CTV Two

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CTV Two
CTV Two logo.jpg
Founded 1995 (as NewNet)
August 2, 2005 (as A-Channel)
August 11, 2008 (as A)
August 29, 2011 (as CTV Two)
President Kevin Crull
Company Bell Media
Notable Series Road to Avonlea
Criminal Minds
America's Next Top Model
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Nikita
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

CTV Two is a system of five Canadian television stations located in four cities in Ontario (Barrie [also serving Toronto], Pembroke [also serving Ottawa], London [also serving Wingham] and Wheatley [also serving Windsor]) and one in British Columbia (Victoria [also serving Vancouver]), along with a regional cable-only channel serving the Atlantic Canada region (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) and a regional educational/commercial hybrid cable-only channel serving Alberta. Originally developed with a strong emphasis on local news and programming along with some syndicated shows, CTV Two now serves as a secondary system to its sister network, CTV, and carries some of the same programming as the main network. The system is owned by Bell Media through its division CTV Limited.

Contents

History

What is now CTV Two had its origins in 1995 when CKVR-TV, the longtime CBC Television affiliate in Barrie owned by CHUM Limited, disaffiliated from that network, rebranded on-air as The New VR and turned its focus on a more youthful audience in order to reach viewers in the nearby Toronto market. CKVR became the flagship station of a new system that became known as NewNet (a name that was never used on-air, but internally for advertising sales). Although common programming outside of local news and other locally-produced shows was shared by the stations, NewNet, for all intents and purposes, operated as a system of independent stations and not as an actual network.

CHUM acquired CFPL-TV in London, CHRO-TV Pembroke, CKNX-TV Wingham and CHWI-TV Windsor in 1997 as part of a trade with Baton Broadcasting (the predecessor of CTVglobemedia, now Bell Media) that saw Baton receive the CTV-affiliated ATV system in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (CJCH Halifax, CJCB Sydney, CKCW Moncton and CKLT Saint John) from CHUM. Of the stations CHUM acquired in the trade, all except for CHWI were, like CKVR, former CBC affiliates. The newly-acquired stations were then affiliated with CKVR as part of NewNet on September 8, 1998, with each adopting similar on-air brands (like The New PL for CFPL, etc.). CIVI-TV in Victoria joined NewNet when it signed on in October 2001 as the system's first station outside of Ontario.

On December 1, 2004, CHUM purchased Craig Media, the owner of the original A-Channel system composed of two stations in Alberta (CKAL-TV Calgary and CKEM-TV Edmonton) and CHMI-TV in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CHUM took the A-Channel name (which originally was short for "Alberta Channel" and was first used as the brand for the stations in Calgary and Edmonton) and transferred it to its NewNet stations, which adopted A-Channel as a common brand on August 2, 2005, while the original A-Channel stations were rebranded and joined CHUM's flagship Citytv system (which already included CITY-TV in Toronto and CKVU-TV in Vancouver) on the same day.

CTVglobemedia announced its plans to buy CHUM Limited on July 12, 2006; as part of the purchase, CTVgm intended to sell A-Channel and keep Citytv. Rogers Communications planned to purchase A-Channel, along with CKX-TV in Brandon, Manitoba and several cable channels CTVgm was selling as well, in an announcement on April 9, 2007. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the CHUM purchase on June 8, 2007, on the condition that CTVgm instead keep A-Channel and sell Citytv (which Rogers subsequently bought in October that year).

Following the CHUM purchase, CTVgm originally intended to retain the A-Channel brand and program its stations independent of CTV, but in the summer of 2007, the company changed its focus on A-Channel and altered its schedule to include several shows moved down from the main CTV schedule (such as Law & Order, Grey's Anatomy, Medium and Degrassi: The Next Generation), a relationship similar to that between the then-Canwest-owned Global Television Network and its now-defunct E! Canada subsystem. On June 2, 2008, CTVgm announced that it would rebrand the A-Channel stations, shortening the system brand name to simply A. The rebrand took effect on August 11, 2008, the same day the former Atlantic Satellite Network (also owned by CTVglobemedia) joined the system and rebranded as A Atlantic.[1]

On February 19, 2009, CTVgm announced that it would not be renewing the licence for secondary A affiliate CKX-TV Brandon after the licence was set to expire on August 31, 2009, the same date that the station's longtime primary CBC affiliation was to end. The CBC, which had bought airtime on CKX to carry CBC Television's programming and commercials as part of an agreement to help CKX maintain its transmission and technical equipment, announced that it wanted to end the arrangement, and it also declined CTVgm's offer to sell CKX-TV to the CBC in order to continue over-the-air CBC Television service in the Brandon region, citing their inability to afford the long-term operations and the conversion to digital of the station. [2]

