Good and Martin’s Departure Ends Failed Ratings Coup Attempt

The end of the Bill Good/Pamela Martin era at CTV News Vancouver represents much more than just a changing of the guard: it’s also the final gasp in a major assault that began on BCTV by CTV seventeen years ago.

Television stations are always in competition for audience and ratings growth …but about a decade ago, CTV launched a huge new effort (I hear with a special budget of $28 million) to take on the Newshour and end it’s six and sometimes seven-to-one dominance over CTV in the ratings.

They introduced their new permanently-dedicated CTV News 9 helicopter; began to promote themselves as BC-CTV (a play on BCTV’s old nomenclature and perhaps even an attempt to confuse viewers?) and they hired away BCTV’s two top waiting-in-the-wings anchors … Good and Martin. And they poured a lot of money/resources into revamping their show/look/reporting.

It didn’t work.

Sure, CTV’s show did improve, and did narrow the usual ratings gap to, as I understand it, between four and five-to-one … but that could hardly be considered a victory in view of the millions of dollars invested in the Good/Martin product over the years.

So with CTV’s financial woes laid bare before the CRTC last year ,and the high cost of being host broadcaster to the 2010 Olympics, the behind the scenes talk has been going on for quite a while: how long would CTV continue to invest in the pair’s reportedly close to a $750,000 to a million-dollars-a-year combined cost?

From what I can see, whether they decided to leave on their own, or were they pushed is a kind of  chicken-and-egg question.  The official release, and Good on his show Wednesday, clearly indicated it was their decision to jump. But media wags will always wonder whether they had swords at their backs or could sense the “end” was near.

This does not mean, of course, that CTV’s fight for ratings against BCTV (now Global or Shaw TV, whatever you want to call them) is over.  In fact, I believe their product is much improved over what it was even a year ago …and some of their first-rate investigative features have raised their profile and the credibility as challengers.

But with Good and Martin’s departures, the decade-old  major assault on BCTV has ended … in a costly failure.

And I speculate the naming of Mike Killeen and Tamara Taggart as replacements for Good and Martin shows that CTV is more interested in making do and cutting costs at least for now than making another major attempt to take on the Newshour.

Harv Oberfeld

This entry was posted in Media. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Good and Martin’s Departure Ends Failed Ratings Coup Attempt

  1. morry says:

    “Mike Killeen and Tamara Taggart as replacements”

    are they serious!!!! Pap and more pap from useless TV “news”.

    News to Bill Good: Bloggers are eating your lunch.

  2. cosmicsync says:

    I was looking forward to reading your take on the departure of Bill and Pamela. Do you think Tony’s arrival at CBC played a part? The formula there pretty much mirrors CTV now.

    How was the ratings battle (Olympics notwithstanding) shaping up between those two?

    (Response; No. Tony has done relatively little for CBC’s ratings. I believe it’s true Good was tiring after doing both a morning show and ebening news ror so many years and for CTV it was also a cost issue…not getting the bang for the buck they were hoping for …so why lay out such high salaries when $$$ are very tight. h.o)

  3. RVKnudson says:

    I hope CTV takes this opportunity to change the format. There is too much forced banter between the news readers, weather reader and sports reader. The weather is given too much time and too many segments. One of the news readers could read the weather; there is no need for someone to stand in front of a weather map and babble.

    Tamara Taggart as a news reader? No way! I don’t recognize Mike Killeen so can’t comment other than to say he must not be memorable.

    I really only watch CTV for the “Olsen On Your Side” segment.

    My weather comments also apply to Global. Squire Barns is amusing in small doses but he is getting tiresome. Likewise the interaction with Randene Neil was amusing but it is now too much.

  4. SC says:

    My question Harv, if this was indeed in part a money move, which I believe it is, then I understand why Bill and Pamela went. I can understand Bill not wanting to reduce his workload. However, the question I’m wondering is why would a station pick Tamara Taggart , over folks like Keri Adams, Mi-Jung Lee, etc who have actual journalism backgrounds and probably don’t command high salaries.
    I realise Mike Killeen will be the senior anchor and has done a good job with bteaking news and is an excellent reporter but Tamara Taggart, essentially her sole contribution in media is saying it’s rainy, sunny or cloudy, along with what’s going on around town, she’s not someone I would want to tell me about the latest murder, disaster, or anchor an election broadcast or a breaking news story.

