CFCF makes Paul Karwatsky permanent co-anchor

Paul Karwatsky can put the reporter microphone away for good.

When Todd van der Heyden left CFCF for CTV News Channel, the speculation on who would replace him really came down to one choice: Either it’s Paul Karwatsky or it’s not Paul Karwatsky.

Karwatsky was the only other male anchor at the station, and while it wasn’t impossible that a woman would be picked to sit beside Mutsumi Takahashi, managers in TV news are still concerned enough about how things look that such a selection would seem unlikely.

Karwatsky was a great idea on paper. He’s a Montrealer, was already working at CFCF and had anchoring experience. The only strike against him was that he was young. And when your viewers have grown up with people like Bill Haugland and Brian Britt, going young presents a risk. (A risk that has already blown up in their face once.)

But when Karwatsky was selected to be “interim” co-anchor with Takahashi after van der Heyden left, it was just a matter of time before the position was made permanent. Barring some dramatic failure, he was clearly up to the job. And it would have taken a lot for them to decide to go with someone from the outside who CTV Montreal viewers are unfamiliar with.

As it turns out, it required only two weeks. CTV announced on Wednesday evening that Karwatsky has been made a permanent co-anchor with Takahashi. What was essentially a probation period or tryout has clearly been successful.

And being young isn’t the worst thing in the world. Andrew Chang at CBC is younger, and although his appointment as anchor of CBMT’s supper-hour newscast seemed similarly risky back in 2009, he’s fit into the role remarkably well.

The Gazette’s Bill Brownstein has the story, which has many of the same platitudes contained in the CTV story but also some colour about Karwatsky’s background.

What about weekends?

Now that Karwatsky’s position on the weekday desk has been made official, there’s the question of what to do with his former post. Before moving to weekdays, Karwatsky did weekend newscasts at 6pm with Tarah Schwartz and solo at 11:30pm. Schwartz has been doing both newscasts alone, which means her shift starts much later than it used to and the lineup editor has to do more of the work to setup the 6pm newscast.

CTV could choose to continue this way, or could hire someone else to take over Karwatsky’s old job. (UPDATE: News Director Jed Kahane confirms he will be hiring another anchor for the weekend desk.)

Either way, they could probably use another backup anchor. Caroline van Vlaardingen has been substituting on occasion as needed, and Cindy Sherwin has also done some anchoring, but other than that the cupboard is pretty bare.

8 thoughts on “CFCF makes Paul Karwatsky permanent co-anchor

      1. josh

        Markis, I agree, Mose should not be on television or radio, what an irritating voice and fake smile. I’m happy for Karwatsky but Mits looks like his mom beside him, plus he should turn it up a little, too mellow as anchor.

        1. Fagstein Post author

          he should turn it up a little, too mellow as anchor.

          I imagine the pressure to seem more serious is the reason he seems so mellow. Give him some time and he’ll loosen up a bit. He’s quite witty.

  1. AlexH

    I still stick with my theory (applies to Radio and TV): If they figured out that chimps would bring in similar ratings, they would use chimps instead. For the most part, news readers are mostly suppose to be inoffensive, to be the people that we don’t dislike to see on TV. It’s one of the reasons why it is often good looks that outdoes true skill or experience. CFCF seems to be on a roll with this recently, the average age at the anchor desk as dropped like a rock in the last 5 years.

    Again, see my comments in your congrats thread on supply and demand – way too much supply, not enough demand. It lets the media outlets pick and choose and be able to play around. Since the CTV news ratings won’t shoot up or down as a result of this change, it’s all good.

    Congrats to Paul on the new position, just remember that this is a transient position now. Start looking up the ladder to Toronto if you want to move on.

  2. Montreal Critic

    To no one’s surprise, Paul K got the job. Congrats to him. He brings a more serious professional tone to what should be (rightly) a fairly serious position.

    Why am I not surprised that CTV will be looking to replace PK as weekend anchor? I can’t wait to see who it is because they will force themselves to pick a man to co-host with Tarah Schwartz, even though, as has been pointed out before, 1: One person can do the job and 2: There are far more remaining and talented female candidates at CTV then there are male candidates.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      One person can do the job

      If it was just one newscast, I’d agree with you. But like with weekdays, the weekend anchors have to deal with two. Right now, Tarah Schwartz starts mid-afternoon, which leaves her little time to prepare the 6pm newscast, so the work that she used to do during the day falls on someone else. If you think anchors are nothing more than mouthpieces who show up and say what’s on the prompter, then that’s fine. But I think they want the anchors to be a bit more involved. Under the two-anchor system, one does a day shift and works to prepare the evening newscast, and the other starts mid-afternoon and prepares the late newscast.

      One person can do the job, if there’s enough people behind the scenes to pick up the slack. But is that better than having two anchors?

  3. Steve

    Karwatsky is to CTV what PK Subban is to the Canadiens — until they get rid of the dead wood around him he will always look out of place.


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