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Tony Kornheiser offers insight into PTI’s “Goodnight, Canada”

Tony Kornheiser (l) always has a special sign-off for his friends in Canada.

Fans who watch Pardon the Interruption have likely noticed that Tony Kornheiser ends each show by waving a Maple Leaf Canadian flag. 

He also sometimes says “Goodnight, Canada.”

But why?

With Canada Day on Sunday (July 1), it’s an opportune time to answer this burning question about one of ESPN’s most popular shows.

When PTI signs off just before 6 p.m. ET, viewers in Canada do not get the additional segment with Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon that airs on the SportsCenter edition that follows because a different program airs north of the border.

“It has to be at least seven or eight years now since I started doing this,” says Kornheiser.

PTI’s longtime associate director Bonnie Berko told Kornheiser about the SportsCenter segment not airing in Canada. So, he grabbed the flag and started waving it at the end of the show. It became a farewell to the viewers who wouldn’t see him again until the next day’s show.

“I get asked about it routinely — by as many Americans as Canadians,” adds Kornheiser. “I always tell people that I’m so popular in Canada, I could get lucky in Nova Scotia. Canadians really seem to like it.”

And now you know why.

Note: SportsCenter anchor and ESPN Radio host Scott Van Pelt will make his first appearance as a guest co-host of Pardon the Interruption on Friday (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Van Pelt, a native of the Washington, D.C., area, will be in-studio with Wilbon from the show’s studio location at the ABC News Bureau in the Nation’s Capital. Since PTI debuted in 2001, there have been 30 different* guest hosts. Van Pelt is No. 31.

“As friends of Tony and Michael, I’m honored to sit in the chair and the hope is to not be any great shame to the show,” Van Pelt said. “Also, as friends of Tony and Michael, I’m curious how it took 10 years and 30 other people before they got to my name on the list. But who’s counting?”

*Amaze your friends with your knowledge of this list of those fortunate enough to have filled in as a PTI co-host: JA Adande, David Aldridge, Skip Bayless, Jay Bilas, Kevin Blackistone, Norman Chad, Tim Cowlishaw, David DuPree, Josh Elliott, Mike Golic, Max Kellerman, Sally Jenkins, Tim Kurkjian, Dan LeBatard, Jackie MacMullan, Jay Mariotti, Patrick McEnroe, Bill Plaschke, Rick Reilly, Bob Ryan, Dan Shaughnessy, TJ Simers, Bill Simmons, Michael Smith, Stephen A. Smith, Michele Tafoya, Mike Tirico, Bob Valvano, Scott Van Pelt, Jason Whitlock and Ralph Wiley.


6 thoughts on “Tony Kornheiser offers insight into PTI’s “Goodnight, Canada””

  1. There was a time when PTI used to cut away to sports center prior to “The Big Finish” and TSN in Canada would immediately start their next program. It was VERY frustrating as a Canadian fan of the show. Thank goodness PTI stopped doing that, but it was Tony waving the flag and saying goodbye to us that kinda eased the pain of not seeing the show to it’s proper ending. Thanks Tony! We appreciate the love!

  2. Last radio show until September today.

    “If you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white.”

    Enjoy your summer Mr. Tony

  3. Good article, except Canadian Sportscentre now does show the final segment about 10-15 mins into the show, and has been doing so for a number of months now.

  4. Tony is such a goof ball it just makes sense he would wave the maple leaf Canadian flag….love the show.

  5. I never really cared why he did that. I’ve always very much appreciated that he did. It really makes me feel inclusive with the show unlike MANY(all?) of the other ESPN shows. We Canucks love the same sports and sport shows as all the American viewers and it is good to be acknowledged even in small ways. Shout Out to Tony Kornheiser. Thank you sir.

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