Reports vary on Newsworld plan

It took nothing less than a referendum on national unity to alter cbc-tv's network launch of its revamped nighttime news and information package, pushing back its start to Nov. 2.That much is well-known. Less well-known though is what the state broadcaster...

It took nothing less than a referendum on national unity to alter cbc-tv’s network launch of its revamped nighttime news and information package, pushing back its start to Nov. 2.

That much is well-known. Less well-known though is what the state broadcaster intends for CBC Newsworld, its all-news cable operation delivered to more than six million mostly urban households in Canada.

The only comment from the office of Tony Burman, managing director of CBC Newsworld and chief news editor of cbc-tv’s English service, is that an announcement will be made within a week or two.

Still, from cbc, a notoriously leaky ship, enough tidbits are slipping out to allow for some roughing in of the new shape of the Newsworld package.

One cbc source says there will be a four-hour news block between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. eastern time, with a package of news, weather and sports beginning on the hour.

A second cbc source sort of agrees, but ventures the Newsworld package will not be an hour, but 30 minutes, and will have a 2 a.m. edition as well.

A third cbc staffer’s admission to not knowing what is up at Newsworld speaks volumes about the cable service.

Different opinions

Either the cable operation wants to keep things quiet and use a stage-managed announcement for all the leverage it can get, or, as a former cbc employee says, Newsworld is as confused as they say it is.

A national sports report is a new wrinkle, since there is not one on cbc-tv.

A high-profile soft drink company could sponsor the sports report, says the source, who also happens to believe advertising of some kind will be built around the mighty The National.

What cbc-tv news boss Tim Kotcheff is saying, says the source, is he wants news anchors with ‘star power’ to take on the CTV National News at 11 p.m.

Kotcheff, former news supremo at ctv, left the network several months ago for the cbc.

Kotcheff has hinted publicly he would like to see The National anchorman Peter Mansbridge on Newsworld.

However, a cbc source dismisses the idea Mansbridge could or would do The National and four other shows.

The former cbc employee, who admits to not being in the loop any longer, suggests Mansbridge could do The National, then a couple of the Newsworld programs, leaving the remainder to other cbc talent.

That jibes with the cbc source’s suggestions that the crew which produces The National -it is even money that name will change – will redo their stories for Newsworld.

Apart from Wendy Mesley, Mansbridge’s wife, ‘star power’ is rather scarce at cbc.

One name the former employee mentions is Brian Stewart, who, the former employee says, is doing a great job in his current reporting slot.