    That’s like having BCTV in it’s heyday, having Tony Parsons announcing he was leaving, and they decided to replace him with Norm Grohmann. Very popular, funny guy, was a great weather forecaster, but I would never want to get actual hard news from him and BCTV would probably be laughed at.

    To me, she maybe just a newsreader, I think it’s such a poor choice for a station’s flagship newscast.

    Do you think this could bode well for Tony and Gloria at CBC News (they have nowhere really to go but up) especially if she’s seen as not credible, and thus possibly bringing the ratings down CTV News @ 6 with her?

    (Response; That’s a very good question. I think Killeen and Taggart will just like “fill-ins”. CBC could benefit ..and so could Global. I’m not sure why Taggart…except maybe Mi Jung Li is such a good reporter, they can’t afford to lose her to being an anchor…but Taggart on the other hand …. 🙂 h.o.

  5. Ron says:

    I might have watched Good and Martin on the 6 o’clock news if Good wasn’t such a shill for the BC Fiberals and was complicit in the lie that got the Liberals re-elected because of his soft ball questions whenever that crook Scampbull was on his radio show (a reason I never listen to NW anymore, along with that dingbat Christy Clark).
    I hope NW keeps Mike Smith in Clark’s spot as he is more balanced (but not the other day when he announced that the Ida Chong recall will fail).
    Has Mike Smith now become a turncoat and prostituted himself to the elite? It may seem so, but time will tell. Smith, get back to being a critical voice of the gov’t and quit being a shill !!!

    (Response: Come on! I and many writers face the same predicament as Smyth …. we’re all great as long as you agree with what we say…but as soon as we take another point of view, we’re shills and turncoats for the other side. Grow up. h.o.)

  6. frosty says:

    Mike Killeen? MIKE KILLEEN??? C’mon Harve.

    And Tamara reporting on the next attack on South Korea? That Florida atmosophere is getting to you old buddy.
    Try someone from…oh, I don’t know….TORONTO?

    (Response; Stop laughing, Frosty. It’s true. They announced it. It’s true. Stop laughing!!! LOL!!! h.o.)

  7. islandpapa says:

    Interesting take…new blog groupie and just loving it.
    Off topic, were you covering the BC LEG in the mid to late ’70’s? I think I remember you interviwing us country bumpkins protesting the spraying of our wells…Moe was there giving us pointers.

    (Response; I joined BCTV in 1979, first covering the legislature, before being moved to Ottawa in 1981. h.o)

  8. Mo says:

    I totally agree with H.O.’s response to Ron. I don’t judge journalists and commentators on whether or not I am in agreement with their points of view, but rather if they are asking the hard questions and digging behind the News Releases to provide us with real insights and analytical thinking.

    But I do agree with Ron about the tendency of Bill Good’s and Chris Gailus’ penchant for asking “soft ball questions ” to Gordo. This kind of journalism is sycophantic and. embarrassing,

    PS if Symthe is of the opinion that the recall of Ida Chong will fail he must have given reasons for why he thinks so. He and you can agree to disagree. simple.

    (Response: I have criticised Good myself on occasion on this blog for what I saw as too easy treatment of the Premier etc..but generally I believe he does a good job on NW. f course he expresses his own point of view (centre right on fiscal matters, centre left on social matters, as I see it) but it’s an opinion show, so that’s what he is supposed to do. But he does have guests from the “other side” of issues on regularly. If you want to hear what one-sdied right wing hell is like …listen to the radio talk shows in the U.S. …horrible one-sided Republican propaganda 24-7. h.o )

  9. SC says:

    I saw a brief blurb on CTV News @ 1130 in a bit about the new team. To paraphrase: “Mike, of course is an award winning reporter, who was CTV’s Olympic reporter, while Tamara is well-known in the community, of course, known for her guest-hosting gig on Live with Regis and Kelly and has presented the weather here and she’s excited to report on the news”.

    I’m shocked that Keri Adams (one definitely passed over) was able to keep a straight face. This was essentially the same summary in the Vancouver Sun (and has hardly made a dent in the papers — unlike Bill and Pam leaving, made all the major dailies).

