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Updated: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:02:15 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight to end amid Hockey Night in Canada reports



TSN reporter Bob McKenzie tweeted Sunday that George Stroumboulopoulos will become the face of Hockey Night in Canada when Rogers Communications Inc. takes control of Canada's NHL broadcasting rights next season. Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press

TSN reporter Bob McKenzie tweeted Sunday that George Stroumboulopoulos will become the face of Hockey Night in Canada when Rogers Communications Inc. takes control of Canada's NHL broadcasting rights next season. Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press

CBC has announced that George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight will not be returning after this season, bringing an end to the Gemini-award winning talk show following its 10th season.

The announcement comes on the heels of a report by TSN hockey journalist Bob McKenzie over the weekend that Stroumboulopoulos will be the next host of Hockey Night in Canada when Rogers Communications Inc. takes control of Canada's NHL broadcasting rights next season.

Jennifer Dettman, the CBC's executive director of studio and unscripted content, said in a statement Monday that Stroumboulopoulos Tonight "has had an incredible run, racking up awards and accolades through the years."

"Thank you to the team for creating a show each and every night that makes us proud," Dettman wrote. "Anyone who has done daily television knows how challenging it can be, but you set the bar for how it should be done."

When asked by CBC News on Monday about the TSN report, Chuck Thompson, head of media relations for CBC English Services office of the executive vice-president, replied: "I'm not going to comment on rumours or speculation."

Stroumboulopoulos, who was a presenter at the Canadian Screen Awards on Sunday, wasn't made available for comment. A spokesperson for Rogers' Sportsnet also declined to comment.

10-year run

During its run, Stroumboulopoulos Tonight attracted guests from all walks of life, including world leaders, musical legends, sports figures, acclaimed writers and the who’s who of Hollywood.

Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Robert Plant, Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie, Spike Lee and James Cameron were all among the celebrities who made appearances on the nightly talk show.

Shot in front of a live studio audience, the show won four Gemini awards for best talk series in Canada and a Gracie for outstanding talk show. Stroumboulopoulos himself won a six consecutive Geminis for best host or interviewer in a talk series.

The show premiered in 2005, under the name The Hour. The name was changed to George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight in 2010 and shortened from an hour to a half hour.

Changes for Hockey Night?

The hiring of Stroumboulopoulos would be the first major personnel change made by Rogers after acquiring the NHL rights in a blockbuster 12-year, $5.2-billion deal in November.

McKenzie also reported the Coach's Corner segment will continue another two years.

Ron MacLean, who has hosted Hockey Night in Canada full time since 1987, will still be involved with a reduced role, McKenzie reported.

But he made no mention of commentator Don Cherry, who has popularized Coach's Corner since first appearing on it in 1980. The status of Cherry, 80, has been in doubt since November.

Hockey Night in Canada will continue to air Saturday nights on CBC through a sub-licensing agreement Rogers made with the public broadcaster, although Rogers will retain editorial control.

Stroumboulopoulos, already a household name in Canada, would bring plenty of credentials to the program.

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