CTV's 'e Talk Daily' bumps Chum's 'Star Daily'

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TORONTO -- Canadian media group CTVglobemedia on Monday said that it has axed the flagship celebrity news show "Star Daily" on its newly acquired Chum broadcast network, resulting in the loss of 22 jobs.

The move clears the way for "eTalk Daily," a rival entertainment news show on CTVglobemedia's CTV network, to compete head-to-head with "Entertainment Tonight Canada," a Canadianized version of "Entertainment Tonight" from domestic broadcaster CanWest MediaWorks and Paramount Domestic Television.

CTVglobemedia in June acquired Chum's free-to-air and cable TV channels -- including the Star cable channel on which "Star Daily" aired -- as part of a CAN$1.4 billion friendly takeover.

Jordan Schwartz, vp and GM of CTV's entertainment group, said that "Star Daily" will be replaced with "eTalk Daily," set to air nightly at 7:30 and 11.

"It was a programming decision," Schwartz said of the decision to cut "Star Daily" loose. " 'ETalk' is the market leader and falls under the category of priority programming. That was the one that stayed."

"ETalk Daily," now in its sixth season, also will continue to air nightly at 7 on the rival CTV network. It is currently pre-empted in primetime on Tuesday nights to make way for the CW's "Gossip Girl" and on Thursdays for NBC's "ER," which is being pre-released in Canada.

All five "eTalk Daily" shows will air on the Star cable channel each week, according to CTV.

Zev Shalev, senior executive producer of "ET Canada," dismissed CTV's bid to keep "eTalk Daily" at five days a week by airing it on Star.

"This is a conventional broadcast that we're ('ET Canada') doing on network TV. We're not counting what's airing on a small specialty cable network. I don't know whether we're comparing apples to apples anymore," he said.

Shalev added that "ET Canada" similarly airs nightly on TVtropolis, CanWest MediaWorks' cable rerun channel. But what matters, he argued, was what "ET Canada" does audience-wise on conventional TV.

"ET Canada is the only daily entertainment broadcast on network TV in this country," Zalev said.

CTVglobemedia already restructured Chum's executive suite in the wake of the takeover (HR 10/1). The cancellation of "Star Daily" marks the first deep chops at the network's program slate by its new owner.

Chum's former management last year cut 281 jobs and canceled and revamped its news and current affairs programming on the eve of the takeover.

Despite the streamlining, Chum's "Star Daily" still had to compete in a crowded market for domestic celebrity-driven news shows.

"ETalk Daily" led the field with an average of 409,000 total viewers during the recent fall TV season. "ET Canada" was close behind with 381,000 average viewers, according to BBM/Nielsen Media Research.

"Star Daily" was trailing far behind with an average 7,000 nightly viewers.

Toronto free-to-air Sun TV last year cut its own daily entertainment magazine series "Inside Jam!" down to a weekend-only show, which cost 13 jobs.

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