Originally licensed by the CRTC in 1994 to Moffat Communications, and launched in January 1995 as WTN, for Women’s Television Network, the specialty channel was acquired by Shaw Communications in 2001 along with ownership of Moffat, and the following year it was Shaw subsidiary Corus Entertainment who took over WTN, and rebranded it as the W Network. Still focusing on a predominantly female audience, Corus immediately set about targeting a slightly younger female demographic, with what they described as “smart and edgy entertainment programming.”
Corus relaunched the network as "W" on April 15, 2002 with a more entertainment-oriented mix of dramas and movies. On the same date, Corus launched a west coast feed.
In 2009, Corus Entertainment acquired SexTV: The Channel from CTVglobemedia, and relaunched the channel as W Movies on March 1, 2010, a 24-hour film-focused spinoff channel of W Network.
On August 2, 2011, an HD channel of W Network was launched. It simulcast the channel's standard definition feed.
In the Fall of 2017, W Network re-oriented its programming towards scripted series and movies with the majority of its lifestyle programming being moved to other Corus-owned channels.