Much (TV channel)

Last updated
Much - 2013 logo.svg
LaunchedAugust 31, 1984;34 years ago (1984-08-31)
Owned by Bell Media
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
(2016-present; part-time, selected broadcasts)
SloganIt's a Lot
Country Canada
Broadcast areaNational
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Formerly calledMuchMusic
Sister channel(s) The Comedy Network
Bell TV Channel 570 (SD)
Channel 1670 (HD)
Shaw Direct Channel 580 (SD)
86 / 586 (HD)
Available on most Canadian cable systemsCheck local listings, channels may vary
Bell Aliant Fibe TV Channel 220 (SD)
Channel 424 (HD)
Bell Fibe TV Channel 570 (SD)
Channel 1570 (HD)
Bell MTS Channel 25 (SD)
Channel 1025 (HD)
Optik TV Channel 9557 (SD)
Channel 557 (HD)
SaskTel Channel 12 (SD)
Channel 312 (HD)
VMedia Channel 701 (HD)
Zazeen Channel 52 (HD)

Much (formerly and commonly known as MuchMusic) is a Canadian English language Category A specialty channel currently owned by Bell Media. The channel launched on August 31, 1984, under the ownership of CHUM Limited, as one of the country's first specialty channels. Upon its launch, and for much of its life, the network primarily aired music programming, including blocks of music videos and original series focusing on musicians and artists.

Television in Canada officially began with the sign-on of the nation's first television stations in Montreal and Toronto in 1952. As with most media in Canada, the television industry, and the television programming available in that country, are strongly influenced by media in the United States, perhaps to an extent not seen in any other major industrialized nation. As a result, the government institutes quotas for "Canadian content". Nonetheless, new content is often aimed at a broader North American audience, although the similarities may be less pronounced in the predominantly French-language province of Quebec.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. Named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that would later take their name, England, both names ultimately deriving from the Anglia peninsula in the Baltic Sea. It is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent Latin and French.

Category A services were a class of Canadian specialty television channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, must be offered by all digital cable and direct broadcast satellite providers that have the capability to do so.


In the years since, the channel has cancelled the majority of its original music programming due to budget and staffing cuts. The remaining music programming consists of music videos blocks aired in off-peak timeslots and occasional specials, such as the annual iHeartRadio MMVAs . Subsequently, the channel began to phase out the "MuchMusic" name as an on-air brand, and adopted its current name in 2013. Today, Much primarily broadcasts comedy programming aimed towards young adults.

iHeartRadio MMVAs award

The iHeartRadio MMVAs are annual awards presented by the Canadian television channel Much to honour the year's best music videos.


MuchMusic was licensed on April 2, 1984 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to CHUM/Citytv. It had faced competition from two other proposed services. One of them, CMTV Canadian Music Television, was deemed not to have sufficient financial resources. The third applicant was Rogers Radio Broadcasting. The CRTC believed that the Canadian market could only support one music video service and CHUM's proposal was chosen because of various commitments it had made and the company's expertise in music programming. [1] The station was initially patterned on City Limits , an overnight weekend rock music show which had aired on sister station CITY-TV since 1983. [2]

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is a public organization in Canada with mandate as a regulatory agency for broadcasting and telecommunications. It was created in 1976 when it took over responsibility for regulating telecommunication carriers. Prior to 1976, it was known as the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, which was established in 1968 by the Parliament of Canada to replace the Board of Broadcast Governors. Its headquarters is located in the Central Building of Les Terrasses de la Chaudière in Gatineau, Quebec.

CHUM Limited was a Canadian media company based in Toronto, Ontario in operation from 1945 to 2007. It held full or joint control of two Canadian television systems—Citytv and A-Channel —comprising 11 local stations, one CBC Television affiliate, one provincial educational channel, and 20 branded specialty television channels, most notably MuchMusic and its various spinoffs. In addition, CHUM owned 33 radio stations across Canada under its CHUM Radio Network division. At various points in its history, CHUM also owned other radio stations as well as ATV and the Atlantic Satellite Network in Atlantic Canada.

City Limits is a Canadian television series, which aired on Citytv and later MuchMusic in the 1980s and 1990s.

The MuchMusic World Headquarters is located on 299 Queen Street West in Downtown Toronto, as seen in April 2005. WikiCHUM building.jpg
The MuchMusic World Headquarters is located on 299 Queen Street West in Downtown Toronto, as seen in April 2005.

