CBC in talks to lease space to Disney

Broadcaster cut 800 jobs last year

TORONTO -- The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. could soon have Mickey, Woody and Buzz in the house.

Canada's cash-strapped public broadcaster is in talks with Disney to lease out unused space in its Toronto headquarters.

A CBC spokesman said no deal has been inked as talks continue.

The lease negotiations follow Ottawa granting the public broadcaster official approval to have Disney as a tenant for up to 10 years to raise just over $4 million in new production coin.

The CBC last year cut about 800 jobs and sold off assets to fill a $171 million budget shortfall in 2009-10 that Ottawa refused to make up.

Walt Disney has had a long presence in Canada, including operating animation studios in Vancouver and Toronto during the 1990s to tap local talent.

A Disney/Pixar animation studio will soon open in Vancouver to complete a growing slate of nonfeature projects.

Walt Disney also raised eyebrows in when it was hired by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to exclusively control and license its red-coated Mountie image to protect against cheesy and racy merchandise in the marketplace.

The Disney contract ran for five years to 2000 when the RCMP's licensing program reverted back to the Canadian police force.
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