|Type||Broadcast television network|
parts of the northern United States via digital cable
|Founded||by Channel Seventy-Nine Ltd.|
(Phyllis Switzer, Moses Znaimer, Jerry Grafstein and Edgar Cowan, among others)
|Owner||Rogers Sports & Media|
|Joe Natale - Rogers Communications President & CEO|
Jordan Banks - President of Rogers Sports & Media
Bart Yabsley - President, Sportsnet and NHL Network, Rogers Sports & Media
|September 28, 1972 (First aired)|
July 22, 2002
(first national expansion)
February 4, 2013
(current national footprint)
|City (December 2012-September 2018)|
SexTV: The Channel (2001-2007)
Drive-In Classics (2001-2007)
Citytv (branded simply as City from 2012 to 2018) is a Canadian television network owned by the Rogers Sports & Media subsidiary of Rogers Communications. The network consists of six owned-and-operated (O&O) television stations located in the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, a cable-only service that serves the province of Saskatchewan, and three independently owned affiliates serving smaller cities in Alberta and British Columbia.
The Citytv brand name originates from its flagship station, CITY-TV in Toronto, a station which became known for an intensely local format based on newscasts aimed at younger viewers, nightly movies, and music and cultural programming. The Citytv brand first expanded with CHUM Limited's acquisition of former Global O&O CKVU-TV in Vancouver, followed by its purchase of Craig Media's stations and the re-branding of its A-Channel system in Central Canada as Citytv in August 2005. CHUM Limited was acquired by CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media) in 2007; to comply with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ownership limits, the Citytv stations were sold to Rogers. The network grew through further affiliations with three Jim Pattison Group-owned stations, along with Rogers' acquisition of the cable-only Saskatchewan Communications Network and Montreal's CJNT-DT.
While patterned after the original station in Toronto, since the 2000s, and particularly since its acquisition by Rogers, Citytv has moved towards a series-based prime time schedule much like its competitors, albeit one still focused on younger demographics.
The licence of the original Citytv station, granted the callsign of CITY-TV by the 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.
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 September 8, 2009, CITY Toronto moved to its current location at Yonge-Dundas Square at 33 Dundas Street East.
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 network adopted the name City on December 31, 2012 during its New Year's Eve special. For the 2018-19 television season, the network reintroduced its original "Citytv" branding, and its social media accounts.
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 Citytv 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 Citytv 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 Citytv schedule on February 4, 2013, turning Citytv from a television system into a full-fledged network. Rogers will produce 15.5 hours of local programming a week for CJNT (including a local edition of Breakfast Television), and agreed to contribute funding and programming to a new independent multicultural station in Montreal.
Citytv 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 camera 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 story to show viewers how the story was recorded.
At one time, Citytv'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 exclusively 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 divestiture of the Citytv stations.
CITY prominently broadcast feature films during primetime, in late night and on weekends as part of the Great Movies block; as Citytv transitioned to a primetime lineup consisting of mainly domestic and American series during the 2000s, Great Movies was scaled back, then replaced in 2008 by reruns, reality shows and infomercials.
The station attracted attention and controversy by airing The Baby Blue Movie, 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 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, Citytv 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.
Citytv Toronto's CityNews, which used to be known as CityPulse, had developed a large following since its debut in 1977. 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 Citytv stations producing midday or evening newscasts. The Pattison stations use their individual callsigns, instead of branding under the Citytv 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. Citytv Saskatchewan, meanwhile, does not carry any local programming, and would be unable to broadcast Breakfast Television due to its mandate of airing educational programming in the morning and daytime hours.
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 Citytv stations on January 19, 2010, which included massive layoffs and the cancellation of the following newscasts:
CITY-DT used to operate CP24, a cable news channel covering the Greater Toronto Area. During CTVglobemedia's purchase of CHUM Limited, the company chose to retain CP24, and the channel was re-aligned with CFTO (CTV). As a replacement, Rogers received approval for, and launched, CityNews Channel in October 2011. The network was modelled on Rogers-owned radio station CFTR 680, and featured news, weather, traffic reports, and other content drawing from the resources of Rogers properties such as Maclean's and Sportsnet. On May 30, 2013, as part of budget cuts, Rogers announced that the network would be shut down.
Citytv continued to produce Breakfast Television for all markets, and 6:00 p.m. and late-night 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). Sixty Citytv employees (including long-time Toronto news anchor Anne Mroczkowski) were laid off across Canada.
In 2015, Rogers cancelled the Winnipeg and Edmonton editions of Breakfast Television; in Winnipeg, it was replaced by a simulcast of the morning show from co-owned radio station CITI-FM, and the Edmonton edition was replaced by the spin-off Dinner Television, which focuses on local events and does not feature original news reporting.
