CBC President Defends U.S. Game Show Lead-Ins

Hubert Lacroix: "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" "raise the awareness of the rest of our programming."

TORONTO -- CBC president Hubert Lacroix has defended the Canadian public broadcaster’s use of American syndicated game shows as lead-ins to its primetime schedule.

Lacroix told webcast for CBC listeners Wednesday that Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, acquired from CBS Paramount International Television, are cheaper to program than homegrown shows, and “raise the awareness of the
rest of our programming schedule.”

The CBC topper also rejected criticism that the Canadian public broadcaster is airing primetime fluff to bolster ratings in competition with rivals like CTV and Global Television that air mostly popular U.S. network series in primetime.

“I don’t think we’ve dumbed down our programming schedules. On the contrary, we’re very proud of our program offerings. And they seem to be resonating with Canadians,” Lacroix told a questioner.

The CBC has had to cut jobs and reduce its programming to deal with a commercial ad revenue shortfall during the recent economic downturn.

Lacroix pointed to the BBC in Britain sustaining a 16% budget chop as part of a sweeping U.K. government spending review as a measure of the challenges similarly facing Canada’s public broadcaster.