|Launched||April 15, 2002|
|Owned by||Corus Entertainment|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Formerly called||Women's Television Network (1995-2002)|
|Sister channel(s)||Cosmopolitan TV|
Oprah Winfrey Network
|Timeshift service||W Network East |
W Network West
|Bell Satellite TV||Channel 602 (SD)|
Channel 1705 (HD)
|Shaw Direct||Channel 567/568 (SD) |
Channel 79/597 (HD)
|Available on most cable systems||Channel slots vary on each provider|
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||Channel 274 (SD)|
Channel 426 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 602 (SD)|
|Bell MTS||Channel 132 (East SD)|
Channel 133 (West SD)
Channel 1132 (East HD)
|Optik TV||Channel 329 (East HD)|
Channel 9329 (West SD)
|SaskTel||Channel 100 (West SD)|
Channel 400 (East HD)
|VMedia||Channel 34 (HD)|
|Zazeen||Channel 126 (HD)|
|RiverTV||Channel 10 (HD)|
|STACKTV||Internet Protocol television|
W Network (often shortened to W) is a Canadian English language specialty channel owned by Corus Entertainment. The channel primarily broadcasts general entertainment programming oriented towards a female audience.
W Network was originally established in 1995 as the Women's Television Network (WTN), which had a focus on women's lifestyle programming. The channel was eventually acquired by Corus in 2001 and relaunched under its current branding in 2002. As part of the relaunch, W's programming shifted to a mix of both entertainment and lifestyle programming. By 2017, W had moved its lifestyle programming to its sister networks, focusing exclusively on entertainment programming.
In June 1994, Linda Rankin, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, (later incorporated as Lifestyle Television (1994) Limited, principally owned by Moffat Communications) was granted a television broadcasting licence by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to operate a channel called Lifestyle Television, described as offering "information and entertainment programming of particular interest to women."
The channel subsequently launched on January 1, 1995 as Women's Television Network (WTN). Like Moffat's other cable television operations, WTN was headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Linda Rankin served as the president of the network from its launch.
Programming on the network was originally largely focused on lifestyle programming that many had suggested was "feminist" in nature. Such programming included female takes on traditionally male-dominated activities such as fishing and mechanics, with Natural Angler and Car Care, respectively. While other programs, such as Go Girl!, took a comedic approach at parodying typical female-targeted talk shows that discussed subjects such as beauty, fashion, etc. Other programs included films, current affairs, and occasionally sports.
The channel suffered from low ratings in the beginning. Of the slew of new channels launched on January 1, WTN was initially the lowest rated channel on average. Linda Rankin later resigned in August 1995 citing "differences in management philosophy".
In December 2000, Shaw Communications announced it intended to purchase Moffat. The deal was later closed in early 2001. Shaw announced in March 2001 that it would sell WTN to Corus Entertainment, a company that it spun off in 1999, for $205 million CAD (Shaw had primarily acquired Moffat for its cable television systems). Once Corus took ownership of the channel, it moved operations from Winnipeg to Toronto in mid-January 2002, laying off 50 employees in the process. Subsequently, Corus relaunched the network as W on April 15, 2002 with a more entertainment-oriented mix of recent dramas and movies. On the same date, Corus launched the west coast feed.
In 2009, Corus Entertainment acquired SexTV: The Channel from CTVglobemedia, and relaunched the channel as W Movies -- a spin-off of W Network focusing on films aimed towards women, on March 1, 2010. On December 12, 2016, W Movies relaunched as a Canadian version of Cooking Channel.
On August 2, 2011, the channel launched its HD feed, a simulcast of W Network's standard-definition Eastern-time feed. The HD feed was added to Bell Satellite TV satellite and Bell Fibe TV channel lineups on March 23, 2012. It was also available on Eastlink, Telus TV and Shaw Direct. On October 1, 2013, an HD feed for the Western-time channel was launched on Shaw Cable.
Since the 2017-18 season, W Network has re-oriented its programming towards scripted television series and movies. The majority of its lifestyle programming, including the Property Brothers franchise, was moved to HGTV Canada as well as Corus' other women and lifestyle networks.
On October 25, 2018, Corus announced a content deal with Crown Media Holdings, giving W Network exclusive Canadian rights to original movies and series produced for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. W Network will broadcast branded blocks of Hallmark Channel content, including local versions of Hallmark Channel's seasonal programming events. The partnership officially launched on November 1, 2018 with the Countdown to Christmas event.
W Network primarily broadcasts a mix of television dramas and films, including programming acquired from Hallmark Channel, most of which is filmed in Canada. W is best known for producing the Love It or List It and Property Brothers franchises, which are seen on HGTV in the United States, and have since moved to the Canadian HGTV channel.