City (TV network)
|Type||Broadcast television network|
parts of the northern United States via digital cable
by Channel Seventy-Nine Ltd.|
(Phyllis Switzer, Moses Znaimer, Jerry Grafstein and Edgar Cowan, among others)
Rogers Media, a division of Rogers Communications|
(Rogers Broadcasting Limited)</td></tr>
Guy Laurence - Rogers President & CEO|
Keity Pelley - President of Media Business Unit, Rogers Media
Scott Moore - Senior Vice President, Sportsnet and NHL Network, Rogers Media</td></tr>
September 28, 1972(independent Toronto station)|
July 22, 2002
(first national expansion)
February 4, 2013
(current national footprint)</td></tr>
The Biography Channel
The Shopping Channel
City (occasionally branded as "City Television" and formerly known as "Citytv") is a Canadian English language broadcast television network that is owned by Rogers Media, a division of Rogers Communications (through its Rogers Broadcasting Limited division). It is Canada's third most-watched private-sector television network after CTV and Global and consists of seven owned-and-operated television stations located in the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and the province of Saskatchewan, as well as three independently owned affiliates serving smaller cities in Alberta and British Columbia. The Citytv brand has also been licensed to television stations outside of Canada.
City stations originally had an intensely local format based on newscasts aimed at younger viewers, nightly movies, and music and cultural programming. Moses Znaimer, who developed the original format, once described the system's philosophy by saying, "It's not the show, it's the flow." Since the 2000s, and particularly since its acquisition by Rogers, City has expanded its national reach and has moved towards a series-based primetime schedule much like its competitors, albeit one still focused on younger demographics.
See also: 2007 Canada broadcast TV realignment
The licence of the original City station, granted the callsign of CITY-TV by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was awarded in Toronto on November 25, 1971 and began broadcasting for the first time using the "Citytv" brand on September 28, 1972 under the ownership of Channel Seventy-Nine Ltd. with its studios located at 99 Queen Street East near Church Street. The station was in debt by 1975. Multiple Access Ltd. (then-owners of CFCF in Montreal) purchased a 45% interest in the station, and sold its stake to CHUM Limited three years later. CHUM Limited acquired the station outright in 1981. Broadcasting on UHF channel 79 during its first decade, the station moved to channel 57 in 1983, until moving to channel 44 with the digital transition (though mapping as virtual channel 57.1). In 1987, the station moved its headquarters to 299 Queen Street West, formerly known as the Ryerson Press Building (then known as the CHUM-City Building); one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. On September 8, 2009, CITY moved to its current location at Yonge-Dundas Square at 33 Dundas Street East.
Citytv gained a second station in Vancouver when CHUM bought CKVU from Canwest Global Communications in 2001. The station became known as "Citytv Vancouver" on July 22, 2002. Prior to CHUM's acquisition of CKVU, some Citytv programming was syndicated to KVOS in nearby Bellingham, Washington.
In 2004, CHUM bought Craig Media, parent of the A-Channel system in Manitoba and Alberta. The Craig-owned A-Channel stations were relaunched as Citytv on August 2, 2005; the same date that CHUM's NewNet stations, including CKVR, CHWI and CFPL, were rebranded under the A-Channel banner.
CHUM Limited announced plans to sell its broadcasting assets to CTV parent CTVglobemedia on July 12, 2006. CTVgm intended to retain CHUM's Citytv system while divesting CHUM's A-Channel stations and Alberta cable channel Access to get the CRTC to approve the acquisition. On the same day that the takeover was announced, Citytv cancelled its supper hour, late night and weekend newscasts at its local Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg stations, laying off hundreds of news department staff.
In October 2006, Citytv launched a daily national newscast, CityNews International, which was produced in Toronto for broadcast on the western Canadian stations and on CHUM's Toronto news channel CP24. The Edmonton and Calgary stations also began broadcasting a daily 30-minute magazine show, Your City, instead of a full-fledged newscast. The Vancouver news operation, which had operated for 30 years under various owners and station identities, was not maintained aside from Breakfast Television. In the same month, Citytv Toronto became the first television station in Canada to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
The following year on June 8, the CRTC approved the CTV takeover of CHUM. However, the CRTC made the deal conditional on CTV divesting itself of Citytv, because there were already CTV owned-and-operated stations serving the same cities (CFTO Toronto, CIVT Vancouver, CFCN Calgary, CFRN Edmonton, and CKY Winnipeg). Without the divestment, CTV would have exceeded the CRTC's concentration of media ownership limits. CTV announced on June 11, 2007, that it would retain the A-Channel stations, and sell the Citytv stations to Rogers Communications for $375 million. The transaction was approved by the CRTC on September 28 and was completed on October 31, 2007.
On December 6, 2010, CityNews Tonight Toronto anchor and continuity announcer Mark Dailey died after a long battle with cancer. The Citytv system began to phase in a modified branding in October 2012, with a new logo consisting only of the name "City", and some promotions using the verbal branding "City Television" (later also switched to simply "City") instead of Citytv. The change marked the first major alteration to the Citytv brand since its introduction in 1972. The new City branding was launched on December 31, 2012 during its New Year's Eve special.
Expanding into a national footprint
The Jim Pattison Group announced in July 2009 that its three television stations in western Canada (CKPG, CFJC, and CHAT), formerly affiliated with E!, would join Citytv starting on September 1, 2009. These stations do not carry the City branding; instead, the stations continue to use the same branding and logos they used as affiliates of the E! system. The Pattison-owned Citytv affiliates produce local newscasts, but do not produce their own versions of Breakfast Television nor title their midday and evening newscasts under the CityNews brand like the City owned-and-operated stations do. Through a long-term affiliation renewal agreement on May 3, 2012, the Pattison stations began to carry 90% of Citytv's primetime programming and the majority of its morning and daytime programming from the programming grid of CKVU-DT, including simulcasts of the Vancouver edition of Breakfast Television. Unlike CKVU, the Pattison stations continue to produce midday and evening local newscasts.
Meanwhile on December 20, 2011, Bluepoint Investment Corporation announced an affiliation agreement with Rogers Communications to air Citytv programming on the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) from 3 p.m.-6 a.m. CT daily, beginning on January 2, 2012. This program block followed the national program grid of Citytv and was known on-air as "Citytv on SCN". Shortly after, on January 17, 2012, Rogers announced its intent to acquire SCN from Bluepoint. The deal gave the Citytv system stations in all provinces west of Quebec and south of the federal territories of Northern Canada. The sale was approved in late June 2012 by the CRTC and Rogers relaunched SCN as Citytv Saskatchewan on July 1. Rogers plans to invest in the station's infrastructure, and also launch a high definition feed.
In Montreal, Rogers announced its intent to acquire multicultural station CJNT-DT from Toronto-based Channel Zero on May 3, 2012 and announced an affiliation agreement with the station, effective June 4, 2012. This gave Citytv stations in all provinces west of Atlantic Canada as well as the system's first television station located east of the Greater Toronto Area. On December 20, 2012, the CRTC approved the acquisition of CJNT and Rogers' request to convert the station from multicultural to a conventional English-language station. The station began carrying the full City schedule on February 4, 2013, officially turning City from a television system into a network. Rogers will produce 15.5 hours of local programming a week for CJNT (including a local edition of Breakfast Television), and will contribute funding and programming to a new independent multicultural station in Montreal.
Main article: List of programs broadcast by City
City is well known for its unconventional approach to news and local programming. There is no news desk (anchors read the news standing up, or on stools), and cameras are sometimes hand-held. Citytv also pioneered the concept of videojournalism, where reporters often carry their own cameras and report and videotape their own stories. Citytv calls its videojournalists "videographers", but unlike many stations in American television markets that try to conceal the fact that reporters are so-called "one-man bands", Citytv embraced the use of video journalism by highlighting the use of technology; Citytv videographers often carry a second home video camera to record images of them videotaping on the scene. The low-grade video is then incorporated into the final story to show viewers how the story was recorded.
At one time, City's Toronto flagship CITY-TV produced more local programs than any other television station in Canada, and more local programming than any other station in North America other than Boston's WCVB-TV. Citytv produced shows such as Speakers' Corner, CityLine and was the original home of FashionTelevision, SexTV and MediaTelevision. Many of these series were not strictly focused on Toronto – FT, for instance, consisted largely of foreign runway footage – and are easily syndicated to other outlets. The latter three shows are now owned by CTVglobemedia as a result of its takeover of CHUM and subsequent divesting of the City stations.