Shortly thereafter, MuchMusic was launched on August 31, 1984 as one of the first Canadian cable specialty channels. It was headed by the channel's founders John Martin and Moses Znaimer. The first video played on MuchMusic was "an early music-to-film synchronization short from the 1920s which featured Eubie Blake performing Snappy Songs." The first video made specifically for television air play was Rush's "The Enemy Within". [3] [4]

John Martin was a Canadian broadcaster, credited with "almost single-handedly" creating music television in Canada.

Moses Znaimer, is a co-founder and former head of Citytv, the first independent television station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the current head of ZoomerMedia.

Eubie Blake composer, lyricist, and pianist

James Hubert Blake, known as Eubie Blake, was an American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. In 1921, he and his long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote Shuffle Along, one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African Americans. Blake's compositions included such hits as "Bandana Days", "Charleston Rag", "Love Will Find a Way", "Memories of You" and "I'm Just Wild About Harry". The musical Eubie!, which opened on Broadway in 1978, featured his works.

Making use of CHUM's facilities and production teams, the channel produced many specialty musical and variety programs, including the long-running dance program Electric Circus and the late 1980s game show Test Pattern , and Citytv programs such as City Limits and The New Music also became integral parts of the MuchMusic schedule.

<i>Electric Circus</i> television series

Electric Circus was a Canadian live dance music television program that aired on MuchMusic and Citytv from September 16, 1988 to December 12, 2003. The name originated from a nightclub that once existed at Citytv's first studio at 99 Queen Street East in Toronto.

<i>Test Pattern</i> (TV series)

Test Pattern was the first game show on the Canadian television channel MuchMusic in the late from 1989 into the early 1990s. The Music and sound man was Bill St. Amour. The show's announcer was Bill Carroll. It occasionally featured Canadian musicians who were prominent at the time. Dan Gallagher hosted the program and it was produced and directed by Sidney M. Cohen. The show was cancelled after two seasons. Reruns currently air Mondays and Fridays on GameTV. Reruns of episodes from the show's second season also aired during the summer of 2003 on MuchMoreMusic.

The channel's format consisted primarily of an eight-hour daily block which mixed scheduled programs with VJ-hosted general "videoflow", which would then be repeated two more times to fill the 24-hour schedule. Some variance from this model was seen with the late-night programs City Limits and Too Much 4 Much , and live specials such as Intimate and Interactive .

Too Much 4 Much was a Canadian television series, which aired on MuchMusic. The series, which aired at 12:00am Eastern time, played controversial videos which had, for one reason or another, been banned from regular rotation on the network, and featured panel discussions on the issues raised by the videos in question. Beginning in 1991 as a series of irregular specials aired when a particularly high-profile video was in dispute, it was expanded into a regular monthly series in 1993.

Intimate and Interactive is the title of a television program aired on the Canadian music video channel MuchMusic. It is not a regularly scheduled program, but airs on average three or four times a year, and features contemporary artists live in concert at the CHUM-City Building. There is another version of the show on their sister station, MuchMoreMusic.

In 1994, MuchMusic began distribution in the United States through Rainbow Program Holdings. [5]

MuchMusic is well known for its annual music awards show that airs every Father's Day called the MuchMusic Video Awards (or MMVAs). It is anticipated and promoted for weeks before the night of the MMVAs.

MuchMusic has been credited with helping to foster a vibrant Canadian music scene because of the Canadian content broadcast rules which mandated native musical acts had a secure and prominent place on the channel's video schedule.[ citation needed ] As well, MuchMusic funds the creation of new Canadian music videos through MuchFACT and produces the popular album series Big Shiny Tunes and MuchDance .

In 2002, MuchMusic introduced promos that consisted of one of twelve images of a VJ posing in front of the network's logo, lasting for only 1/60th of a second each. The "quickies" were recognized with a Guinness World Record for the world's shortest television commercial. [6]

Sale to Bell (2006–present)

In July 2006, Bell Globemedia (later renamed CTVglobemedia) announced that it would purchase CHUM for an estimated $1.7 billion CAD, including MuchMusic. The sale was subject to CRTC approval and was approved in June 2007, [7] with the transaction completed on June 22, 2007 while the Citytv stations were sold to Rogers Media that same year. Since then, MuchMusic has aired a vast number of non-music related programs. Before those programs aired, Much Mega Hits was a prominent program that played various music videos based on singles.

Bell Canada gained control of MuchMusic through its takeover of CTVglobemedia on April 1, 2011, in effect changing the company's name to Bell Media. Shortly thereafter, MuchMusic received a new look and a new "Much" logo, while continuing to add non-music television series, mainly dramas and reality shows.

