Tag Archives: The Social

Cynthia Loyst celebrates 10 seasons on The Social

The first season of The Social is memorable to Cynthia Loyst for a couple of reasons. Back when it launched in September 2013, Loyst was, as she describes, “a sleep-deprived new mom pumping my breasts backstage between rehearsals.” And, secondly, there was a chemistry between the hosts at that time—Melissa Grelo, Lainey Lui, Loyst and Traci Melchor—she noticed right away.

With Season 10 of The Social returning this week at 1 p.m. ET on CTV Grelo, Lui and Jess Allen, Loyst looks back on the past nine seasons.

Congratulations on your upcoming 10th season of The Social.
Cynthia Loyst: I cannot believe it’s the 10th season of The Social. I was literally pregnant when we were doing auditions for this show. And then when we launched the show, I was a sleep-deprived new mom who was pumping my breasts backstage in between rehearsals and things. So we’ve come a long way. I have this boy who’s going into Grade 4.

Back when you were doing the auditions and you were pregnant, what were your thoughts at the time? Were you thinking, ‘What were they thinking when they asked me to do this? Or what was I thinking when I agreed to do this?’
CL: Well, it’s interesting because there were rumours of a show being developed that was kind of going to be a Canadian version of The View for a long time prior to this. Even when I was doing the audition, I was like, ‘Well, is this thing even going to happen?’ But then it seemed like it was becoming more of a reality. And I thought, ‘Well, there’s no way they’re going to hire me,’ because the timeline was such that I would’ve been just after giving birth. So I thought, ‘I’m probably out of the running,’ But then I got the call and was told that I was going to be part of the cast. I was shocked. I went through a variety of emotions. I was shocked. I was elated. And then I was terrified.

And was there chemistry between the hosting panel back then? Was it immediate?
CL: There were a bunch of different people who auditioned. The producers threw us in different combinations and configurations and the very, very first test group was the original four of us who were actually hired. There was really good chemistry, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. But looking back, it was clear that there was a kind of electricity with that first initial four. And clearly, other people felt it too, because my understanding is they went through a bunch of different combinations and then they showed them to test audiences to see what people really were resonating towards. And so I think part of that was what was immediately picked up on.

You can’t fake chemistry on television.
CL: We didn’t know each other all that well, but there was a mutual respect right away. And even though we didn’t come from necessarily different political backgrounds, a la The View, we were definitely very different women. We’re not the type of women who would necessarily be thrown together and have come together naturally. For whatever reason though, I think there was just a combination of stage of life, experience level, and I think passion for hot topics and a willingness to speak out that brought out some kind of interesting magic and alchemy.

What were your expectations during that first season?
CL: I think my expectations were just to stay treading water. I couldn’t really think beyond the end of the day. Because I was sleep-deprived and because I was this new mom, everything felt very new and I don’t remember thinking that it would last past the season, but I don’t remember thinking it wouldn’t last past the season. I was just kind of like, ‘Let’s keep this thing as long as we can.’

Can you walk me through the process of how the content of an episode of The Social is decided?
CL: Every evening or afternoon, we get a lineup of pitches. Our producers and us have contributed anything that comes across our feed that we feel passionate about or excited about. And somebody assembles that into a short list. Sometimes it’s as many as 40 pitches and they have links attached to them. We go through them, we pick our topic, like six or seven, and we send that in. Then the producers meet early in the morning before we are part of that and hammer out what they think will be our hot topic topics from segments one, two, and now three. And then we meet all together in person and we kind of hash it out around the table. During the pandemic, it was all on a Zoom call or on a phone call.

Sometimes we’re able to immediately go, ‘OK, yeah. That lineup is amazing. Let’s run with it.’ And other times it’s quite a struggle. It might be that we feel it’s too much of a personal ask to go down a certain road. Or it might be that there’s a topic in the news that we feel like we don’t have enough information about. We don’t feel comfortable, let’s shelve that for tomorrow. Those are the types of discussions that we have at any given point in time.

Segments four and five now are lifestyle segments, so those are planned way in advance. It might be an author, a celebrity, a chef, or a fashion person. The show was conceived as feeling like you’re either going through a magazine or surrounded by a really interesting dinner party. It feels like that’s sort of spirit and energy of the show.

What is it that you particularly look for when all these pitches are brought to you or all these segment ideas? What gets you excited?
CL: My background is in sexual health and I’m a sex educator and that’s what I did first. I was producing for documentary series about sexuality. Relationships and love are big to me and I’m a parent, so I feel like whenever there’s something that kind of comes up in the parenting realm, often ignites something in me and I think a lot of our viewers. But then sometimes there’s unexpected stuff that comes up in the news, where you’re just like, ‘Even if I don’t immediately have an opinion or thought about it, I know it’s an important thing to delve into.’ And so then it becomes this sort of puzzle of doing research quickly to come up with something that’s articulate and thoughtful without just being like news. Because we aren’t the news.

