Toni-Marie Wiseman reflects on her 30th anniversary with NTV, and focuses on her biggest assignment yet – co-anchor of the station’s flagship show
She’s one of the province’s most identifiable faces, a mainstay on television screens in this province for three decades. Toni-Marie Wiseman’s name is synonymous with NTV, as iconic as the celebrated brand itself.
It’s hard to believe Wiseman recently celebrated her 30th anniversary at NTV. Yes, time truly has been kind to the stunning 53-year-old.
Wiseman, of course, started at NTV on Oct. 9, 1989, hired to anchor the News at Noon show, now known as NTV Newsday. She was a natural, having honed her skills in radio as a news reporter and, later, morning show host.
Just 23 at the time, Wiseman was immediately comfortable in front of the camera, reading the province’s top headlines to an audience that, well, grew with her.
Much, and little, has changed in those 30 years. Wiseman, of course, can still be seen anchoring the lunch-time newscast, on occasion, but her career has evolved. She’s the anchor and producer of First Edition, the popular half-hour show that precedes the flagship newscast.
The 5:30 show has been a ratings phenomenon since Wiseman inherited the show in 2013, growing the audience to the second most-watched program in the entire province. The NTV Evening Newshour sits atop that list, averaging over 100,000 viewers each night in this province alone.
‘It’s a dream job’
With Lynn Burry’s recent retirement, Wiseman has seamlessly slipped into the chair, joining co-anchor Glen Carter at six. “It’s a dream job to work with someone of Glen’s caliber,” says Wiseman. “He makes me a better anchor. I also feel as though we have a great chemistry, and I hope that shows.”
It absolutely does. It was an obvious decision for the station to elevate Wiseman to NTV’s top anchor job. She’s delivered in every role throughout her career. Wiseman, you may remember, won numerous awards as NTV’s entertainment reporter for two decades. When not celebrating the arts, she was also the station’s weather person.
Reporting & anchoring
Prior to Eddie Sheerr’s arrival on the scene, it was Wiseman who was staring down snowstorms and handing out the temperatures. But she was so much more, a fixture in the community through countless weather hits.
“I think that’s how people really got to know me, and see my personality,” says Wiseman, who began her stint as weather personality in the mid-1990s and held the post until 2013.
“Yes, I was reporting and anchoring but my presence in the community is what taught me the most about the business – how to connect with the people who matter, the viewers.”
Wiseman has grown up on camera. She’s literally interviewed anyone of significance who’s visited the province over the years, from music legends to world leaders. She performed with the Moscow State Circus and juggled fire with Cirque de Soliel.
A petite Wiseman once flipped a dojo full of competitors at a judo exhibition, including the 300-pound instructor. She’s also the face of the annual Janeway Children’s Telethon, helping raise millions of dollars for, as the slogan proclaims, “all our kids.”
A doting mom
Perhaps it’s the fact she’s a doting mom herself who, when not at NTV, is busy with nine-year-old Grace and her activities.
It’s routine for her to leave the news desk and race to a school council meeting where she sits as a community representative. She’s also a devoted wife to husband Kenny Butler.
“She’s genuine and has a huge heart. Anyone who’s ever worked with Toni or met her in person will agree,” says co-anchor Glen Carter. “She’s so much fun but is serious about her job. You won’t find anyone in our company who is liked more than her.”
It’s a daunting task to anchor two of the station’s most-watched programs – First Edition and the NTV Evening Newshour. But it’s the work behind the scenes most don’t see that separates Wiseman from the pack.
There’s no chase producer aligning First Edition each day. It’s Wiseman who chooses the content, interviews the newsmakers and writes the scripts. “It’s my little secret how much fun I have with this show,” she says with a smile. “If everyone knew, they’d all want it.”
‘A league of her own’
Wiseman’s sign-off for First Edition marks the start of a race to the main desk at six. When viewers at home hear the show’s opening, what they don’t see is Wiseman rushing from one set to the other, switching mics, ear pieces and chairs to prepare for the opening shot.
“It’s hard to believe how quickly she gets in place,” says Carter. “In a world of efficiency, she’s in a league of her own.”
Incredibly, there’s even more to her work week. She also co-anchors Week in Review with Michael Connors, a look back at the top headlines for the week in news.
When asked about her success, Wiseman is quick to deflect. She credits working alongside great co-hosts like Carter, Connors and former weekend co-anchor Larry Jay as the reason why her career has blossomed. She also applauds the work of her colleagues in the newsroom, the many reporters, past and present, who she’s worked with – and admires.
“I’ve been very lucky throughout my career to work with amazing people who care about this industry as much as I do,” says Wiseman. “And I’m also very thankful to work for a family that has allowed me to grow my career. They’ve always believed in me and hardly a day passes where I don’t count my blessings.
“Every reporter wants to eventually sit in that anchor chair,” she adds. “It’s a common goal and it was certainly my goal. It’s the highest position you can have in the newsroom. And it’s a position I worked very hard for.”
As Toni-Marie looks back at her three-decade career, she says she wouldn’t change a thing.
“It may sound cliché, but I truly have lived a dream during my time at NTV. As an aspiring journalist 30 years ago, I never could have imagined that my career would unfold the way it has. I’m very thankful for, and proud of, my time at NTV and very excited for what’s ahead. That’s the beauty of my job. You never know what each day will bring and that’s one of the things I love about it.