Since September 2013, the channel has been airing significantly more comedy programming targeting young adults during the late afternoon and primetime hours, much of it moved from The Comedy Network. Such shows included Comedy Central series (such as South Park , Tosh.0 and The Jeselnik Offensive ), reruns of The Simpsons and The Cleveland Show , as well as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Conan . [8] [9] These changes came when Comedy's request for license amendments to reduce requirements for Canadian content and increase the amount of animated programming it could air was denied. [10] [11]

Most of the channel's previous non-music programming, such as the teen dramas Pretty Little Liars and Degrassi , moved to sister channels M3 (formerly MuchMoreMusic) and MTV respectively. [12] At the same time the channel cut back further on original music-related programming apart from Video on Trial , The Wedge , countdowns, and other non-hosted blocks of music videos, with New.Music.Live. confirmed to have been cancelled and the likes of RapCity no longer appearing on Much's schedule. By the summer of 2014, amidst production and staffing cutbacks, the Countdown went on hiatus and Much's remaining original programs, including a revamped Video on Trial, were cancelled. [13]

Meanwhile, in August, Much celebrated its 30th anniversary. [14] A half-hour anniversary special, "30 Years of Much", aired on August 30, 2014 and was preceded by a full-day countdown of The 100 Greatest Videos Ever. [15] Repeats of both the special and the countdown aired throughout the Labor Day weekend. On September 27, 2014, the Countdown returned with a revamped format. [16]

On April 1, 2015, Much announced the launch of Much Digital Studios, a multi-channel network on YouTube. The network features content catered towards Much's demographic of 12-34s which will also be integrated into their on-air programming. [17] [18]

In late 2017, Much further cut back on music programming, reducing its music blocks to the morning hours and removing the Much Countdown from its schedule. In addition, it was announced in September 2017 that the MuchFACT program had been closed, as a result of the CRTC dropping the requirement for Bell Media to fund it. [19] [20] On October 11, 2017, Much premiered Sides*, a new talk show which discusses youth issues; it is streamed live on Twitter, and compiled into weekly televised editions on the channel. [21] In November 2017, Much began to air a Friday-night block known as Icons, which features airings of music-related documentaries. [22]


Second Much logo used from 1993 to 1997 Muchmusic2.jpg
Second Much logo used from 1993 to 1997

Much currently airs blocks of music videos in the mornings, with the remainder of its lineup devoted to comedy and pop culture-themed programming. Such programming includes first-run series (predominantly Comedy Central programs not shown by The Comedy Network), sitcoms, encore repeats of shows sourced from CTV and other sibling networks, and broadcasts of feature films.


In recent years, the popularity of MuchMusic has waned and the channel faces constant criticism that it focuses too much on "top 40" acts and programs that have nothing to do with music. A main point of criticism is not giving nearly enough time to smaller, independent and Canadian performers.

In 2010, CTV (the parent company of MuchMusic) was denied a request by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reduce the percentage of music video programming that the channel shows from 50 to 25 percent. CTV's second request to the CRTC to reduce and reposition its Canadian programming was also denied. For the reasoning behind these requests, CTV explained that "music videos no longer distinguish the service as they are readily available through other sources." This was met with mixed reaction by music fans and has also drawn the ire of notable music artists. [23] [24] [25] [26]

Much has also been the centre of controversy because of its leniency in censorship, sometimes leaving expletives uncensored from videos played on the network, in contrast to MTV, which often censors certain music videos for inappropriate content. However, some programs, due to their wider audience, are edited for content. As with MTV, the network also generated controversy by occasionally "banning" videos it deemed too racy or violent for broadcast. Unlike MTV however, MuchMusic sometimes aired the controversial videos in a late-night series dubbed Too Much 4 Much , along with panel discussions on their content and arguments on if it should be banned or not.

Relationship with MTV

MuchMusic was launched in part to capitalize on the success of MTV, an American cable music channel that had premiered a few years earlier. Although never an affiliate, Much over the years would often broadcast MTV-produced programming such as awards shows, concerts, reality series and other programs. MTV itself was not permitted in Canada because of Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) restrictions on format protection. However, no such restrictions exist in the United States, where CHUM attempted to compete with MTV through MuchUSA (now the unaffiliated Fuse).

