CMT (Canadian TV channel)

Last updated

CMT Canada 2015 logo.png
Broadcast areaNationwide
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Picture format 1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
Owner Corus Entertainment (90%, managing partner)
Paramount Networks Americas (10%)
Sister channels W Network
ABC Spark
LaunchedJanuary 1, 1995;27 years ago (1995-01-01)
Former namesNew Country Network (1995–1996)
Country Music Television (1996–2006)

CMT is a Canadian English language specialty channel owned as a joint venture between Corus Entertainment (which owns a controlling 90% interest) and Paramount Networks Americas (which owns the remaining 10%), owners of the flagship CMT channel in the United States.


As with its U.S. counterpart, CMT previously devoted a large amount of its programming to country music, with such programming as music videos and concert specials. Over time, the channel shifted its focus towards family-oriented general entertainment such as sitcoms, to the point where music programming was eventually axed in August 2017.

It is one of two Paramount-branded channels that are owned by Corus; the companies also partner on Nickelodeon (which is wholly owned by Corus).


Prior to the launch of CMT Canada, the U.S.-based country television network, Country Music Television, had been available in Canada since 1984, one year after the channel's launch in the United States. [1]

In June 1994, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) licensed a series of new Canadian specialty television channels; among the ones whose licence was granted was The Country Network, whose programming provisions required it to primarily feature country music videos (a minimum of 90%). The licence was granted to a partnership between Maclean-Hunter (which owned 60% majority control) and Rawlco Communications (which owned the remaining 40%). [2]

At this time, the CRTC had a policy that if a Canadian specialty service was licensed and that service's format was competitive with a foreign service's format that was licensed to operate in Canada, the foreign service could be dropped from the list of channels eligible for cable carriage in Canada. [2] Due to Country Music Television's competitive format, the CRTC terminated CMT's eligibility rights in Canada as a foreign service on June 6, 1994. [3] Television distributors such as cable and satellite television operators could continue distributing Country Music Television until The Country Network began operations. [2]

In March 1994, one year before the channel's launch, Maclean-Hunter had been purchased by Rogers Communications. [4]

New Country Network logo.png
First and only New Country Network logo, used from 1995 to 1996
CMT logo 01.png
First CMT logo, used from 1996 to 2006

On January 1, 1995, the channel launched as New Country Network (NCN). On that date, Canadian pay television service providers were not allowed to offer Country Music Television. [5] In retaliation for being barred from Canada, the U.S. service launched a complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement and ceased carriage of videos by Canadian artists without major U.S. record deals. [6]

CMT logo.svg
Second CMT logo, used from 2006 to 2008
CMT Canada.svg
Third CMT logo, used from 2008 to 2010
CMT Canada 2010 logo.png
Fourth CMT logo, used from 2010 to 2015

After months of negotiations, the matter was settled when it was announced that CBS Cable, then owners of CMT, would purchase a minority stake in the service. NCN was relaunched as CMT on October 31, 1996. [6] The majority interest was acquired by Shaw Communications at the same time; it was later included in the spinoff of the broadcasting assets then owned by Shaw as Corus Entertainment in 1999. The controversy also resulted in an effective change to CRTC policy – if a foreign channel is already available in Canada and a new Canadian equivalent is subsequently licensed, cable providers are no longer required to drop the foreign service.

In 2016, as part of the removal of the genre protection rules, CMT was migrated to the CRTC's new standard conditions of license for discretionary services; these changes removed the requirement for CMT to air any music programming at all. Corus stated in its description of service for CMT that it would be devoted to comedy and reality programming, films, and "one of a kind music programming". Despite the changes, Corus must still invest at least 11% of CMT's annual gross revenue to fund the production of Canadian music videos, but they no longer necessarily have to be for country music videos. [7]

These programming changes took affect on August 28, 2017, when CMT dropped all country music video programming from its schedule. The change in programming was widely criticized by stakeholders in Canada's country music industry, due to the loss of what had been a major promotional platform for Canadian performers; Corus stated that it would still promote Canadian country music through its other platforms (including its country music radio stations and some Global programming). [8] [9] This change left Canada without a country music related channel until 2019-20, when rival broadcaster Stingray Group launched Stingray Country across most major and select minor TV providers across Canada.


When CMT was launched as New Country Network on January 1, 1995, the CRTC required that 90% of the station's programming consist of music videos. [10] The CRTC dropped that requirement to 70% on February 28, 2001, and reduced it even further to 50% on February 28, 2006. [11] [12] With the retirement of genre protection rules in 2016, CMT was no longer required to air music videos, leading to the channel dropping music programming altogether the following year in favor of comedy programming—drawn primarily from off-network reruns of sitcoms.

CMT's current programming consists primarily of acquired sitcoms, talk shows, game shows, reality shows, and lifestyle programming, along with reruns of Canadian-produced series sourced from Corus' sister networks to fulfill Canadian content obligations. In addition to shows sourced from its U.S counterpart, CMT previously produced its own original programming (such as Karaoke Star Jr. , Tori & Dean: Cabin Fever , & The Wilkinsons ), with the much of channel's country music-related programming hosted by Paul McGuire.

Former hosts/presenters

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Much (TV channel)</span> Canadian music television channel

Much is a Canadian English language specialty channel owned by BCE Inc. through its Bell Media subsidiary that airs programming aimed at teenagers and young adults.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Teletoon</span> Canadian TV channel

Teletoon is a Canadian English-language specialty channel owned by Teletoon Canada, Inc., a subsidiary of Corus Entertainment. Its name is a portmanteau of "television" and "cartoon". The channel primarily broadcasts animated series aimed at children and teenagers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DejaView</span> Canadian specialty television channel

DejaView is a Canadian English language specialty television channel owned by Corus Entertainment. It primarily airs television shows from the 1970s to 2010s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Max Trax</span> Canadian TV audio service

Max Trax was a Canadian pay television audio service that broadcast continuous streaming music on multiple channel feeds. The service was owned by Stingray Digital.

