The Comedy Network
(TCN) is a Canadian English language cable television specialty channel
owned by CTV Television Inc., a division of CTVglobemedia
specializing in comedy
Licensed in 1996
, The Comedy Network launched on October 17
and invests 44 percent of its revenues back into Canadian programming.
CTVglobemedia also owns CTV along with A, and the two networks occasionally run series simultaneously, such as Corner Gas and Robson Arms, with these shows for the most part being produced by CTV and re-broadcast by The Comedy Network.
As of June 27, 2007, CTV and TCN have exclusive Canadian rights to the entire Comedy Central library of past and current programs on all electronic platforms, under a multi-year agreement with Viacom, expanding on past programming agreements between the two channels. Canadian users attempting to visit Comedy Central websites will also be redirected to TCN's website. Conversely, American IP addresses trying to link to The Comedy Network page are redirected to Comedy Central's page. The Canadian channel will keep its own brand name, but the agreement is otherwise very similar to the earlier CTV/Viacom deal for MTV in Canada.
The network's longtime slogan is Time Well Wasted, a variation of A&E's slogan at the time of Comedy's launch, Time Well Spent. The channel operates two time shifted feeds, East (Eastern Time) and West (Pacific Time).
Current primetime schedule
Since its inception in 1997 The Comedy Network has been widely criticized by members of the television and comedy communities as well as by viewers in general.
- Some believe the network's logo and slogan, both in use since it went on the air in 1997, are out of date.
- The Comedy Network's website was widely criticized, but in 2006 TCN answered with a major overhaul, relaunching a new, slick website in an aggressive campaign with the tongue-in-cheek slogans "Our Website Doesn't Suck Anymore" and "10% Less Suckage".
- One criticism still made of www.thecomedynetwork.ca is that they have not brought back their message boards or viewer forums, which previously had been flooded with complaints about their shows.
- The quality of the network's original programming is also widely criticized. Almost every TCN production has dismal viewer ratings on IMDb, including its flagship shows Open Mike with Mike Bullard (1.1/10) and Popcultured (1.0/10). Some of their most attacked shows have even spawned "hate" pages on the internet, including petitions demanding their cancellation.
- A general attack of the network is that they are allegedly less concerned with quality of programming than they are with their "bottom line". This can be derived from the network's choice of re-broadcasting some shows from the 1980s and 1990s such as Comedy at Club 54, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Just for Laughs, Royal Canadian Air Farce and Comedy Now!. All have been re-aired many times each, and for several years.
- The network and its shows are the "victims" of an annual "Statelessness of the Industry" roast as part of the Canadian Comedy Awards.
Successes and awards
Some original Comedy Network shows like Puppets Who Kill
, Odd Job Jack
and Kevin Spencer
developed cult followings with loyal fan bases.
Puppets Who Kill, Comedy Now! and The Gavin Crawford Show have each won two Canadian Comedy Awards.
Several shows produced by (or in partnership with) the CTV parent network have also been quite successful, most notably Corner Gas (possibly the most popular Canadian sitcom ever, with nine Canadian Comedy Award wins, six Gemini Award wins, seven Leo Award wins and an International Emmy nomination).
TCN on the CTV Broadband Network
In 2006 CTV
launched The Comedy Network on the CTV Broadband Network, an online network that rebroadcasts select series from The Comedy Network. Some shows on the broadband network include Keys to the VIP
, Odd Job Jack
and Corner Gas
. In 2007, South Park
and The Colbert Report
were added to the line-up due to a deal reached with Comedy Central
Beta video player
In January 2008 TCN launched a new beta
video player. It is the first video player in the CTV Broadband Network to be overhauled with a completely new code base by the CTV Digital Media Group