Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Melissa Grelo: The Cat Herder on The Social


CTV - Weekdays

The Cat Herder

Melissa Grelo Keeps The Talk 
On Track On CTV's "The Social"

By Eric Kohanik

It would be easy to lump The Social into a certain breed of talk show that has been growing on daytime TV.

But co-host Melissa Grelo doesn't want people to put CTV's new entry into the same paddock as ABC's The View or CBS' The Talk.

We can use analogies and comparisons to The View all you want,” Grelo says. “But the reality is, we have a very distinctly Canadian perspective. A perfect example of that would be the gay-rights issue or, perhaps, the gun-control issue. These are issues that have a vastly different tone if you're talking about them north of the border vs. south of the border.

And there's the fact that we've never had [on TV] a round table of Canadian women of varying backgrounds discussing the issues that matter not only to Canadians, but what everyone is talking about around the world.”

The Social airs live each weekday on CTV, with same-day rebroadcasts on CTV Two and E! The hourlong show features Grelo and her co-hosts – gossip blogger Lainey Lui, relationship expert Cynthia Loyst and entertainment reporter Traci Melchor – tackling each day's most talked-about issues, inviting viewers to join in via social media.

Grelo acts as the show's moderator, keeping the conversation going and keeping it on track. She often gleefully refers to herself as the “cat herder” on the show.

We've got some very, very feisty, sassy women,” Grelo laughs. “This is exactly how everyone envisioned the show.”

Social media was also envisioned as a significant element on The Social. And, according to Grelo, that is where she and her co-hosts have an advantage.

We are of that generation and we are definitely participants in this new world where people who are watching television are simultaneously on social media,” Grelo explains. “It's almost like one doesn't happen without the other. That's the centre point of our show.”

Of course, that can lead to some on-air juggling. But then, Grelo is no stranger to the demands of live TV.

Since 2008, Grelo has been the co-host of Toronto specialty channel CP24's morning show, CP24 Breakfast. She also co-hosted CTV's live Olympic Morning telecasts from Whistler, B.C. during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Add that to stints as a news anchor, fill-in host, reporter, entertainment correspondent and weather/traffic reporter and you quickly get the sense that Grelo can tackle any topic on The Social.

A self-confessed news junkie, Grelo didn't always see TV on her career path. In fact, she had set her sights on teaching at an early age.I started teaching horseback riding when I was a kid,” Grelo recalls. “Teaching was something that came very naturally to me.”

After pursuing degrees in psychology and education, she embarked on a short stint as a teacher before shifting her focus to journalism.For someone who's always been a news junkie, I never considered it a career,” Grelo confesses. “Then I realized, 'Wait a second, here's a very similar skill set.' I love writing. I love reading.”

And now, she loves combining her duties on CP24 Breakfast with her role on The Social – even if it means her days get pretty hectic. 

It's insane,” Grelo concedes. “That's my middle name these days. But I'm so excited. It's something I've wanted to do for a really long time.

I first talked to the network about a show kind of like this a couple of years ago. To actually see it happening, it's a dream come true.”

The Social - CTV - Weekdays 

(First published in Channel Guide Magazine - October 2013.)