Tag Archives: Paul Karwatsky

Paul Karwatsky leaves CTV Montreal to devote himself to autism awareness

Paul Karwatsky.

After taking a leave from his job long enough to have people wondering about his status, Paul Karwatsky has decided to leave his job as anchor at CTV Montreal to focus on autism awareness, a subject close to his family.

The news was announced to staff on Friday morning, leading to a story in the Gazette, and an announcement was posted to CTV’s website on Friday afternoon.

It included a statement from Karwatsky explaining his decision:

As many might know, I’ve been heavily involved in raising autism awareness for years. I’ve decided to dedicate myself full-time to this cause which is close to my, and my family’s, heart. It’s a key time in history for all those living with autism and so much needs to be done to ensure our children have all the opportunities they deserve as they grow. All my efforts will be focused on this moving forward. The details on what exactly I’ll be doing are to come.

Though it’s unsaid in the statement, the fact that changing his career would mean a more family-friendly work schedule had to be a consideration. He has been hosting both the 5pm and 11:30pm newscasts since the 5pm news was added in 2018, and the late-night news slot is tough for people with children. Previous anchors like Cathrine Sherriffs*, Debra Arbec, Tarah Schwartz and Annie DeMelt who worked the late-night or weekend newscasts (or both) all left those jobs for more 9-to-5 ones, and only Arbec (the 6pm anchor at CBC) is still in the industry.

On Facebook, Karwatsky said leaving was a “massively difficult decision” and would provide more details about his future in the next few weeks:

This was a massively difficult decision. The outpouring of well-wishes I’ve been getting is overwhelming. I’m going to post a proper goodbye to everyone who sat through my bad jokes at home over the years . I really want to say that there is no better group of people than the hundreds and hundreds of Montrealers I’ve been privileged to meet who’ve supported our station over the years.. people who I truly feel are part of a huge extended family for me… a family I joined nightly all those years ago in watching CFCF when I was a kid. I’ll still be a part of that family watching from home. I can’t express how much I’ll miss being a direct part it all. But I’m excited about the future and some of the great things I’ll be getting behind. Details to come over the next few weeks! Thank you to you all.

Karwatsky’s departure was briefly noted during the 5pm and 6pm newscasts on Friday, the latter by Mutsumi Takahashi.

CTV says it will name a replacement for Karwatsky. As it happens, all of the potential internal candidates are women. Caroline Van Vlaardingen would be the most obvious choice. Others with some anchoring experience include reporters Amanda Kline, Kelly Greig, Cindy Sherwin, Angela MacKenzie and Maya Johnson. If they really wanted to go for a man, the pool is much thinner locally. There’s … Rob Lurie?

Externally, well, there’s one person with decades of Montreal English-language newscast anchoring experience who’s currently available.

When Karwatsky’s replacement is named, she or he will be Takahashi’s fifth co-anchor, after Bill Haugland, Brian Britt, Todd Van der Heyden and Karwatsky. Though because the two split the four daily newscasts, they don’t actually anchor together anymore.

UPDATE (Sept. 15): Karwatsky explains his new job in a video, and opens up a bit to the Gazette’s Bill Brownstein about how autism has affected his life as a parent.

*Correction: I listed Catherine Sherriffs as an example of someone who left a late shift for a 9-to-5 job, but in fact it was because she was being moved from the late shift to a day job that she decided to leave CTV.

Elysia Bryan-Baynes named late-night anchor at Global Montreal

This is how I imagine Elysia Bryan-Baynes celebrates everything.

This is how I imagine Elysia Bryan-Baynes celebrates everything.

Global Montreal has finally filled the seat that was vacated by Richard Dagenais when he moved to mornings in January: Reporter Elysia Bryan-Baynes is being upgraded to the anchor desk, it was announced on Wednesday morning. Her first day on air is June 3.

Bryan-Baynes, an avid comic-book reader, has been with Global Montreal since 2003, but this is her first permanent job at the station, station manager Karen Macdonald tells me.

“Elysia has literally been a freelancer here since 2003,” she said. “We’ve had lots and lots of babies and we’ve had lots and lots of mat leaves” that she’s been able to fill. Macdonald attributes the lack of openings both to the station’s tiny size since it drastically cut staff in 2007, and to its bizarrely low turnover rate. “People just don’t leave here,” she said. “So since 2007 since we had the cuts we haven’t had that many departures.”

The new morning show, which brought a handful of new jobs including two anchors, created an opportunity.

“Of all the candidates, her screen test was the best,” Macdonald said. “I think people will be intrigued and pleasantly surprised.”

Bryan-Baynes hasn’t done much anchoring, which Macdonald said was “because she’s had so much else to do” with reporting, including some filling in at the National Assembly. “She’s a really strong anchor, she has a lot of experience news-wise. It requires a lot of experience, because basically they’re by themselves a lot in the evening.”

For her part, Bryan-Baynes says she’s really excited about the new gig. “I’ve loved the work and the team since I arrived in 2003,” she tells me. “Global has always made me feel part of the family. Now its official. For now, I’m feeling excitement and great sense of responsibility. I’m sure many other emotions will hit me between now and when I start in June.”

Paola Samuel has been filling in on the late-night desk most nights since Dagenais’s move.

Global also announced to staff that Gloria Henriquez has officially been named associate producer of Morning News, a role she has been temporarily filling since the show began.

Karwatsky to take over late nights at CTV

Meanwhile at CTV, there’s also a change there to the late-night anchor desk. Catherine Sherriffs will be leaving on maternity leave this summer, and the station has decided to have Paul Karwatsky take over the late-night desk in addition to co-anchoring at 6 p.m., station manager Louis Douville told me. That means Mutsumi Takahashi will be doing the noon newscast solo.

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.