Saturday, December 4, 2010
Robert Hurst Remade CTV News
Robert Hurst's decision to step down after some 38 years at CTV News simply means the CTV universe is unfolding as expected.
I always enjoyed my pep talks with Hurst who took over the helm of CTV News at a difficult time.
the chosen heir, Kirk Lapointe, hadn't worked out at all and morale was seeping away.
Hurst was well known for all his jobs at CTV and took over as CTV News President and redefined the operation in ten hectic but successful years.
I remember one call when I disagreed with Hurt's call to move the flagship current aiirs show to Saturdays at 7 p.m. from its traditional Sundays at 10 p.m. slot.
I told Hurst he was fiddling with a name brand and he disagreed with me.
And he was right. W5 got better ratings than it would have Sunday nights against top rated U.S. dramas like Brothers And Sisters.
As far as the late news with Lloyd Robertson Hurst has to be more than satisfied with the high ratings at 11 which consistently beat out CBC's National at 10.
And in 2011 Robertson will step aside for new anchor Lisa LaFlamme chosen over the veteran CTV newsreader Tom Clark who exited the network after that surprise decision was announced. My CTV sources say Hurst was a key player in the decision to go for LaFlamme.
But big changes are coming down the pike for CTV.
Network news everywhere is under the gun as the tabloids cable casts make significant dents in viewership.
And at CTV there's going to be an executive change at the trop: Ivan Fecan is resigning to be replaced by Bell executive Kevin Crull once an ownership switch at CTV receives CRTC approval.
I always liked Hurst and he always returned my calls promptly when I had questions.
And his commitment to CTV was total --he started on Canada AM in 1973 and became CFTO news director in 1976 and later reported for CTV from both Beijing and Moscow.
He'll be missed at CTV and with all that hands on experience very tough to replace.