Some Toronto TV viewers who tuned in for CHCH's morning news broadcast got more than they bargained for on Friday.
The Hamilton-based broadcaster has issued an apology after its "News Now" show was briefly overrun by a graphic sex scene. But the station, which is owned by Toronto-based media group Channel Zero, stressed that the error was not its own.
The station blamed the mixup on a switching error at one of the cable companies that picks up its signal.
CHCH's vice-president of news Mike Katrycz said he believes viewers saw around a minute of "hardcore pornography," although an internal memo suggested it may have run for a few minutes.
"But as I say, it seemed like an eternity," he said in a telephone interview Friday.
Katrycz said he noticed the issue right away and frantically called the network's master control to try to fix it. But since the problem originated elsewhere, they weren't able to immediately pull the material off the air.
"It was out of our hands," he said, noting that viewers with certain cable companies may have been unaffected.
Still, Katrycz said complaints had been rolling in through the morning.
"I'm sure we've got dozens. Dozens, absolutely, at least," he said.
"And we're dealing with those cable companies to make sure we hear from them and that they have something to say."
While CHCH has been clear that it wasn't at fault for the gaffe, Katrycz said the station was very sorry nonetheless.
"We're very disturbed," he said. Just because CHCH wasn't at fault, "that still doesn't mitigate the impact on our viewers, those who saw it, and for that we apologize."
Some of those viewers seemed to take the blunder in stride, taking to Twitter to poke fun at the mistake using the hashtag "#CHPorningLive."
"Just eating some pancakes this morning watching #CHCH ... I no longer like pancakes or the news," wrote Twitter user @derek1913.
Others weren't quite so amused.
One woman, who said she was angry, tweeted that it was lucky she had no small children in the room when the pornography came on.