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Kirstine Stewart named head of CBC English Services

Kirstine Stewart

Tom Sandler/The Globe and Mail

CBC-TV general manager Kirstine Stewart has been named executive vice-president of CBC English Services.

Stewart replaces Richard Stursberg, who departed suddenly in August 2010 after a controversial reign that included a massive overhaul of CBC News and and the additions of U.S. game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy to weekday programming.

Stewart takes over after serving as interim executive vice-president since August, and general manager of CBC Television since April 2006.

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She inherits a beleaguered service that recently weathered massive staff and programming cuts to cope with an $85-million shortfall.

CBC president Hubert Lacroix says Stewart is the "clear choice" for the position, crediting her with helping to "drive a renewal of the organization through one of the most challenging periods in its history."

Stewart, formerly senior vice-president of programming at Alliance Atlantis, says CBC will "play a vital role in the cultural life of this country."

"Canadians have always expected that their public broadcaster reflect, engage and inspire them, and by increasing CBC's commitment to Canadian content, we will recognize and respect this country's unique attributes," she said in a statement.

"We will work hard to connect Canadians and facilitate conversations both national and local by expanding our coverage on new platforms and to new places."

Under her watch, the network reached out to new audiences with homegrown series including Being Erica, Little Mosque on the Prairie and Dragons' Den.

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