TORONTO (June 5, 2019) Leveraging Canada’s #1 entertainment brand, CTV, Bell Media confirmed today in advance of tomorrow’s #CTVUpfront the debut of rebranded specialty channels CTV Comedy Channel, CTV Sci-Fi Channel, CTV Drama Channel, and CTV Life Channel on Sept.12. The new brands are the next evolution of The Comedy Network, Space, Bravo, and Gusto, respectively. Bell Media also announced today the acquisition of seven genre-defining series featuring A-list talent such Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser, and Alan Tudyk, as well as an expanded partnership with Kevin Hart’s comedy brand and multi-platform network Laugh Out Loud, stocking the channels with premium content for the 2019/2020 broadcast year.
The announcement comes following a year of unprecedented 20% growth for Bell Media Entertainment Specialty channels. Comedy, Space, and Bravo have all increased their ranking within Top 10 list of Entertainment Specialties, while Gusto is now ranked among the Top 20. Comedy ranks #2 for the first time ever; Space saw double-digit audience growth among total viewers and key adult demo; while Gusto grew more than 70% with all key adult demos, and nearly doubled its A18-34 audience.
“The four CTV Specialty channels are now a powerhouse suite of diverse entertainment options for CTV viewers,” said Mike Cosentino, President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. “Under CTV’s distinct brand umbrella, and with a slate of marquee series on the schedule, we know these channels are poised to flourish even further.”
“Following a year of unprecedented growth among our entertainment specialty channels, the investment in these captivating series delivers a combination of superb storytelling and A-list stars,” said Pat DiVittorio, Vice-President, Programming, CTV and Specialty. “Our diverse schedules continue to deliver a wide range of popcorn dramas, watercooler moments, and inspiring lifestyle programs for smart viewers and for savvy clients alike, all wrapped in fresh new branding anchored by CTV.”
CTV Comedy Channel
CTV Comedy Channel’s new slate of series boasts megawatt star power as Kevin Hart’s hit sports interview series from Laugh Out Loud, COLD AS BALLS, joins the lineup. CTV Comedy’s digital platforms will also feature a curated slate of Laugh Out Loud’s award-winning content later this year. Adding to this A-List slate is the revival of MAD ABOUT YOU, with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt reprising their roles in the award-winning, fan favourite two decades after the original series wrapped. TACOMA FD, which debuted as the #1 new cable comedy series in the U.S., also lands on CTV Comedy Channel this fall, joining an already prestigious schedule that includes water-cooler series THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH and FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE, whose comedic punditry is sure to bring the heat to the upcoming powder keg 2020 American election.
CTV Sci-Fi Channel
Still the go-to destination for all things genre, CTV Sci-Fi acquires sure-to-be fan-favourite series RESIDENT ALIEN, based on the comic book series of the same name and led by genre star, Alan Tudyk (DOOM PATROL, Rogue One). The series joins the previously announced – and highly anticipated – acquisition, STAR TREK: PICARD, starring Sir Patrick Stewart, as well as mega-hit STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, and critically-acclaimed anthology series, CASTLE ROCK.
CTV Drama Channel
Joining a lineup fuelled by some of pop culture’s biggest female-led series, including KILLING EVE and THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Season 3 premieres this Sunday, June 9 at 9 p.m. ET), CTV Drama lands TV’s next obsessive thriller, GOLD DIGGER, featuring Emmy Award®-winner Julia Ormond along with Ben Barnes, whose steamy affair sparks big family drama. As well, THE Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, a provocative mystery crime drama starring Patrick Dempsey and based on the award-winning and best-selling book of the same name, also joins the buzzy and stylish CTV Drama fall lineup.
CTV Life Channel
Jamie Oliver kick starts the refreshed CTV Life Channel with new series JAMIE’S ULTIMATE VEG, bolstering a slate that includes fan favourites JAMIE AND JIMMY’S FOOD FIGHT CLUB, ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY, MARTHA AND SNOOP’S POTLUCK DINNER PARTY, and home-cooked series BONACINI’S ITALY and WHERE TO I DO.
Additional marquee programming rolls out across other Bell Media Entertainment Specialties this fall, including:
- On Discovery, juggernaut programming block SHARKWEEK returns Sunday, July 28, and the emotional and inspiring two-episode event MAKE IT TO THE MOON, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, is slated to premiere this summer.
- On Much, comedy favourites DRUNK HISTORY, SOUTH PARK, and TOSH.O return this fall.
- On MTV, JERSEY SHORE: FAMILY VACATION and THE CHALLENGE are all back.
- On E! steamy island romp TEMPTATION ISLAND returns, the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS lands on November 10, and infamous E! red carpet specials fuel fashion-hungry viewers all award-season long.
