CBC denies The National is moving by Greg Quill

Aug 5, 2009

Source: Toronto Star

CBC's senior programming brass has a secret plan to move the public broadcaster's flagship nightly news program The National from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. to make room for more prime-time entertainment programming, an industry watchdog group says. The plan was strenuously denied yesterday by Kirstine Layfield, the executive director of English network programming.

Ian Morrison, a spokesperson for the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting lobby group, told the Star the new prime-time shows may not be Canadian and that The National may be reduced by 30 minutes.

The shorter news program would save the cash-strapped broadcaster several million dollars in costs traditionally attached to the nightly newscast, usually hosted by Peter Mansbridge.

Layfield, through a spokesman, called the Friends alert "absolutely false" and "a baseless rumour." She demanded it be removed from the watchdog's website, friends.ca. She added that CBC's fall schedule, yet to be made public, will contain more Canadian content, not less.

Morrison remains unconvinced. "Very reliable, trustworthy sources at the highest levels in the CBC tell us The National move will definitely be happening sometime in the fall, maybe as early as September," he said. "The CBC board of directors hasn't been told of the plan."

What might happen to The Hour with George Stroumbolopoulos, which at present follows The National at 11 p.m., is open to conjecture, Morrison added.

"It doesn't make economic sense to swap the two shows, since The Hour, even in an earlier slot, is unlikely to draw an audience larger than 175,000, while The National currently has 800,000 viewers."

© Toronto Star

Related Documents: 

Aug 4, 2009 — Letter: Re: The National
Response from Kirstine Layfield, CBC's General Manager TV, regarding FRIENDS statement that there are plans to move The National from 10 pm to 11 pm weeknights.

Aug 4, 2009 — Letter: Request for retraction - CBC's secret plan to move The National
Letter from CBC Media Relations requesting a retraction of FRIENDS statement that there are plans to move The National from 10 pm to 11 pm weeknights.

Aug 4, 2009 — News Release: CBC's secret plan to move The National
FRIENDS says CBC has a closely guarded secret plan to move its flagship news program The National from 10 pm to 11 pm weeknights.