Thursday, May 30, 2013

CityNews unplugged, CBC's Bristow bolts as shakeups continue in Canadian television

CityNews. The '90s called, they want their graphics back
These folks in television, they wear pretty good poker faces.
Rogers president Scott Moore, for example, did not let on he was about to kibosh CityNews when he met with press at an FX Canada breakfast gathering Wednesday morning in Toronto.
A statement went out from Moore this morning that the CityNews Channel had already ceased operations. This was the multi-window local news service Rogers plunked into Ch. 15 after squatter Sun News was turfed into the triple digits.
Before that, 15 was the home of Toronto1. Talk about three strikes you're out. The number should now be retired. No. 15 gets less of a look than a hitchhiker with pets. More people have seen the Mayor Ford video.
For now, a busy screen full of ads, weather and traffic graphics remain and the audio feed is from Rogers' popular 680 News radio station.
Rogers also ditched OMNI stations in Edmonton and Calgary and an english language OMNI newscast. Blamed was "evolving viewer habits and the global structural shift in advertising." Translation: we can't sell this stuff.
Interesting, too, how some companies who are also carriers just read the bottom line and shut 'er down, others ask the CRTC for mandatory carriage.
Moore did suggest to me at one point Wednesday that Rogers was going to concentrate more on their core brands, especially the SportsNet channels and City. FX Canada must be a priority, too.
Earlier at the press conference I asked FX president John Landgraf why he was extending his brand to FXX and FXM at a time when NBC and others were shedding channels. A day later I could have used his Toronto press conference hosts at Rogers as an example.
Julie Bristow departs CBC
Last week, at the CBC 2013-14 launch, I had a one-on-one with Unscripted Programming boss Julie Bristow. Sitting on those interview room white sofas, I thought she looked unusually relaxed and serene considering the recent departure of Kristine Stewart.
Wednesday also brought news that Bristow was bolting the public network "with a view to taking on an exciting new venture." I'm surprised the news wasn't tweeted.
I asked Bristow last week all about the return of Battle of the Blades, about the new Antique Roadshows-meets-Dragon's Den pickup Four Rooms and other developments under her watch. She seemed quite plugged in and committed to the 2013-14 schedule.
Now you have to wonder if there aren't more executive dominoes about to fall at CBC.
I half-jokingly asked Bristow why she wasn't doing a CBC reality show with recent outer space sensation astronaut Chris Hadfield. "You're absolutely right," she replied. If producing Hadfield is her next gig, I want an exclusive, at the very least.
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