Complete Descriptions for CTV’s Entertainment Specialty Channels’ New 2019-20 Acquisitions:
CTV COMEDY CHANNEL
COLD AS BALLS (Fall, 11 x 30)
Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud network presents the most awkward interview in sports: COLD AS BALLS. Take the plunge with the world’s top comedian and host Kevin Hart as he interviews world-class athletes – all while sitting in a bone-chilling ice bath! Watch the hilarious results as some of today’s biggest sports stars expose themselves in more ways than one, in this interview series.
MAD ABOUT YOU (2019, 12 x :30)
MAD ABOUT YOU is a continuation of the hit 1990s series of the same name. As Paul and Jamie Buchman (Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt) prepare to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, their beloved but challenging daughter Mabel heads off to NYU (a mere six blocks away) leaving them with an empty nest and an unexpected challenge: how to reconnect and reignite the passion they once shared now that they’re much older and really tired.
TACOMA FD (Fall, 10 x :30)
TACOMA FD is a new half-hour comedy set in a firehouse in one of America’s rainiest cities. Light on blazes that need extinguishing, these firefighters keep themselves entertained with creative competitions, friendly first responder rivalries and no shortage of bizarre emergency calls. Tacoma FD is co-created and executive produced by Broken Lizard’s Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme alongside David Miner and Greg Walter from 3 Arts Entertainment and Kyle Clark from Silverscreen Pictures.
CTV SCI-FI CHANNEL
RESIDENT ALIEN (2020, 10 x 60)
RESIDENT ALIEN is a twisted and comedic fish-out-of-water story that follows a crash-landed alien named Harry (Alan Tudyk, FIREFLY, Rogue One) who, after taking on the identity of a small-town Colorado doctor, slowly begins to wrestle with the moral dilemma of his secret mission on Earth, ultimately asking the question, “Are human beings worth saving?”
CTV DRAMA CHANNEL
GOLD DIGGER (Fall, 6 x :60)
GOLD DIGGER focuses on a wealthy woman who falls in love with a much younger man, and the impact it has on her already damaged family. Mother first, wife second, woman last – 60-year-old Julia has spent her whole life putting the needs of others before her own. Then she meets Benjamin, a 30-something copywriter with a shrouded history. As the drama unfolds, the consequences of Julia and Benjamin’s unconventional relationship are explored, as devastating secrets from the past tear the family’s fragile bonds further apart. Has Julia finally found the happiness she’s always deserved? Or is the complex and enigmatic Benjamin really the gold digger her family thinks he is? Starring Primetime Emmy winner Julia Ormond (Sabrina, Legends of the Fall) alongside Ben Barnes (Westworld, The Punisher), GOLD DIGGER is written by Marnie Dickens, produced by Mainstreet Pictures and distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (Fall, 10 x :60)
Based on the bestselling novel Joël Dicker, the 10-part series tells the story of Harry Quebert (Patrick Dempsey), a literary icon who suddenly finds himself indicted for murder after the body of a young girl is found buried on his property. Starring alongside Dempsey is Ben Schnetzer, Damon Wayans Jr., Virginia Madsen, and Kristine Froseth. Academy Award®-winning French director Jean-Jacques Annaud makes his television directorial debut, directing every episode of the series.
CTV LIFE CHANNEL
JAMIE’S ULTIMATE VEG (Fall, 6 x :60)
Jamie’s brand-new series is a celebration of all things veg – encouraging meat-eaters and vegetarians alike to put vegetables front and centre! Jamie thinks it’s time we stopped thinking of them as side dishes to the meat – veg can steal the show in its own right and he wants to show us how. Jamie knows that many of us want to eat less meat. Whether for health or financial reasons, for the planet or animal welfare, we are all slowly moving towards eating more veg and less meat.
In this series, Jamie is cooking up a stunning collection of beautifully vibrant, hearty and healthy veg dishes for us to add to our repertoire. Not only that, he will seek inspiration from around the UK and also Israel and India, around the world, meeting people who inspire and excite him with new ways to hero vegetables.
In Jamie’s inimitable way, he’ll bring to life glorious combinations and new ideas inspired by his travels. This series is packed full of phenomenal food that you will want to eat because it’s easy and delicious – you won’t even miss the meat!
About Bell Media
Bell Media is Canada’s leading content creation company with premier assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising, digital media, and more. Bell Media owns 30 local television stations led by CTV, Canada’s highest-rated television network; 30 specialty channels, including leading specialty services TSN and RDS. Bell Media is Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, with 215 music channels including 109 licensed radio stations in 58 markets across the country, all part of the iHeartRadio brand and streaming service. Bell Media owns Astral, an out-of-home advertising network of 50,000 faces in five provinces. Bell Media also operates more than 200 websites; video streaming services including Crave, TSN Direct, and RDS Direct; and multi-channel network Much Studios. The company owns a majority stake in Pinewood Toronto Studios; is a partner in Just for Laughs, the live comedy event and TV producer; and jointly owns Dome Productions Partnership., one of North America’s leading production facilities providers. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. Learn more at www.BellMedia.ca.