February 24, 2005

Note to CTV: Skilled Announcer for Hire

A week ago I wrote about CTV's recent successful bid to broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games in Canada. One of my concerns about the CTV/TSN package is that their play-by-play announcers and analysts are poor compared to the staff at the CBC.

Yesterday, the CBC let one of their good ones go, announcing the surprise termination of Chris Cuthbert's contract. The official story is that there isn't enough work for Cuthbert, now that the NHL season has been officially cancelled. Yesterday on CBC radio there was some speculation that the real reasons may have been more personal, as Cuthbert apparently had a rocky relationship with boss Nancy Lee. William Houston at the Globe and Mail reports that Lee notified Cuthbert of his dismissal through his agent. The Toronto Star is reporting that the employees' union at CBC is investigating the circumstances of the termination.

Assuming that Cuthbert is done with the CBC, he could be a significant upgrade to the CTV team. Aside from his high-profile hockey duties, Cuthbert was also CBC's top announcer for CFL broadcasts, and (more relevant to my topic) played a high-profile role at the last few Olympics. He covered figure skating at the winter games in Salt Lake City, and did an excellent job at the rowing and flatwater canoe/kayak venue in Athens.

For the moment, Cuthbert's profile is still available on the CBC web site.

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