On February 25, 2009, CTVgm also announced that it would be shutting down two of its A stations in Ontario, CHWI Windsor and CKNX Wingham, after those stations' licences were set to expire on August 31, 2009. CTVgm cited a slumping economy and their claim of unsustainability of the conventional broadcast television model in its present form as their reasons behind the announced closures, which followed on the announcement in February 2009 of CTVgm rival Canwest's intent to either sell or shut down its E!-branded stations. The announced plans for the future of some of their stations drew much criticism against both CTVgm and Canwest from station staff and members of the public, who alleged that the two media companies are using the threatened closures as leverage against the CRTC in an attempt to get monthly carriage fees for their networks on cable television bills. [3][4]

On April 30, 2009, Shaw Communications CEO Jim Shaw announced that Shaw Communications would purchase CKX, CKNX and CHWI from CTVgm for $1 per station, thereby allowing the operations of all three stations to continue. The Shaw purchase of the three stations was intended to add to the existing portfolio of TV stations in Ontario owned by the Shaw family and their companies, Corus Entertainment's CHEX-TV Peterborough, CHEX-TV-2 Oshawa and CKWS-TV Kingston, and Shaw Communications' CJBN-TV Kenora. [5] However, on June 30, 2009, Shaw Communications announced that, after going over the financial situation of the three stations, it had walked away from the deal to purchase the stations, leaving their future operations in doubt. [6]

Ironically, in the wake of the ill-fated Shaw purchase, the CRTC made the decision on July 6, 2009 to issue one-year licence renewals for CKX, CKNX and CHWI effective on September 1, 2009, and following the announcement by the CRTC of the enhancement of a Local Programming Improvement Fund for the private broadcasters' owned over-the-air stations, CTVgm subsequently decided to reverse its decision on the fates of the three stations, deciding to keep CHWI open and to apply to make CKNX a full rebroadcaster of CFPL, while keeping its options open on CKX, which remained up for sale. [7] On July 16, 2009, CTVgm announced that it had sold CKX, pending CRTC approval, to Bluepoint Investment Corporation for $1. [8] On October 1, 2009, Bluepoint announced that it had withdrawn its offer to purchase CKX, which led CTVgm to shut down the station on October 2. [9]

CKNX ceased broadcasting as a standalone station on August 31, 2009 and became a full repeater of CFPL. On April 1, 2011, A parent company CTVglobemedia was renamed as Bell Media when Bell Canada Enterprises reacquired 100% ownership of CTVgm. On May 30, 2011, Bell Media announced that A would be rebranded as CTV Two, marking the extension of the CTV brand to its secondary system and further integration of the operations of the two Bell-owned broadcast networks. [10] The switch took effect on August 29, 2011. On August 31, 2011, the CTV Two stations became available in high-definition as their over-the-air signals flash-cut from analog to digital.

CTV Two affiliates (including city of licence and date of first sign-on)

Station City First sign-on date Notes
CKVR-DT Barrie, Ontario September 28, 1955 Formerly a CBC affiliate until August 31, 1995; flagship station of NewNet/A-Channel/A/CTV Two
CFPL-DT London, Ontario November 28, 1953 Formerly a CBC affiliate until August 30, 1988; joined NewNet on September 8, 1998
CHRO-TV Pembroke, Ontario August 19, 1961 Formerly a CBC affiliate known as CHOV-TV until September 30, 1977; switched to CTV on September 1, 1991; disaffiliated from CTV on August 28, 1996 and joined NewNet on September 8, 1998
CHWI-DT Wheatley, Ontario October 18, 1993 Independent until it joined NewNet on September 8, 1998
CIVI-DT Victoria, British Columbia October 4, 2001 First station in the system to begin operations as a NewNet affiliate
CTV Two Atlantic Halifax, Nova Scotia May 29, 1983 Cable-only channel; formerly known as the Atlantic Satellite Network until August 10, 2008
CTV Two Alberta Edmonton, Alberta June 30, 1973 Cable-only educational/commercial hybrid channel; formerly known as Access until August 28, 2011

References

  1. Double Vision: Fall 2008 Schedules Announced for CTV and "A"
  2. CTV Inc. Places CKX-TV Brandon Up for Sale at CNW Group (February 19, 2009)
  3. 'A' Television Stations in Wingham and Windsor to be Shut Down at CNW Group (February 25, 2009)
  4. CTV closes two stations, raising fears for local TV at ReportonBusiness.com (February 26, 2009)
  5. CTV Accepts Shaw Offer to Buy Local Stations at CNW Group (April 30, 2009)
  6. Shaw cancels deal for 3 CTV stations at the Globe and Mail
  7. 'A' Windsor Station to Remain Open at CNW Group (July 8, 2009)
  8. CTV Secures Sale of CKX-TV Brandon at CNW Group (July 16, 2009)
  9. Bluepoint walks away from CKX-TV at the Brandon Sun
  10. Bell Media’s /A\ Network to Become “CTV Two” This Fall

External Sites