Two and a half years after Richard Stursberg’s ouster, the CBC is once again looking to fill a void at the helm of its English-language services. News broke just after noon that head of English programming Kirstine Stewart, who introduced Can-Con gems like Dragons’ Den, Battle of the Blades and Being Erica, has left the public broadcaster for a job as managing director of Twitter’s nascent Canadian operation. The social media addict has already changed her Twitter handle from @KStewartCBC to the more neutral @kirstinestewart.
It’s going to be very, very difficult. The sports networks are jacking up the prices, so they’re going to have even deeper pockets when they come to the table. TSN and Sportsnet have proven that they can get big TV audiences as easily as the CBC does. And that’s very hard to fight against.
—Richard Stursberg, CBC’s former executive vice-president for English services, sounding the death knell for Hockey Night in Canada. The public broadcaster’s television and digital rights for NHL games expire in two years, and Stursberg believes there’s only a “low” chance it will be able to renew. (Kirstine Stewart, the woman who now holds Stursberg’s old job, insists otherwise.) While big telecommunications companies are willing to shell out wads of money for TV sports rights, the public broadcaster has had its budget slashed and has had lower ad revenues this year, in part because all the Canadian teams dropped out of the playoffs early. All of which imperils HNIC’s future—and Don Cherry’s opportunity to show off his flamboyant coats. [Globe and Mail]
Kirstine Stewart has officially been at the helm of CBC english programming for a little over a week, and already she’s unravelling some of the legacy left by her controversial predecessor Richard Stursberg. In an interview published in today’s Globe and Mail, Stewart revealed she’s considering replacing one of Stursberg’s most dubious innovations: the weeknight airing of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Read the rest of this entry »
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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. Read the rest of this entry »
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The CBC’s anything-to-boost-ratings executive VP Richard Stursberg has left the building (some say he was escorted out) after six years of transforming the CBC from the sober public broadcaster that offered Canucks wise political parody and educational features into the home of such slick shows as Dragons’ Den and the defunct MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives.
Like any network capitalist, Stursberg has his foes and followers. The Toronto Sun highlighted the network’s 52 per cent increase in viewers in an average minute and 34 per cent jump in overall market share since Stursberg started, while former CBC producer Howard Bernstein called him “the most disruptive and hated VP of CBC” in his blog post “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead.” Here, a roundup of the major changes at the CBC under Stursberg’s rule >>