CITY also prominently broadcast feature films during primetime, in late night and on weekends as part of the Great Movies block; as City transitioned to a primetime lineup consisting of mainly domestic and American series during the 2000s, Great Movies was scaled back, only to be dropped entirely in 2008 and replaced with either reruns, reality shows or infomercials.
The station also attracted attention and controversy by airing Baby Blue Movies, a softcore pornography film showcase on Friday nights after midnight. Although this programming block was discontinued in the 1980s, it was reinstated on CITY and CKVU throughout most of the 2000s, until its ownership change to Rogers Communications. This, along with the 'hide away' place on the UHF dial formed the basis of fictional station "CIVIC TV" (Channel 83, Cable 12) in David Cronenberg's Videodrome, which is set in Toronto.
Citytv was one of the first television stations in Canada to implement a diversity policy in hiring its on-air staff, actively seeking out people of colour, people with disabilities, and other minority groups to work as on-air journalists. Znaimer originally described the policy as wanting the station to "look like Toronto".
Beginning in 1983, Citytv began to produce a New Year's Eve special live from Nathan Phillips Square in Downtown Toronto. Most recently known as the City New Year's Eve Bash, the yearly concert special expanded to include a second event in Calgary, Alberta for its 2012–13 edition. In 2013–14, City began simulcasting ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve instead of airing its own full special, though it continued to sponsor (and air some coverage of) the New Year's event in Toronto.
Main article: CityNews
City Toronto's CityNews, formerly known as CityPulse, had developed a large following since its debut in 1975. Other stations around the world have imitated its format to varying degrees of success. However, Citytv itself was unsuccessful in expanding its audience to other Canadian markets, as evidenced by the eventual cancellation of the other stations' traditional newscasts. Flagship station CITY-DT, along with Jim Pattison Group-owned affiliates CFJC-TV, CKPG-TV and CHAT-TV are the only City stations producing midday or evening newscasts (though the Pattison stations brand by their individual callsigns, instead of branding under the City name and do not use the CityNews title for their weekday newscasts), Four of City's five other owned-and-operated broadcast stations (CKVU-DT, CKAL-DT, CKEM-DT and CHMI-DT) only produce localized versions of the morning program franchise Breakfast Television. City Saskatchewan, meanwhile, does not carry any local programming due to it being licensed as a cable channel.
Due to the ongoing structural problems facing the conventional television industry in Canada and the global economic crisis, Rogers Media announced cost-cutting measures at the City stations on January 19, 2010, which included massive layoffs and the cancellation of the following newscasts:
City continues to produce Breakfast Television (except at City Winnipeg) and Cityline for all markets, and CityNews at Six and CityNews Tonight in Toronto only (the evening newscasts in Toronto excluded weekend broadcasts until March 2011; the 5 p.m. newscast, meanwhile, would return in September 2011). In total, 60 City employees (including long-time Toronto news anchor Anne Mroczkowski) were laid off across Canada.
Sports broadcasts on the City stations have been sparse over the years. Between 2005 and 2014, the predominant sports property on City was coverage of the National Football League.
Craig Media (then-owners of the current Citytv stations in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary) owned the rights to Monday Night Football in the early 2000s, and these rights moved to Citytv for MNF's final season on ABC in 2005, before being moved again to TSN in 2006. Following the sale to Rogers, CKVU carried Sunday afternoon "late window" (4:00/4:15 p.m. ET, 1:00/1:15 p.m. PT) games during the 2007 season (as did Omni Television station CJMT in Toronto). From the 2008 season through 2013, all City stations carried Sunday late-window games. Rights to late games have since been acquired by CTV (who also airs early games), although City maintains rights to the afternoon American Thanksgiving games, and simulcasts some of the Thursday Night Football games aired by CBS.
Under Rogers ownership, City has aired occasional sports broadcasts as an overflow channel for co-owned Sportsnet, such as a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification group-stage match between Canada and Panama on September 11, 2012, in simulcast with Sportsnet One. It has also broadcast supplementary coverage of two tennis events that were primarily broadcast by the Sportsnet channels: the 2012 Rogers Cup, and the 2012 Davis Cup World Group Play-off between Canada and South Africa.
