TV News | CHCH News enters bankruptcy protection; news output slashed

At 4:02 PM ET on Friday, December 11, 2015, Romen Podzyhun, Chairman and CEO of Channel Zero, announces the on-air immediate cancellation of CHCH News Now in a prerecorded announcement. As of this press release (PDF), CHCH reduces its local programming load from eighty hours a week to twenty-five hours a week, in an effort to weather the current Canadian terrestrial broadcast climate. While neither CHCH nor Channel Zero are under bankruptcy protection (as CHCH is a brand name in this case), Channel 11 L.P. – which produces news under the banner of CHCH News – is. CHCH terminates at least one hundred fifty-nine employees – one hundred twenty-nine full-time – as a result of this restructuring. CHCH News suspends operations until Monday, December 14, 2015.

The 6:00 PM ET and 11:00 PM ET versions of CHCH Evening News return to air Monday, December 14, 2015, as stated in the press release. CHCH Morning Live returns December 15, 2015 in a scaled-down format (7:00 AM-9:00 AM ET). All other news and current affairs shows, including Sportsline and Square Off, are cancelled effective immediately. Sportsline and Square Off’s cancellations are mentioned by Sarah Louise Gardiner of FleishmanHillard, the public relations contact attached to the CHCH press release. Sportsline host Mark Hebscher confirms Sportsline and Square Off’s cancellations in two Twitter posts.

While CHCH News resumes operations on December 14, 2015, it’s a blow for local television in Canada. Under Channel Zero ownership, CHCH News was a well-maintained news organization, much stronger than it was under Canwest ownership. What bothers Gloryosky is the sudden nature of this closure. The loss of the Local Programming Improvement Fund and downturns in national ad revenue weakens local stations like CHCH. According to an article by cartt.ca’s Greg O’Brien, CHCH News lost $130,000 per week by the first quarter of the 2015-16 fiscal year (September 1 to November 30, 2015). Given that fact, the news by day/films by night format isn’t workable anymore without a subsidy on the news end. It was a good run for the format, all told, albeit with an abrupt and unsatisfying end.

Hoping for the best re: CHCH News. Expecting the worst. #CHCH #cdntv

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Cameron Archer

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer