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General information  

  • Starting date : 06/01/1974

Alias  

  • CanWest Global System
  • CanWest Global System (used in the 90s on non-Global branded Canwest stations)

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Global Television Network (1974)

Type :  

  Summary  

Global Television Network is an English language privately owned television network in Canada, owned by Calgary-based Shaw Communications, as part of its Shaw Media division. It is currently Canada's number-two broadcast television network, and has 12 owned-and-operated stations (O&Os) throughout the country.

The network has its origins in a regional television station of the same name, serving Southern Ontario, which launched in 1974. The Ontario station was soon purchased by the now-defunct CanWest Global Communications, and that company gradually expanded its national reach in the subsequent decades. The national entity was known as the CanWest Global System until adopting the Ontario station's branding in 1997.

  Biography  

 Founding

In the 1970s, a call went out for "third" television stations in several major cities in Canada. A group of investors, led by Al Bruner and Peter Hill, founded Global Communications Ltd. with the idea of building a cross-Canada, all-UHF network. The group had to settle for a six-transmitter network in Southern Ontario, stretching from Windsor to Ottawa, but were denied a transmitter in Maxville that would reach Montreal. The group promised a high level of Canadian content and agreed not to accept local advertising. The new network, called the Global Television Network, launched on January 6, 1974 when CKGN signed on from studios in Don Mills at 6 PM local time. The station's main transmitter was licensed to Paris, Ontario.

The station ran into difficulty in just three months, and was purchased by two large groups, one of which was owned by Izzy Asper, a Manitoba politician turned broadcaster. Asper owned CKND in Winnipeg, which carried many of Global's programs, through his company then known as CanWest Capital. In 1977, both partners attempted to buy out the other's shares, with Canwest being successful in becoming the first western-based owner of a major Canadian broadcasting entity.

CKGN became CIII in 1984.

 1970s-1990s
A considerable portion of the schedule's programs were cancelled in the spring of 1974. By fall, Global had become "another CTV", with American imports filling as much of the schedule as Canadian content rules would allow. Over several years, the prime late evening newscast shifted between 10 and 11 p.m., and between 30 and 60 minutes. The network continued to be limited to a six-transmitter chain throughout the 1970s.

By the 1980s, Asper seemed eager to grow his chain of stations, launching two stations in Saskatchewan and winning a legal battle for a station in Vancouver during that decade, and acquiring a fledgling system in the Maritimes in the early 1990s. This grew Canwest's footprint to the major centres in seven of Canada's ten provinces. These regional networks purchased many of their programs collectively, and consequently had similar—although not identical—broadcast schedules. They did not share common branding, however, although stations were sometimes indicated as being part of the "CanWest Global System" as a secondary brand.

In 1997, Canwest bought majority control of the CBC affiliate in Quebec City, CKMI-TV, from TVA, which retained a 49% interest until 2002. On August 18, 1997, CKMI disaffiliated from CBC, set up rebroadcasters in Montreal and Sherbrooke, and began carrying the same programming lineup as Canwest's other stations.


With the acquisition of CKMI, Canwest now had enough coverage of Canada that it seemed logical to call its station group a "network". Accordingly, on the same day CKMI relaunched as a Global station, Canwest scrubbed local branding from all of its stations and rebranded them as the "Global Television Network", the brand previously used solely by the Ontario outlet. Even so, Global was still not a true national network. In the mid-1980s, it tried to launch stations in the key Western markets of Calgary and Edmonton, only to be rebuffed by the CRTC. As a result, Global aired most of its programming on independent stations CICT and CITV, respectively. Similarly, Global lacked a full-time station in St. John's, where Global programming was carried by longtime CTV affiliate CJON-TV.

 2000s
In 2000, Canwest acquired the conventional television assets of Western International Communications . WIC's stations in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge had been airing some Global programs since 1988, and those stations formally joined the network on September 4, 2000.

The following fall, WIC's long-dominant Vancouver station CHAN was brought into the fold after its existing affiliation agreement with CTV expired. Indeed, one main reason Canwest bought WIC's television assets was because of CHAN's massive translator network, covering 97 percent of British Columbia. Global's previous Vancouver station, CKVU, as well as WIC-owned Montreal CTV affiliate CFCF, were sold off. WIC's remaining stations were maintained as twinstick stations and were eventually integrated into a secondary system known as CH (rebranded as E! in 2007 in a partnership with the American channel of the same name), although financial pressures forced Canwest to sell or fold the E! stations in 2009.

Full network service is still not available over-the-air in Newfoundland and Labrador, although CJON, having disaffiliated from CTV in 2002, now clears the vast majority of the Global network schedule in that province, most recently adding the network's national newscast in mid-2009. Any remaining programs there may be accessed on cable or satellite through Global stations from other markets .

Following Canwest's purchase of Southam Newspapers and the National Post from Conrad Black in 2001, their media interests have been merged under a policy of cross-promotion and synergy. Journalists from the Post and other Canwest papers made frequent appearances on Global's news programs, passengers on the now-defunct serial drama Train 48 habitually read the Post, and Global programs were promoted in Canwest newspapers. However, this practice has now been largely abandoned, particularly with the sale of Canwest's newspaper division to separate owners in 2010.

In late 2004, with CTV beginning to dominate the ratings, Canwest reorganized its Canadian operations and hired a number of new executives, all formerly of various U.S. media firms, leading to a major overhaul of Global announced in December 2005. The most obvious change is a new logo, replacing the "crescent" with a new "greater than" logo, with the Global wordmark in a new font, in use as of February 5, 2006 (coinciding with Global's broadcast of Super Bowl XL). New logos and graphics were designed for news and network promotions, and several newscasts received new timeslots and formats. The crescent, which had been used as a common design element in many Canwest logos, was subsequently removed from other properties owned or sponsored by the company.

On April 10, 2008, the network announced that its Toronto and Vancouver stations would start broadcasting over the air in those markets in high-definition television. CIII-DT Toronto and CHAN-DT Burnaby/Vancouver officially started transmitting in HD on April 18, 2008. The network has also launched its digital signals at its stations in Calgary (CICT-DT) and Edmonton (CITV-DT) as of July 2009.

Following Canwest seeking creditor protection in late 2009, Shaw Communications took over Canwest's broadcasting assets as of October 27, 2010. Global is now part of the new Shaw Media division.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Global Television Network", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.