We come after the news. But we aren’t news and that’s not what we’re supposed to be. We’re trying to add to an insight or a personal take or something that maybe people wouldn’t have thought of related to maybe a news topic. So it’s always different things that ignite. And sometimes I’ll read something and think, ‘Oh, I’m not that interested.’ But then in the meeting, someone will say something and they’ll spur on some kind of inspiration towards it.

Is there a standout moment for you or two over the last nine seasons?
CL: We obviously had a really hard time, like everyone else did, during the pandemic. It was hard doing a TV show where you’re used to communicating in real-time and having an audience and a connection. So that was a real challenge, but I think something beautiful came out of it. After the murder of George Floyd, the conversation immediately became, rightly so, about Black lives. And we had Tyrone Edwards from eTalk on the show and it was a moment that went viral.

He was so emotional and spoke from the heart and it was just an unforgettable moment and a really important one, I think, for viewers most of all to see that. I think it helps change a conversation and illuminate things that maybe hadn’t been seen on daytime TV before.

Anything else?
CL: I have this gigantic crush on Jason Momoa from Game of Thrones and Aquaman. He came on the show, and one of the producers, unbeknownst to me, had assembled a little montage of me talking about Jason Momoa. She played it for him on the show, much to my mortification, but he was a great sport about it. I wanted to climb out of my own skin and maybe hide behind the couch.

The Social airs weekdays at 1 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


New look. New feel. New season. #1 Canadian lifestyle program The Social returns Sept. 9 on CTV

From a media release:

CTV’s most buzzworthy daily lifestyle program THE SOCIAL returns for a seventh season this September with a new show opening and logo, brand-new set design, and another season of timely and unfiltered discussions on current events, lifestyle, and entertainment topics. Premiering live on Monday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. ET on CTV, THE SOCIAL co-hosts Melissa Grelo, Marci Ien, Cynthia Loyst, Lainey Lui, and correspondent Jess Allen are back with lifestyle experts, beauty regimens, red carpet recaps, fashion tips, and a wide array of eclectic guests. This season also sees the return of the popular All Talk episodes, now taking place twice monthly, where the hosts and special guests have an hour-long lively roundtable debate on the hottest trends and news topics of the day.

The multiple-Canadian Screen Award-nominated series is the most-watched Canadian lifestyle program among all key demos, garnering an average weekly reach of 3 million viewers on CTV, CTV Two, and E!, and continuing to grow in the key A18-34 demo.

THE SOCIAL is also set to unveil its new daily podcast Sept. 9, featuring top moments from each episode and extended interviews. The podcast will be available daily, following the live broadcast, on the iHeartRadio app, and everywhere podcasts are available.

Also announced today is a continued partnership with leading home furnishing retailer IKEA, with a new ad spot running now on all Bell Media broadcast and digital platforms. IKEA’s new catalogue is incorporated through an in-show integrated commercial spot featuring all of the hosts.

THE SOCIAL airs live weekdays at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. AT) on CTV. THE SOCIAL is also available on-demand across CTV’s digital platforms including CTV.ca, TheSocial.ca, and the CTV app.

THE SOCIAL is produced by Bell Media Studios, and Michelle Crespi and Laura Scarfo are Executive Producers.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

The Social’s Jess Allen: Six things I’ve learned being on TV

Season 3 of The Social returns to CTV next Monday, Aug. 31. Co-hosted by Melissa Grelo, Cynthia Loyst, Lainey Lui and Traci Melchor, The Social also includes digital correspondent Jess Allen. We got the multi-tasking, multi-faceted dynamo to write a guest column about her experiences on the series so far. Take it away, Jess:

Right before The Social premiered two years ago, I remember my bosses asking me if I would be comfortable occasionally being on TV. “Sure,” I said. How hard can live television be?

I was fairly green—as in zero television experience. I’d done on-camera work in the form of videos. But the thing with that medium is something called “editing.” It’s a miracle thing, really, that can remove blunders, stutters, snorts and awkward pauses with a few swift keystrokes.

