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Sun News loses host just days away from mid-campaign launch

Quebecor chief executive Pierre Karl Peladeau announces the launch of Sun News at a Toronto news conference on June 15, 2010.

NATHAN DENETTE/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The upstart Sun News TV network has parted ways with a military analyst whom it had tapped to co-host a prime-time show when the right-leaning venture launches days from now.

Quebecor Media confirmed Tuesday that Mercedes Stephenson has left the enterprise.

It's a late game change for Sun News, which promises TV viewers "Hard News and Straight Talk."

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The Sun News Network is scheduled to hit the air in six days with a mix of populist and right-leaning TV programming.

Ms. Stephenson was supposed to co-host a show called The Daily Brief with Gemini-award-winning journalist David Akin, who is Sun Media's bureau chief in Ottawa.

"Mercedes Stephenson is no longer with Sun News Network," spokesman Serge Sasseville said Tuesday.

"It was a mutual decision," he said. " The Daily Brief was not a good fit for her."

Quebecor said Mr. Akin, a veteran reporter, will now host the show alone.

"Sun News Network will go on with David Akin only for The Daily Brief."

Other personalities set to helm shows on the new network are veteran journalist Brian Lilley, conservative author Ezra Levant and talk-radio host Charles Adler.

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It was only three weeks ago that Quebecor announced Ms. Stephenson would host a show with Mr. Akin.

"From interning at the Pentagon to hosting and producing several national public affairs television series and documentaries, she brings a healthy outsider's perspective to the nation's capital. A leading authority on military and strategic studies, Ms. Stephenson's national column for Sun Media has become must-read material," a blurb from Quebecor announced March 23.

"For too long network television has treated defence and foreign affairs as a side show. We're going to change that, it's a centre piece for us," Ms. Stephenson was quoted as saying by Quebecor last month.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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