Kevin O’Leary joins Bell Media as on-air contributor

Steve Armitage and Mark Lee also leaving public broadcaster

Longtime Dragon’s Den personality Kevin O’Leary is the latest in a series of high-profile departures at the CBC, leaving the public broadcaster for a new on-air role with Bell Media. His appointment is effective Sept. 1.

Kevin O'Leary is joining Bell Media's CTV

Kevin O’Leary is joining Bell Media’s CTV

Bell Media announced Tuesday that O’Leary is joining the company as an on-air contributor to several programs and properties, including its business network BNN as well as Canada AM, ETalk, The Marilyn Denis Show and The Social. He will also be heard on the radio stations 580 CFRA, CJAD 800 and Newstalk 1010.

“We are very happy to welcome Kevin to the Bell Media team,” said Bell Media president Kevin Crull, in a release. “Kevin is an engaging personality whose savvy advice and strong business acumen will be of great interest to our viewers and listeners.”

O’Leary has embraced the role of “bad guy” on both Dragon’s Den and its U.S. counterpart Shark Tank, which has its two-hour season premiere on Bell Media’s CTV Two on Sept. 6.

He has also spent the past the past five years as co-host of The Lang & O’Leary Exchange on the CBC News Network. His co-host Amanda Lang will take over as host of an as-yet unnamed program set to debut on both CBC News Network and CBC Television this fall.

O’Leary was the founder and president of global educational software company SoftKey (later called The Learning Company), which was acquired by Mattel for $4 billion. He also leads a group of financial companies and has written a series of books promoting financial literacy for Canadian families called Cold Hard Truth.

It was also reported Wednesday that veteran CBC sportscasters Steve Armitage and Mark Lee were leaving the public broadcaster as it remakes itself in the wake of losing NHL rights to Rogers.

Armitage, 70, was a CBC Sports mainstay, having been with the public broadcaster for approximately 49 years, handling play-by-play on Hockey Night in Canada for 29 seasons, while also covering 27 Grey Cups and 15 Olympic Games. Lee had spent 34 years with the CBC.

In April, CBC president Hubert Lacroix said that the broadcaster would cut more than 650 jobs and more than $130 million over the next two years as it attempted to operate without lucrative NHL rights and reduced funding from the federal government.

In June, it announced a new strategic plan that called for, among other things, greater investment in digital, remaking its prime time schedule, and investing in tent-pole dramas meeting “the high critical and creative standard,” of premium cable.

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