Some changes in Canadian television…

1 09 2009

This week marks a number of significant changes in Canada’s TV landscape. Some channels have tweaked their programming lineups; others have had wholesale format changes. And some stations have ceased operations completely. Here’s a sampling of what’s going on:

CBC Television adopts a new 90-minute dinner-hour newscast. In Toronto, Diana Swain and Aaron Saltzman share anchoring duties, with Swain hosting at 5 and 6pm (all times Eastern), while Saltzman covers from 5:30-6pm. Similar setups are in place at other CBC stations.

Global Ontario has been rebranded as Global Toronto. This change would seem to be in name only, as the main focus for Global Ontario’s news programming has been Toronto for some time, in my view. There may be other changes I’m not yet aware of. Similarly, Global Quebec is now Global Montreal.

Hamilton’s CHCH-TV is now owned by Channel Zero, along with former fellow E! Channel CJNT-TV in Montreal. CHCH becomes a news/movies channel. Once the infrastructure is in place, news will air weekdays from 5:30am-7pm, followed by a double-feature of movies through the evening, with additional movies to air as part of the weekend lineup. CHCH’s current news shows remain: Morning Live, Live at 5:30, and the noon, 6pm and 11pm newscasts. A newswheel and perhaps other news programming will round out the news portion of CHCH’s programming day.

CJNT will be going with mainly ethnic programming and music videos for its schedule.

CHCA-TV in Red Deer, Alberta, formerly part of the E! network, has gone off the air, and former E! station CHBC-TV in Kelowna, British Columbia, has become part of the Global TV network under the new name Global Okanagan.

The status of former E! affiliate CHEK-TV in Victoria is still uncertain. It was due to go off air completely as of Monday, and indeed, a card had been put up that morning saying that the station had ceased operations. But I noticed in the evening that it was indeed broadcasting again, and is continuing to broadcast as I write this. This is apparently through the joint work of CHEX staff, station owners Canwest, and the CRTC (the regulatory body for broadcasting in Canada). A deal had been submitted by CHEX staff to buy the station, but had been turned down by Canwest. Perhaps that deal is being retooled and reconsidered, or another deal is in the works to keep the station on air. Will have to watch this closely.

There are a number of other changes that have taken place or will take place very soon, too many to list here. Steve Faguy of the Montreal Gazette has more details in his Fagstein blog:

http://blog.fagstein.com/2009/08/31/welcome-to-the-new-tv/

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