This Hour Has 22 Minutes is a weekly Canadian television comedy that airs on CBC Television. Launched in 1993 during Canada's 35th general election, the show focuses on Canadian politics, combining news parody, sketch comedy and satirical editorials. Originally featuring Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh, the series featured satirical sketches of the weekly news and Canadian political events. The show's format is a mock news program, intercut with comic sketches, parody commercials and humorous interviews of public figures. The on-location segments are frequently filmed with slanted camera angles.
Its full name is a parody of This Hour Has Seven Days, a CBC newsmagazine from the 1960s; the "22 Minutes" refers to the fact that a half-hour television program in Canada and the U.S. is typically 22 minutes long with eight minutes of commercials.
Jones and Walsh had previously worked together on the sketch comedy series CODCO, on which Thomey sometimes appeared as a guest. Mercer had been a notable young writer and performer on his own, touring several successful one-man shows of comedic political commentary.
Salter Street Films produced the series until the 2003–2004 season. Salter Street was acquired in 2001 by Alliance Atlantis, and production of the series was transferred directly to Alliance Atlantis in the twelfth season. Since 2005, Halifax Film, a new company formed by Salter co-founder Michael Donovan, has produced the show.
Recognized with 24 Gemini Awards and 11 Canadian Comedy Awards, 22 Minutes is broadcast on the CBC Television network. It is taped before a live audience in Studio 1 at CBHT in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The series, which originally aired on Mondays for several seasons and later on Fridays, currently airs Tuesdays at 8:30pm on CBC, after the Rick Mercer Report.
Although each cast member's real name was always shown at the beginning of each episode, at the end of most episodes prior to 2006, one cast member would sign off using their anchor character's name, which is noted below where known. This has now been discontinued, and anchors now regularly address each other by their real names.
- Cathy Jones (1993– ) as anchor (formerly Sydney Dubizzenchyk, a reference to former CBC anchor Tina Srebotnjak, who had become the host of Midday in 1992) and various correspondents and sketch characters. Jones is the only member from the original cast for the entire series thus far.
- Mark Critch (2003– ), as anchor (formerly Bas MacLaren, apparently in homage to two well-known Newfoundland radio announcers, Bas Jamieson and George MacLaren) and various correspondents and sketch characters.
- Shaun Majumder (2003-2010, 2011- ) as anchor (formerly Tucker T. Bartlett) and various correspondents and sketch characters. He appeared less often in his last couple of years with the show, and eventually left the series to star on Detroit 1-8-7. Shaun returned to the show starting in the 19th season.
- Susan Kent (2012-) as anchor and various correspondents and sketch characters.
- Rick Mercer (1993–2001) as anchor J.B. Dickson and various correspondents and sketch characters. Mercer left the show to devote more time to Made in Canada; after that show ended he launched Rick Mercer Report, a series similar to 22 Minutes.
- Colin Mochrie (2001–2003) as anchor Anthony St. George and various correspondents and sketch characters. Mochrie left the show after two seasons to pursue his own projects and other movie roles, returning to guest star on the January 27, 2006 episode. Mochrie was the first change to the original cast, following the departure of Rick Mercer.
- Mary Walsh (1993–2004) as anchor Molly McGuire and various correspondents and sketch characters. Walsh appeared less often in season 11 and left the series to pursue her film career and to host Mary Walsh: Open Book, a CBC series in which she moderated a celebrity panel discussing books and literature. Walsh has returned to the show as a guest in seasons 16 and 17.
- Greg Thomey (1993–2005) as anchor Frank MacMillan and various correspondents and sketch characters. Thomey appeared less often in season 12 and left the show in 2006.
- Geri Hall (2007–2011), as anchor and various correspondents and sketch characters. Hall had previously been a fill-in anchor in fall 2004 and March 2007.
- Gavin Crawford (2003–2011) as anchor (formerly Gavin Cooper, a possible homage to Anderson Cooper) and various correspondents and sketch characters.
Substitute anchors/special correspondents
Substitute news anchors on the series are people who "guest star" on the series for when series regulars are away (from Season 10 onwards).
- Mark Farrell - (February 1999)
- Jonathan Torrens - (September/October 2002)
- Dan Joffre - (February 2003)
- Jennifer Robertson - (November & December 2003)
- Kathy Greenwood - (October & November 2004)
- Shauna MacDonald - (October 2005 - November 2005)
- Tracy Dawson - March 10, 2006
- Rebecca Northan - (November 2006 & March 2007)
- Nathan Fielder (2007, as special correspondent)
- Alan Thicke (2011, in a 1980s themed show)
- P. K. Subban (2012 season premiere)
- George Lazenby - (November 27, 2012)
- Joel Plaskett (March 5, 2013)
- Ross Rebagliati (February 4, 2014)
Entertainment One has released the first two seasons on DVD in Region 1 (Canada only).