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CTV axes seven producers on newsmagazine W5, reduces number of episodes

TORONTO - CTV has made deep cuts to its flagship newsmagazine show W5, blaming falling advertising revenues and changing viewer habits.

Bell Media, which runs CTV, said Friday that seven contract positions on the production team at W5 were not renewed.

As a result, the network is trimming the number of episodes it will air this season to 14 from the usual 23.

CTV News President Wendy Freeman said in a statement that the broadcast industry currently faces severe financial pressures due to a steep decline in advertising revenue.

W5 was launched in 1966, making it the longest-running current affairs/documentary program in North America. It tackles investigations and digs into top stories in a newsmagazine format.

The show's hosts include Lloyd Robertson, Sandie Rinaldo, Lisa LaFlamme and Kevin Newman, who joined after his primetime series "Kevin Newman Live" was axed after just seven months.

"These decisions are never easy," Freeman said. "In spite of these reductions, the award-winning W5 team intends to continue the important work of delivering investigative and inspirational stories that Canadians have come to rely on for nearly 50 years."

Bell Media has made a number of other cuts recently, including laying off three reporters from its Toronto talk radio station Newstalk 1010 on Thursday.

Last month, the company announced it was cutting 91 employees from its production staff with the brunt of the losses hitting music channels Much, MTV and M3.

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