    So, it appears all one needs to be the flagship anchor is to co-host one day with Regis Philbin. Does this mean Kathie Lee Gifford (who put in 15 years) should be waiting for a call from CBS News telling her she’s qualified to replace Katie Couric and anchor the CBS Evening News?

    In all seriousness, what does it say when on CTV BC’s own website, all the comments that are pro-Tamara have more thumbs down, and all the anti-Tamara ones have more thumbs up.

    Could you clarify something for me Harv? You say “I think Killeen and Taggart will just look like “fill-ins””. Are you saying that this will be temporary or an experiment and do you think they’re going out and trying to poach someone from another network (like one of the many capable anchors at Global BC?)

    (Response; I think CTV will try them…saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for a year or two.. basically just resigned to their current share of the ratings …. but if ratings fall, and revenues pick up as the economy does, they could launch another search for others with more presence. h.o)

  10. Wilson says:

    Nice to see something not about politics for a change !

    I was surprised when I heard this news but not that surprised. Pamela and Bill never took viewers away from Global when they left and doubt that Tony Parson’s leaving has done squat for his new network either other then saddle them with a big paycheck to sign each month. Meanwhile Global keeps cruising along with a relative no name like Chris Galius. (hope I got that name right)

    One thing I always like about Global is the people they hire. They always seem to find people with personality. I really enjoy watching the banter between Squire and Randene over the noon newshour. You can see they are having some fun for a change and I find that kind of refreshing. Tony Parson bores me to death.

    (Response; You are quite perceptive. BCTV concentrated …not on tv looks … but on hiring established experienced journalists, mainly from newspapers, and taught them television …and they also allowed those with powerful individual personalities to express themselves and have fun with stories, as long as they also got the facts right..and hopefully first too. Today most stations have gone more for the “tv look” or simply young inxperienced people …good enough to cover accidents, fires etc, but lacking in background and tenacity when it comes to asking tough questions of politicians or showing a little “attitude” when going after real issues. h.o)

  11. Fred . . . says:

    Tamara Taggart as the news anchor ?


    What was the Eagles song . .

    “the bubble headed bleach blond comes on at six”

    Truly one of the most hilarious decisions in local media history.

  12. gordon says:

    I was surprised that Tamara was selected over some of the more experienced anchors, but the senior management obviously sees something in her. It will be interesting to see how she does,

    I thought they might bring Mike and Carrie back they worked well as a team on the weekend newscasts.

    Mondays ratings were 100,000 if those are around their average those are more than respectable numbers.

  13. Kam Lee says:

    Tamara Taggart…fluffy news person, Crusty Clark, trying to be boss of the most corrupt government in BC history. Oh times are a-changing. Maybe this is why I don’t watch the local news at night. Full of fluff and no substance. Thank goodness for BBC, local blogs like “The straight goods”, Teilman, as well as yourself Harv. Maybe Tamara will talk about the Virk / Basi buy-off (BC Rail sale), oops sorry, she has nothing upstairs. Or maybe she can talk about the weather the day the ledge was raided? A sad day in BC, again.

  14. a.j. says:

    Replacing Good/Martin with ”in house talent” speaks to the bigger question of the direction of the way news is delivered.Not to long ago one had to wait til 6pm for the news of the day,now breaking news is one click away.
    It’s getting harder to find someone who has no access to the web in some form or another.postmedia news even has an ipad app for their newspapers thats updated during the day.I wonder if the newshour programs are feeling the pinch yet?

    by the way, who is ‘post media’?

    (Response: The internet etc has certainly taken a bite out of traditional 6 p.m. casts. Post Media, I believe, is some sort of Canwest type media service, for chain newpapers …one story fits all …similar to the Canadian Press….but which also produces what I call puff advertiser-friendly feature pieces that can be mistaken for real news ,but surprise, surprise, often appear right next to ads selling the technology their “features” expound upon. i think it’s journalistically dangerous and dishonest. h.o)

  15. Gordon R says:

    Do you think CTV could have done anything to take greater advantage of having Bill and Pamela as their evening anchors?

