CTV Television Network
Summary - see individual stations for details.
After 21 years of Liberal government in Canada, the Conservatives, under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, came to power in 1957. This new government, after much lobbying by "private" broadcasters, passed a new Broadcasting Act in 1958, establishing the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) to be the "watchdog" of Canadian broadcasting. Since its inception in 1936, this had been the domain of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) which independent "private" broadcasters had complained was both their regulator and competitor.
Prior to 1958, the CBC had issued TV licences to itself for 7 TV stations (2 in Montreal) in 6 major Canadian cities. Lacking funds to properly cover all of Canada, the Government had to allow licensing of private stations in 35 other cities, all of which were obliged to carry programs from the CBC's Television Networks (French & English).
Responding to the public outcry for alternate choice from CBC programs, the BBG announced that they would consider applications for "second" television stations in eight major cities across Canada - Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver - public hearings to be held early in 1959. At this time Calgary and Edmonton were each served by a private station, and the others by the 7 CBC-owned stations.
There was a scramble to prepare for these hearings by more than 35 applicants. A "Who's Who" of publishing, broadcasting, financial entities and Canadian entertainment fields made up the consortia vying for these perceived valuable licences.
The BBG hearings began in Winnipeg in January and then moved to Vancouver; in March to Montreal and Toronto, and Edmonton and Calgary in April; Ottawa and Halifax in June.
The victors were - Halifax - the Finlay MacDonald group - CJCH-TV; Montreal - the Canadian Marconi Co. - CFCF-TV; Ottawa - Ernie Bushnell's group - CJOH-TV; Toronto - Baton - the Bassett group - CFTO-TV; Winnipeg - the Moffat group - CJAY-TV (CKY-TV); Edmonton - the CBC (CBXT), (which would relieve CFRN-TV of its CBC affiliation); Calgary - the Love organization - CFCN-TV; Vancouver - the Vantel group - CHAN-TV (BCTV).
One of the losing applicants in Toronto was Spence Caldwell. He immediately started efforts to link the successful applicants by a network which he would control. The stations were not happy with his approach, but neither did most want the bigger market stations to have control. In the end, they formed the Independent Television Organization (ITO) as a counter to his idea.
This in-fighting was spread over the 12 to 18 months it took for the stations to get on the air.
Caldwells' struggle to form a network continued and was gaining ground when Baton's John Bassett bought the TV rights to the Eastern Conference of the Canadian Football League games. He needed a network on which to broadcast the games.
After much wrangling with Bassett and the BBG, Caldwell did get seven signatures from the group to proceed with his application for a network, which was finally granted by the BBG in time for the 1961 CFL Football season to be telecast in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
The new stations had started operations during the 60/61 TV season:
CFCN-TV Calgary Sept. 9/60; CHAN-TV Vancouver - Oct. 31/60; CJAY-TV Winnipeg - Nov. 12/60. Then in 1961 - CFTO-TV Toronto and CJCH-TV Halifax on January 1, CFCF-TV January 20th and CJOH-TV Ottawa on March 12th. CFRN-TV Edmonton switched from a CBC affiliate to the private network on October 1st 1961 when the newly licenced CBXT came on the air.
Only Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto were connected by microwave but there was some exchange of Canadian programs with the other stations. Through the ITO alliance, they were able to acquire the Canadian rights to many U. S. programs.
Television Football rights played a large part in Caldwell's efforts to get the network established, both at the BBG and negotiation at station level of his access as CTN had leased the only available micro-wave connection.
Finally, after much negotiating, involving the ITO, Caldwell and the BBG, Caldwell was granted his network licence.
The network was called The Canadian Television Network - CTN. Spence Caldwell was its President, with Gordon Keeble as Vice-President. Michael Hind-Smith was Vice-President Programming and Sales.
CTN's first full season started on October 1st 1961, after much pressure to get a national microwave system in place. In the beginning the only live transmission was in Southern Ontario. During the "off hours" of the CBC Network, CTN used the Telco's micro-wave to send programs to the rest of the country, to be run on a taped-delay basis.
Later, confusing the situation even more, CTN purchased the TV rights to the Western Conference of the CFL.
Gradually, as a second microwave channel became available, the "live" network moved across the country.
The stations tried to work in harmony with the Caldwell network but it was always difficult since it was a forced marriage. Negotiating for programming found ITO and CTN bidding for the same U. S. shows and there was seldom agreement when it came to Canadian productions, most of which were being produced by member stations.
In the fall, Spence Caldwell's Canadian Television Network CTN changed its name to CTV. Designers Stewart and Morrison were commissioned to create the Network's new logo and give the network a look to distinguish itself from the already familiar CBC.
But the second season (62/63) was not much better than the first. There was still unhappiness in both the network and station camps. Advertising revenues were disappointing, and the changes in ownership at some of the stations didn't help smooth the way for the Network. The stations, in an effort to give the Network a chance to prove itself, agreed to have ITO back-off for a couple of seasons, but there was still no sign that things would improve.
At the start of the fall 64/65 season, the future of Caldwell's network looked bleak. The stations re-activated ITO, their non-profit association, to produce better Canadian programs for exchange purposes and to buy Canadian rights to U. S. shows. At times, this put them in direct competition with their own Network.
In October, upon the opening of the CBC's CBNT in St. John's, CJON-TV switched networks from CBC to CTV. The station was owned by Geoff Stirling and Don Jamieson.
At the urging of CFTO's John Bassett, CKCO-TV Kitchener switched networks, from CBC to CTV.At the start of the fall 64/65 season, the future of Caldwell's network looked bleak. The stations re-activated ITO, their non-profit association, to produce better Canadian programs for exchange purposes and to buy Canadian rights to U. S. shows. At times, this put them in direct competition with their own Network.
In October, upon the opening of the CBC's CBNT in St. John's, CJON-TV switched networks from CBC to CTV. The station was owned by Geoff Stirling and Don Jamieson.
The BBG and the government were monitoring CTV closely. They set up a three-man committee of Don Jamieson (now head of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters), CBC President Alphonse Ouimet, and BBG Chairman Andrew Stewart to come up with recommendations to avoid the larger city stations taking over control of CTV. This committee, dubbed by some "The Troika", could not reach agreement.
The government again called on Robert Fowler, head of a previous Royal Commission into broadcasting, to come up with recommendations.
Concerned by the implications, the stations met with Caldwell, and at a Board meeting on October 1st he resigned, and his Vice-President, Gordon Keeble took over the helm of the Network.
On January 4th, with CTV teetering on bankruptcy, the change was not the solution. The stations, after many meetings, announced they would apply to buy the Network and operate as a co-operative.
The stations met with the BBG on February 23rd. Eddie Goodman, Baton's CFTO lawyer, presented their case. Murray Chercover showed a tape of proposed programs, with network time rising to about 60 hours, and the programming budget rising to $8.5 million - with $4.5 million of that to be spent on Canadian productions.
