In the past, when CityLine needed a face lift, Denis would simply go out and get one! Not this time. Denis was caught in a corporate tug of war after CTV gobbled up the CHUM TV biz, then was forced to sell off Toronto flagship City when the CRTC ruled no doubling up in the T.O. market, bub. When Rogers acquired City, CTV claimed Denis as one of their stars thanks to her long-running CHUM FM morning radio gig (Roger, Rick & Marilyn).
So today's Fashion Friday is Denis's CityLine swan song. There will be no bells, whistles or fireworks, just a quiet departure as CityLine searches for a new host to carry on the series. Denis the total pro was downplaying the departure when I spoke with her two weeks ago, getting Rogers' concern that the show must go on. Still, as the kids say, WTF?? Where's the big sendoff?Even posts about her departure have been deleted at the CityLine website, which is ridiculous. Imagine the hullabaloo when Oprah finally walks off her show. There will be confetti dropped from a million helicopters all across North America. The U.S. president, especially if it is OBama, will declare it "Oprah Day." Tom Cruise will go on a couch jumping rampage. But Rogers could not take out one industry ad thanking Denis for 19 seasons and wishing her well in the future? What does a person have to do in TV these days to get a gracious salute?
There's some talk CTV might set Denis up with her own new afternoon series in the near future. Look for them to give her the profile she deserves.
Also departing quietly today are the gang over in Calgary who put together Newsworld's afternoon newscasts. The decision was made several months ago to close the regional office and centralize production in Toronto, which seems exactly opposite to the CBC mandate of being the eyes and ears of Canada. That meant relocate or bust for several CBC Calgary staffers, including newsanchor David Gray, who I"ve had the pleasure of chatting with over the past few years as a guest on the newscasts. Another pal, producer Sandra Mills, is also a Calgary casualty, although she told me she's welcoming a bit of downtime in the short term. Hope to hear from them both soon as they call in from whichever broadcaster is smart enough to snap them up. In the meantime, tune in the Newsworld's CBC News Today with David Gray at 3 p.m. E.T. for a final blast of fresh Calgary air.