Updated: Jul 23, 2019
Our City Tonight with hosts and producers Leeta and Jim are on air Sundays on City TV Vancouver.
Photography by Ryan X Jensen at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver of Our City Tonight Hosts
What I’m Here With Mag loves about the Our City Tonight TV show is the chemistry between the hosts! Their laughter and fun together is genuine, and it shows Leeta and Jim really are good friends off camera as well as on. So when you watch the show on City TV, Sundays at 12:30 pm in Vancouver (it’s also available in over 9 million homes nationally), you see their relationship and all the fun things these two hosts get to promote around their city.
Leeta Liepins and Jim Gordon of Our City Tonight stepping out of the Sutton Place Hotels Vancouver
Exclusive Interview with I'm Here With
Leeta Liepins and Jim Gordon
We want to know everything about you two!
Leeta: One of the things that is funny to me is the bloopers. If we ever put those in our TV show people would really laugh because we do some pretty crazy things. Naturally Jim and I get along as we've been best friends for about 15 years. I hope that viewers can see that it's very real. We created Our City Tonight show together and we talk like a hundred times a day because there's always work to be done.
Let’s dive into your show and how you two co-hosts met, then how you created and produced a show that you two own. We've seen you all the way from Calgary online and what you guys are doing. Your show inspired us to come out to Vancouver and have some fun in the sun. If you want to know where to go on the weekend or what's happening in Vancouver, you have to tune in Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on City TV
Leeta: Well, we do certainly go to a lot of openings. We're very privileged and honored. We both have a lot of friends in P. R. I started supporting a friend who needed PR for their restaurant. The owner wanted to get a little bit more exposure and he came to us and we started thinking we could do that. I do a little PR on the side and Jim and I brainstormed in the late summer 2015. We thought originally we could base it around a little online show then also tell viewers what's going on in the city of Vancouver and the idea grew from there.
Jim: I've been doing television a long time in Vancouver and I've seen the local shows just disappear due to financial constraints or lack of manpower. And so other than the morning shows, which are great, we wanted to fill that void, find local stories, showcase entertainment and lifestyle in this city. We also do business stories and human interest stories. We cover gala's and restaurants openings and artist stories. People are doing really good stuff out there that sometimes doesn’t get the attention and we like to be that outlet for people in our city! We're not patting ourselves on the back. It's just more about being able to showcase this great city of ours!
Leeta: The show started as monthly six minute segment that turned into a 8-10 minutes and then we were approached by friend of Jim's in television who asked if we’d consider turning it into a half hour TV show. We thought that could work. Jim's 20 + years of experience in television made the decision easier and we said yes. We aired on one station for two years and then moved to City TV in the fall of 2018, and it's been loads of fun. And as you guys know with your publication, when you run your own thing and own your own thing, there are pros and cons. When you're hired, which we've both done before, you don't have to worry about making sure the lights stay on and who's paying the bills. The good part when you own the product is that you oversee everything. We're very happy with where we're going and we just try to get better and expand our wheelhouse consistently.
Leeta by Ryan Jensen at the Vancouver Sutton Place Hotel
Exclusive Interview with I'm Here With
Leeta Liepins and Jim Gordon
We would like to see a lot more integration between the Arts and the Communities across Canada. I'm Here With wanted to share your Vancouver success story and what you're doing here as it could encourage other people who are artists to think about reaching out to you guys or learning from your show. We also felt that you're the people to chat with about what is going on in Vancouver, and maybe how it's changed a little bit since you started your show.
Leeta: Well I have to say there's certainly a lot more food focus in this city. We're attracting a lot of great chefs, and there are more great restaurants in Vancouver. And as a result, we showcase a lot of cocktail, wine, and restaurant segments on our show. The restaurant scene is expanding in this city as more people from other countries come here and ask, for example, where can I find great Peruvian food.
So, do you have a big crew of sorts or it's just you guys doing it?
Leeta: We keep it pretty minimal with our crew size. We generally have one camera guy with a couple others who fill in. We walk into a location for filming and don't make a big “media footprint” while filming.
