According to reports, this will not be a very happy Valentine’s Day for employees of the Sun News Network. Reports are making the rounds today that QMI, the owner of the upstart cable news channel, is unable to reach a deal with Zoomer Media for the purchase of the network, and, as consequence may force them to close down operations. The deadline for Zoomer, which is owned by former City TV patriarch Moses Znaimer, is Friday February 13, but sources are saying that the deal’s fallen through, and that pink slips may be coming for staff as early as tomorrow.
According to a report on Cartt.ca and corroborated on Canadaland, negotiations between the two sides have soured, particularly on the subject of severance for Sun News executives. With the deadline looming, staff are bracing for the worst and one anonymous employee who spoke to Cartt.ca on the basis of confidentiality, is not at all optimistic that they’ll have a job by the time the weekend begins.
“It’s an incredibly black mood in here now because nobody is saying anything and management has been mostly absent,” said the employee to Cartt.ca. “Everyone is thinking Friday is it.”
“It’s a very stressful and depressing environment to be in. I fully expect to hear about our being let go on the radio driving to work,” he added.
The current predicament of Sun News is another blow for the network that billed itself as “Canada’s Home for Hard News and Straight Talk,” but was billed by others as “Fox News North.” Struggling for eye balls in a crowded market, Sun News has been a money losing venture since the day it went on the air in 2011, costing Quebecor Media Inc. tens of millions of dollars a year in lost revenue. The CRTC refused to give it mandatory carriage on Canada’s cable boxes, while constantly courting new controversy courtesy of commentators like Ezra Levant, or stunts like the fake citizenship ceremony. And then there was that time they gave Doug and Rob Ford their own show and cancelled it after one episode….
Quebecor sold its stake in its English-language newspapers, including the Sun chain, last year to Post Media, but the deal didn’t include Sun News Network even though the papers and the TV channel shared a great many commentators, reporters and staff. Sun News has been in limbo ever since, undoubtedly facing a great many changes both in front of, and behind the camera even if it is sold to Zoomer.
For now, the fate of Sun News is still undecided, but it’s not looking good for its staff of reporters, crews and technicians.