New CFL on TSN host chosen

TSN announces that two-time Canadian Screen Award winner Rod Smith as the new host of the CFL ON TSN panel. Smith, one the country's most-trusted broadcasters, will be joined by fan-favourite analysts Matt Dunigan, Chris Schultz, Jock Climie, Milt Stegall, and Paul LaPolice.

"Rod is a football guy through-and-through. He brings both a wealth of CFL knowledge and a compelling new presence to the panel," said Mark Milliere, Senior Vice-President of Production, TSN. "Rod is the ideal host of this all-star CFL ON TSN cast."

"I've loved the CFL since I was a kid. Watching the CFL growing up is why I started playing football and got into this business," said Smith. "Back when I hosted the panel in '97, we had a blast on set. Jumping back in as host almost 20 years later, the production is at an entirely different level. The panel is so polished and professional, and I'm really humbled to be a part of what the guys have created."

"Rod is like a seasoned all-pro quarterback that stands in front of the huddle and commands respect," said Matt Dunigan. "He had instantaneous chemistry with the panel and will be an exceptional host. It's a great day for CFL fans."

A former offensive lineman for the Queen's University Golden Gaels, Smith anchored TSN's studio coverage of CFL in 1997 and has also served as a play-by-play commentator for CFL ON TSN.

Smith, who joined TSN in 1987, will resume hosting the 6pm et edition of SportsCentre after the CFL season wraps up.

Earlier this year, Smith earned his second Canadian Screen Award, winning Best Sports Host in a Sports Program or Series for his work on SportsCentre, Canada's No. 1 sports news show. Following his outstanding play-by-play commentary during the London 2012 Olympic Games, Smith was honoured with the first-ever Canadian Screen Award for Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer, as well as the Excellence in Sports Broadcasting Award from Sports Media Canada.


TSN kicks off the 2014 CFL season this Thursday at 8:30pm et with special coverage of the opening game featuring Toronto and Winnipeg. CFL ON TSN primes fans for the 2014 season with a series of special season preview broadcasts on Wednesday highlighted by the CFL Season Preview Show at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt.

CFL ON TSN's game coverage is anchored by the network's Gemini Award-winning broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert and game analyst Glen Suitor. Also in the booth are veteran play-by-play announcers Rod Black and Gord Miller alongside game analysts Duane Forde and Matt Dunigan.

Not surprised. He was the obvious safe choice.

He won't be as funny as Randorf but he's an ok guy. I thought I heard him say one time that he played QB at University, not a lineman as reported in this write up. But at least he's played the game at the College level.

Not a bad choice.

Options were probably slim anyways.

I am fine with this choice. Above all else, Rod Smith has a passion for the league. That's bound to show through (not to mention the best speaking voice on TSN).

Randorf had a goofy repartee with the panel that came across as fun, infectious, and genuine. He was the nerdy "everyman" that fans could relate to, to play off a bunch of jocks. Smith won't have that but I am sure he'll develop a unique style over time.

The only other consideration would have been Dutchie, but I think Rod Smith will work out great.

I don't think Smith is a bad choice, if they want with a safe choice. I would like to see some more colourfull personalities, like Troy Westwood from TSN Radio. I wouldn't always agree but he would be entertaining and he shoots from the hip. Knowledgable yet works without a net.

The goofy personalities shouldn't be the host, imo. They can be on the panel, though.

I think it is great news. I put it up myself without seeing this thread. So the mods can get rid of mine.

I was hoping for Kate Bierness…but at least Rod Smith knows his football. 8)

I think so too, and maybe with that bunch he'll be a little looser. We'll see. but it could have been worse. :wink:

Rod is good, but Clime was bad either.

I wish TSN would have put Rod Smith as a play-by-play guy instead of the other Rod. Maybe promote the other Rod to the studio host. Or, create a worldwide sporting event during football season and send him there or something. Just do whatever it takes so we hear less of the other Rod calling the games.

I was unhappy with TSN's presentation of the Ottawa/Montreal game. In the initial quarter Rod Black and LaPolice spent too much time discussing the Als Johnson. The first 10 minutes of the televised event consisted of a commercial after commercial often after only one play sequence. At first I was unaware of just who were the two hosts of the game. I caught onto Rod Black but, it was only when a bald head appeared on the screen that I realized that LaPolice was doing cover. I kept being frustrated with this two as, for quite a long time neither announced just who made the tackle on several plays. With that example, and others, I felt pertinent game information was absent. I question LaPolice's role in his position. There was too much time given towards video of LaPolice's performance as a coach, indeed too much talk about LaPolice. I believe Rod Blake is adequate in his play by play role but, I believe LaPolice did not enhance Blake's role as did Duane Ford in the last few sessions. LaPolice, in my estimation, is too much a talker and, too little of an information giver. In fairness, I believe Cuthbert et al are just so much better than Blake and LaPolice and, maybe comparisons are unfair.