Comedy Gold (TV channel)
|Launched||September 7, 2001|
|Closed||September 1, 2019|
|Owned by||Bell Media|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Formerly called||TV Land Canada (2001–2010)|
|Sister channel(s)||CTV Comedy Channel (known as The Comedy Network at the time of the channel's closure)|
Comedy Gold was a Canadian English language specialty channel that was owned by Bell Media. Originally a Canadian version of the American channel TV Land, it later became a sister network to The Comedy Network previously focused on sitcoms and sketch comedy programs from the 1970s to 1990s.
On November 24, 2000, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) granted Craig Media (previously known as Craig Broadcast Systems Inc.) permission to launch a national Category 2 digital specialty channel tentatively known as Retro; a channel described as being "devoted to classic television programming".
In August 2001, before the channel had launched, Craig Media announced it had reached a deal with U.S.-based MTV Networks, to launch Retro as a domestic Canadian version of the American classic television-focused cable channel, TV Land. The channel was launched in September 2001 as TV Land Canada, with a slate of programming focusing on classic American sitcoms and dramas. MTV Networks purchased a minority share in the service months later.
In April 2004, CHUM Limited announced it would purchase Craig Media for CAD$265 million; Craig's 80.1% interest in TV Land was included in the sale. The sale was subject to CRTC approval and was approved on November 19, 2004. The transaction was completed on December 1, 2004. In July 2006, Bell Globemedia (later CTVglobemedia) announced that it would purchase CHUM, including TV Land Canada, for an estimated CAD$1.7 billion. The sale was approved by the CRTC on June 8, 2007, with the transaction completed on June 22.
On June 21, 2010, it was announced that TV Land would be rebranded as Comedy Gold, becoming an offshoot of The Comedy Network, effective August 2, 2010. The rebranded channel shifted focus to classic American sitcoms from the 1970s through the 1990s including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Murphy Brown, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Viacom sold its stake in the channel back to CTV after the rebrand took place.
The channel's ownership changed hands once again when on September 10, 2010, BCE Inc. (a minority shareholder in CTVglobemedia) announced that it planned to acquire 100% interest in CTVglobemedia for a total debt and equity transaction cost of CAD$3.2 billion. The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 7, 2011, and was finalized on April 1 of that year, on which CTVglobemedia was rebranded Bell Media. In June 2012, Comedy Gold unveiled a new on-air look consisting of a new logo and new on-air presentation, aligning with the relaunched Comedy Network, which itself had unveiled a new on-air rebrand in November 2011.
Sale to Wow Unlimited Media, planned re-launch
In June 2017, Wow Unlimited Media announced a strategic partnership with Bell, under which it would acquire an unspecified category B service to re-launch as a channel targeting children and young adults, in exchange for a minority equity stake in the company. In an October 2017 interview, Bell Media president Randy Lennox revealed that the channel would be Comedy Gold. The sale to Wow Unlimited Media was approved on July 9, 2018.
On March 12, 2019, Wow Unlimited Media issued a press release stating the date upon which the channel would be fully acquired has been pushed back to either May 31, 2019, or August 30, 2019 "to pursue sponsorships and partnerships". On July 24, 2019, a representative of Bell Support revealed that Comedy Gold would be shutting down anywhere between August 30 and September 1. Wow took possession of the license on August 30, and Comedy Gold was ultimately shuttered on September 1, after which the channel space created by TV Land in 2001 ceased to exist. In its second-quarter earnings report, Wow stated that the company was "exploring strategic partnerships to structure a financially attractive business plan" for the network.
Prior to the announced sale to Wow Unlimited Media, Comedy Gold focused primarily on sitcoms and sketch comedy programs from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s (such as Full House, Night Court, The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show); it also carried some Canadian-produced programs (such as Inside the Box and Second City Television).
Since the announcement of its sale to Wow Unlimited Media, Comedy Gold's focus on classic comedy was downplayed and its programming shifted to reruns of general comedy-oriented shows.
- DejaView - a similar specialty service owned by Corus Entertainment, specializing in classic television series from the 1960s to the 1990s.
- Teletoon Retro - a former offshoot of Teletoon, owned by Corus Entertainment, that focused on classic cartoons and television series aimed at children.
- Decision CRTC 2000-548; CRTC; 2000-12-14
- TV Land, MTV and Craig Broadcast Systems to Launch New Canadian Services in September; PR Newswire; 2001-08-21
- CHUM buying TV broadcaster Craig Media for $265M; CBC; 2004-04-12
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-502; CRTC; 2004-11-19
- CHUM completes $265 million purchase of Craig Media and financing Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine Fasken Martineau
- Bell Globemedia acquires CHUM Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine; Fasken Martineau; 2006-07-12
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2007-165; CRTC; 2007-06-08
- Vlessing, Etan (June 21, 2010). "CTV tweaks TV Land Canada's focus". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 2, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-09-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Bell Canada (2010-09-10). "Bell to acquire 100% of Canada's No.1 media company CTV". CNW Group. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- CRTC approves BCE's purchase of CTVglobemedia Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Bell completes acquisition of CTV, launches Bell Media business unit Archived April 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine CNW 2011-04-01
- Comedy Gold Reveals New Look in Time for All-New Freeview, Beginning Today Archived 2013-01-15 at Archive.today Bell Media site, retrieved July 10, 2012,
- Reid, Regan (June 8, 2017). "Wow Unlimited to acquire channel from Bell Media". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "Bell confirms Wow channel deal". C21media. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
- "The Cartt.ca Interview: Bell Media president Randy Lennox talks rich uncles, teeter-totters and Ty Cobb". Cartt.ca. Retrieved 2017-10-30.(subscription required)
- "Comedy Gold – Acquisition of assets". CRTC. Retrieved 2018-07-09.
- "WOW! Announces Extension to Broadcast Licence Transfer From Bell Media". GlobeNewswire News Room. 2019-03-12. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- "WOW! Unlimited stalls launch of new kids channel". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2019-09-16.