It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Canada’s first lady of entertainment news, Cheryl Hickey. The big hit was learning that the series she has hosted for 18 seasons, ET Canada, was being shut down by Corus Entertainment. Hickey admits the move, which took effect Oct. 6, caught her as much by surprise as it did others in the industry.
The native of Shallow Lake, Ont. a very small town near Owen Sound, started her career at Global 24 years ago. That’s pretty much the last time I interviewed her. That interview took place at five thousand feet — Hickey was a helicopter reporter at the time!
This relaxed and fun chat was much more down to earth, with Hickey walking me through her star-studded career. I quiz her on her many Hollywood encounters and her stories about Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Quincy Jones and Kiefer Sutherland are all red carpet worthy.
I was more fascinated, however, hearing Hickey’s own story. It is a long way from Shallow Lake, a speed bump of a town I’ve driven past a thousand times, to Hollywood. Hickey caught the hosting bug early, taping her own little “reports” for her parents, converting a closet at Barrie’s The New VR into her own private “audition” set, taking her family’s “Go for it” credo to the max.
A mid-market station manager reacted with anger when Hickey eventually told him she was going to bolt for a shot at a big market station. He called her into his office, closed the door and yelled at her for 45 minutes. “Remember, I made you who you are!” he told her. Hickey’s take away: nobody makes you who you are.
Her story about how she landed the ET Canada hosting gig is definitely worth a listen. Hickey knows she didn’t do it by herself, and credits, and names, several professionals who helped her along the way. Her story is loaded with drive, determination, hutzpah and plenty of family support. Her aspirations and example should encourage others in Canada to reach for the stars — even though her series no longer will.
What’s next for Hickey? Plenty I’m sure, but she doesn’t tell me everything now, but I’m looking forward to our next conversation. Simply click on the white arrow in the blue dot above to listen along.