The Board took less than two weeks to give the group of eleven stations authority to buy the network. This co-operative was based on "one corporate ownership - one vote" - so that no matter how many stations that one owner might accumulate, it would still have only one vote.
Caldwell's investors were paid-off and plans were started for the 66/67 fall TV season. Murray Chercover left CFTO to become Executive Vice President of the Network.
A new CTV logo was born, and was still in use in 2018 - the red "C", the blue "T" and the green "V" - just in time for the start of colour TV in Canada, Sept. 1st, 1967.
One of the longest-running CTV programs, "W5" (Who, What, Where, When and Why?) was launched just after the demise of CBC's "This Hour Has Seven Days".
The CRTC kept asking CTV to expand its service to the smaller communities of Canada, usually served by a private broadcaster which carried the CBC network service. By 1968, the CTV reached only 70% of English-speaking Canada, compared to the CBC's 93%.
These smaller communities were concerned that the competition from the larger centres, if done by competitive re-broadcasting transmitters, would threaten their survival. A number of them banded together to make an appeal to the Commission that there could be loss of local service if outside competition was allowed without some consultation with the existing station in these areas.
As a result, the CRTC encouraged the CTV stations to make arrangements with these smaller market stations to ensure their survival. These negotiations took several different courses:
One was "Twin Stick" - which allowed CTV to put their re-broadcast antennae on the existing tower in the smaller community and allow the local station to substitute local commercials for the "local" commercials of the bigger station, thereby helping the smaller station to maintain its revenue base.
Some small stations opted to sell to the nearby CTV station, or amalgamate with it.
The more entrepreneurial small market broadcaster fought back by expanding its operations into large markets. All of this evolved over several years.
One of the first such twin stick arrangements took place in Lethbridge. A five-year agreement was arranged between CFCN-TV Calgary and CJLH-TV Lethbridge to share its tower, and provide space in the CJLH building for the technical equipment.
During the year, Executive VP Keith Campbell brought in two young freelance graphic designers, Kevin Eccleston and Howard Glossop (E+G), and charged them with the responsibility of developing a new look for CTV's on-air and print. They would do work for the network for many years, during which time the network won several design awards due to their creativity. In 1969 E+G would bring the network into a new era with the on-air fall launch campaign using new digital graphic technology.
CFCN-TV went on the air in Lethbridge on channel 13 on September 3rd.
In December, Gordon Keeble retired from CTV, and Murray Chercover became President.
When the CBC purchased CHRE-TV Regina (formerly CHAB-TV Moose Jaw) and operated it as CBKT-TV, CKCK-TV switched networks from CBC to CTV.
During these formative years, the larger stations in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa were vying for a piece of the CTV production "pie". However hard the others tried, every year of its operation saw CFTO-TV Toronto with by far the lion's share of production - almost all of the prime-time, with the other stations adding only fringe-prime (before 8:00 pm) and daytime periods.
That brought up another problem, the financing of the network by the stations. Woods Gordon, financial consultants, were brought in to examine CTV's books and those of its stations. As a result, a new formula was approved, easing the load on the small ("have-not") market stations, and providing for increased contributions by the big ("have") stations.
At the same time, on every occasion before a CRTC hearing, whether it was a network or station licence renewal, the CRTC continued to berate both the network and the stations for the lack of "real" Canadian content in prime-time. They wanted DRAMA with a Canadian mosaic - not nameless cities that showed no car licence plates, used American money in close ups - all geared for sale in the U. S. The network pointed to their CTV News with Harvey Kirck and Public Affairs programs with shows such as "W5". But that was "never enough", and the debate continued through the 70s and 80s.
More twin-stick operations began in Northern Ontario where, after 15 years of single-channel service, CTV arrived in Northern Ontario. Sudbury's CKSO-TV switched to CTV - adopted new call letters - CICI-TV, and added twin-stick operations in Timmins - CITO-TV; North Bay's CKNY-TV; and in Sault Ste. Marie - CHBX-TV.
CBC affiliates continued serving the north from Timmins' CFCL-TV; Sault Ste. Marie's - CJIC-TV; North Bay's CHNB-TV; along with a new twin-stick operation in Sudbury - CKNC-TV.
In February, CHUM purchased CJCH-TV Halifax - followed closely by the purchase of CJCB-TV Sydney. CJCB-TV switched from CBC to CTV when the CBC's CBIT-TV opened in 1972.
CHFD-TV Thunder Bay was granted a twin-stick licence to bring CTV to the region.
CFQC-TV became a full-time CTV affiliate when the CBC established its own station CBKST-TV in Saskatoon.
At his first CTV Board meeting, Blair Nelson, who managed CFQC-TV for the family of founder A. A. "Pappy" Murphy, advised Baton's John Bassett that the family wanted out of the broadcasting business. Bassett made a deal to buy the station, and subsequently applied to the CRTC. Although there were some concerns that the Commission might not approve Baton owning two CTV stations, later, the transfer was approved.
Yorkton Television Ltd. applied for a licence to operate a CTV outlet in Yorkton, to serve the area with both CBC and CTV on a twin-stick basis. The new channel opened in the Fall.
CKCW-TV Moncton, New Brunswick, a CBC affilliate, was purchased in April by CHUM Ltd., and switched to CTV in the fall.
CFCF-TV Montreal had been founded by the Canadian Marconi Company, which in turn was owned by a parent in England and had been operating under a special Order-in-Council allowing the station to be controlled by "foreign owners". A new Order-in-Council required Marconi to yield the controlling interest and find a new owner. This took several years. After attempts by Baton's CFTO and a suggestion by CJOH's Stu Griffiths that CTV buy the station, the problem was solved when the Bronfman family's Multiple Access, a computer and communications company with no broadcast experience, was given approval to purchase the station.
"Canada AM" debuted in September and became one of CTVs success stories.
Between 1972 and 1975, CTV News opened bureaus in Winnipeg and Edmonton to cover the prairies and the Yukon & North West Territories - and in Halifax to cover the Maritimes. This brought approval from the CRTC at the network's licence hearing as the CRTC had asked that more regional stories be included in the National News.
During the year, the service given to the Network by several senior executives was recognized by their being appointed Vice-Presidents: Tom Gould: News; Ray Junkin - Sales; Arthur Weinthal - Entertainment Programming, and Pip Wedge - Programming.
Lloyd Robertson, who had been the news anchor at the CBC for many years, moved over to CTV. He initially worked as part of two-anchor team with Harvey Kirck, but would eventually take on a sole role in 1984 as the private network's National News anchor.
Rumours that the Bronfman family wanted out of CFCF-TV Montreal were confirmed, and John Bassett made a deal for Baton to purchase the station. All he had to do was convince the CRTC that the purchase was in the "public interest". From the April hearing CRTC did not believe Baton promised enough for the Montreal community, and denied the application.
Just months later, Jean Pouliot of Quebec City purchased CFCF-TV and won CRTC approval in July, promising the station would continue to serve the anglophone population of Montreal and area.
