The CBC has finally named a replacement for controversial former vice-president of English services Richard Stursberg, and it’s no surprise the job is going to Kirstine Stewart.
You may recall that Stursberg departed suddenly last August amid rumours that he was fired, hated by staff and generally a pretty arrogant dude. A subsequent profile in The Walrus did nothing to soften his reputation. And while it’s pretty apparent he was no charmer, his controversial anything-for-ratings managerial style did double the network’s viewership over the course of his six-year reign.
Stewart has been filling Stursberg’s role ever since his unceremonious departure, but it’s only now that the network is making her position official. She’s been the general manager of CBC Television since 2006, overseeing the introduction of such popular programs as Being Erica, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Republic of Doyle, The Tudors and Dragons’ Den.
So, what’s the game plan, Stewart? In a statement released by the Ceeb, she said:
Canadians have always expected that their public broadcaster reflect, engage and inspire them, and by increasing CBC’s commitment to Canadian content, we will recognize and respect this country’s unique attributes.
It’s a statement likely designed to temper the rage of those CanCon champions still livid over the addition of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune to their evening lineup. Whether she can boost both ratings and Canadian programming remains to be seen.