Sign of the apocalypse: CTV off the menu at 990

Anybody want to buy a vowel?

Could there be a more telling sign of the sea change in the Canadian TV biz than the painting over of the letters “C, T and Vey” outside Bistro 990? For years, the cozy Bay Street bistro was a favourite haunt of CTV power wielder Ivan Fecan. As 2010 comes to a close, the Fecan era also winds down, with the Canadian programming boss making his exit as the new bean counters at Bell start measuring the drapes and checking out the parking spaces.
Other dominoes are starting to fall at CTV. News president Robert Hurst has retired, with long time lieutenant Wendy Freeman in charge of tinting Lloyd’s hair starting Monday. Olympic programming boss Keith Pelley’s seat was barely warm at the CTV executive boardroom before he bolted to Rogers to replace Tony Viner as head of Rogers Media. Pelley hired Scott Moore away from CBC Sports to run his Rogers sports stations. CTV hustled Phil King into the top TSN spot.

CTV’s Fecan: back to the fortress of Solitude

If all this seat changing when the music stops has everybody dizzy now, wait a few weeks. There are more changes to come at CTV. There’s already plenty of speculation as to the exact hue of gold to be found in programming boss Susanne Boyce’s parachute. Boyce and Fecan ran CTV like mom and dad Moonves for over a decade, rolling up dominant schedules after dominant schedules. Now that the Bell bean counters are in charge, and daddy is adios, mommy can’t be far behind.

That will be a shame. Boyce comes from a place of joy where TV is concerned and has tolerated my nonsense for years with grace and good humour. If this great ride is about up for her, she’ll leave with her rep intact, along with plenty of cab fare.

Fecan wasn’t the only big change in the Canadian TV corporate ranks in 2010. Canwest CEO Leonard Asper and his brother David lost their bid to retain control of their broadcasting and publishing empires, with Shaw Communications taking over the Global brand. And CBC programming head Richard Stursberg exited his job a year earlier than expected. These moves mirrored similar departures south of the border, notably ABC head programmer Stephen McPherson and NBC CEO Jeff Zucker.
I counted up some other Canadian TV moments from 2010 in this piece I wrote for The Canadian Press. All in all a momentous year, from the poverty of those “broken business model” laments to the dizzy ratings heights of the Olympics.

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