CBC closes design shop doors

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TORONTO -- The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Friday shuttered its in-house TV design shop in Toronto, with the loss of 64 jobs.

Over 54 years, the in-house operation was responsible for building an extensive inventory of set decorations, props, backdrops and draperies for shows on the national network. But the public broadcaster no longer produces weekly music variety or game shows and most of its comedies or dramas are either commissioned from independent productions or produced outside Toronto.

An initial decision to close the shop in 2005 was put on the back burner as the network worked with journalist and technicians union the Canadian Media Guild to work out an alternative, including a possible employee cooperative.

In the wake of that effort failing, the shop will close today and 64 jobs will be lost, including 49 held by makeup artists, hairstylists and costume makers.

The CBC earlier completed other outsourcing exercises to trim operating costs in tight budgetary times, including farming out 34 in-house publicity jobs to the Toronto-based PR firm Media Profile.
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