Perhaps owing to this, MTV was unwilling to extend its relationship with MuchMusic longer than necessary, and has made two attempts to launch a competing MTV channel in Canada. The first attempt began in 2001 when MTV Canada (Now MTV2) was launched by Craig Media and Viacom. MTV Canada had an edge over MuchMusic in that it was licensed by the CRTC as a broadly based teen channel and could air programming from various categories and not just music-related programming. In 2004, MTV Canada's owners were bought by CHUM, allowing Viacom to exit its contract with Craig, and stripped MTV programming and branding from the channel forcing Viacom to find another partner to bring MTV to Canada.

The next attempt began in 2006 when Viacom partnered with CTV to rebrand its low-rated specialty channel talktv as MTV. With the new launch of MTV in March 2006, MuchMusic lost all rights to MTV programming from that point forward.Since the acquisition of CHUM Limited (which includes MuchMusic and MuchMore) by CTVglobemedia, MTV and MuchMusic have technically been under the same ownership since June 2007. CTVglobemedia has announced that it planned on maintaining all CHUM's specialty channels including both MuchMusic and MTV. Bell Media and Viacom have no plans to disaffiliate either channel from its programming and/or branding. In fact, MuchMusic and MTV have even begun cross-promoting each other's programs (e.g., MuchMusic airing a promo for MTV's The Hills ).

Until the fall of 2013, Much has premiered many of MTV's scripted series. The channel continues to air these programs in reruns.

Much Digital Studios

Much Digital Studios is a multi-channel network on YouTube.

Much Digital Studios announced its first ever original series Dan for a Week on March 7, 2017, produced by Bell Media and hosted by The Danocracy. [27]

Affiliated channels

With the success of MuchMusic, several spinoff channels have been launched within Canada and around the world, including:




  • MuchMusic Czech: Launched in 2006, available in the Czech Republic.
  • MuchMusic Latin America: Launched in 1992, originally available in Argentina only, [29] currently distributed on several Latin American countries. It is owned by Turner Broadcasting System Latin America.


  • MuchMusic Brasil: Launched in 2000. Ceased broadcasting in 2001.
  • MuchUSA: Launched in 1994. License to use MuchMusic name and content revoked, and renamed Fuse in 2003. A number of MuchMusic programs were broadcast on this channel in an agreement between the two networks, which share certain programs at times. These included The Wedge , Video on Trial (both Canadian, and an American version) as well as the MuchMusic Video Awards.
  • MuchMusic also had a programming block on MTV3 in Finland called JYRKI .

High definition

Much HD logo Muchhd-logo.png
Much HD logo

On June 1, 2011, MuchMusic launched a high definition simulcast feed called Much HD. [30] It is currently available on Bell Satellite TV, Bell Fibe TV, EastLink, SaskTel Max, Optik TV, Rogers Cable, Shaw Cable and Videotron.

Much personalities

VJ era (1984–2014)

Several individuals have served as MuchMusic's on-air hosts, or video jockeys ("VJs"). A number of notable Canadian and American television personalities either began their careers at MuchMusic or spent time there. Among these are J.D. Roberts who, under the name John Roberts, is a national correspondent for Fox News; Christopher Ward, a noted songwriter and producer who collaborated musically with Mike Myers on the Austin Powers movies; Sook-Yin Lee, now a noted CBC Radio host and actress; Terry David Mulligan, a prolific film and TV character actor; actress Amanda Walsh; Erica Ehm, who became a noted songwriter after leaving Much; and George Stroumboulopoulos, who became a television personality on CBC, U.S. network CNN and currently Sportsnet.


Some of the former Much VJs have moved onto other opportunities within Bell Media's entertainment brands like etalk and E!, but occasionally return for special Much events like the annual iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards .

Every few years, when new video jockeys were needed, Much ran a "VJ Search" to pick one new VJ to join the channel. They would usually visit cities across Canada and pick people who appear to show potential through their audition. In earlier years, the VJ Search was usually a two-part show, but in 2006 it evolved into its own reality series called MuchMusic VJ Search . As a result of that series, Tim Deegan was chosen as a VJ. It was followed in 2009 by VJ 2.0, where the winner Liz Trinnear was also picked to join the channel. The most recent search, Much VJ Search, which Chloe Wilde won in 2013.

Despite the popularity of the VJ Search, some of the other VJs are still hired by Much directly, without being VJ Search contestants.

Much Creators (2015–present)

Much Creators are selected social media personalities, mostly established and emerging Canadian YouTubers, [17] who work with the Much Digital Studios platform.

The first ever Fan Fave Much Creator award was awarded during the 2017 iHeartRadio MMVAs won by YouTwoTV.

See also

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Further reading

Coordinates: 43°38′59″N79°23′25″W / 43.649701°N 79.390233°W / 43.649701; -79.390233