Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Let the Mansbridge replacement sweepstakes begin

At the very end of his Monday night newscast, CBC TV’s Peter Mansbridge told The National’s audience that he would be stepping down from his job on July 1, 2017 — making it an almost 30-year run.

Now, the big question becomes, who and what is next for the CBC?

From CP via TheStar.com (“Peter Mansbridge’s departure gives ‘The National’ chance to revamp, observers say“):

Veteran anchor Peter Mansbridge’s departure from The National is ushering in “the next phase” of CBC’s flagship news program, the public broadcaster’s editor-in-chief said Tuesday.

In a letter to staff, Jennifer McGuire said that she will personally oversee “a process to build on its strengths and position it for ongoing success” over the course of the next year.

“The news industry is undergoing fundamental changes but the bedrock values of quality, integrity and depth that Peter stands for will always be with us,” McGuire said a day after Mansbridge announced plans to step down July 1.

But just because Mansbridge is resigning as anchor and chief correspondent doesn’t mean he’s leaving CBC entirely.

“Peter will continue to have a role with CBC. We will have more to say about that in the future,” McGuire said. …

Mansbridge’s departure also comes at a time when the very notion of having a news anchor seems increasingly irrelevant, said Janice Neil, the chair of the school of journalism at Ryerson University.

She noted that digital media has transformed the way news is delivered and consumed, with the evening news no longer considered “by-appointment television.”

“The role of the anchor is no longer the voice of authority, it is not the voice of God, and certainly no longer only a male job,” said Neil.

“You don’t have to be a news junkie to find out things that are happening throughout the day, whether on social media or however else you’re getting it. All networks have to decide: What is it that they are giving people at the end of the day that they wouldn’t have got if they’d been following the news for the rest of the day?

“Or, if they had been following the news for the rest of the day, what else are we going to do? What is going to be distinctive and what is going to be adding value to our audience’s information about what’s happening?”

Contenders

The Globe and Mail identified the following as candidates (“Four broadcasters who could succeed Peter Mansbridge“):

  • Rosemary Barton, 40, host of Power and Politics on CBC News Network
  • Kim Brunhuber, 43, Los Angeles correspondent for The National
  • David Common, 40, host of World Report on CBC Radio
  • Ian Hanomansing, 55, host, CBC News Network

Barton guest-hosted on the National this summer and I found her sense of humour to be eccentric — in a bad way. I don’t think she’s ready for a promotion.

Brunhuber used to be the Saturday night anchor for the National. I think he’s better as a reporter than an anchor.

My two most likely picks from the above list are Common and Hanomansing.

But the CP story IDed some other likely candidates:

Among the potential Mansbridge successors are established CBC anchors … Diana Swain and Wendy Mesley. Neil also pointed out that CBC has a history of pulling talent from the regions, suggesting Vancouver’s Andrew Chang could also be in the running.

Here’s some wise advice from Ivan Fecan, one of the smartest TV people out there:

But former CTV head Ivan Fecan cautioned against changing too much, too quickly.

“Changing an anchor is a big change and if things are working, you don’t want to give people more reasons to go somewhere else,” said Fecan, who oversaw the hand-off of CTV National News from Lloyd Robertson to Lisa LaFlamme in 2011.

“So when we did the change at CTV, very little changed aside from the anchor. There were a few graphic tweaks and whatnot but the rule in television news is that you don’t make radical changes, you make them very gradually.”

Other reading

From the Globe, Sept. 6 — “Mansbridge’s exit from CBC’s The National leaves door open for change

From the Globe (column), Sept. 6 — “It’s about time: We’ve put up with Mansbridge and his pompous ilk for too long

From the Globe (archive), June 22, 2002 — “CBC’s Peter Mansbridge: What happens when ‘forever comes
From the Star, Sept. 6 — “8 facts about Peter Mansbridge, who’s given notice to The National
From the National Post (column), Sept. 6 — “Why the retirement of a news anchor will never garner this much attention again
From the National Post, Sept. 6 — “Bland is good, not-male is better: A shortlist of possible Peter Mansbridge replacements
From the Huffington Post, Sept. 6 — “As Mansbridge Exits, Can CBC Build A Truly Great News Program?“)

Tue, September 6 2016 » Main Page, Media