Articles - Skipper and Company (Series) (1969-1989)

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Skipper and Company

From the RB Weekender, Jul 16, 1989



Skipper and Company ends
It's farewell to one of CBC's longest running regional programs

CBNT's Skipper and Company completed its 20th season on Sunday, May 21. For the past year the program was seen coast-to-coast on the full national network on Sunday mornings. But, the show has been cancelled.

John Ridge, director of television for CBC in St. John's said, "the Corporation's financial situation is a factor in this decision although it's not the only determinant. Ratings have been declining in recent years, however, much of the decline could be attributed to schedule changes", he said, "as well as an increasingly competitive market in children's programming".

"The CBC in the Newfoundland region no longer has the funds to produce the program on a local basis. The monies for Skipper and other programs produced here were withdrawn in recent months as part of CBC's overall effort to solve its continuing financial problems and at the same time to expand Canadian content into its prime-time network schedule", Ridge said.

He said the departure of Skipper and Company does not necessarily mean that there are no options open to the CBC here in the province. "We are aggressively pursuing other program opportunities that will employ our recognized expertise in these areas. For example, this season we anticipate producing additional programs live from Newfoundland for the popular Atlantic series Switchback, presented Sunday mornings from Halifax. Another plus will be locally-produced segments for the highly successful and very popular Sesame Street series", he said.

"Newsworld begins a new era for The CBC July 31, and starting in September three Newsworld series will be produced in our St. John's studios", Ridge said. "Including a nightly round-up of live 10 minute broadcasts for inclusion in prime-time program "This Country This Week"; The Medicine Show, a new medical and health magazine series; and Planet-watch, a documentary and discussion series with strong emphasis on environmental issues. CBNT is also continuing with production plans for a Network latenight Pilot project. Several variety, music and entertainment specials are currently in development and co-production activity with independent producers in this area also remains at a high level", Ridge said.

The producer of Skipper and Company, Wayne Guzzwell of CBNT will be involved with the new programming ventures this year.

"We are experiencing changing times in the CBC", Ridge commented, "and we must strive to be part of new programming initiatives. But, I regret the cancellation of Skipper and acknowledge the enormous tradition it established over the years", he said.

The new segments for Sesame Street and local programs for the Switchback Series will likely be part of our new fall and winter season this year", Ridge said.

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