On November 26, 2013, Rogers announced a 12-year, $5.2 billion deal to become the exclusive national rightsholder to the National Hockey League in the 2014–15 season. Beginning in October 2014, City began to broadcast NHL games produced by Sportsnet as part of Hockey Night in Canada, along with Rogers Hometown Hockey, a Sunday night game of the week hosted by Ron MacLean.
Main article: CityNews Channel
Shortly after Rogers' takeover of the City stations was complete, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission published an application under which Rogers would have acquired 20% of CP24, which was sold to CTVglobemedia as part of its $1.4 billion takeover offer of CHUM Limited in 2007. It is not clear from the available evidence whether this was directly tied to the sale of CHUM, as opposed to any pre-existing rights Rogers may have had. In any event, the application was withdrawn prior to the scheduled hearing.
In July 2008, Rogers filed a new application with the CRTC to launch a separate 24-hour cable news channel to be known as "CityNews Toronto". That application was approved by the CRTC on December 10 of that year. The new channel was scheduled to begin broadcasting in late 2009, but was delayed for financial reasons.
The channel, now officially named CityNews Channel by this time, was launched on October 3, 2011 on Rogers Cable systems in the Toronto and Ottawa markets. The channel incorporated resources from other Rogers-owned news properties including Toronto all-news radio station CFTR (680 AM; known by its brand "680 News") and Maclean's, in addition to Citytv Toronto. The channel ceased operations on May 30, 2013.
Individual stations are normally branded on-air as "City" (prior to the 2012 rebranding, the stations were referred to as "Citytv"); the location may be added if disambiguation is necessary. The list also mentions which stations had been owned by either CHUM Ltd. or Rogers depending on affiliation.
Prior to 1997, CHUM owned two television outlets in Atlantic Canada: the ATV system of CTV affiliates, and cable-only channel ASN. Many Citytv programs were aired on either ATV or ASN during this period. Both ATV and ASN were acquired by Baton Broadcasting (now Bell Media) in 1997; ASN continued to air much of the Citytv schedule until it became part of the A (now CTV Two) television system in 2008. This means that Atlantic Canada is now the largest gap in City's local coverage area, and there are few remaining realistic options for Rogers to purchase or affiliate with existing stations in the region. This had led Rogers to attempt, unsuccessfully, to request simultaneous substitution privileges for City Toronto on its cable systems in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior to the CRTC's decision to refuse the request, Rogers had hinted that a similar agreement had been tentatively reached with EastLink, the main cable provider in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Other such gaps include parts of the B.C. interior and Northern Ontario. However, like most Canadian networks, Citytv stations are generally available as distant signals on most cable and satellite providers nationwide.
In the past, local rights to individual City programs were sold to stations outside of the Toronto station's coverage area. In Vancouver, programs were split between KVOS in Bellingham, Washington, which is close to Vancouver, and CTV-owned CIVT, during the 1990s and early 2000s when City did not have a station in Vancouver. The WIC stations in Alberta (including CITV and CICT) bought provincial rights to some City programs prior to the launch of CKAL and CKEM in 1997.
Affiliates and international franchises
The City brand has been licensed to local television stations in Bogotá, Colombia and originally in Barcelona, Spain. Toronto's CITY-DT is broadcast on a number of cable television providers in the Caribbean. In Barbados, City is carried on channel 507 of the terrestrial subscription service known as Multi-Choice TV.
1 Italicized channel numbers indicate a digital channel allocated for future use by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
In 2003, CHUM Limited launched an high definition simulcast of its Toronto station CITY-TV. In October 2006, Citytv installed a new control room, becoming one of the first fully HD broadcasters in Canada. On March 2, 2010, CKVU-TV in Vancouver launched its HD simulcast. CKEM in Edmonton began testing its digital signal on May 26, 2010 and began regular HD broadcasts on June 29, 2010. CITY-DT-3 in Ottawa began testing its digital feed on June 12, 2010 and regular digital broadcasts on June 18, 2010. CKAL began testing its high definition signal on August 31, 2010. By August 31, 2011, all Citytv owned-and-operated stations had their primary transmitters and most retransmitters broadcasting exclusively in digital.
City HD is available nationally via satellite and on digital cable. It is also available for free over-the-air using a regular TV antenna and a digital tuner (included in most new television sets) via the following stations and retransmitters: