Bill Brioux Looks at the CBC’s Revamped ‘The National’


The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Can four new hosts take the place of an anchor who led CBC’s “The National” for nearly 30 years?

It will take more than one newscast to properly judge, but CBC demonstrated Monday that its new team-approach to the nightly news at the very least looks different — and younger — than what rival broadcasters have to offer.

There’s no blaring theme song to open this new “National,” no showy, brightly-coloured graphics off the top. Instead, three or four simple stills set the table for the day’s headlines. Viewers are then whisked to Toronto-based Ian Hanomansing and Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton in Ottawa and Andrew Chang in Vancouver. On opening night, they often appeared together onscreen in separate, hockey card-shaped rectangles, leaving barely enough room for all their poppies.

The four anchors smiled but never got too chummy, like on “The View.” They also didn’t shout over each other, like on the old “At Issue” panel.

There never seemed to be any need for all of them. Barton, on this night, did not grill an Ottawa party leader in studio. And Chang was the Ringo of the group, the one with little to do who could have been paid less.

The fact that they were “coming to you from three cities,” as was declared off the top, was not exactly a selling point.

It was Hanomansing, the senior member of the quartet, who got the news started on Monday.

A rock-steady veteran and spry improviser, he brought gravitas to the proceedings as viewers were told a police officer had been slain in Abbotsford, B.C.

A map locating the city would have been helpful. So would more information about exactly what happened. A suspect was hurt and taken to hospital. We eventually learned that he is in his sixties and from Alberta. Questions remained, however: did this story just happen? Is that why it seemed as if it was quickly thrust to the top of the news?

Things quickly pivoted to what was likely the original lead item: the aftermath of the mass shootings in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Here, real resources were activated, with veteran news contributor Paul Hunter gathering some very raw, emotional testimonies.



  1. I watched the new National last night. There was definitely a lot more interaction between the hosts and the field reporters. I couldn’t help but find the style similar to what we’ve been hearing on CKNW, when the talk hosts will discuss the news of the day with people in the newsroom. At least that’s what jumped out at me. It will be interesting to see if this new format will work for the TV audience.

  2. CKNW “discussing news of the day” More like shoving PC and SJW crap down our throats. These social justice clowns as CKNW have driven me to satellite radio. Even sat radio has gone SJW with Arlene Bynon’s incessant Trump bashing. “Mrs Chestrfield, from Antigonish, thanks for being on air to tell us about your Cod Cheek Soup recipe.. by the way, don’t you hate the way Trumps feeds artisan-raised prize fish in Japan? How can we let a man who does not know how to feed koi so near to the nuclear button?”

  3. I havent watched a CBC newscast ever (well not that I can remember) If they have turned into a picture laden version of NW then they deserve to go off air


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