|CTV Drama Channel|
|Launched||January 1, 1995|
|Owned by||Bell Media|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Formerly called||Bravo! (1995-2012)|
CTV Comedy Channel
CTV Sci-Fi Channel
CTV Life Channel
|Bell TV||Channel 620 (SD)|
Channel 1734 (HD)
|Shaw Direct||Channel 523 (SD)|
Channels 82 and 582 (HD)
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||Channel 203 (SD)|
Channel 420 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 620 (SD)|
Channel 1620 (HD)
|Bell MTS||Channel 123 (SD)|
Channel 1123 (HD)
|Optik TV||Channel 9302 (SD)|
Channel 302 (HD)
|SaskTel||Channel 73 (SD)|
Channel 373 (HD)
|VMedia||Channel 40 (HD)|
|Zazeen||Channel 121 (HD)|
The channel was founded as the Canadian version of the U.S. channel Bravo (which is now owned by NBCUniversal) on January 1, 1995, and originally focused on performing arts, drama, and independent film. As with its U.S. counterpart, the channel has dropped its arts programming but unlike its U.S. counterpart, which shifted to female-targeting reality and lifestyle-oriented series, the Canadian channel adopted a general entertainment format with a focus on drama.
In 2012, Bravo was relaunched under a new logo and separate branding from its former American counterpart. Seven years later, the channel would rebrand again under its current name on September 12, 2019.
In the 1980s, a precursor to Bravo existed called C Channel. The service was a national commercial-free pay television channel that focused on arts programming. C Channel launched on February 1, 1983, before it went bankrupt and ceased operations five months later on June 30 of that year due to its inability to attract a sufficient number of subscribers at a price of $16 per month.
Over 10 years later, another attempt at an arts-based channel was proposed when CHUM Limited applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a license to operate Bravo. In June 1994, CHUM's application for Bravo was approved, citing its nature of service as focusing on "performance and drama programming, as well as documentary and discussion".
Bravo was launched on January 1, 1995, at 3pm, with an introductory slide of a letter from Moses Znaimer explaining how Bravo was intended to help show that TV was not "a monumental waste of time", as he claimed most people thought of it, followed by their first program, the BBC documentary TV Is King. It focused on arts programming, including music, ballet, literature, television and film drama, visual arts, modern dance, opera and architecture. Facilities for the network, including a small studio constructed especially for acoustic performances, were housed in an addition to the CHUMCity Building at 299 Queen Street West in Toronto, and much like Citytv and MuchMusic, utilized unconventional branding and programming (hence the original slogan for the network, NewStyleArtsChannel), and the network had 3 branded vehicles to be used in covering news about the arts. As a condition of licence, Bravo was to contribute a predetermined amount or percentage of its revenues to ArtsFACT (now called Bravo!FACT), a fund established to provide grants for the production of Canadian short films covering a wide range of arts-related disciplines. Films funded by Bravo!FACT have regularly aired on the channel.
In July 2006, Bell Globemedia (later called CTVglobemedia) announced that it would purchase CHUM for an estimated CAD$1.7 billion, included in the sale was Bravo The sale was approved by the CRTC on June 8, 2007, and the transaction was completed on June 22, 2007 while the Citytv stations were sold to Rogers Media. After CTVglobemedia's purchase of Bravo, the channel increasingly shifted its focus toward more television and film dramas (such as Criminal Minds), and lessened its focus on arts programming.
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 $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. a high definition simulcast feed of Bravo, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format, was launched later that year on October 6, 2011.
While under Bell Media ownership, the shift toward television and film dramas and general entertainment programming was expanded upon, although it still carries some arts-related programming as a condition of its licence. This format shift was further emphasized on May 14, 2012, when Bravo unveiled a new on-air logo and new on-air presentation as part of an extensive rebranding of the network. The new logo dropped the original "square" logo that Bravo had maintained since its launch (which resembled the 1993 to 2003 logo used by the U.S. channel), in favour of a design no longer resembling any logo used by its American counterpart.
On June 6, 2013, Bell announced that Bravo would become the company's first network to implement a TV Everywhere service, which would allow subscribers of participating television service providers that carry Bravo to stream video on demand content as well as a live feed of the Bravo channel via the Bravo Go app.
On June 7, 2018, during the CTV upfronts, it was announced that Bravo would be re-branded as "CTV Drama", as part of a re-branding of several Bell Media specialty channels under the CTV name. The following year, it was revealed the channel would rebrand as CTV Drama Channel on September 12, 2019. Bell also announced a commitment to order 20 made-for-TV film adaptations of Harlequin novels from Harlequin Studios, which will air on CTV Drama Channel and Vrak.
In its early years as Bravo, the channel often aired short films by Canadian artists between programs, funded by its foundation Bravo!FACT, which ranged from comedy to drama to opera to jazz to animation. Many of these also aired on Bravo's weekly series Bravo!FACT Presents. Bravo has also produced a limited amount of scripted and non-scripted series and has broadcast many notable specials, including a telecast of Canadian rock band Spirit of the West's Open Heart Symphony concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and three early television films within the Murdoch Mysteries franchise: Except the Dying, Poor Tom Is Cold and Under the Dragon's Tail.