CBC denies deal with MacLean
TORONTO (CP/tsn.ca) - The CBC denied a report Thursday that a
tentative deal with hockey broadcaster Ron MacLean had been reached.
The Globe and Mail, citing unnamed sources, reported in Thursday's edition that MacLean and the CBC had reached a four-year deal worth about $450,000 annually. Thursday's meeting will deal with ``fence mending'', the newspaper said.
But a CBC spokesman said Thursday there was no deal. MacLean's representative, Don Meehan also denied the report on a Toronto radio station this morning, saying the two sides had not met yet but were scheduled to meet with CBC Sports executive director Nancy Lee to re-open negotiations later on Thursday.
``The Globe and Mail article today was factually incorrect,'' said
CBC spokesman Christian Hasse. ``There is no deal yet. Don Meehan re-affirmed that this morning.''
MacLean arrived in Toronto from Calgary on Wednesday.
``The obvious question is positive, negative, what are your
feelings?,'' MacLean told reporters upon his arrival. ``I think the
best word is, I'm hopeful.''
After the announcement Monday that MacLean wouldn't be back on Hockey Night In Canada this season because he and the CBC couldn't agree on a new contract, there was an outpouring of public support for the sportscaster.
CBC Newsworld said Wednesday the network had received 10,000 e-mails about MacLean.
The CBC called Meehan on Wednesday and asked to meet on Thursday.
``I spoke to Nancy Lee today and based on their request we've agreed to resume discussions tomorrow,'' Meehan said Wednesday.
``I have no idea what they're going to say to me tomorrow.''
Don Cherry, MacLean's co-hort on Coach's Corner, has been among one of MacLean's boosters.
``Behind the scenes, I did a lot of talking,'' Cherry told the Globe,
adding he was astonished by the public's reaction.
``I've never seen anything like this in my life,'' he said. ``It's
unbelievable. I knew there'd be a public outcry, but I never thought it would be as much as it was.
``I guess when we walk through airports from now on, they won't say `Who's the other guy?'''
Both MacLean and CBC had downplayed the issue of money, but that's where an earlier tentative first deal broke down.
MacLean asked for a 10 to 15 per cent raise and said the CBC offered him four. His yearly salary on his previous four-year contract that expired Monday had been pegged at about $400,000.
MacLean has been reported to make less money than Cherry, yet does
more work for CBC Sports as a commentator at Olympic Games and the
Cherry recently signed a contract for a reported $700,000 a year.
John Shannon, a former HNIC executive producer, said public opinion
may have played a part in kickstarting the renewed talks but it was
MacLean who left the door open for CBC.
``The outcrying of the public. Did it help? Absolutely. How much? I
don't put too much weight in that,'' said Shannon, now executive
producer with Leafs TV. He worked on HNIC for 16 years and with
MacLean from 1994 to 2000.
``In my opinion, what changed it more, Ron, in his interviews early
in the week, made it clear that he still dearly wanted to work on the
show. He gave them an opportunity to make the phone call.''
MacLean said he wasn't feeling stressed about the possibility of not
returning to HNIC.
``I'd be kidding if I said I wasn't thinking back and forth on it,
but at the end of the day, and I keep using this cliche, when you're
doing the right thing you don't fear the unknown and that really was
where I was at peace with it and didn't feel to stressed about it.''
MacLean was scheduled to appear Thursday night on The Comedy
Network's Open Mike with Mike Bullard.
``The reason Ron is on our show is because we met his price,''
Bullard said in a news release. ``A mug and a T-shirt.''