Jim: I was in corporate television and it was great and I loved my time there and I saw a lot of things, learned a lot of things, but doing independent TV is a different kind of thing. You need to be even more resourceful, always on the go, finding ways to block shoot a full day per week to gather content while staying within your budget. And as Leeta said, keeping it small is key. Having a big crew would probably stop us from doing certain stories that you want to tell and would not be cost efficient.
How you film is smart and you can go wherever you need to go, having a big crew would probably stop you from doing certain stories that you want to tell.
Jim: You're right and you know do want to do shout out to Hubcast. Adam who's our editor, Mark our shooter and Peter and Delanne, the owners!
Leeta and Jim both look amazing for their shoot, they came both in black, on Father's Day weekend. As it was the only day to meet and we’re grateful we were able to sit down with them.
Jim: The Sutton Place Hotel is the spot a lot of stars go to. This hotel was already legendary when I moved here in the mid-90s. Gerard's Bar, off the great Boulevard Restaurant, was just full of people walking in and you'd see someone like Jodie Foster and many big stars.
You guys are also both live in the middle of the city. So when people call you for media support, how does it really work behind the scenes – without giving too much away?
Leeta: We really have to balance the content, and again going back to what you do when you own your production, we make no bones about the fact that we have sponsored content, it has to be educational and it is essential to our show.
Jim I want to dive more into your past of being a host and a travel show host as well. Tell us more about your background because that voice of yours sounds like literally from the 1950s radio host.
Jim: I've been on television since the 1950s; it feels like that sometimes (laughs). I wanted nothing more than to do radio and it just it really never happened. I did radio in college but it went no further, but it did lead me to television and being a film critic and writing for TV. When I moved out to Vancouver, working in TV became a permanent part of my life. I was at CTV from the late 90s till about a year ago as their film and TV critic, and before I met Leeta, I started producing and co-hosting a travel show in 2003 which airs across the country called The Travel Guys. We've done over 200 half hour shows. We continue to film the show but it's something you can film 5 or 6 times a year and do a bunch of episodes and then you can step away for two or three months, which I'm doing now and taking the summer off from that show as Our City Tonight is full time for us both.
Leeta Liepins and Jim Gordon of Our City Tonight setting out on the Sutton Place Hotels Vancouver
You guys have a unique show. So let's dive more into you, Leeta. (She has big beautiful doe eyes, blue as the ocean and beautiful red hair.) We wanted to know more about you.
I'm sure there was a time when you were just chatting about the idea of your show and didn't even know it'd be this big. Did you feel as confident when you started as you are now?
Leeta: I'm competitive. I mean I can dive into anything. I can't say that I wasn't curious even if it was a large risk to make a show. Nervous, of course, but Jim is the TV veteran and he steered us along the right path. We were talking about this the other day because I’ve been asked recently to contribute to a women's publication. It's all about starting a new career for me. I was in the modeling industry at a young age and I was in Fitness/Wellness. That's basically my educational background. I was starting to write a bit for some publications, but it is completely new to be on TV as a host. TV is a big risk and thank goodness things are rolling well. Jim always says he threw me into the deep end and he thought I swam pretty well.
Jim: I say that as a compliment. We joke about that, but I wasn't the sole owner of the show. Leeta and I sat down and created it together, but I literally did say we're jumping into the deep end and you've got to swim or sink. Leeta could have sunk but she has swam marvelously and continues to improve all the time.
Leeta: But I've learned a ton off of you, Jim. Look at our first show and then go to today’s episodes and you see us both grow!
Check out Our City Tonight, Sundays at 12:30pm on CityTV in Vancouver and on their YouTube channel.
We're all living our life doing different jobs different things not even thinking about the entertainment side, but without it I think entertainment uplifts us all with inside knowledge. You can't just work. I mean, we all were too much. I mean it just what we're doing now.
@LifewithLeeta and @JimGordonTV are hilarious and fun and we'll keep you updated with what's going on in Vancouver. If you're not from Vancouver when you come here, you're going to know what's to come.
Leeta Liepins and Jim Gordon of Our City Tonight at the Sutton Place Hotels Vancouver