Veteran CHUM, CTV Program Exec Jay Switzer Dead at 61

Courtesy of CBS Studios International
Jay Switzer

Switzer rose from manning the switchboard at City TV while in high school to running the iconic Canadian network Chum Ltd. until a $1.3 billion takeover in 2007.

Jay Switzer, who during a long career in Canadian broadcasting became synonymous with one-time radio and TV behemoth Chum Ltd., has died. He was 61.

Switzer died Monday in Toronto, with his family at his side, after a brief battle with brain cancer, it was announced by Hollywood Suite, a movie broadcaster in which he was a co-founder and chairman.

Friends and business partners around the industry were quick to pay tribute to Switzer on news of his death as one of the good guys. “The global media industry has lost someone who was both greatly respected and admired, not only in Canada, but all around the world,” CBS Studios International president Armando Nunez told The Hollywood Reporter.

Switzer was a mainstay at TV markets including MIP, NATPE and the LA Screenings, the annual shopping expedition for Canadian broadcasters to buy up new and returning U.S. network series.

Nunez first met Switzer in the early 1980s and remembered him as a generous, down-to-earth TV exec.

“In those early days, Jay treated me the same way then as he treated me over the next 35 years, which is the same way he treated everyone — with kindness, respect and dignity,” Nunez said in tribute to the late Canadian broadcasting exec. “It didn’t matter if we met in the hallways of the Palais, the lobby of a hotel at a market or just last year at the LA Screenings, Jay always beamed with a passion and curiosity for the media business, irrespective of what position or title he held.”




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