Discussions that led business journalist Amanda Lang to leave the CBC and join the new Bloomberg TV Canada channel began a year ago. Ms. Lang, who has been a CBC host and business correspondent since 2009, leaves the public broadcaster after Friday's episode of The Exchange with Amanda Lang to produce and host a new, twice-weekly evening program called Bloomberg North.
The half-hour show will air Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. ET, likely featuring long-form interviews, and may include a debate component similar to her characteristic back-and-forth with outspoken former co-host Kevin O'Leary. Ms. Lang decided on her switch "in the last six months" after "on-and-off talks" with Bloomberg, she said in an interview, driven by her desire to work for a global platform with digital opportunities as television continues to be disrupted by online competitors.
But she is also departing the CBC after a year when controversy dogged her coverage, as well as her paid speaking work outside the broadcaster. There were reports of clashes with colleagues and suggestions she was pro-business. And the CBC took the unusual step of investigating her coverage back to 2013, particularly of Royal Bank of Canada, as Ms. Lang was in a relationship with a member of RBC's board.
The review revealed no evidence of bias, and Ms. Lang said the process "didn't change my relationship with CBC." But she acknowledged it was an "incredibly difficult" year at the public broadcaster and that some of the CBC's hardship came from "self-inflicted wounds." A previous report that CBC would not renew her contract was "not correct," she said.
Rather, Ms. Lang says she wants to "have a foot in the future" as digital video and streaming technologies shake TV's business model. In switching to a twice-weekly show making its debut in the first quarter of 2016, she will give Bloomberg TV Canada a third of her time, and devote the rest to other pursuits – "hopefully creating quality business content on recognizable platforms."
That could mean more writing – she has a book due to publisher HarperCollins by next spring – but it won't mean working for Bloomberg's direct competitors. "There are obviously limits on that," she said.
It could involve some paid speaking, which her contract allows, subject to Bloomberg's conflict-of-interest policies. "Their concern, and mine, would be that the quality of journalism I do for Bloomberg stays to Bloomberg quality," she said.
Bloomberg TV Canada will launch on Nov. 16, replacing the American-focused Bloomberg Television on many cable and satellite packages with a mix of Canadian and globally-produced programs. The network has also hired former BNN journalists Pamela Ritchie and Michael Bancroft.
"At the core of Bloomberg TV Canada is quality locally produced business news that's important and relevant to Canadians," said Mike Katrycz, vice-president of news at Channel Zero Inc., the independent media company partnering with Bloomberg LP to create the channel. "Amanda's strength as one of this country's top business journalists will play a key role in delivering this. We're very happy to have her on our team."
Bloomberg's influence in business corridors was a key factor in Ms. Lang's move. Its TV audience in Canada will be smaller than CBC's at the outset, but it has an international profile and "millions of embedded [Bloomberg terminal] users who are extremely loyal," she said. Prior to the CBC, she had worked for BNN, CNN and the Financial Post.
TV is "still where people go, it's still the advertising king," she said. "But the disruption is here, and it's going to be fast and I think it's going to be brutal."