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|The Comedy Network|
|Launched||October 17, 1997|
|Owned by||Bell Media|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Sister channel(s)||Comedy Gold
|Timeshift service||Comedy East
|Bell TV||625 (East; SD)
626 (West; SD)
1740 (East; HD)
|Shaw Direct||547 (West; SD)
548 (East; SD)
85 / 585 (East; HD)
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Check local listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||208 (East; SD)
431 (East; HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||625 (East; SD)
626 (West; SD)
1625 (East; HD)
1626 (West; HD)
|Bell MTS||115 (East; SD)
116 (West; SD)
|Optik TV||173 (West; SD)
710 (East; HD)
|SaskTel||74 (West; SD)
374 (East; HD)
|VMedia||50 (East; HD)|
|Zazeen||110 (East; HD)|
The Comedy Network (often shortened to Comedy) is a Canadian English language Category A specialty channel that is owned by Bell Media. The channel specializes in comedy programming, including original and acquired series, films and stand-up comedy specials. The Comedy Network operates two time-shifted feeds, running on Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules.
In September 1996, 1155636 Ontario Inc. (a company majority controlled by Baton Broadcasting, with the remaining interests held by Shaw Cable, Astral Broadcasting and Les Films Rozon inc.) was granted a television broadcasting licence by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for The Comedy Network. The channel launched on October 17, 1997 with the slogan Time Well Wasted, a variation of the U.S.-based channel A&E's slogan at the time, "Time Well Spent".
Through various acquisitions over the years, Shaw, Astral and Les Films Rozon sold their interest in the service to Baton, which became Bell Globemedia in 2001, renamed CTVglobemedia in 2007, and renamed again as Bell Media in 2011, following its acquisition by Bell Canada. Until then, and since its incarnation in 1997, The Comedy Network maintained a consistent look; The 'yellow oval' logo (which has undergone slight modifications throughout its use). On November 1, 2011, The Comedy Network was relaunched with a new look, consisting a new simplified logo and revamped on-air presentation. Their longtime slogan was also retired on this date.
In August 2013, the CRTC denied an amendment to The Comedy Network's license, which would have reduced the amount of Canadian-produced content the network would have been required to air monthly, increase the amount of animated programming it could air from 10% of its lineup per day to 20% per month, and allow it to air films that were not Canadian-made. Bell argued that the network was at a disadvantage against BiteTV, as it could air non-Canadian films, and Teletoon, which aired a late-night block of adult animation, and because Comedy was unable to give its animated acquisitions a larger amount of exposure (such as marathons) due to the restriction. The CRTC rejected its arguments in response to complaints by the two networks cited and other unions, due to their differing natures of service and because Bell's proposed changes were intended primarily to decrease the amount of Canadian content it airs in favor of more U.S.-originated programming.
The Comedy Network, since its beginning, has held a relationship with its American counterpart, Comedy Central, broadcasting many of its programs in Canada. This relationship was strengthened in June 2007 when The Comedy Network's parent company announced a deal with Comedy Central for exclusive Canadian rights to the entire Comedy Central library of past and present programs on all electronic platforms, under a multi-year agreement with Viacom. For several years, Canadians attempting to visit Comedy Central websites were redirected to the Comedy Network's website. Conversely, American IP addresses trying to link to the Comedy Network page were redirected to Comedy Central's page. However, as noted before, many of Comedy Central's original shows have since moved to MuchMusic.
Some original Comedy Network shows like Puppets Who Kill, Odd Job Jack and Kevin Spencer developed cult followings with loyal fan bases. Several original programs including Puppets Who Kill, Comedy Now! and The Gavin Crawford Show have won Canadian Comedy Awards, and several shows produced in partnership with parent network CTV have also been quite successful, including Corner Gas's Canadian Comedy Award wins, six Gemini Award wins, seven Leo Award wins and an International Emmy nomination.
On August 2, 2010, TV Land Canada was rebranded as Comedy Gold, turning the channel into an offshoot of The Comedy Network. Comedy Gold focuses primarily on sitcoms from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
On July 12, 2012, The Comedy Network launched a high definition simulcast feed called The Comedy Network HD. It is available through all major TV providers.
As part of Bell Media's suite of GO apps for all its main channels, the Comedy Network launched its own app on April 15, 2014. As part of the launch, the video section on the Comedy Network website was renamed after the app.