New anchors coming to Canadian networks

CTV, Global, CBC adjust to cable news competition

TORONTO -- Two of Canada's major network newsrooms are getting new anchors, led by CTV on Friday choosing Lisa LaFlamme to replace Lloyd Robertson as host of "CTV National News."

And rival Global Television on Tuesday will name its replacement for Kevin Newman as chief newsreader at "Global National," that network's flagship newscast.

The dueling announcements come as the network news departments at CTV, Global Television and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. continue adjusting to increased competition from all-news cable channels and the Internet, and Sun TV News, a Canadianized Fox News channel to be launched by Quebecor Media in early 2011. Newman's replacement at Global National will take up the full-time position in September.

LaFlamme, currently CTV's national affairs correspondent, by contrast will bide her time until she fills her network's top anchor post. CTV in a statement Friday said LaFlamme will occasionally sub for Robertson until the 76 year-old finally finally signs off in mid-2011. "To follow in the footsteps of Lloyd Robertson is an enormous honor and extremely humbling," LaFlamme said in a statement.

Sources at Global Television insist it's no coincidence that CTV made a surprise announcement about Robertson's pending departure on Thursday night as they have been making preparations for a Tuesday press conference to unveil their new Global National anchor for some time.

Top executives set to be on hand Tuesday in Toronto for that announcement include Canwest Broadcasting president Peter Viner, who has been shepherding the broadcaster through creditor protection for much of the last year, and Canwest Broadcasting senior vp of news and current affairs Troy Reeb, who is leading the search for Newman's replacement.

Robertson's own schedule for departure was sealed following the recent 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, where the veteran newsman was forced to publicly deny persistent rumors that he was leaving CTV after 34 years as anchor of "CTV National News."

With CTV going with an in-house candidate to replace Robertson, the speculation is Kevin Newman will soon land at the CBC, replacing Peter Mansbridge as the anchor of "The National," the public broadcaster's flagship newscast currently trailing the competition.