CTV experienced another "rough" CRTC licence renewal hearing; this time the Council of Canadian Filmmakers joined CRTCs' Dr. Pierre Camu and commissioners Roy Faibish and Jacques Hébert in admonishing CTV for its lack of Canadian drama.
The three-day hearing was filled with arguments from CTV station owners, with President Murray Chercover saying CTV could not do more.
In August, CRTC gave CTV an ultimatum, demanding stepped-up Canadian content in the 1980 - 81 season with a further increase for the rest of its five-year licence renewal. Furthermore, this increase would have to apply after 8:00 pm, and the Commission wanted more programming that would reflect the cultural life of Quebec to the rest of Canada, as well as more shows directed at children.
CTV and its owners were outraged, calling it censorship, and promised an appeal to the Supreme Court. As CTV prepared its appeal, there was a federal election, and the Conservatives came to power under Joe Clark. Dr. Camu resigned as Chairman of the CRTC, citing a job offer, and John Meisel, a professor of political science at Queens University, with no broadcasting background, was appointed Chairman. Policy did not change as a result.
CTV won a partial victory at court, but lost its appeal to the Supreme Court in a decision announced in April 1982. The CRTC decision of 1979 was totally restored.
In the meantime, CTV programming continued as before, and the CRTC decided not to enforce its 1979 ruling - instead handing out a short term renewal of two years instead of the regular 5-year term.
On December 31st CTV was granted a license to provide a temporary satellite service to underserved communities with its Northern Service; the service was launched two weeks later, but after nine months CTV failed in its bid to get a license to operate a permanent service.
The Network began to provide closed captioning for some of its programs.
The federal government started a new Canadian Broadcast Development Fund under Telefilm Canada that eventually would help solve part of the Canadian drama problem.
John Meisel returned to Queens University and André Bureau took over the Chair of CRTC.
Baton's Bassett and Eaton families decided the way to gain control of CTV was to own as many member stations as possible. Eleven years earlier, they had purchased CFQC-TV Saskatoon, and since there were no adverse consequences from that purchase they decided it might be opportune to test the waters again. Meetings with the Hill family who owned CKCK-TV Regina and the Skinners in Yorkton resulted in a purchase of 5 stations in the province. The CRTC hearing was scheduled for April, 1986, and with little opposition, it was approved in July. This resulted in Baton owning stations covering almost all of Saskatchewan. CKCK-TV Regina, CFQC-TV Saskatoon, CKOS-TV (CBC), CICC-TV (CTV) Yorkton, CKBI-TV (CBC) and CIPA-TV Prince Albert.
Meanwhile, Standard Broadcasting was purchased by Allan Slaight who joined the CTV Board representing CJOH-TV.
Baton, CHUM, and Mid-Canada TV (owner of nearby CHRO-TV Pembroke) each applied for an independent TV Station in Ottawa. The hearing was scheduled for early 1987. Allan Slaight was distraught over the prospect of new competition for his new acquisition. Baton's Bassett, after promising a $ 20 million state of the art operation and millions of dollars in Canadian programming, was granted the licence.
A flurry of appeals and great debates in the CTV Board room delayed implementation of the purchase and the Government finally passed an Order-in-Council that required the CRTC to re-hear the applications.
Meeting casually in Toronto, George Eaton suggested to Allan Slaight that Baton might buy CJOH-TV. Shortly thereafter a deal was reached and the CRTC cancelled the re-hearing scheduled for August, and set a date for hearing the Baton application for early 1988.
A long and sometimes bitter hearing began early in the year, with concerns about dominance of the CTV by one owner of two major market stations - but with the "one owner - one vote" rule still in force - CRTC gave approval to the Baton CJOH-TV purchase.
CAP Communications, owner of CKCO-TV Kitchener, proposed to purchase Dick Rice's CFRN-TV Edmonton and that was also approved.
CTV was host broadcaster for the `88 Calgary Olympics which was a resounding success under the co-ordination of Phyllis Switzer.
Babs Pitt, Vice President Corporate Communications, left CTV to go to the CBC. She was replaced by Gail Morrell, who moved over from CTV affiliate CJOH-TV Ottawa.
On March 15th, Murray Chercover announced his resignation. After 24 years, first at CFTO-TV and then at CTV, he'd had all anyone could take of a multi-boss type job. Among his many awards, at the International Emmy Awards in 1989 he was recognized for his achievements by his peers world-wide. For the next several months the Network was run by a Management Copmmittee of senior executives.
In the fall, CTV's first truly Canadian drama series was launched. "E.N.G." revolving around a TV News Room in Toronto was a great hit even against very popular U. S. opposition. It ran in the 10:00 pm Thursday time slot for five years and contained all the missing factors that the CRTC had asked for over the years. The 89/90 season was one of CTV's best with other new shows such as "Bordertown", the afternoon show "Shirley" and returning shows "The Campbells", "Katts and Dog" and "My Secret Identity". All this was very expensive and it happened to coincide with Global starting to pay big money for U.S. programs. CFTO lost its "No. 1" position in the Toronto market, and that of course cost the network money.
Maclean Hunter purchased Selkirk Communications and the fall-out brought about changes in several markets across the country. The big upset was in B. C., where Frank Griffiths' Western International Communications took full control of BCTV (CHAN-TV) and Okanagan Television in Kelowna. They also picked up stations in Calgary, Lethbridge and Hamilton.
In the fall, Ray Peters stepped down as President and CEO of WIC (BCTV) and was replaced by Doug Holtby, head of Dr. Allard's Allarcom (CITV-TV Edmonton).
Just before Christmas, the CTV Board's search committee hired John Cassaday, formerly of Campbell's Soup and General Foods, to take on the Presidency of CTV replacing Murray Chercover.
Many of the old guard were gone.
Cassaday joined the Network in March and commenced to put his "brand" on CTV, bringing in his own financial man, Tom Peddie, and marketing specialist Paul Robertson. CTV was losing money, ratings were down and as a result so were sales. New faces appeared on "W5" when Eric Malling was hired away from the CBC's "Fifth Estate" and J. D. Roberts replaced Norm Perry on "Canada AM" . New updated sets also brought a fresh look to the network. Weekly executive meetings helped bring about these changes and plan the road back to profit.
Baton's Doug Bassett was on the move again, this time in Northern Ontario, where four "twin stick" operations in Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie, operated under a company named Mid-Canada Television. Another hearing for the purchase of the group brought out the usual CRTC fears of Baton gradually getting control of CTV - but Bassett convinced them that the "one owner - one vote" rule still applied and since none of the other CTV owners were opposing the application - the CRTC approved the takeover.
CFPL-TV London and CKNX-TV Wingham were purchased by South West Ontario Broadcasting Inc. (Baton Broadcasting). The CRTC approved the sale in January. Douglas Bassett, having been head of Baton for 10 years, searched for a successor, and the timing coincided with the resignation of Ivan Fecan from the CBC where he had been in charge of programming. He joined Baton as Executive Vice-President in charge of programming. Bassett remained Chairman of the CTV Board.
