BNN star anchor Kevin O'Leary inked a deal yesterday to take his high-octane act to CBC, we have learned. "I signed one hour ago," he told us when we tracked him down. He joins former co-anchor Amanda Lang - with whom he hosted the popular show SqueezePlay for the business TV channel - who departed for the CBC earlier this summer.
The duo's new half-hour show, tentatively named the Lang O'Leary Report, will air weeknights on CBC Newsworld; schedule details are still being worked out, but Mr. O'Leary tells us the show will cover business and beyond. And why is he making the move? "Amanda Lang left alone in a show with her liberal views is dangerous," he joshed. "I have been hired on behalf of all Canadians who believe in the capitalist system to keep her in check." More seriously: "We built something together and I didn't want to lose it - I like working with her."
Mr. O'Leary, who made his money as an entrepreneur and now has a piece of a mutual fund business, still has his regular gig on the main CBC network with the business reality show Dragons' Den. This summer, he has been commuting to L.A., appearing in a new ABC show, Shark Tank, which has a similar format - business gurus judge the pitches of aspiring entrepreneurs looking for startup capital. The entertainment industry bible, Variety, turned in a mixed verdict on the show, with Mr. O'Leary singled out for special attention. Reviewer Barry Lowry wrote that Mr. O'Leary is "the love-him-or-hate-him standout here, for better and mostly worse." Ouch.
But Mr. O'Leary is more focused on what he's learning about the U.S. economy while playing Simon Cowell among the sharks: "It's sobering for me. ... These are real businesses with real sales, unable to get a small loan because they don't have access to capital. It's phenomenal."
Outing the umps
You know those two guys who dress up as umpires at Toronto Blue Jay games and sit in the row behind home plate calling pitches? The ones whose act is so popular that they often draw salutes from opposing players, and who this summer entertained American fans by following the Jays on the road to games in Washington and New York? Ever wonder what they actually do for a living?
When the two have landed in the media spotlight, they have been coy about where they work. The two diehard baseball fans have said only that they are "traders on the TSX." In fact, Tim Williams and Joe Farrell are on the sales and trading team at GMP Securities.