A Category B service is the former term for a Canadian discretionary specialty television channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, may be carried by all subscription television providers. Such services were called Category 2 until September 1, 2011.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Family Channel (Canadian TV channel)</span> Canadian cable channel

Family Channel is a Canadian English-language specialty channel owned by WildBrain. The network primarily airs children's television series, teen dramas, as well as other programming targeting a family audience. Family Channel is headquartered in the Brookfield Place office complex, near the Financial District of Downtown Toronto. It has transmitted from Corus Quay since at least 2014.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oprah Winfrey Network (Canadian TV channel)</span> Canadian TV channel

Oprah Winfrey Network, more commonly shortened to OWN, is a Canadian English language discretionary service channel owned by Corus Entertainment. The channel was launched in September 1, 1999 as Canadian Learning Television (CLT) by Learning and Skills Television of Alberta, Ltd., then held by CHUM Limited.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Food Network (Canadian TV channel)</span> Canadian TV channel

Food Network, formerly called Food Network Canada, is a Canadian English language specialty channel based on the U.S. cable network of the same name. It airs programming related to food, cooking, cuisine, and the food industry. The Canadian version of Food Network is a joint venture between Corus Entertainment and the U.S. network's parent company Television Food Network, G.P..

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stingray Retro</span> Canadian specialty TV channel

Stingray Retro is a Canadian pay television channel owned by the Stingray Group. The channel broadcasts music videos mainly from the 1970s to the early 2010s, with some music videos from the 1960s being played occasionally as well.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Movie Central</span> Former Canadian premium TV channel

Movie Central was a Canadian English language Category A premium cable and satellite television channel that was owned by Corus Entertainment. Movie Central was designated to operate west of the Ontario-Manitoba border, including the territories. Although the channel's name implies that it focuses solely on theatrically released motion pictures, Movie Central's programming included original and foreign television series, made-for-cable movies and documentaries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stingray Juicebox</span> Canadian television channel

Stingray Juicebox is a Canadian music specialty channel owned by Stingray Group. It is a commercial-free channel that broadcasts music and music videos aimed towards children and teens.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leonardo World (Canadian TV channel)</span> Television channel

Leonardo World was a Canadian category 2 Italian language digital cable television channel wholly owned by Telelatino Network Inc. The channel broadcast programming related to Italian arts and culture including cuisine, fashion, travel, and more. It was a Canadian version of the Italian channel, Leonardo World.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">IFC (Canadian TV channel)</span> Canadian TV channel

IFC was a Canadian English language specialty channel. The channel was owned by Corus Entertainment. The channel broadcast independent films, documentaries, and television series. Its name was licensed from the American company AMC Networks, the owner of IFC. The channel ceased operations on September 30, 2019.

Stingray Music is a Canada-based international multi-platform audio service that broadcasts continuous streaming music and other forms of audio on multiple channel feeds. The service is owned by Stingray Digital.

Canada is served by various multichannel television services, including cable television systems, two direct-broadcast satellite providers, and various other wireline IPTV and wireless MMDS video providers.

Video Italia was a Canadian category 2 Italian language digital cable television channel owned by Telelatino Network Inc. (80%) and Gruppo Radio Italia (20%). The channel broadcast primarily music programming such as concerts and music videos. It was a Canadian version of the Italian channel, Video Italia.

Stingray Group Inc. is a publicly traded Canadian media and entertainment company based in Montreal, Quebec, with offices in the United States, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Israel, Australia and South Korea. The company broadcasts music and video content on platforms including cable and satellite television, IPTV, Internet, mobile devices and game consoles, and develops customized audio and digital services for retailers, hotels and other commercial clients.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Magnolia Network (Canadian TV channel)</span> Canadian specialty channel

Magnolia Network is a Canadian English language specialty channel that broadcasts lifestyle programming related to home design, renovations, and food. The channel's brand and much of its foreign programming is licensed from its American namesake, Magnolia Network. The channel is a joint venture between Corus Entertainment and Warner Bros. Discovery.

Nickelodeon is a Canadian English language specialty channel based on the American cable network of the same name owned by Corus Entertainment under a brand licensing agreement with Paramount.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Disney Channel (Canadian TV channel)</span> Canadian youth-targeted television channel

Disney Channel is a Canadian English language specialty channel owned by Corus Entertainment under license from The Walt Disney Company, which began broadcasting on September 1, 2015. It is a localized version of the U.S. basic cable network of the same name, broadcasting live-action and animated programming aimed at children between the ages of 9 to 16.


  1. "Will country music videos set off culture war? Some facts to keep in mind as U.S. trade negotiators threaten retaliatory strikes". Toronto Star. February 11, 1995.
  2. 1 2 3 "Decision CRTC 94-284". CRTC. June 6, 1994.
  3. Larry LeBlanc (December 24, 1994). A Breakthrough Year for Canadian Acts. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 53–. ISSN   0006-2510.
  4. THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Canadian Media Giants to Merge The New York Times 1994-03-09
  5. "U.S. country TV drops Canadian videos". Toronto Star. January 10, 1995.
  7. "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2016-39". CRTC. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  8. "CMT Is Giving The Boot To Country Music". FYIMusicNews. August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  9. "Canada's Country Music Television To Stop Playing Music Videos". Billboard. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  10. Decision CRTC 94-284
  11. Decision CRTC 2001-154
  12. Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2006-52
  13. Fragomeni, Carmela (October 21, 2014). "Remembering CHCH's Nicola Jones". The Hamilton Spectator. ISSN   1189-9417 . Retrieved August 25, 2021.