In an effort to amortize the heavy costs of the network news and sports, CTV had applied for two Specialty Cable Channels -a national all-news channel and a regional sports channel. Both were denied by CRTC, much to the consternation of John Cassaday and his group. (these channels were later licenced to CTV in 1998)
After continual wrangling since day one, the station owners of CTV agreed to convert their debentures into equity - to dissolve the co-operative and become a corporation.
After 29 years with the Network, latterly 20 years as Vice-President Programming, Pip Wedge retired from the Network in June. Gail Morrell became Vice President Communications and Director of Programming.
On September 19, Rogers Communications Inc. which had just purchased Maclean Hunter, announced it would sell CFCN-TV Calgary to Baton Broadcasting Inc.
Baton would then sell 50% of CFCN and a half interest in six of its Saskatchewan stations to Electrohome. As well, BBS would trade 50% of CFPL-TV, CKNX-TV and CHWI-TV to Electrohome in exchange for 50% of Electrohome's CKCO-TV stations. A 50-50 joint venture company was formed. (approved by the CRTC in June of 1996)
In September, it was announced that Baton & Electrohome would merge. This would give Baton 42.9% of CTV Television Network Ltd. Electrohome's share of CTV was 14.3%. At this time Baton covered 61% of English Canada. This was approved by the CRTC later in the year.
On September 1st, Ivan Fecan became President of Baton Broadcasting, and CEO in December.
Baton received CRTC approval for three Specialty Channels, "The Comedy Network", "Outdoor Life" and "Talk TV".
In January, after a hotly contested hearing, the CRTC approved a Baton TV licence for CIVT Vancouver. The station went on the air on September 22nd, giving Baton 75% coverage of English homes in Canada.
On February 25, Baton and CHUM Ltd., announced a deal involving the swapping of some TV stations, that when approved would give Baton control of CTV. CHUM's CITY-TV gained a valuable Southern Ontario sales package.
Baton took over CHUM's 14.3% interest in CTV along with ATV, the Atlantic Television Network (CJCH-TV Halifax, CJCB-TV Sydney, CKCW-TV Moncton / Charlottetown and CKLT-TV Saint John/Fredericton). ATV was a CTV affiliate. Baton also took over CHUM's Atlantic Satellite Network. After approval, Baton had 57% of CTV. The next largest shareholder was Western International Communications with 28.6%.
To go along with CITY-TV in Toronto, CHUM took over CFPL-TV London, CKNX-TV Wingham, CHWI-TV Wheatley and CHRO-TV Pembroke/Ottawa.
In June, John Cassaday resigned as President of CTV to become President of Shaw Communications.
Le Groupe Videotron Ltée of Montreal (TVA French Network and a major cable TV company), received CRTC approval to purchase CFCF-TV and its cable subsidiary, providing it subsequently sold CFCF-TV.
On August 22, the CRTC approved the sale by Le Groupe Vidéotron Ltée of CF-12 Inc., (CFCF-TV) to WIC Television Ltd. (70%), and Capital Communications CDPQ inc. (30%). Vidéotron retained CFCFs cable system.
In August, the CRTC gave approval to the Baton/CHUM exchange of stations which put Baton in control of the CTV Network. Outstanding network shares were still held by WIC (BCTV) Vancouver and Moffat, CKY-TV Winnipeg, both whom after some negotiation sold their shares in the CTV network to Baton. That left Newfoundland Broadcasting's CJON-TV, the only hold-out, finally giving-in late in the year just before Baton's annual meeting.
On December 2nd, new CTV President Ivan Fecan restructured his management team. In the process, several executives from the Chercover era were given severance packages.
Fecan's first year with CTV was spent re-organizing his team and was capped by the launch of four Specialty Channels which took place in the fall: "CTV NEWS 1", "The Comedy Network", "Outdoor Life" and the "History Channel".
"Big John" Bassett, Founder of CFTO-TV, died on April 13th, after a short illness.
On December 8th, at the Baton Annual Meeting, the name of the company was changed to "CTV Inc." and the company shares were listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Rumours had many of the big media companies eyeing CTV.
In a surprise move, late in February, BCE (Canada's telephone giant) through its subsidiary BCE Media, proposed to purchase CTV Inc. for $ 2.3 billion, the largest transaction in Canadian broadcasting.
Later in March the CTV board approved the deal, which required CRTC approval. In June BCE submitted their brief to the CRTC with the largest "benefits package" ever presented to the regulative body. The benefits, money allocated over the proposed seven year licence term, were almost entirely to be spent on new Canadian programming. Ivan Fecan agreed to stay with the network under BCE ownership. The CRTC hearing was held in September, and on December 7 the Commission approved the change of ownership to BCE Media Inc.
Early in the year, when BCE and Thompson Newspapers closed their deal, Ivan Fecan moved from his post as President & COO of CTV to become President & CEO of the newly formed Bell Globemedia, (CTV, The Globe & Mail, its associated websites and internet portal Sympatico/Lycos.)
In August the CRTC approved CTV’s acquisition of ownership of CKY-TV Winnipeg, and gave 7-year licence renewals to all the CTV-owned affiliate stations. In September the Commission approved CTV’s purchase of CFCF-TV Montreal.
Trina McQueen became President & CEO of the CTV Television Network in January; in November, she announced her resignation, which took effect on January 7th 2002.
In October, former President of CTV Specialty Television Inc. Rick Brace was named President, CTV. Inc. CJON TV dropped its CTV affiliation, only retaining the CTV National news in its schedule.
In September, CTV’s Canadian Idol, using the British franchised format that had made American Idol a smash hit series in the spring, became the biggest hit Canadian series for over twenty years, with audiences approaching 3,000,000 viewers. CTV also begin broadcasting some programs in High Definition Television (HDTV).
Effective January 1st, CTV signed a new six-year agreement with Telesat for a full C-band channel that would give the network up to eight satellite channels to use for real-time delivery of its programs to its affiliates in all time zones.
The network got back into the Olympics business when a consortium headed by CTV acquired the rights to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, as well as the 2012 Summer Olympics. Other members of the successful bidding group were TSN, TQS, RDS and Rogers Sportsnet.
Starting in October, all CTV-owned-and-operated stations ceased using their local callsigns and began identifying themselves as just CTV.
On July 12 it was announced that Bell Globemedia would pay C$1.7 billion for CHUM Ltd., in a deal that would see the company become part of the BCE-owned media conglomerate, subject to CRTC approval. On August 31, the two companies announced that BGM had been successful in its offer to acquire approximately 6.7 million common shares and approximately 19.2 million non-voting Class B shares of CHUM. The shares were to be placed in the hands of an independent trustee pursuant to a voting trust agreement approved by the CRTC.
