Alex Despatie leaves Breakfast Television

Alexandre Despatie

Alexandre Despatie, the former world champion diver who was a surprise hire as one of the first hosts of Breakfast Television Montreal, has left the show.

The show has been co-hosted by Wilder Weir the past few weeks, but Despatie’s departure was only announced on air this morning, at the end of the show.

“Alex is moving on to different and exciting projects, so it’s a start to a new chapter in Alex’s life,” co-host Joanne Vrakas said before reminiscing about her screen test with him before they were hired.

The use of boilerplate, combined with the fact that Despatie wasn’t there to offer his own goodbye message certainly raises an eyebrow, but statements offered from both parties suggest an amicable departure. Here’s statements that Rogers PR emailed me afterward:

Colette Watson, VP of Broadcast & Operations, Rogers Media :

“Alex was a big part of our launch in Montreal and we are appreciative to have had the opportunity to work with him.  He is a true professional and we wish him all the best as he moves on to his next venture.”

Alexandre Despatie:

“From a young age I have been motivated by challenges, and the chance to participate in the launch of a new station in such an important role was quite a big one. I want to thank City for offering me this extraordinary opportunity and the viewers who let me into their homes every morning. I was privileged to share the show with a great team both in-front of and behind the camera and I wish them all the best. I would have loved to continue this wonderful experience, but I’m looking forward to my next exciting endeavour.”

It’s unclear what happens now as far as on-air staff. Weir would be the obvious choice to replace Depatie since he’s been doing it as a fill-in. But that opens up Wilder’s position as the “Live Eye” reporter.

To complicate matters further, Vrakas is pregnant, which means she’ll be going on maternity leave soon.

Despatie is the latest major figure to leave City Montreal after only two and a half years of local programming. He follows Montreal Connected host Alyson Lozoff, executive producer Bob Babinski (who hired Despatie), supervising producer Jeffrey Feldman, plus some behind-the-scenes people like news producer Levon Sevunts.

UPDATE (Feb. 5, 2016): Despatie will be on the Radio-Canada Olympic broadcast team in Rio.

31 thoughts on “Alex Despatie leaves Breakfast Television

  1. Frank Schwimmer

    Good for him, that was an awful morning show,I watched once or twice, there was no chemistry between him and Vrakas, I hope he´s move to greener pastures

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I watched once or twice, there was no chemistry between him and Vrakas

      I’m not an expert on chemistry, but they certainly seemed to think they had it. Alex and Joanne were an interesting pairing, and Joanne is a very powerful personality, but I never felt them being awkward with each other.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        I watch every morning from 6 to 7, the last couple of weeks my wife mentioned he looked unhappy, I thought he was just over powered by Joanne. I do like her and Wilder…

        Reply
        1. Mandy

          Joanne is what makes Breakfast television . She is a true professional and an inspiration!
          My question is why didn’t Alex say goodbye to his viewers. Did he not value them?
          As for the rude insults directed toward Joanne, she is a class act and I hope to have her delightful face and character in my living room in the mornings for many years to follow.

          Reply
      2. Carl

        They might have had chemistry to start, but the last little while it always seemed like they did not get along. They should get rid of Vrakas while they’re at it. Can’t stand how she talks down to everyone.

        Reply
  2. Robert Haslewood

    It would not be a surprise if Breakfast Television was cancelled in Montreal like it was in Winnipeg. BT Montreal has never been the high quality program like its Toronto counterpart.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It would not be a surprise if Breakfast Television was cancelled in Montreal like it was in Winnipeg.

      It would be to me, since a local morning show is a condition of licence for the station until its licence expires in August 2016. And Rogers doesn’t have a radio station here it can stick video cameras into to do that on the cheap.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        Yes, but in TV terms, August 2016 isn’t that far away, and the process for re-licensing will start sooner. Considering the ratings aren’t exactly amazing, they could always consider redeploying the resources to do something else in the local market to meet the requirements of the next license. I don’t think they would go down the road of local news, but you never know.

        They could easily bridge the time from now to August 2016 with temporary replacements without ever having to name official replacements.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Considering the ratings aren’t exactly amazing, they could always consider redeploying the resources to do something else in the local market to meet the requirements of the next license.

          Maybe, but what would be an easier way of filling 15 hours of airtime a week with local programming?

          Reply
  3. Samantha

    I was sad to see Alex go too, but Joanne is the reason my family and i watch the show every morning! I dont think she overpowered him, it seemed more like she was carrying the show, he’s an olympian not a journalist!!

    Reply
  4. Dan

    Talking down to people? What show are you watching Carl? Joanne is the reason we watch the show.
    Vrakas is always prepared, funny and sharp.
    She is very credible as an anchor and engaging and caring as a host and interviewer.
    If Alex could not keep up that has more to do with him and his performance – not Joanne. It’s going to be great to see who they chose for her next.

    Reply
  5. Marie

    I find it pretty unbelievable that some people would take it upon themselves to insult others when it’s not deserved. Alex has moved on to other endeavours, let’s encourage him and send him some great energy to accomplish his next personal and professional goals.

