Source: Dan O’Toole is no longer with TSN, as Bell Media laid off more than 100 staff across Canada this week.
The popular sportscaster confirmed the news on Twitter with his trademark sense of humour. He also changed his Twitter handle to “@notontvotoole.”
O’Toole and Onrait returned to Canada and TSN in 2017, after a four-year stint with Fox Sports 1 in the United States, with the launch of SportsCentre with Jay and Dan. There’s no word yet on what will become of the popular show, although the Jay and Dan social media accounts have been relabelled “Jay On SC”.
— Simon Houpt (@simonhoupt) February 5, 2021
Firing Dan O’Toole from ‘Jay and Dan’ is an absolute earth-shaker in broadcast circles.
The Bell cuts this week were shocking, but there were a few key cuts that signaled more than just austerity moves for shareholders, and dumping Dan is a massive red flag.
Jay and Dan were TSN’s flagship property. From McDonald’s to Coors Light to Tim Horton’s, Jay and Dan were an advertiser’s wet dream. At a time when traditional revenue is down 80% overall, Bell chose to break up their most identifiable revenue-generating, multi-platformed brand. That’s not something a company does unless they absolutely have to. To me, firing Dan isn’t just a sign of the times, it’s a sign of a company that is in real trouble unless they cut deep and hard to protect their influence and bottom line. It’s almost like an admission of defeat, IMO.
Dan, to his credit, reacted with humor, but public firings like his, (along with Natasha Staniszewski and Brent Wallace to a lesser extent) aren’t just austerity moves. They are a sign of how deeply fucked traditional media is right now so I hope you didn’t enroll in a TV/Radio program to further your employment options.
This is going to get way worse before it gets better, btw. Bell hasn’t announced their re-organization efforts in western Canada yet…
Big Corporations make these moves for one of two reasons:
1. the individual in question makes ‘too much’ based on their scope of work
2. the individual’s ‘juice’ isn’t worth the ‘squeeze’.
When it comes time to reduce headcount, every media company takes those two factors into HR meetings when they then decide to ‘trim’ the headcount as they try to cut their way to profitability.
Brent and Natasha were most likely salary dumps, as was Dan’s, but I can’t help but think Dan’s adventures last summer had something to do with moving him out.
I know TSN wasn’t pleased when Dan brought his personal life to the public square last summer but was also overly understanding. Dan missed a few weeks of work and it brought some negative attention to the brand (which is a cardinal sin with big media) which may have factored into their decision.
I’m not shitting on this guy, but I have a little personal experience in this space and it makes sense when you try to reason breaking Jay and Dan up, and it might provide a little context when it comes to why they’d destroy their most influential brand.
Dropping competitive and profitable brands tells me that Bell is more concerned about their financial future than they are about protecting their existing properties, and that’s a very bad sign for traditional, big media.