In an unrelated move, on July 21 the CRTC approved an application for ownership restructuring by Bell Globemedia (BGM), parent company of CTV, stemming from a deal in December 2005 that saw two new investors added to the company. Thomson family's Woodbridge Co. Ltd. increased its stake in BGM to 40 per cent from 31.5 per cent, while BCE Inc. reduced its holding to 20 per cent from 68.5 per cent. Two other investors were added to the deal, including Torstar Corp. and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, each with 20 per cent.
On December 12th, it was announced that Bell Globemedia would henceforth be known as CTVglobemedia
A CRTC hearing on the CTVglobemedia application to acquire the assets of CHUM Limited was held on April 30th 2007. On June 8 the CRTC approved the acquisition of CHUM Ltd. by CTVglobemedia, on condition that CTV sell off its five City-TV stations, CITY-TV Toronto, CHMI-TV Portage La Prairie/Winnipeg, CKEM-TV Edmonton, CKAL-TV Calgary and CKVU-TV Vancouver. Rogers Communications announced on June 25th that a deal had been reached for them to buy these stations from CTV, subject to CRTC approval. Among the CHUM assets acquired by CTVglobemedia in the deal were seven television stations, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations.
On July 7th,, CTVglobemedia sold their 33 1/3% interest in the OLN speciality channel to Rogers, and on August 22nd the CRTC approved the transfer of ownership of specialty channel CLT from CTVglobemedia to Corus.
On March 3rd, the company announced that financial considerations had made it necessary for the three-hour A MORNING show on its A stations in Victoria, London and Barrie to be cancelled, and that the Ottawa A station's evening, late-night and weekend newscasts had also been cancelled. While these moves would not be in breach of these stations' conditions of licence, they would result in 118 positions being eliminated at the four affected stations.
On March 6th, CTVglobemedia announced the appointment of John R. Gossling as its new Chief Financial Officer. Gossling would replace Robin Fillingham, who was retiring after 37 years with the company.
On December 5th, CTVglobemedia announced the sale of half its 15.4% stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to Lawrence Tanenbaum, giving him a total of 20.5% ownership.
In the fourth quarter, CTVglobemedia Inc took a $1.7 billion write-down on its television properties, representing three-quarters of the assets' value. The company forecast a loss for its over-the air operations in 2009 that would approach $100,000,000.
On January 12th, the company filed with the CRTC an application to renew the broadcasting licences for its over-the-air (OTA) television stations across the country,including 20 CTV stations and four "A" stations, and the Atlantic Satellite Network("ASN"), a satellite-to-cable programming undertaking that operated under the "A"brand, on an administrative basis, for a period of one year, with the Conditions of Licence that were currently applicable. At the same time, because of the economic circumstances prevailing at the time, CTV did not apply to renew its licences for CKNX-TV Wingham and CHWI-TV Wheatley/Windsor, both stations then carrying "A" programming, and essentially rebroadcasters of CFPL-TV London, or for CKX-TV Brandon, which was about to lose its affiliate payments from the CBC.
However, on February 13th the CRTC issued a Notice of Consultation asking for input from broadcasters on several matters, and stated its predisposition to issue short-term over-the air licence renewals, and address long-term renewals with the various corporate groups in the spring of 2010. CTV then withdrew its January 12th application, and filed a new application on February 23rd.
On April 27th the CRTC began hearings to consider CTVglobemedia's applications for various OTA licence renewals, along with similar applications from several other major broadcasting entities. During the hearing, CTVglobemedia reaffirmed its wish not to renew the Wingham, Wheatley/Windsor and Brandon stations, and its willingness to sell them for a dollar apiece.
On April 30th, in a full-page ad in the Globe and Mail, Shaw Communications CEO and Vice Chair Jim Shaw announced that Shaw was prepared to buy the three CTV stations at $1 each. On the opposite page in the Globe and Mail, in a half page ad, CTVglobemedia announced its acceptance of Shaw's offer, and thanked the cable operator for 'stepping up'. The proposed transaction would of course be subject to CRTC approval.
On May 15th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for all of CTVglobemedia's Over-The-Air stations, "to give these broadcasters some flexibility during the current period of economic uncertainty." Group-based licence renewals would then be addressed in the spring of 2010.
The Commission also stated that it recognized the impracticability of imposing any conditions relative to 1-1 ratios between Canadian and non-Canadian programming in the ensuing year, given the programming commitments that were already in place. The Commission would however continue to explore various regulatory measures "...to ensure that English-language television broadcasters devote an appropriate proportion of their expenditures to Canadian programmin
On June 30th, CTVglobemedia announced that the deal for Shaw Communications to buy the CTV stations in Brandon, Man, and Windsor and Wingham, Ontario, had fallen through.
On July 6th, the CRTC announced one-year licence renewals, from September 1st 2009 to August 31st 2010, for all the private conventional television programming undertakings operated by CTVglobemedia Inc. The decision included requirements for a minimum of 14 hours of local programming per broadcast week in certain designated major markets, and seven hours of local programming per week in certain markets specified as ‘non-metropolitan'.
In addition, despite CTVglobemedia not having applied to renew its licences for CKX-TV Brandon, Man, (which it planned to close down), and CKNX-TV Wingham and CHWI-TV Wheatley/Windsor (which it proposed to convert to rebroadcasters for CFPL-TV London), the CRTC gave one-year renewals to these stations "...in order to avoid jeopardizing any potential discussions, as well as to keep all options open and prevent any premature closing of the stations involved..".
Also on July 6th, the CRTC invited written comments and proposals, to be considered at a hearing on September 29th 2009, on "...the modalities and conditions for group-based licensing that would provide the necessary criteria to consider upcoming applications for group-based seven-year licence renewals: revenue support for conventional broadcasters; and possible transition models".
The outcome of this hearing was anticipated to be the establishment of guidelines for the Commision to consider when holding a hearing on seven-year renewals of conventional station licences in the spring of 2010.
On March 22nd, the CRTC published its Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-167, being its decisions regarding a group-based approach to the licensing of private television services, following the receipt of input from all interested parties
On July 8th, CTV's Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lloyd Robertson announced that he would be stepping down from the anchor chair sometime in the middle of 2011, after 35 years as the Network's national news anchor. He would continue to do work for CTV on W5 and other projects.
On July 9th, CTV announced that Lisa La Flamme, CTV's national current affairs correspondent, would be Lloyd's successor as the anchor for CTV's national news.
She would replace Lloyd after a period of transition, during which they would share the anchoring role.
On August 9th, the CRTC announced administrative renewals of all the broadcasting licences held by CTVglobemedia, CanWest and Rogers, which would now expire at various dates in 2011 and 2012.
In making the announcement, the Commission said that this would enable them to consider the renewal of the major large English-language private conventional television ownership groups by taking into account the determinations in the aforesaid Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167.
It would also permit the Commission to consider the further renewal of community-based television programming undertakings by taking into account the determinations resulting from the review of the community television policy framework announced in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2009-661.
