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TVO Axes Three Shows, Staff in $2 m. Budget Cut

 

by Susanna Kelley

TVO is cutting three shows, two of them signature broadcasts, as well as laying off 30-40 people in an effort to pare $2 million from its mostly government-subsidized budget, according to TVO CEO Lisa de Wilde.

The long-running and much-loved Saturday Night At The Movies is being cancelled at the end of March along with the highly respected Allan Gregg in Conversation, hosted by the former political pundit, activist and founder of the Decima polling.

As well, the show Big Ideas will come to an end at the same time.

TVO was mentioned in the last Ontario budget speech, with Finance Minister Dwight Duncan saying it would have to become more self-sustaining.

The provincial public broadcaster faces a five per cent cut in its operations budget, TVO said early Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Education's 2012-2013 Budget Estimates Summary, TVO's operating budget jumped from $7.7 million in 2010-11 to $15.1 million the next year, 2011-12.  It is estimated to come in at $13.7 million in 2012-13.

The cancellation of Saturday Night At The Movies and Allan Gregg in Conversation brings to four the number of signature shows that TVO has cancelled since 2005 as it shrinks the number of original shows it produces overall.

Studio 2 was cancelled in 2007.  

These three have been cancelled under De Wilde's tenure.

Imprint, a unique and well-known literary and book show, was cancelled in 2005.

Saturday Night At The Movies has been one of the longest-running shows on Canadian television. It began in 1974, hosted by the late Elwy Yost, who retired in 1999.

Both Imprint and Saturday Night At The Movies were strongly identified as TVO "brand" shows.

But ratings do not seem to be playing into decisions to cancel shows on TVO.

Studio 2 pulled in up to 250,000 viewers nightly in Ontario alone during its time on the air from 1994-2006. 

Saturday Night At The Movies has been one of TVO's highest rated programs.

On the in-depth half-hour Allan Gregg in Conversation the host has interviewed many of the most important politicians and authors in Canada and internationally,

However, the independent former Conservative activist recently made headlines for criticizing Stephen Harper's government over what he said was its disrespect for reason and knowledge.

TVO's flagship current affairs show, The Agenda With Steve Paikin, is not facing cuts.

About Susanna Kelley

Susanna Kelley is Editor-in-Chief and Queen’s Park Bureau Chief for Ontario News Watch. A veteran political and investigative reporter, documentary-maker, host and media commentator, Susanna oversees and has final editorial control over all news production at Ontario News Watch. Susanna has reported for the CBC, the Canadian Press and served as Queen’s Park Bureau Chief for TVOntario for 13 years. She has also hosted a number of documentaries for CBC’s The Current, CBC Radio News and TVOntario’s Studio 2. Passionately dedicated to excellence in political journalism, and having covered both Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park, Susanna believes quality political reporting is essential to a healthy democracy. You can find Susanna here: @susannakelley
Posted date : November 13, 2012

View all of Susanna Kelley's columns
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