News show reaches out to younger demographic
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
For 30 years, Peter Mansbridge hosted The National, telling the news from a Canadian perspective. However, on September 4, 2016, he announced that he would be leaving the show. Some of the names that were thrown around as potential replacements for him were Wendy Mesley, Paul Hunter and Margaret Evans. During CBC Open House last year, people were talking about Adrienne Arsenault, Ian Hanomansing and even Terry Milewski possibly hosting The National. When Mansbridge left the show, it held auditions for his position and some of the people that hosted it during that time were Arsenault, Hanomansing, Andrew Chang, and Rosemary Barton. Last month, CBC formally announced that they will all be the next hosts of The National.
Some of the hosts of the show were likely candidates and some were unexpected. The new version of The National is an experiment, as the new hosts might be shortlisted for the show and when the audience decides who they like, that person will host it. Many people thought that Arsenault would host the show because she goes in the field and explains facts by the numbers. Hanomansing put a lot of innovation in the primetime editions of CBC News Now on CBC News Network with Steadicam shots of the newsroom and doing serious and fun interviews with a lot of famous public figures, and he will likely use that style when he hosts the show. Chang has a small role in The National doing breaking news and when he hosts CBC News: Vancouver, he talks about top stories in depth.
Barton will do the panels in the show, a position she’s well comfortable with as shown on her show Power and Politics, which airs on CBC’s cable news channel CBC News Network. Compared to Mansbridge when he hosted his trademark segment in the show At Issue—where he lets the journalists in the panel give their opinions on politics—Barton seems more likely to put the pressure on.
The National will be restructured to try to appeal to a younger demographic. Some of these changes include more special reports on top stories and web-exclusive material on the show’s website because they know a lot of people find news on the internet and mobile devices. However, this might cause older viewers to stop watching, because it is their only way to watch the news.
Also, a lot of reshuffling is happening at CBC News because of Hanomansing, Chang, and Barton leaving their respective shows. It is likely that Sarah Galashan will host the primetime editions of CBC News Now, Dan Buritt will host CBC News: Vancouver, and Evan Dyer will host Power and Politics. Arsenault and Hanomansing being the main hosts of The National is great because it is like in Japan where the main newscasts in the country have two hosts. If this experiment works, this might cause CTV to put Power Play host Don Martin as host of CTV News at 11 with Laflamme.
All of this could set a new standard in Canadian news. The new National begins November 6 at 10:00 p.m. on CBC and 6:00 p.m. on CBC News Network.