    Some say that TV news viewers are habitual so it is extremely difficult to attract a significant numbers of viewers away from a well respected newscast such as BCTV(Global) Do yu agree with this

    There is a 3rd person to added to the new anchor team. Do you have any Idea whether it is a sports anchor or a Weather Anchor?

    Wow S750,000 to $1 million \annum for Bill & Pamela that’s a ton for news anchors. Do you think the days of the high priced local news anchor is gone?

    (Response: I believe the mistake that CTV made 10-15 years ago is that it placed too much emphasis on ancvhors… paying big bucks to get Good/Martin …but then having them introduce characterless stories by faceless unkown reporters instead of experienced storytellers. They should have also made guys like Daly, Coxford, McCardel…and Oberfeld :)…offers they could not refuse …so that the “new” BC-CTV really looked like BCTV. Anchors are worth good money…if they’re viewer magnets…and give the show a certain gravitas …not a junior or Hollywood look. h.o)

  16. Globe Trotter says:

    I make my living off the evening news
    Just give me something-something I can use
    People love it when you lose,
    They love dirty laundry

    Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
    I just have to look good, I dont have to be clear
    Come and whisper in my ear
    Give us dirty laundry

    Kick em when theyre up
    Kick em when theyre down
    Kick em when theyre up
    Kick em when theyre down
    Kick em when theyre up
    Kick em when theyre down
    Kick em when theyre up
    Kick em all around

    We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
    Comes on at five
    She can tell you bout the plane crash with a gleam
    In her eye
    Its interesting when people die-
    Give us dirty laundry.

    (Response: For those who don’t recognize the prose, it’s from the song Dirty Laundry by Don Henley. One of my favorites. h.o)

  17. Tamarra Fan Club says:

    Tamarra is to news what Bill Clinton is to chastity or Obama is to economics.

    Let’s be polite and call her a “TV personality” rather than a TV journalist.

    CTV is doing the circular firing squad routine . . . should be hilarious.

  18. morry says:

    @CTV .. i f you come by for a peek, heed this. You are a bunch of schmucks. Full story at 6:00pm evening news on your own channel.

    Get a Clue!

  19. Susaan R. says:

    Tamara is the mackeral sky of news readers, having flunked out of carbon trading and climate school.

  20. 13 says:

    Harvey I wish I had found your blog earlier. It is very entertaining and informative.
    As for Bill and Pamela so long bye bye.
    Ive been watching Channel 8 with or without Ron Morrier for a long long time. People are creatures of habit and I cant imagine what it would take to get me to watch another news show. Even Squire Barnes cant drive me to another news cast.

    (Response: Thank you. As you have may have noticed, there are no ads, no funding …just enjoying expressing myself on issues I care about…and reading some really interesting reactions.Have learned a lot … although unfortunately discovered some out there have not. 🙂 You may find the archives interesting too …esp the media section! h.o

  21. Tony says:

    Good for CTV for dumping Bill and Pam, they have no personality. If CTV really wanted to go after Global they should have hired Kevin Newman!

    (Response; I have wondered if they tried that. Maybe he would have cost too much or just not interested in anchoring local news show …although a promise to anchor the national in a few years could have been interesting! h.o)

  22. Mike Cleaver says:

    It should have been Killeen and Adams.
    All of the current anchors reached their “best before” dates years ago.
    Mike and Keri have a true rapport, when I worked there as a writer, they sat across from each other and I sat beside Keri.
    They’re friends and don’t have the “ego problem” of any of the current afternoon or evening anchors.
    They have the chemistry and the journalistic chops to do the job.
    But the real change should come among the “suits.”
    Both the GM and ND should be replaced.
    It will be interesting to see what happens when Bell takes over.

  23. D. M. Johnston says:

    Maybe CTV should rethink how they present their news. What I see is a clone of BCTV and that product has worn very thin.

    The Seattle TV news stations seem to have the right mix to retain their respective audiences and they seem more watchable than the Vancouver product.

    Big names in the news business also means big egos and an almost peculiar political effect that somehow news presenters are demigods and what they say is the absolute truth.

    This wears on the viewer, especially in todays instant media age.

    I seldom watched CTV news as I though the Martin and Good were mere window dressing for an inferior product.

    Killeen is a credible bit Taggart is too West side Barbie doll, for my liking.

