Leafs put blame on CBC shows

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

The Maple Leafs are angry at being blamed for the recent cancellation of some CBC shows because they likely won't be generating millions of dollars in playoff revenue for the national broadcaster.

A Canadian Press story this week brought up a link between the Leafs' failure to qualify and the demise of series such as MVP, jPod and Intelligence. Mary Young Leckie, creator and producer of the hockey-themed MVP, was quoted as saying a CBC programming executive told her in February that the Leafs' elimination would mean a $10 million cut to arts and entertainment that would curtail MVP's budget or kill the show entirely.

"It's just another good reason to hate the Leafs," Leckie said Monday, a few days after MVP officially was cancelled.

Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., objected to Leckie's comments.

"Maybe the on-air product was not very good," Peddie said yesterday. "Maybe they shouldn't be blaming us. As for the other shows, you should ask the CBC."

CBC spokesperson Katie Heath-Eves said yesterday that all shows are ultimately renewed or dropped based on performance and there would be Canadian produced shows to eventually replace MVP and others.

The Leafs players have little time for watching TV series during the season (Darcy Tucker did have a guest spot on Little Mosque On The Prairie in 2007), but they said it's unfair to blame them for any CBC programming fallout.

"We know how big the Leafs are on Hockey Night In Canada, that we're one of the biggest in Canadian sports and that we bring in the numbers, but we can't worry about these other things," centre Matt Stajan said yesterday. "We're trying our hardest to get in right now, but unfortunately, we're on the outside looking in."

Andrew Raycroft said there could be a bright side for MVP's cast and crew.

"If it's good, maybe it will get picked up by HBO," the goalie said.


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