    Mrs. Vrakas has a beatiful, outgoing, funny, smart, and cleaver personality that is why she is a great journalist and tv host. She has a long career ahead of her, and Breakfast Television is only the beginning.

    I can only wish Alex good luck in his next chapter, and Mrs. Vrakas well keep on doing a good job, you and Wilder seem to have a great energy going on.

    Good luck to all!

    Reply
  6. LM

    It’s about time he left. I thought I was the only one who saw no chemistry between them. How he ever got hired is beyond me. I always said Wilder should be in that seat. Better personality and they fit better. Wasn’t it Alex who live on air got the name of the Quebec premier wrong or was it the priminister.. I was dying. Either way what a loser.

    Reply
  7. Alex Gordon

    I think it’s only a matter of time before Breakfast Television becomes Dinner TV (as was done CITY Edmonton). I don’t know anyone who watches either BT or Global Morning Show. Maybe going as culture/lifestyle against hardnews from 5-7 is the right move.

    This also means his run as a regular on the sports show is over. Elliott Price from TSN 690 has done well but it’s disappointing – their old format using reporters like Sean Coleman and Kelly Greig was much more local. Now it’s 30 minutes of talking heads. It’s essentially radio on the TV.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I think it’s only a matter of time before Breakfast Television becomes Dinner TV (as was done CITY Edmonton).

      It’s possible, but it would require an amendment to the station’s licence, and some other way of filling local programming requirements. Unlike Edmonton and Winnipeg, Rogers doesn’t own a radio station here that it can simulcast on TV.

      Reply
  8. Niki

    I personally think that Joanne is the one who makes me watch BT MTL every morning, I believe that she is very smart, professional, and it shows that she takes pride in her job, as all journalists should, which makes her a great role model for today’s young women as well … Not to mention I also love her sense of humour (little giraffe!).

    As for Alex, he had his moments, but overall it felt as if he was lost, unprepared and even sometimes misinformed. I guess you can say that it shows that he doesn’t have any journalism experience.

    I watch the show every morning as I get ready for work. I love the show’s premise as it is more laid back than the usual morning news show. If it wasn’t for the fun moments and their sense of humour I don’t think I’d watch any news at all!. It’s a little sad to see anyone go, but i think in the long run they will be better off with a co-host who would be better suited for the job, I’m curious to see who it will be.

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Derick Fage hired as Breakfast Television Montreal co-host | Fagstein

  10. SE

    Am I the only person reading this that thinks that this Joanne bandwagon is suspect? Seems blatantly obvious that either Vrakas, or a family member, is taking swipes at Despatie here. Shameful. The fact that Joanne is mentioned second on the comoany release for the Fage announcement speaks volumes. I hope Despatie is having a Merry Christmas.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Am I the only person reading this that thinks that this Joanne bandwagon is suspect?

      Some people love Joanne, some people hate her. Everyone feels the need to express a polarized opinion on the subject, even though nobody cares what anonymous blog commenters think.

      Reply
  11. Marcelle Gagne

    Why? The show is not the same without Alex – it’s as simple as that!! And the way he left raises eyebrows! The fact we will never see him again is a complete turn-off! We can only wish him the best in the New Year!

    Reply
    1. Dolores Kathleen

      I feel the same way you do Marcelle! I loved the chemistry between Joanne and Alex and I loved to hear him laugh at her jokes and silliness. I don’t know who decided that he was no longer a “fit” but I now find myself turning to other channels in the morning. I wish Alex all the best in his new endeavours and I will miss him.

      Reply
  12. David Maye

    Alex was a real gentleman. He did a photo shoot in my basement once for,” Dylan Ribkoff underwear,” before he was on Breakfast tv.. He was a real classy guy. We wish him all the best.

    Reply
    1. Dolores Kathleen

      Yes he seems like a real genIeman and he represented us Montrealers very well. I still miss him and I miss tuning into Breakfast Television!

      Reply
  13. kim

    Sad to see alex go…one of my son’s still thinks alex is superman…because on Halloween he dressed up like him.lol….
    It’s. Sad that you think mrs .Vrakas pregnancy is a complication for the network..bad choice of words.

    Reply
  14. Annie Blais

    I cannot for the life of me understand what happened to this show?! Wilder, Alex , and now Laura is gone. Shame. They were the favourites , the most uplifting, and the reasons why we tuned in.

    Reply
    1. Dolores Kathleen

      I so agree with you Annie although I’m happy that Joanne is back. Nevertheless I can only take the show in small doses now so I don’t tune in very often. Salut Bonjour has a new viewer though!

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Derrick is pleasant and Joanne is a respectable journalist. I am not a fan of all the nonsense between them. It is awkward. I turn the channel every time Joanne makes those silly noises, or cuts him off. Small doses is right.

        Reply
        1. Caroline R.

          I agree with both Annie & Anonymous. I am loving Laura on Global Morning show. I look forward to watching her improve.. I think it is just a matter of time before all these morning shows sign-off for good. If you look at both BT and Global on Twitter and Facebook neither of them seem to generate any engagement. These shows are likely on the air fulfilling network commitments and will be toast the second these obligations are fulfilled. Salut Bonjour or CBC is where we tune in these days. Where is Alex now?

          Reply

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