On June 5, 2017, Rogers announced that it would expand the CityNews brand to its other O&O markets, reversing the 2008 discontinuance of conventional newscasts on City's stations outside of Toronto. The network was relaunched local evening newscasts (airing as one-hour broadcasts at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.) on its owned-and-operated stations in Edmonton and Winnipeg on September 4, 2017, followed by the launch of evening newscasts on its O&Os in Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver in the winter of early 2018.
Sports broadcasts on the Citytv stations have been sparse over the years. Between 2005 and 2014, the predominant sports property on Citytv 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 Citytv stations carried Sunday late-window games. After rights to late games were acquired by CTV (who also airs early games), Sportsnet and Citytv maintained rights to Thursday Night Football and the afternoon American Thanksgiving games until the 2017 season, when these rights were acquired by TSN.
Under Rogers ownership, Citytv 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, Citytv began to broadcast NHL games produced by Sportsnet as part of Hockey Night in Canada, and Rogers Hometown Hockey, a Sunday night game of the week hosted by Ron MacLean.Hometown Hockey moved from Citytv to Sportsnet for the 2015-16 season.
Individual stations are normally branded on-air as simply "Citytv" (from 2012 to 2018, the stations were referred to as "City"); the location may be added, for example "Citytv Toronto", if disambiguation is necessary. The list also mentions which stations had been owned by either CHUM Ltd. or Rogers, depending on affiliation.
|City of license/market||Station||Channel
|Toronto, Ontario||CITY-DT||57.1 (44)||1972||1981||Original Citytv station, flagship|
|Calgary, Alberta||CKAL-DT||5.1 (49)||2005||2004||Former A-Channel station|
|Edmonton, Alberta||CKEM-DT||51.1 (17)||2005||2004||Former A-Channel flagship station|
|Montreal, Quebec||CJNT-DT||62.1 (49)||2012||2013||Former multicultural station as well as former CH/E! station|
|Portage la Prairie/Winnipeg, Manitoba||CHMI-DT||13.1 (13)||2005||2004||Former A-Channel station|
|Regina/Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||Cable-only||2012||2012||Licensed as an educational television service for the province of Saskatchewan, educational programming airs daily from 6 a.m.-3 p.m. CT.|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||CKVU-DT||10.1 (33)||2002||2001||Former Global station|
Prior to 1997, CHUM owned two television outlets in Atlantic Canada: the ATV system of CTV affiliates, and cable-only channel ASN (Former Citytv affiliate). Many Citytv programs were aired on 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 Citytv 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 Citytv 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 Citytv did not have a station in Vancouver; CHAN, then a CTV affiliate, also aired some Citytv programs, such as CityLine. The WIC stations in Alberta (including CITV and CICT) bought provincial rights to some Citytv programs prior to the launch of CKAL and CKEM in 1997.
The Citytv brand has been licensed to local television stations in Bogotá, Colombia and formerly in Barcelona, Spain. Toronto's CITY-DT is broadcast on a number of cable television providers in the Caribbean. In Barbados, Citytv is carried on channel 507 of the terrestrial subscription service known as Multi-Choice TV.
|City of license/market||Station||Analog
|Kamloops, British Columbia||CFJC-TV||4||43||2009||Jim Pattison Group|
|Medicine Hat, Alberta||CHAT-TV||6||40||2009|
|Prince George, British Columbia||CKPG-TV||2||34||2009|
|Bogota, Colombia||Citytv Bogotá||21||27.1 DVBT2||1999||El Tiempo Casa Editorial|
1 Italicized channel numbers indicate a digital channel allocated for future use by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
|City of license||Station||Year of affiliation||Year of disaffiliation||Notes|
|Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain||Citytv Barcelona||2001||2006||Licence agreement expired in 2006, station was renamed TD8 (now 8TV).|
|Fajardo, Puerto Rico||WRUA-TV||2006||2007||Rogers Media discontinued the licensing for WRUA after it took over Citytv, and the station now serves as a translator for WECN in Naranjito. Was the first Citytv franchise in a United States territory.|
|Halifax/Atlantic Canada||ASN||1983||2008||Carried Citytv programming. Now known as CTV 2 Atlantic and owned by Bell Media.|
In 2003, CHUM Limited launched a 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.
Citytv 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:
|City||Station||OTA digital channel|
|Calgary, Alberta||CKAL-DT||49 (5.1)|
|Edmonton, Alberta||CKEM-DT||17 (17.1)|
|Lethbridge, Alberta||CKAL-DT-1||46 (2.1)|
|Montreal, Quebec||CJNT-DT||49 (62.1)|
|Ottawa, Ontario||CITY-DT-3||17 (65.1)|
|Toronto, Ontario||CITY-DT||44 (57.1)|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||CKVU-DT||33 (10.1)|
|Victoria, British Columbia||CKVU-DT-2||27 (27.1)|
|Winnipeg, Manitoba||CHMI-DT||13 (13.1)|
|Woodstock, Ontario||CITY-DT-2||31 (31.1)|