CBC is planning to overhaul its television news divisions, moving The National to seven days a week and revamping CBC Newsworld, after a recent market study showed some of the public broadcaster's key programs weren't registering with Canadian viewers.
Saturday Report, a half-hour update between Hockey Night in Canada games, and Sunday Report, a magazine-style show, will be replaced by The National on weekends, starting in the fall of 2009.
The staff will likely be reassigned to other shows.
"That's probably a little less than a year away, but that's something that we're moving towards," CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said yesterday.
The CBC wants to leverage its better-known brands, while backing off others that have struggled to take hold.
Market surveys indicate TV viewers recognize The National, but lack awareness of other significant CBC brands such as Newsworld.
"We've done a considerable amount of research on this," Mr. Keay said. "It's not stuff that we're just thinking up and doing."
Executives are particularly concerned that Newsworld, the cable news channel CBC launched nearly 20 years ago, still scores poorly in consumer awareness surveys compared to other long-time specialty channels such as TSN.
Newsworld will be rebranded, and will be given a new look that will see the video portion of the screen share space with more text and graphics, including weather and local news reports.
The new look is being compared with Toronto's CP24, a channel that devotes a significant portion of its screen space to graphics and news. However, it has not been decided how far CBC will go with that approach on Newsworld.
Such a move could allow for on-screen advertisements, but Mr. Keay said that hasn't been contemplated yet.
The changes were discussed at an internal meeting Wednesday.
The National may also be converted from a traditional news-desk format to a less formal structure, executives said.
The staff of Saturday Report and Sunday Report will likely be reassigned to other shows.
CBC also believes it needs to break news faster.
Its website will be called upon to handle breaking stories first, and Newsworld will not necessarily wait for the definitive word on a story before beginning to report, the meeting was told.
The broadcaster said the revamp is strategic, rather than an effort to cut costs.