    In essence, TV news is on a downward slide as the blog is becoming more and more newsworthy and not, as to paraphrase Mr. Good, “a bunch of wingnuts”.

  24. sunshine coast girl says:

    I think Tamara Taggert will surprise you all and turn out to be a very good news anchor. She’s been working in the business for 14 or 15 years, she’s a local girl and she’s been working very hard. At least she’s likable and real, unlike the one who is leaving. And she appeals to young people, which is what the station needs. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss her.

    (Response: You could be right. The ratings will tell. h.o)

  25. Henri says:

    Give the job to Carole James / George Hay-man, hopfully eliminating the possibility of either of them reentering or entering politics.

  26. Dan H says:

    Hi Harv,

    I really think CTV should have taken this opportunity to go outside of the box and totally revamp their newscast. I think they should’ve gone back to their VTV News format or something similar to CityPulse. Bring back the walk-around set! All the newscasts in Canada right now are so drab…we need something upbeat that will grab and retain a viewer’s attention. What do you think, Harvey? I think that Kevin Newman and Simi Sara would’ve been perfect candidates for the job. If they wanted to stay “in-house”, I would’ve gone with Killeen and Keri Adams, as most of the readers of your blog tend to think…she won a Jack Webster for Best News Reporting in ’05 for crying out loud! It wouldn’t surprise me if she left the station soon. I hope Tamara does well, but I just can’t envision her behind a desk. She’s got the perfect personality to be a weather woman and that’s where I think she should’ve stayed…

    (Response: I don’t mind the look of their set …find Global’s and CBC National’s a bit “busy”. Newman and Sara would be great..but he wouldn’t go for that…after anchoring a national show. Maybe on his own, as a step twards replacing Llloyd? h.o)

  27. gordon says:

    I wonder if Keri Adams (just back from Maternity Leave) was offered the 6 o’clock spot and decided with a new baby that the 11:30 worked better for her.

    I often wondered why when Both Bill & Pamela were both away that Mike & Keri weren’t slotted in? i think that would have worked very well for CTV

    I do like their Product

    Some Seattle stations use 2 anchors for their late night casts . has that been tried here?

  28. e.a.f. says:

    CTV hasn’t been delivering “news” in a long time. They report on crime, weather, traffic accidents and that is about it.
    The reporting has been slanted and I am sure Good/Martin would have had a hand in that. Good certainly comes across as a bit to the right.
    Now if Good was just, “read”, then what does it matter who is “reading” the news.
    Tamara Taggert if fun and light. I’d rather be listen/watching her. She did well on Regis/Kathy and I think the station was grooming her. Just because she is attractive doesn’t mean she isn’t smart. Lets see her on the job.
    Mike K. has been with the station for some time and does just as good a job of reporting as any one. I was getting very fed up with Good and his brand of politics.
    I’d like a news station which reports the actual news and does a little investigative reporting, other than light pieces. Its a bit hard to take when the only “solid” news comes out of bloggers or an “eastern” newspaper.
    News agenda’s are set by the owners, managers, etc. of t.v. stations so does it really matter who “reads” the news. If the station’s policy is to go easy on certain politicians than that is what happens.
    Half the things which go on in the province are not covered or not covered adequately via msm. If it weren’t for some of the investigative bloggers who would know….
    Like when are we going to see something solid on child poverty, the effects min. wage has on child development and poverty. when the Comox hospital lost its accred. it was reported and that was the last we heard. Maybe an investigative report on what caused that and could it happen in other hospitals.
    Nothing has been reported on the $100M a yr contract for the whistler highway, etc. So what does it matter who “reads” the evening news. If its not relevant than people don’t watch.

    (Response: Several thoughts… Killeen is a good reporter, but that’s a lot different from being an anchor; I think CTV locaL news has improved markedly in the past year, with some fine first rate feature and investigative series; ratings and audience habits are very complicated, hard to break; and, I wish I had a dollar (would be enjoying a much more comfortable retirement 🙂 for every time I’ve heard someone complain about a news entity missing this satory or that story or not following up enough or not doing a story at all on such and such ..and then, when you asked them if they contacted the media with those story ideas, suggestions, complaints… MOST say No. It won’t work everytime…it’s not like phoning up to order a pizza …but if enough people make those calls, write those letters and e-mails, it can have an effect. h.o.)