On September 10th, BCE Inc. (Bell) announced it had agreed to acquire 100% of CTV. Bell had owned a 15% equity position in CTV and would acquire the remaining 85% for $1.3 billion inequity value from The Woodbridge Company Limited, the Toronto-based holding company of the Thomson family; Ontario Teachers Pension Plan; and Torstar Corporation.. The acquisition would be subject to CRTC approval.
In a separate transaction, Woodbridge would acquire ownership of the Globe and Mail, in which Bell would continue to retain a 15% equity position. Simultaneously, Ivan Fecan announced that he would be stepping down as President and CEO of CTVglobemedia within a year.
On October 6th, CTVglobemedia announced that Kevin Crull would be joining the company as its Chief Operating Officer. Crull would report directly to Ivan Fecan, President and Chief Executive Officer, CTVglobemedia, and Chief Executive Officer, CTV Inc. Crull was leaving a key post at Bell to take up the new position, and he would assume the position of President of CTV upon Fecan's retirement. Crull joined CTVglobemedia on November 1st 2010.
On December 1st, CTV President of News Robert Hurst announced that he would be stepping down, after 38 years in news. His retirement would take effect once his replacement was chosen. On December 15th, CTV announced that Wendy Freeman, a 17-year veteran at the Network, who had held the position of Vice President and Executive Producer at CTV News since 2001, would become President of News on January 3rd 2011.
On January 3rd, Wendy Freeman succeeded Robert Hurst as President of CTV News.
The CRTC held a hearing in Ottawa starting on February 1st to hear BCE's application to acquire total ownership of CTV. On March 7th, the CRTC approved BCE Inc.'s acquisition of CTVglobemedia Inc.
CTV Inc. President Kevin Crull then implemented some planned major changes in senior management. These would include the departure of Suzanne Boyce, President of Creative, Content and Channels, and Executive VP Corporate Affairs Paul Sparkes. Some executive positions were filled by internal structuring, with Bell's Regulatory and Government Affairs head Mirko Bibic adding CTV's portfolio in this area to his responsibilities.
A new CTV Programming Council was established, to be co-chaired by senior executives Mike Cosentino and Joanna Webb.
On April 1, BCE Inc. (Bell) announced that it had completed its $3.2-billion acquisition of CTV, and launched Bell Media, a new business unit encompassing all CTV and other Bell content assets. All CTV on-air programming and promotion was immediately given the Bell Media Brand.
On July 27th, the CRTC announced that it was renewing the broadcasting licences for the various television services affiliated with the Bell Media Inc. broadcasting ownership group from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2016.
In announcing this decision, the Commission said that it was implementing its new group-based licensing policy for large private English-language ownership groups. This policy was developed to prepare both the broadcasting industry and the Commission for the new reality of large, integrated broadcasting ownership groups. Under this policy, the Commission would reduce its focus on Canadian exhibition and concentrate to a greater extent on ensuring stable funding to Canadian production through programming expenditure requirements, particularly in regard to programming that continued to be under-represented in the Canadian broadcasting system. In addition, the Commission said it had also introduced a much greater level of flexibility in the manner in which television services made and accounted for Canadian programming expenditures.
On September 9th, CTV owners BellMedia and the CBC announced that they had agreed to form a partnership to bid for the media rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, and to the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016. Earlier, Rogers Broadcasting had announced that it would not be partnering with Bell Media to bid on these events.
On April 1, BCE Inc. announced that it had completed its acquisition of CTV and launched Bell Media, a new business unit. Coincident with this announcement, BCE confirmed that Ivan Fecan had that day retired as President and CEO of CTVglobemedia and CEO of CTV Inc.
On March 16th, CTV's parent company BCE announced that, subject to CRTC and Competitions Bureau approval, it had agreed to acquire Astral Media for a price of 3.38 billion dollars.
Astral operated 22 television services that include The Movie Network and HBO Canada, and top specialty brands such as Canal Vie, MusiquePlus, Teletoon, Family and Disney Junior. It also operated 84 radio stations in 50 markets, including NRJ, Virgin Radio, Rouge fm, EZ Rock and boom, as well as more than 100 websites and digital media properties.
On May 25th, Astral Media Inc. announced that the Québec Superior Court had approved the previously announced acquisition of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Astral by BCE Inc. pursuant to a plan of arrangement under section 192 of the Canada Business Corporations Act. The Québec Superior Court declared that the Arrangement was fair to shareholders of Astral.
On June 25th, , CBC/Radio-Canada and Bell Media announced that they would no longer submit joint bids for the Canadian media rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. The organizations had previously submitted two joint bids for the package, but both had been rejected by the International Olympic Committee. A month later it was announced that the Olympic rights for 2014 and 2016 had been acquired by the CBC.
On July 10th, the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing commencing on 10 September 2012 at 9:00 a.m. at the Palais de congrès de Montréal, 1001 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montréal, Quebec, to consider the BCE Inc application for authority to change the effective control of Astral's broadcasting undertakings so that it was exercised by BCE Inc.
Early in August 2012, BCE Inc. competitors Cogeco Inc, Eastview and Quebecor Inc. took out full page ads in Canadian newspapers to publish an Open Letter asking the public to "Say No To Bell".
These three companies said they believed that the deal should be stopped, "because it (would) be bad for consumers and bad for Canada".
The CRTC hearing lasted a full week, September 10th - 14th.The Commission said it had received more than 9,700 interventions, supporting, commenting on and opposing the transaction. These interventions were from broadcasters, distributors, independent producers and creative groups, citizen and consumer advocacy groups as well as from individuals from all parts of Canada.
The CRTC reported that more than 50 interveners had appeared at the hearing. At the hearing, BCE had amended certain aspects of its application relating to its proposed tangible and intangible benefits. The Commission provided interveners the opportunity to file final written comments on these amendments following the hearing. The Commission also granted BCE a final reply, which was filed on 28 September 2012.
On October 18th, the industry was very surprised when the CRTC announced that it was denying the application by BCE Inc., on behalf of Astral Media inc., for authority to change the effective control of Astral's broadcasting undertakings. The Commission said it was "...not convinced that the transaction would provide significant and unequivocal benefits to the Canadian broadcasting system and to Canadians sufficient to outweigh the concerns related to competition, ownership concentration in television and radio, vertical integration and the exercise of market power."
On the same day, Bell Media issued a press release expressing shock at the CRTC's decision, and announced it would be requesting that the federal Cabinet intervene in the CRTC's decision to reject Bell's acquisition of Astral Media. Bell said it was "appalled that the CRTC would come to a decision that so negatively impact(ed) Canadian consumers and the national broadcast industry, contravene(d) its own policy and (was) tainted by behind-the-scenes lobbying by Bell's cable rivals."
However, on November 19th Astral and Bell announced that they had amended their Arrangement Agreement and submitted a new proposal to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for approval of Bell's acquisition of Montréal-based Astral. Bell also announced that it had formally withdrawn its request to the federal Cabinet for a policy direction to the CRTC.
