CBE puts its stamp on Canuck network
Hollywood will be dealing with a new team at Canada’s CTV after several top execs were shown the door Monday as telco giant BCE puts its own stamp on the broadcaster it acquired in September for $1.3 billion.Among the ousted are longtime programming prexy Susanne Boyce, who has been with the CTV since 1995, helping to build it into the country’s top-rated network. As prexy of creative, content and channels, she greenlit popular shows including “Canadian Idol,” “Degrassi,” “Corner Gas” and “So You Think You Can Dance Canada.” CTV is a major buyer of programming from Hollywood’s majors. The other execs on their way out are chief financial officer John Gossling, executive VP of corporate affairs Paul Sparkes, executive VP of digital media Alon Marcovici and executive VP of human resources and operations Dawn Fell. The news was unveiled to staff on Monday in an internal memo sent by CTVglobemedia chief operating officer Kevin Crull. The new CTV management team includes execs who were already in positions of power at the broadcaster. Former TSN president Phil King takes over the top programming job and also heads sports and independent Canadian production; fellow TSN veteran Rick Brace, who is head of sales at CTV, takes over responsibility for cable channels (excluding the sports and news channels) and in-house production; Rita Fabian will be in charge of advertising sales; Wendy Freeman takes on news and current affairs programming; Bart Yabsley gets content sales and distribution. Gary Anderson, who spent the past decade overseeing BCE website Sympatico, takes control of digital media and Sympatico, which will be integrated into CTV when BCE’s takeover is closed. Bell is also setting up a programming council to make programming decisions co-chaired by Mike Cosentino and Joanna Webb. Crull will hold a town-hall meeting at CTV on Friday to take questions from staffers. Last week, a BCE team appeared in front of federal broadcast regulator the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, making the case for the takeover. The CRTC decision, expected to greenlight the deal, is due in early March and all the departing execs will stay on board until then. That’s also when CEO Ivan Fecan will ankle, as previously announced. “Combining forces with Bell puts us in a great position to navigate today’s dynamic media landscape,” said Crull in the memo. “New technology, new competition, and new business models all present tremendous challenge and opportunity.” CTV also owns a slew of cable channels, including sports network TSN, Discovery Canada, MuchMusic, MTV Canada and Bravo.