Here is what I’ve learned in the meantime:

  1. Don’t make fun of Liza Minnelli. Even if she shows up at the Golden Globes not wearing a bra. People will be angry with you and may even send the show emails about how insensitive you are towards a living legend.
  1. The things people love about you are the same things people hate about you. For example, people seem to enjoy me because I over share—except for people who think I share too much: like the sincere young woman who told me that I shouldn’t have talked about picking my nose on television. I reminded her that the story I told was of me picking my nose when I was four years old, thinking that might soften her disappointment. (It didn’t.)
  1. Don’t over-analyze the opinions you share on live TV because you can’t always predict with precision what will offend. I could say that I think Donald Trump has some pretty good ideas and there’d be the sound of crickets. In the next breath I could confess that I don’t believe in ghosts and people might gasp in horror. You will never please everyone, which I know seems so obvious but it’s still a difficult concept to accept when you’re a born people pleaser. Make a (terrible) joke about how I wish unicorns would go extinct already because duh, they’re racist, and a unicorn-truther would be upset. Just be true to you.
  1. I’ve also learned that I should dress sexy, even though I’m not comfortable wearing form-fitting outfits; that I should wear whatever makes me comfortable; that every person’s definition of what marmy-type clothing is different; that every person’s interpretation of fashion-forward is different; and that I should dress like a marm (and not sexy) if I like it. Confused yet? Me too. The lesson? A stylist is the best friend a girl on the tube can have.
  1. Remember in the HBO show The Newsroom how MacKenzie, the show’s executive producer, would be talking in the ear of anchor Will McAvoy via an IFB? Will is always so chill—even if MacKenzie is telling him that the world is about to end. He makes it look so easy. Well, it’s not easy to have someone talking in your ear while you’re trying to talk about how unicorns are racist and that’s why they should go extinct. It’s really, really hard. And I will never be as good as Will McAvoy. (Or Melissa Grelo.)
  1. An IFB is a little thing that goes into your ear and acts like an intercom between you and the control room. Also, it makes you feel like an FBI agent. And that is a beautiful thing.

The Social airs Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET on CTV.


Jessica Allen is excited to be returning this season as THE SOCIAL’s Digital Correspondent, and looks forward to writing more stories for the show’s website on everything from food, films, and books to science and history (You can read her latest pieces under The Jess Files). She will also appear as the fifth chair on Fridays with THE SOCIAL’s co-hosts, and whenever anyone tells her to.

Before joining the team at THE SOCIAL, Jessica was an assistant editor at Maclean’s where she wrote arts and culture-related stories for the website and magazine. After work, she maintains her personal food blog, Foodie and the Beast. It’s actually a relationship blog masquerading as a food blog, because really, when you get down to brass tacks, the good stuff happens – and will continue to happen – around the dinner table.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

The Social gals get chatting for Season 2

They’re back and they’ve got a lot more to say. Yup, those Social gals–news anchor Melissa Grelo, relationship expert and life coach Cynthia Loyst, gossip maven Lainey Lui and entertainment reporter Traci Melchor–return for Season 2 this week and they’re raring to go.

No topic is out of bounds for the quartet; they feel equally at home discussing the latest fashion trends, current news making headlines or spilling the dirt on the most recent celebrity breakup. And the foursome say they felt a chemistry between them from the get-go.

“The first time that they put us all together for auditions I said to myself, ‘This is it,'” Melchor explains. “None of the other formations felt as good as us.” It hasn’t been all smooth sailing on-air. As Loyst tells it, they’ve all become great friends but have argued on more than one occasion on the show. Of course, she explains, that not only makes for great TV but cements they are real people with differing opinions on subjects.

“We still get along, we’re like a weird sisterhood,” Loyst says with a laugh. “You fight, you make up and then you move on.”

They admit the hardest part of being the hosts of a daytime talk show has been pulling back the curtain on their personal lives and sharing them on-air with each other and the audience. For Grelo, that meant a shift in thinking and departing from the typical news anchor mentality of reporting without injecting any personal opinion.

At the other end of the scale is Lui: co-hosting The Social has just confirmed what she already knew.

“I already knew that I had no shame,” she admits. “I have talked about my bowel movements to the point that our viewers know my favourite thing to talk about is poo, and my sex life to the point that everyone knows who I would have casual sex with if I wasn’t married.” Revealing those intimate secrets–and bodily functions–has led to a connection with viewers none of the hosts anticipated. Sure, they knew fans would have opinions and feedback but they were still surprised. Loyst points to her Season 1 blog about breastfeeding as an example of a topic that stirred plenty of discussion.

“That is what makes this show so unique,” she says. “There is this constant conversation happening with our audience. Viewers have watched my son grow from three months to 15 months. People definitely feel and intimacy or kinship with me because they know my family.” Expect more of the same in Season 2, teases Grelo. This past year has been the ladies’ introduction to viewers. Any nervousness they had about connecting with an audience is gone; fans know who they are as broadcasters and people.

“I think people will be watching in an even more engaged way,” Grelo says. “There will be thoughtful discussion about interesting topics that are going to affect you in the bedroom, the boardroom, your living room and we’ll continue to engage with our viewers via social media and amazing celebrity interviews.”

Season 2 of The Social airs weekdays at 1 p.m. ET on CTV.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail