I would like to start off by saying that I am an infrequent writer here at The Stroumboulopouli, I am not a "fan girl" of everything George, but I am an admirer of the person and some of his work. What I am not a fan of, are some of the posts that I have been reading over the past few days maligning his character both personally and professionally because the man accepted a job with Hockey Night in Canada.
I find it incredulous that some people, Canadians specifically, seem so widely infected with Tall Poppy Syndrome. Why do so many of us succumb to the tendency to speak without getting all the information?
For all of you who are flooding CBC fan sites and newspaper comment sections voicing your dismay that a "punked out hipster" is not qualified to be a sports broadcaster, you need to get your facts straight. The CBC and Rogers are first and foremost corporations, they are not going to employ someone that doesn't, in some way, add to their bottom line.
Being offered, and accepting, a job is about qualifications! Everyone's resume has a list of educational and work related experiences that qualify them for a job. George Stroumboulopoulos is no different. A diploma from Humber College's Radio Broadcasting program? Education check. Working at a sports radio station as a broadcaster/reporter/producer and interviewing NHL execs and players through radio and television? Work related experience, check. Other qualifications that would lend one to the position? How about, a career spanning over 20 years in broadcasting, one that includes discussion on topics like sports, music, politics and popular culture. How about a recognizable face in the media world, and a capability of bringing in new viewers which translate to ratings? Some employers might want to know if the applicant has a personal, or vested interest, in the position. Well, George's holy trinity has always been sports, music and politics ... much like a chef would claim the onion, carrot and celery trinity, the mainstays of the kitchen. The man absorbs information on these topics, keeping in the know, much like a good chef at a farmer's market, knowing all the ins and outs of finding, procuring and reveling in the best ingredients. G's ingredients being knowledge of his trinity. He has been a life long Habs fan and he plays hockey in a rec. league, like so many other Canadians do that have a passion for the game and are now questioning his ties to the sport.
There are also those of you commenting that you do not want him on HNIC, because of the loss of his nightly presence,through the telly, in your homes. You are comfortable with his role as an interviewer, enjoying how he humanizes the celebrity. Following the other direction, but same track, of the Tall Poppy cutters, some fans are ired that he is moving on in his career path. One of his tag lines is that he is Canada's boyfriend, but that doesn't mean we own any part of him, or any other public figure. He is a professional, doing a job, full stop. I can commiserate with these nay-sayers slightly more than those saying he is not qualified.
Although I am not a regular viewer of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight I do watch the late night version of it, from time to time. The Debrief being my favourite part of the show, it is a descendant of the Mile-a-Minute from his original late night show The Hour. The Hour, showcased George at his best. An intelligent, this my opinion and I am going to share it, sink your teeth into a good conversation, about an important story or interesting person ... interviewer. The Hour remains, IMHO, the best Canadian late night, or any time of day, talk show to date. It combined comedic sketches, musical talents and news of the day with interviews that ranged from broadening our global awareness to celebrities sharing their political views and personal stories, not just hawking their latest projects.
I am, however, a true believer in professional development and the ideology that people should expand their professional experiences every 7-ish years. So, I congratulate George on his new adventure, look forward to seeing him as I watch mes Habs kick some ass ... also watching him cringe from time to time as he needs to be on air when we fail, as we sometimes do.
I would hope though that the CBC, or some other Canadian broadcaster, harnesses the many talents G has and utilises them in other programming, or television specials, enabling us to share in his talent as an interviewer in other arenas, sharing his knowledge of music and politics ... the other two thirds of the Strombo trinity.
Bonne Chance G and looking forward to what you create next!!! :)