Mark Starowicz, a long-time CBC radio and TV executive who helped create many of the public broadcaster’s most celebrated programs and has overseen its documentary programming since 1992, is leaving it on Friday, CBC managers told staff Thursday morning.
Starowicz, 68, was part of the team that made As It Happens a success in the early 1970s. He created the award-winning radio documentary show Sunday Morning, became the first executive producer of CBC-TV’s flagship current affairs show The Journal, and produced both the landmark series Canada: A People’s History in 2000 and the 2012 acclaimed aboriginal series 8th Fire.
He is leaving to set up his own production company specializing in documentaries.
His departure comes during an historic shakeup in documentary production at CBC which stripped Starowicz of much of his responsibilities. Last year, CBC’s management announced its intention to eliminate all in-house documentary production, one of Starowicz’s two portfolios. (He was also responsible for commissioning independently produced documentaries, which at the time comprised 75 per cent of CBC’s documentary programming.)
The move spurred a sharp rebuke from some of CBC’s most respected journalists, including Peter Mansbridge, Adrienne Arsenault, Anna Maria Tremonti, Wendy Mesley, and Neil MacDonald, who called for the in-house documentary unit to be saved and embedded within the news and current affairs department. More than 300 of their colleagues eventually signed a letter in support.
Their suggestions were rejected.
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