A colleague called me out on a comment I made a post or two back about CBC executive director of network programming Kirstine Layfield (left). She objected to the way I described her at CBC’s 2008 press launch Monday. I think the offending line was “kittenish programming mistress.”
Looking back the line may have been a little catty. I did not, for example, describe CBC vice president Richard Stursberg as “doggish,” or “master.” I did sorta say he should duck out of rifle range next time he takes a podium in the CBC atrium. So far, nobody has objected to me writing that.
I guess I was reacting to the way Layfield dresses up for these things. A friend in this business uses the wonderful expression “cleaving for the media.” Layfield doesn’t cleave, but she does look runway stylish at these things, how is that. She has a striking figure, and with her long, blond hair makes a strong visual impression.
The other interesting thing is, almost every programming boss in network television these days, on both sides of the border, is a woman. In Canada, Susanne Boyce has been crafting the CTV schedule for over a decade. At Global, Barb Williams and Kathy Dore are in charge.
In the U.S., CBS CEO Les Moonves handed the keys to Nina Tassler several years ago, with Nancy Tellem even further up the corporate ladder. The CW is run by Dawn Ostroff. Gail Berman called the shots at Fox before Peter Liguori and Kevin O’Reilly took over.
The point is, after dozens of press tours and upfronts and network this’s and that’s, I have never once noticed what Nina Tassler was wearing, or Gail Berman, or any other female programming executive.
So maybe I just wanted Layfield to know I appreciated the effort. Or maybe, if there had been any new shows announced Monday, I wouldn’t have been so fixated on the footwear.


  1. “kittenish programming mistress”

    that is some of your very best writing Bill….

    and do you think that the “tarts on silver trays” were symbolic somehow and meant to compliment Kirsten’s

  2. I also object to the way you describe a female programming executive Mr Brioux.

    You also compounded your bias by your latest condescending comment “I just wanted Layfield to know I appreciated the effort”.

    I’m disappointed to see this chauvinistic side of you as I’ve always trusted your critiques, however, I now see you in a different light and the picture I have of you is not very a very pleasant one

  3. anonymous 12:18 AM

    “I now see you in a very different light and the picture I have of you is not very a very pleasant one”

    It is apparent that the CBC’s Kirsten Layfield enjoys attracting attention and acknowledging her effort to do so is not “chauvinistic” but rather “good journalism.”

    If the CBC’s “kittenish programming mistress” paid as much attention to her job as she does on her wardrobe then perhaps some of the most serious blunders in the CBC’s 50+ year history might have been averted. But maybe that’s the idea – who wants to level criticism at such a hot looking broad.

  4. “who wants to level criticism at such a hot looking broad.”

    Exactly! Please do remember this is the woman responsible for cutting jPod well before it was given a chance to find the audience it deserved. She’s dressing in a specific way to deflect mistakes made.

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