This week on CHML, Scott Thompson wanted to know what the deal was with Christine Bentley’s departure last Friday on Canada’s most-watched local newscast, CTV News at Six.
Bentley quietly announced she was leaving last week. The final newscast found her surrounded with colleagues old and new. She expressed a desire to allow room to give a new kid a break, which is exactly what happened–reporter Michelle Dube (right) is now Ken Shaw’s co-anchor.
Bentley’s final newscast Friday drew an overnight, estimated 326,000 Toronto viewers. Dube’s Monday debut did 413,000, with Tuesday leveling off to 386,000. No other newscast in Canada even comes close.
Bentley started at CFTO in 1977 and was pretty much a raw rookie herself back then. Was she encouraged to step aside to make room for a younger woman? Possibly, but stations are loath to screw with a winning formula. The answer may lie in the demo numbers, but newscasts skewing old is hardly news.
Dube has tough shoes to fill given Bentley’s decades of news number dominance. The dynamic at the desk seems more father-daughter now than two peers, but that makes CTV at Six look like many other news teams across North America.
As I tell Scott, I don’t think it would matter in the long run of Pink took over Bentley’s chair. Younger viewers–my college-age kids in particular–are not going to watch a supper hour newscast. It is their parent’s and grandparent’s way of getting news and information. News today is tweeted and posted on Facebook the second it happens. Bentley, me thinks, is getting out while the getting is good.
For the rest of the radio rant, you can listen in here.


1 Comment

  1. The only other newscast which would come close to challenging the numbers of CTV Toronto does would be Global BC. Global BC can top 300,000 at times which is pretty good considering BC has far less people.

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