Thursday, December 16, 2010

The new host for "As It Happens" is, as it happens, also a former actor

Long-time listeners to CBC Radio One’s “As It Happens” were understandably upset when it was announced by the CBC March 29, 2010 that Ms. Budd’s contract would not be renewed. After a twenty-six year career with the CBC, seventeen as the co-hose of “As It Happens”, Ms. Budd was apparently being let go from the corporation because the CBC wanted a co-host with a background in journalism. As stated in a Globe and Mail article from April 5, 2010:

“My performance was never called into question during these discussions,” she adds. “Over the last while, the corporate spokespeople and the senior management have always been very clear that they’ve been fans of mine.”

But the CBC wants more journalists on air as opposed to “presenters,” which is how Ms. Budd, who is an actor, has been described. It’s a delineation that slightly rankles. “I haven’t studied journalism, but I think that, on the job for 17 years, after being so closely entrenched in the show, people might assume that there’s a certain amount of journalism that’s rubbed off on me.” Still, she’s not bitter. “I knew I wasn’t the journalistic part of the duo. I didn’t quibble with it because I loved what I was doing, and in listeners’ minds, there’s never any distinction between those roles.”

Ms. Budd, a 58-year old former actor and mother of a seventeen year old son with special needs, had spent twenty-six years of her career at the CBC. Now, it seems that she was to be tossed out on her keister. The same Globe and Mail article from April 5, 2010 also stated:

Ms. Budd’s termination is another sign of the corporation’s efforts to update its programming, observers have noted. “It isn’t enough to have the audience that you have,” she says, explaining her take on the CBC’s rationale. “[But] it’s not as if As it Happens doesn’t already have [younger people] listening and writing in.

Today it was announced by the CBC that another former actor, Jeff Douglas, has been named as the new permanent co-host of “As It Happens”. An article in today’s (December 16, 2010) Globe and Mail states that:

When it was announced in March that Budd’s contract wasn’t going to be renewed, the rationale given by CBC executives was that they wanted another journalist in the co-host chair. Yet Douglas, like Budd, comes from an acting background.

Denis Donlon, general manager of CBC Radio, said Wednesday that CBC executives never specified it had to be a journalist.

“We need a person in the role who can actually make a contribution to the production of the show”, she said. “And we purposely left it really wide that way. It could have been a journalist. It could have been somebody who’s really good in social media. It could have been a chase producer [who tracks down stories]. We needed more hands on deck in terms of the overall production of the show.”

Carol Off, the co-host who fulfills the journalist role on the show, had this to say about her new co-host, also according to today's article in the Globe and Mail:

“And then he has this range in his voice. I actually thought he reminds me of Jim Carrey. It’s elastic.” Off said. “It brings this other range to that position. This guy can do anything. He can announce. He can read. He can present with authority, and yet he can make you laugh.”

Mr. Douglas is described in the Globe and Mail article as being best known for having performed what has since come to be known as the “Joe Canadian rant” in a beer commercial. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this commercial, you may view it on YouTube.

I'm not a lumberjack, or a Furtrader,
and I don't live in an igloo,
or eat blubber
or own a dogsled.
And I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada,
although I'm certain they're really, really nice.

I have a prime minister... not a president,
I speak English and French, not American
and I pronounce it About, not A-boot.

I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack,
I believe in peacekeeping, not policing,
diversity not assimilation,
and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal.

A toque is a hat,
a chesterfield is a couch,
and it IS pronounced Zed,
not Zee... ZED!!
Canada is the 2nd largest land mass,
the 1st nation of hockey,
and the best part of North America.

My name is Joe...

Thank you.

As I’ve said before in this blog, I couldn’t even begin to make stuff like this up.

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