Friday, 13 May 2011

TV Update: Orchard is back; Arbec heads to CBC

This is indeed a big week in Montreal English language television circles when it comes to the evening news anchors and it involves all three stations: Global, CTV and CBC.

The folks at Global TV are all smiles as the wonderful Jamie Orchard gets set to return to her post as senior news anchor/news editor of the evening news on Monday, May 16. She is coming back from maternity leave after giving birth to her second son, Liam. I co-hosted a school board gala honouring our volunteers a few weeks ago and Jamie looked just grand.

There is also a great vive at CBC TV with the news that Debra Arbec is leaving CTV Montreal News, where she anchored late night and did a superb special “My Montreal” feature, to take over from Jennifer Hall as Andrew Chang’s co-anchor. Arbec starts in early July after Hall and her family head back to their native land of London, Ontario.

How will CTV Montreal replace Arbec? While Paul Karwatsky has been anchoring late nights this week, his weekend co-anchor Tara Schwartz could get the gig. Reporter Aphrodite Salas filled in for Orchard at Global during her first maternity leave. Check out the great Fagstein blog for more on Arbec’s move.

Mom’s The Word

Global news director Karen MacDonald has found a novel way to welcome Jamie back with a new series on working moms, which kicks off on May 13 (6 p.m.). It is of course repeated at 11 a.m. and accessible online at Mom’s the Word is the title and focuses on ladies heading back to work after maternity leave, having trouble finding a day care and struggling to juggle career and family.

The six distinct features will be reported by Anne Leclair, a mother of three herself. You’ll hear from a single mom sacrificing it all for her kids, watch maternity moms get back into shape, and hear how successful career mom/blogger Erica Diamond inspires mothers to “get off the fence” and follow their dreams. Plus, after each episode, you can share your thoughts with other working moms on Global Montreal's Facebook page.

On Thursday, May 19 at 8 p.m., you can connect with many of these successful working moms, including Diamond and Leclair in a LIVE BLOG. Jamie Orchard’s Return “Trying to balance work and motherhood—I could tell you a few stories,” Orchard said. “In this series, we talk to other working moms to see how they’re coping.”

Although Orchard has enjoyed her time with sons Liam and Luc, she is eager to return to the newsroom. “Newsrooms are very special places to work at – a bunch of adrenaline junkies grouped together, challenging each other to cover our local Montreal scene better than anyone else – that’s addictive,” says Orchard. “It’s an insanely fun place to work and I really like the people I work with, so I’m excited to get back into it.”

The Evening News with Jamie as anchor has received Best Newscast and Best Breaking News awards from the Radio/Television News Director’s Association in the past five years. Born and raised in Montreal, Orchard is an active supporter of her community, and has been a board member of the Generations Foundation, the Missing Children’s Network and the Action Centre, a day centre for Montrealers with disabilities. In 2004, Orchard was named one of Montreal`s most remarkable women by the Board of Trade of Montreal, she was a finalist in the YWCA Women of merit gala in 2007, and in 2008 she won the Izzy Asper Community Service Award for her work with The Action Centre.

Debra Arbec’s New Role

Arbec (pictured below with some students from Merton Elementary School) will jointly host local CBC newscasts at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. alongside Chang and weather specialist Frank Cavallaro. This was a sharp move by CBC. Cavallaro already brought over a lot of credibility and viewers to the station when he signed on a few years ago. "We pride ourselves on delivering the best local coverage from a team of journalists who understand Montreal issues," Pia Marquard, managing director for CBC Quebec. "Debra is definitely one of those journalists so we are delighted to have her join the CBC Montreal News team."

Born in Montreal and a graduate of Concordia's Journalism Department, Arbec also worked at CJAD, Mix 96 and The Weather Network. Throughout her career, she has received several journalism awards including the RTNDA Dan MacArthur Award for a special report on teen gambling. Most recently, she was a Canadian Association of Broadcasters Gold Ribbon finalist for her "My Montreal" reports on culture and traditions of multi-ethnic Montreal.

"I love this city and telling stories about our culture and the people who live here," said Arbec, whose husband Brian Wilde is a CTV sporstcaster. "I'm thrilled to join the CBC News team, so widely respected for its in-depth journalism and original reporting."


  1. AnonymousMay 13, 2011

    Hats off to you Mike for hitting it out of the park! Global Montreal, CBC, CTV together at last- thanks for a great article.

  2. I commend all working mothers. It's not easy to be a working mom because you don't get enough time to spend with your family.

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