"We heard Canadians and the CRTC loud and clear - they want assurance that Astral joining with Bell Media will directly benefit consumers and creators. We're ready to deliver more choice for listeners and viewers, more opportunity for content creators, and more competition for the broadcasting industry," said George Cope, Bell's President and CEO. "Bell and Astral are happy to move forward with a new proposal that benefits all Canadians, in both official languages, in communities large and small across the nation, with new ideas, new funding and new choices."
As a result of the amendments made to the terms of the original Arrangement Agreement between Astral and Bell, the outside date for the closing of the transaction was extended to June 1, 2013, with each of Astral and Bell having a further right to postpone it to July 31, 2013.
On March 4th, BCE Inc. (Bell) received Competition Bureau clearance for a revised transaction proposal that would join Astral Media with Bell Media. The transaction also required approval by the CRTC.
Bell said that the Competition Bureau's announcement was the result of an agreement under which Bell would sell a number of Astral TV services. Bell Media would retain 8 Astral TV services: the French-language SuperÉcran, CinéPop, Canal Vie, Canal D, VRAK TV, and Z Télé, and English-language services The Movie Network, which included HBO Canada, and TMN Encore.
"This positive news from the Competition Bureau is a major step forward in uniting Astral and Bell Media and delivering on our promise to grow investment and competition in Canadian broadcasting," said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada. "This decision preserves the tremendous value the transaction represents to consumers, the Canadian media community, and Astral and Bell shareholders."
On the same day, March 4th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that it had entered into a number of agreements with Bell and separately with Shaw Media, and subject to CRTC approval (see below), which would "...extend Corus' portfolio of radio assets into Ottawa, consolidate Corus' ownership of ABC Spark and Teletoon, and enable Corus to become a significant media contributor in the Québec and the French-language specialty television market".
Corus said it had reached an agreement with Bell to acquire the 50% remaining ownership interest in Teletoon and two Ottawa-based radio stations, CKQB-FM (The Bear 106.9) and CJOT-FM (boom 99.7), that Bell would acquire as part of the acquisition of Astral Media Inc (for which a new proposal was awaiting the approval of the CRTC, the original having been denied) . With these acquisitions, Teletoon, Télétoon (French), Teletoon Retro, Télétoon Rétro (French), Cartoon Network (Canada) and radio stations, CKQB-FM and CJOT-FM, would be wholly owned by Corus. In addition, Corus had reached an agreement with Bell and Shaw Media to acquire each of their respective 50% interests in the French-language specialty channels Historia and Séries+. Certain transactions were subject to approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
In a separate transaction, Corus announced that it had entered into an agreement with Shaw Media that would result in Corus acquiring the remaining 49% interest in the successful specialty television service ABC Spark from Shaw Media. As part of the agreement, Corus would sell its 20% interest in Food Network Canada to Shaw Media.
On March 6th, the CRTC announced that on May 6th the Commission would hold a hearing to consider renewed applications by Astral Media and Bell Media for authority to change the effective control of Astral's broadcasting undertakings to BCE Inc.
Subject to Commission approval, the closing of the proposed transaction would be preceded by multi-step corporate reorganizations within both BCE and Astral for tax planning purposes and to facilitate the closing and the divestiture of certain assets.
To that end, the Commission would also hear applications by Astral on behalf of BCE to effect a multi-step corporate reorganization involving the transfer of assets of certain broadcasting undertakings to new entities to be established and controlled by BCE.
Finally, the Commission would hear an application by Astral to effect a corporate reorganization within Astral involving the transfer of the assets of certain of its broadcasting undertakings to new entities to be established and controlled by Astral.
As part of its application, Astral submitted that in order to ensure compliance with the Commission's policies and address any concerns regarding market concentration, BCE would divest itself of 11 television undertakings: six in the French-language (Teletoon Rétro, Disney Junior, MusiquePlus, MusiMax, Historia and Séries+), four in the English-language (Teletoon Retro, Cartoon Network, Disney XD and Family Channel, including the related Disney Junior multiplex), and one in both languages (Teletoon).
On May 6th the CRTC began what would be a week-long hearing of BCE's revised application to acquire Astral. There having been no decision announced by June 1st, it was announced that by mutual agreement the term for the deal to be closed had been extended to July 31st.
On May 16th, the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group announced that it had committed to the acquisition of broadcast properties, two from Bell Media and one from Astral subject to CRTC approval.
They had made a deal with Bell Media to acquire Kool FM 101.5, CKCE-FM Calgary and FAB 94.3 ,CHIQ-FM Winnipeg and with Astral to acquire QX 104, CFQX-FM Winnipeg/Selkirk.
At the time, the CRTC's decision was awaited regarding the BCE application to acquire Astral, and it was anticipated that, if approved, BCE would be required to divest itself of several properties, including these three stations.
On June 27, 2013, the CRTC approved the application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc, subject to certain conditions. It also approved the applications by Astral on behalf of BCE for multi-step reorganizations to give effect to the main application if approved.
It was a condition of the approval that BCE must divest itself of ownership of several television and radio programming undertakings. Pending eventual sale,
the Commission directed BCE Inc. to transfer the interim management and control of those entities to a trustee pursuant to the terms of the voting trust agreement addressed in a letter of approval issued 27 June 2013, by no later than 29 July 2013.
The programming undertakings required to be sold were CHHR-FM Vancouver, CKZZ-FM Vancouver, CISL Vancouver, CFQX-FM Selkirk, CHBM-FM Toronto, CKQB-FM Ottawa-Gatineau and CJOT-FM Ottawa-Gatineau, CKCE-FM Calgary, CHIQ-FM Winnipeg and CFXJ-FM Toronto.
The specialty services required to be sold were:
The Family Channel
A further condition of the approval being granted was that BCE would be obliged to keep the current 30 CTV network television stations in operation until at least 2017.
On August 26th 2013, Bell Media and Newcap Inc announced that they had entered into an agreement whereby Newcap would acquire from Bell Media Inc. the licences of five radio stations of which BCE had been required to divest itself as part of the CRTC approval for BCE to acquire Astral.
The stations involved were CHBM-FM (Boom 97.3) and CFXJ-FM (93.5 Flow) in Toronto, Ontario and CKZZ-FM (Virgin Radio 95.3), CHHR-FM (Shore 104.3 FM), and CISL-AM (AM 650) in Vancouver, British Columbia. The transaction was subject to approval from the CRTC and the Competition Bureau
On August 28th the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing on November 5th 2013, at which the applications that Corus had announced on March 4th, to acquire various properties from Shaw Media and Bell Media, would be heard.
On January 24th 2014, the CRTC approved, subject to certain conditions, applications by 8324433 Canada Inc. (8324433 Canada), a Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus) subsidiary, on behalf of 8504598 Canada Inc., licensee of the English-language commercial radio station CKQB-FM Ottawa, Ontario, and its transmitter CKQB-FM-1 Pembroke, and 8384851 Canada Inc., licensee of the English-language commercial radio station CJOT-FM Ottawa, for authority to effect a change in their ownership to 8324433 Canada so that control of the stations was exercised by Corus.
