By David Friend in Toronto
Veteran news anchor Lisa LaFlamme says she’s been “blindsided” by Bell Media ending her contract as the company shakes up its flagship CTV National News program with a new anchor at the helm.
In a video posted on social media, LaFlamme says she remains “shocked and saddened by Bell Media’s decision,” which cuts her ties to CTV after 35 years.
Bell Media announced her departure Monday, but LaFlamme says she was told of the exit on June 29.
In a separate announcement, Bell Media says Omar Sachedina will replace LaFlamme starting on Sept. 5. Sachedina is the CTV News national affairs correspondent and joined the network in 2009.
“Recognizing changing viewer habits, CTV recently advised LaFlamme that it had made the business decision to move its acclaimed news show, CTV National News, and the role of its Chief News Anchor in a different direction,” Bell Media said in a statement.
LaFlamme assumed CTV’s top news anchor role in 2011 when Lloyd Robertson retired at 77. He had spent more than four decades as a national news anchor at the network.
Over the years, she received numerous honours, including being named to the Order of Canada in 2019. Earlier this year LaFlamme won best news anchor at the Canadian Screen Awards.
In her social media video, she thanked viewers and her colleagues for their “unwavering support” while she acknowledged this was likely her official sign-off from CTV.
“At 58, I still thought I’d have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives,” she said in a video posted on social media.
“Instead, I leave CTV humbled by the people who put their faith in me to tell their story.”
LaFlamme’s exit from the network was met with immediate reaction on social media from friends, viewers and colleagues.
Ian Hanomansing, one of the anchors at CBC’s competing nightly news broadcast “The National,” said he was “at a loss for words.”
“Lisa is among the very best at what she does. I know surprisingly arbitrary decisions can be made in this business but Lisa, you deserve better than this. Way better,” he posted on Twitter.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 15, 2022.
Banner image via The Canadian Press