  29. Dan Huffman says:

    Yeah, Harv…if CTV BC were to hire Newman, they’d have to promise him CTV National by mid-2012. That’d give Lisa a bit of time as anchor and then push her out, move her to weekends and put Rinaldo on Canada AM (quite frankly, IMO, I think Lisa will do a fine job as anchor). Sara would’ve been good as well as she’d fit in perfectly with CTV BC’s lineup of ethnic anchors (she’d essentially be replacing Renu Bakshi as their South Asian anchor, someone who can reach out to that huge community). If CTV really wants to make a ratings push, they’ve got to produce more local news…it’s that simple. More people turn to Global because it’s habitual AND viewers know that Global has got a newscast every couple of hours. They produce 45 hours of local news per week…morning, noon, evening and late night, plus Global National is produced out of Burnaby. CTV has got to introduce a morning newscast based in Vancouver, for a Vancouver/BC audience ONLY…not a “Western Canada Edition” of Canada AM, that’s not going to cut it…viewers made that very clear last year.

    Thoughts Harvey?

    (Response: I wouldn’t say Global produces as much news as you indicate…rather they repeat a lot, in different forms, with updates and some new content each time. CTV does a good job of covering the “normal” news.. and offers as two hour package from 5 to 7 p.m. ….but I believe they lack “characters” that show their personalities that attract viewers I did, or McCardel or Clem Chapple or John Daly …along with their unique ways of prsenting stories. I agree Canada A.M. is not very attractive to many British Columbians, but the cost of mounting a morning show is pretty high for a network that is broke, and I’m not sure there’s that many more fiewers to snag at that time of day. h.o)

  30. George Orr says:

    What has killed CTV from Day One is their inability to use the medium to its best advantage, and tell a story….. as Harvey will remember, there is a formula to TV news… character-driven narrative. Doing this well means the cameraperson needs the freedom to produce it in the field, and the editor needs the capability to translate it in the booth.

    Neither of these components have ever been important at CTV, as they continue to chase their vision of ‘news’ with only intermittent reference to ‘story’ and thy can never understand why Global kills them every night in the numbers game.

    Hoping that newer, less expensive hosts will solve the problem is a sign of desperation.

    If the good folks at CTV actually wanted to win, they’d put the resources needed into developing staff who were story-driven. That was actually the model at the start-up, but gosh, it’s hard to be creative when you’re number 2 and you think that running faster will work for the viewers better than telling them good stories..

    (Response: Thanks, George, Very perceptive analysis always. For those who need reminding, George was a respected reporter and long time journalism proessor at BCIT. I think CTV has done some good story telling in recent months…esp their investigative series. But a lot of what we swee on the tube, everywhere, lacks context,historical background, and story-telling writing skills …sad, and they pay the price for that. h.o)

  31. Doug R says:

    Wow, your commenters are all so smart. They should start there own News! Or maybe its easier to sit on your a$$ and criticise and moan and bitch and snipe. Sheesh

    (Response: I don’t mind their points of view, even if I find some very sanctimonious, totally unrealistic and even selfish … but it amazes me how some are so arrogant that when someone has a contrary philosophical or political point of view, their response is to call names, belittle and swear …kind of like spoiled children, doing a tantrum. Amazing! 🙂 h.o

  32. NoConfidenceVote says:

    Tamara Taggart has been elevated to Newscaster ? Harvey Kirk must be spinning in his grave!
    How much lower can TV dumb down the Media Message?
    Tamara…Let me count the ways…..
    This is a gal that showed up to a News Womans charity golf event many years back with autographed pics of herself to hand out…to other news women?
    This is a gal that didnt know CKNW’s Michael Campbell was Gordon Campbells brother.
    This is a gal that rely’s totally on her looks because she …… well never mind.
    Suffice it to say that ” TT” aint no Harvy Oberfeld but (no offence Harvy) I rather be stuck on a deserted island with her than you because after 24 hrs of incessant mindless blather I would build a helicopter out of rocks and twigs with my bare hands and fly away…anywhere.
    ” Best to keep quiet and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt”

Comments are closed.