On March 19th, the CRTC announced the approval of applications by Newcap Inc. on behalf of various licensed subsidiaries of Bell Media Inc. for authority to change their ownership and control to Newcap.
The stations involved were:
• CHBM-FM Toronto;
• CFXJ-FM Toronto;
• CHHR-FM Vancouver;
• CKZZ-FM Vancouver; and
• CISL-AM Vancouver.
The transactions would be effected through the transfer of all of the share capital of the Bell subsidiaries to Newcap.
On July 24th, the CRTC approved an application by DHX Media Ltd. to acquire all shares in 8504601 Canada. 8504601 was the licensee of: Disney Junior, Disney Junior (English), Disney XD, and Family Channel.
On September 11th, the CRTC approved an application filed by Groupe V Média inc. (Groupe V, a subsidiary of the Remstar Group)), on behalf of MusiquePlus inc., for authority to change the ownership and effective control of MusiquePlus inc. to Groupe V. MusiquePlus inc. was the licensee of the French-language specialty Category A services MusiquePlus and MusiMax. They were the last two services of which BCE Inc. was required to divest itself as part of the BCE-Astral transaction.
After a series of CRTC hearings under the umbrella title "Let's Talk TV", the Commission on January 29th 2015 reaffirmed its support for the continued implementation of simultaneous substitution of US programs when the same program was being broadcast by a Canadian rights-holder. In announcing this, the Commission again underlined the importance of U.S. programs in private Canadian broadcasters' program schedules.
However, in a controversial decision the CRTC announced that, commencing in 2017, simultaneous substitution would not be allowed for the Canadian broadcast of the Super Bowl. Bell Media, owners of the rights, announced their intention to appeal this decision. Leave to appeal was granted, and a hearing was scheduled for June 20th 2016.
On August 1st, with there still having been no decision handed down by the Federal Court of Appeal on BCE Inc's appeal against the CRTC's Order prohibiting simultaneous substitution of the CTV Superbowl coverage, BCE filed a new application with the CRTC, asking it to overturn its January 2015 Order rescinding Superbowl simulcast rights.
On December 19th, Bell Media announced that the Federal Court of Appeal had dismissed Bell Canada and the NFL's appeal over the regulatory decision to ban substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the Super Bowl. Justice David G. Near wrote in a judgement delivered the previous day that there was a certain irony that legislation with an objective to protect the Canadian broadcasting industry is being used to allow for the broadcasting of American ads during the Super Bowl to the apparent detriment of the industry. However, he said, it was up to the CRTC to decide how best to balance competing policy objectives.
Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson said that the company hoped the regulator would take a close look at the clear impact of its decision on Canadian broadcasting and all those who worked in the industry.
On May 10th, the Supreme Court of Canada announced that Bell Media and NBC's application for leave to appeal from the judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal dated December 18, 2017, in respect of Simultaneous Substitution of commercials in the Super Bowl, had been granted with costs. The hearing of the appeal would not be expedited, but the Court statement said that it was of the view that these appeals would provide an opportunity to consider the nature and scope of judicial review of administrative action, as addressed in Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick,  1 S.C.R. 190, 2008 SCC 9, and subsequent cases. To that end, the appellants and respondent were invited to devote a substantial part of their written and oral submissions on the appeal to the question of standard of review, and that they would be allowed to file and serve a factum on appeal of at most 45 pages.
On October 1st 2018, as part of the newly negotiated USA-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after thirteen months of hard negotiations between the three countries, Annex-15 in the USMCA included this wording in reference to the television broadcast of the Super Bowl:
“Canada shall rescind Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-334 and Broadcasting Order CRTC 2016-335. With respect to simultaneous substitution of commercials during the retransmission in Canada of the program referenced in those measures, Canada may not accord the program treatment less favorable than the treatment accorded to other programs originating in the United States retransmitted in Canada.” This meant that, once Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-334 and Broadcasting Order CRTC 2016-335 were no longer in effect, the Canadian rightsholder (CTV) in the television broadcast would once again be entitled to have the Canadian signal, with Canadian commercials, substituted for the incoming US signal.
On July 30, the CRTC approved Bell's application to delete 28 analog rebroadcasting transmitters from its broadcasting licences for a number of its over-the-air television stations located across the country. In its application, Bell indicated that the transmitters rebroadcast the signals of various stations across the country and none offered programming that differed from that which was offered by the originating stations. The transmitters did not generate any incremental revenue and generally attracted little to no added viewership. Transmitters to be deleted: CFCN-TV-10 Fernie, CFCN-TV-15 Invemere, CFCN-TV-9 Cranbrook, CFRN-TV-12 Athabaska, CFRN-TV-3 Whitecourt, CFRN-TV-4 Ashmount, CFRN-TV-5 Lac La Biche, CFRN-TV-7 Lougheed, CFRN-TV-9 Slave Lake, CFQC-TV-1 Stranraer, CFQC-TV-2 North Battleford, CKMC-TV Swift Current, CKMJ-TV Marquis, CKYA-TV Fisher Branch, CKYD-TV Dauphin, CFYF-TV Flin Flon, CKYP-TV The Pas, CITO-TV-2 Kearns, CJOH-TV-47 Pembroke, CJOH-TV-6 Deseronto, CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs, CFNY-TV-11 Huntsville, CKAM-TV-3 Blackville, CKAM-TV-4 Doaktown, CKLT-TV-2 Boiestown, CJCB-TV-3 Dingwall, CJCH-TV-3 Valley/Colchester, and CJCH-TV-4 Bridgetown.
On December 19, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the CRTC Order (and related Decision) that disallowed simultaneous substitution of the NFL’s annual Super Bowl game, saying that it was not authorized under s. 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act. Simultaneous substitution was enshrined in various regulations under the Broadcasting Act and allowed for a television service provider to temporarily delete and replace the entire signal of a distant (usually national or international) television station with the signal of another (usually local) television station that was airing the same program at the same time. Until the CRTC’s Order, the Canadian broadcast of the Super Bowl had been subject to the simultaneous substitution regime and Canadians were prevented from viewing the version of the game broadcast in the United States which featured high-profile American commercials. Bell Canada and Bell Media, which held the Canadian rights to the game under a multi-year contract with the NFL, and the NFL, had both appealed the Order through the courts until the actions were joined and the Supreme Court agreed to hear both actions together. The result of the Supreme Court’s decision was that the Super Bowl would once again be subject to the same simultaneous substitution rules as the rest of the Canadian broadcasting system and Canadians would once again not be able to watch the US version of the Super Bowl.
However, Canadians could still expect to be able to see the "high profile" U.S. Super Bowl commercials, which had been made available on several other channels and widely over the Internet in recent years.
It was announced in December that Craig Oliver, CTV’s chief political commentator and a fixture on the network for the last 40 years, was retiring. The 81 year old planned to still appear occasionally as a guest commentator.