Tag Archives: Jennifer Hall

Debra Arbec leaves CTV to co-host CBC newscast

Debra Arbec waves goodbye to fans on her last trip on the CTV St. Patrick's Day float

News went out to CTV Montreal staffers early Wednesday morning that evening news anchor Debra Arbec has been poached by CBC Montreal to co-anchor its 5pm newscast, replacing the departing Jennifer Hall as Andrew Chang’s co-anchor.

Hall is leaving for personal reasons, returning with her family to southern Ontario.

“It’s been an amazing ride at CTV,” Arbec told me on the phone today, describing the job at CBC as “a great opportunity.” She says her contract there begins July 1 (though she suspects she’ll get that first day off).

Though this is hardly the first change of stations for a local TV newscaster (CTV recently picked Kai Nagata from CBC to fill its Quebec City bureau, weatherman Frank Cavallaro was hired by CBC after his contract at CTV expired, and Global’s evening news anchor Jamie Orchard worked for CTV before she got the bigger job at the smaller station many years ago). But it’s a bit odd to see someone of Arbec’s profile quitting the highest-rated station in the city to go to the No. 2.

For Arbec, who said she’s “not really a numbers person,” the issue was more her placement on the schedule than her placement on the dial. “It’s obvious that a supper-hour show wasn’t in the cards at CTV. Mutsumi (Takahashi) is very much loved in Montreal and will be for a very long time,” she said, with no apparent hard feelings for the city’s most veteran English-language TV news anchor.

Arbec has been hosting CFCF’s 11:30pm newscast since 2003. Though it’s 35 minutes long, only about 15 of that is news, which is a very small amount of daily airtime. CBMT’s supper-hour newscast, meanwhile, is 90 minutes from 5pm to 6:30pm (even if it is a bit repetitive).

Still, ratings are an issue, and Arbec said she knows “a challenge will be to continue to grow CBC’s numbers,” which have just about doubled since the expanded newscast started but are still not even in the same ballpark as CFCF.

“I didn’t make the decision lightly,” Arbec said. She’s been working there for 13 years, and “I love the people there.”

That would obviously include Brian Wilde, who she met at CTV and has been married to for five years. She said it would be different not working together at the same station (they worked the late newscast together last week, which she said was fun), but she doesn’t expect any major changes in their personal lives, except for the fact that she can now spend her late evenings at home.

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Michel Godbout to leave CBC Montreal anchor chair

CBC Montreal announced today the two co-anchors who will be helming the new supper-hour TV newscast, and neither of them is Michel Godbout.

Michel Godbout: "Returning to the field"

Michel Godbout: "Returning to the field"

Instead, the CBC is going younger, picking one familiar and one unfamiliar name to sit in the big chairs. Godbout, the release says, is going back to reporting, “returning to the field.” The release suggests Godbout is eager to get back on the front lines, though that’s not quite the impression one gets when reading his Twitter post on the subject. Godbout, a known softie, tells us below not to read too much into that Tweet.

Replacing Godbout on Sept. 8 (a week after the new 90-minute newscast debuts) are reporters Andrew Chang and Jennifer Hall.

The announcement was sent to the media shortly before the 6pm newscast and was made on the air by Jeniene Phillips, who is replacing the vacationing Godbout in the anchor chair, at the very end of the hour-long newscast. It included video of Hall and Chang at their desk in what appears to be a new set:

Jennifer Hall and Andrew Chang try out their new anchor chairs

Jennifer Hall and Andrew Chang try out their new anchor chairs

Chang is a familiar face to CBC Montreal viewers, one of the youngest faces on the newscast and a solid multimedia reporter who has been with the station since 2005.

Hall, on the other hand, is an import. She comes from Ontario, where she served as national reporter for CTV’s “A” News network. Though she has experience as a news anchor, she’s spent her career (and education) in Ontario and is entirely new to the Montreal news scene.

Frank Cavallaro remains at his post as the weather presenter.

CBC’s release is below:

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