunning 35 years–the message remains the same: have fun without any judgment. The idea for bringing back the series–the original was hosted by CHCH legend Bill Lawrence–came up during planning for the channel’s 60th anniversary happening this year.
“One of the things they said was to bring back Tiny Talent Time,” remembers producer Jennifer Howe (Descending). “I think this is a very good homage to the past with a new, modern take on it.” Producers went with two hosts for this incarnation (“I joke to Bill that it took two people to replace him,” Howe laughs.) in Jason Agnew (Splatalot) and Jaclyn Colville (Morning Live), which affords them the opportunity to bounce things off each other while interacting with the kids. The set has been updated, social media implemented and a website boasting a Wish Wall, an online update to a Lawrence mainstay.
“Bill always said, ‘If I could snap my fingers and make a wish come true for you, what would it be?’ and not everyone was able to reveal their wish because they weren’t on the show,” Howe explains. “Now kids can go and upload their wishes and can see each other’s wishes and interact.” Each half-hour instalment spotlights five on-air acts–beginning with Saturday’s “An Amazing Premiere”–and an interview with a child whose performance can only be seen by visiting the Tiny Talent Time website. Howe reveals over 500 kids auditioned to appear on the program from across Southern Ontario.
“There were a lot of viewers of the old show, a lot of people who had been on the old show and wanted their grandkids to be on, or their nieces and nephews,” she says. “That seemed to be the big connection for people auditioning.”
Tiny Talent Time airs Saturdays at 7 p.m. ET on CHCH.