CBC adds news talker, denies talk of National move

Musical chairs continue at CBC as a National regular lands his own two-hour spot on Newsworld, while the Ceeb puts down talk of a 'secret plan' to re-sked flagship newscast.

Mark Kelley will host his own show this fall on Newsworld. Kelley, currently a co-host on The National, is moving to the 7 pm slot on CBC’s 24-hour news channel, where he will host a two-hour talk show.

CBC is in the middle of an overhaul of its news division, and has recently hired or reassigned several reporters, a number of which are attached to developing shows due to bow in the fall. Former BNN reporter Amanda Lang has a new daily program set for Newsworld, as does Evan Solomon, who is taking over the political desk once occupied by Don Newman.

Kelley gained attention amid the 9/11 attacks when he was host of CBC News Morning. His work that day led to one of his three Gemini awards. He has since become known for investigative and feature stories, including his coverage of the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami.

CBC also announced last week that it is extending its supper-hour newscasts in 14 markets, going to 90 minutes. The news will run from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, preceded by new acquisition The Ghost Whisperer and leading into Coronation Street.

However, despite all the news-related shuffling, the CBC is dismissing as ’100% false’ concerns that it is planning to move The National. Responding to claims made by the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, spokesperson Chris Ball said Tuesday that the network has no plans to reschedule its flagship newscast to 11 pm on weeknights.

‘We do not have any plans to move The National,’ states Ball, adding that the newscast anchored by Peter Mansbridge does ‘very well’ in its current 10 pm slot. ‘[FCB] got it completely wrong.’

‘Notwithstanding the denials, we believe there is really something here,’ responds FCB spokesperson Ian Morrison. Citing unnamed sources Morrison insists are reliable, FCB believes the 10 pm slot may be filled with entertainment programming possibly from outside Canada, a point which CBC also denies.

The group, which monitors goings-on at the broadcaster and elsewhere in the sector, has expressed concern in an open letter to both CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix and the board of directors, warning that such a move would ‘reduce the reach and influence of Canada’s most important news program.’

From Playback Daily