Days before Lisa LaFlamme firing, CTV staff mourned ‘shocking’ death of senior director Allan Myers

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When controversy erupted over the termination of anchor Lisa LaFlamme’s contract this week, the CTV newsroom was already reeling from the death of a beloved colleague.

On Friday evening, journalists working late spotted a post on Facebook that Allan Myers, the beloved 59-year-old senior director of CTV National News, had died.

Staff scrambled to confirm the information and CTV managers wrote an email Saturday to share news that family members had confirmed Myers’ death.

“A wonderful friend and colleague to so many, Allan and his remarkable work will always be close to our hearts,” according to the note to staff from CTV vice-president Michael Melling and managing editor David Hughes.


On Monday morning, CTV National News chief anchor and senior editor LaFlamme announced in a Twitter video that Bell Media had “blindsided” her by ending her contract. Public backlash was instantaneous, with critics alleging sexism and ageism as factors. LaFlamme had been anchoring the network’s national news program since 2011, part of a 35-year, award-winning career at CTV.

For friends and colleagues who adored both LaFlamme and Myers, it has been a rough few days.

“We were still reeling about Allan, and then we learned about Lisa’s departure at the same time as the public. It was a double-whammy,” said CTV producer Christy Somos, who worked with both LaFlamme and Myers.

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Somos hopes that Myers will be celebrated as a “brilliant maverick” and remembered for his many contributions to film and television, and his “infectious, rambunctious” energy.

“He used to call me Doodlebug and we would lovingly bicker and act out a scene from Devil Wears Prada. He nailed the frosty Miranda Priestly voice,” Somos said, adding that the two enjoyed discussing queer culture, fashion and food together.

Lis Travers, a former CTV general manager, emphasized that Myers’ death is a separate event to any debates surrounding LaFlamme’s sudden departure, but said they were “two shocks in one week,” naturally making it difficult for colleagues to cope.

Myers was found deceased in his apartment, his family learned Wednesday, confirmed Travers. She was a close friend of Myers and has been in touch with Myers’ family. She said family members are choosing to not share more information at this time.

“We’re all devastated and heartbroken. He was such an amazing person. He was a genius,” Travers told the Star.

She said she would never forget seeing Myers in the control room of CTV National for the first time.

“I felt like I was watching an aerobics class. He was unbelievable. So fast. I’ve never seen anything like it … and that’s why we called him the ‘conductor.’”

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Bell Media expressed its condolences.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our team members, and offer our condolences and support to his family and colleagues,” a Bell Media spokesperson said in an email to the Star.

Myers did not have children and he is survived by his parents, three brothers as well as “a host of nephews and nieces,” Travers said.

Lis Travers told the Star she will never forget seeing Myers in the control room of CTV National for the first time. 'I felt like I was watching an aerobics class. He was unbelievable. So fast. I've never seen anything like it ? and that's why we called him the 'conductor.'"

A longtime employee at CTV, who requested anonymity because the employee is not authorized to speak with media, said that it was well known in the newsroom that Myers was coping with some health challenges that meant he wasn’t “always physically up for directing.”

In recent years, Myers poured his prodigious creative energies into many other aspects of television production for CTV National News, Travers said. She explained that the role of senior director encompassed roles including, but not limited to, directing.

“He was on big projects like redesigning the look of sets and was very involved in graphics. He was exceptionally creative and found ways to do things that didn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune, which was very encouraged in these times,” she said.

In addition to working in broadcast television, Myers lived in the U.S. before rejoining CTV in 2014, after first working at CTV as a tape editor in the 1980s. His filmography work as a National Geographic director included the “Inside Base Camp” series about world explorers and “China’s Lost Girls,” a 2004 documentary featuring Lisa Ling investigating China’s strict reproductive policies.

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Myers loved food and returned time and again to Italy.

Travers says there is a memorial in planning to commemorate Myers’ life.

Joanna Chiu is a B.C.-based staff reporter for the Star. She covers global and national affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @joannachiu


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