Saturday, April 21, 2012

Don't shoot the messenger

Brian Lilley on a new tell-all book about the CBC.

CBC is a left wing, anti-business, Toronto-centric broadcaster that doesn’t care about producing shows Canadians actually want to watch.That’s not my verdict — although I may agree with it. That’s the assessment of Richard Stursberg, the former head of English services for both CBC television and radio. Stursberg has just released a tell-all book about his six years at the top of the CBC food chain and it doesn’t always paint a pretty picture.
Critics of the CBC will not be at all surprised by stuff like this, cuz we've been exposed to it forever:
[Stursburg] made enemies of people who felt CBC should make the “art-house fare” that no one would watch and bask in their own superiority.Nowhere was change resisted as much as the news department. Once upon a time, and it was a long time ago, CBC’s The National had been the dominant television newscast in Canada. Now it was third in a three-horse race and showed no signs of improving. Suggestions they should improve were met with contempt. Stursberg writes that the news department — Fort News, he calls it — felt it was above everyone else. 
I never in a million years thought I would actually agree with CBC executives, but I sure do on this point: 
One thing made clear to Stursberg was that CBC should not be involved in making Canadian sitcoms, reality shows or the sorts of American-style programs watched by millions in this country.
Amen! Not because of the "Canadian content" angle, mind you, but because they totally stink at it! What should the CBC produce? I think they should do whatever they want to or feel like doing... Let them produce Season 47 of "GLBT Beatnick Environmental Poetry Readings at Little Mosque on the Return for the Tenth Time to the Road to Avonlea" starring the ghosts of Pierre Burton and Pierre Trudeau-- in a canoe, as long it is required to compete on the open market. Let Canadians decide what they want to watch, and what they want to pay for.  
The books does indeed sound like a must-read. 

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