Global Television Network (more commonly called Global TV or just Global) is a Canadian English language privately owned television network. It is owned by Canwest Media Inc., a division of Canwest which is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Throughout the 1990s, it dominated primetime ratings in key markets such as southern Ontario and southwestern B.C., but had limited reach in certain areas such as Alberta until 2000. Nationally, it now ranks an increasingly strong second, behind CTV.
The station ran into difficulty in just three months, and was purchased by two large groups, one of which was owned by Izzy Asper, a Manitoba politician turned broadcaster. Asper owned CKND in Winnipeg, which carried many of Global's programs, through his company then known as CanWest Capital. In 1977, both partners attempted to buy out the other's shares, with Canwest being successful in becoming the first western-based owner of a major Canadian broadcasting entity.
CKGN became CIII in 1984.
Asper went on to launch two stations in Saskatchewan, won a legal battle for a station in Vancouver, and acquired a fledgling system in the Maritimes called MITV. Although Asper's regional networks always purchased programming rights as a collective, they did not share common branding, although stations were sometimes indicated as being part of the "CanWest Global System".
Although Global network service is not available over-the-air in Newfoundland and Labrador, the independent station there, NTV, airs much of the Global network schedule. Global stations from other markets (most commonly Global Edmonton) are available to the majority of cable subscribers there, however.
In late 2004, with CTV beginning to dominate the ratings, Canwest reorganized its Canadian operations and hired a number of new executives, all formerly of various U.S. media firms, leading to a major overhaul of Global announced in December 2005. The most obvious change is a new logo, replacing the "crescent" with a new "greater than" logo, with the Global wordmark in a new font, in use as of 6:00 a.m., February 5, 2006 (coinciding with Global's broadcast of Super Bowl XL). New logos and graphics were designed for news and network promotions, and several newscasts received new timeslots and formats. Revised logos for the remaining Canwest entities which currently use the crescent — namely DejaView — are expected in the near future. Winnipeg's Canwest Park modified its logo in April 2006 to reflect the new Global logo, the CanWest Performing Arts Centre in Winnipeg removed the crescent from its logo, Prime was rebranded TVtropolis, with a completely different logo on June 1, 2006, Mystery TV introduced a new logo in August 2007, and in September CH was rebranded as E! - licensing the brand from the U.S owner; Comcast,
Since Canwest's purchase of Southam Newspapers (now Canwest News Service) and the National Post from Conrad Black in 2001, their media interests have been merged into Canwest under a policy of cross-promotion and synergy. Journalists from the Post and other Canwest papers have made frequent appearances on Global's news programs, passengers on the now-defunct serial drama Train 48 habitually read the Post, and Global programs are promoted in Canwest newspapers.
On April 10, 2008, the network announced that its Toronto and Vancouver stations will start broadcasting over the air in those markets in High Definition Television. CIII-DT Toronto and CHAN-DT Burnaby/Vancouver will officially start transmitting its programming in HD on April 18, 2008. The network has also announced on its website that its stations in Calgary (CICT-TV) and Edmonton (CITV-TV) will follow, but no official launch date has been set.
Global News is the news and current affairs division of the Global Television Network, overseeing all local and national news programming on its ten Global and four E! television stations.
Although Global stations had always carried local news in various forms, the first tentative steps towards a national presence came in the mid-1990s with First National with Peter Kent, an early-evening program focusing on national and international news but airing only in central Canada. In 2001, Global replaced First National and the similar WIC newscast Canada Tonight with a new newscast aired on all Global stations, Global National, anchored by Kevin Newman. The program initially aired only on weekdays; in February 2005, Global National launched a weekend edition anchored by Tara Nelson.
Unlike CBC, and CTV, Global does not air a national morning show, although its stations in major markets produce their own local morning shows. Stations which do not produce a local morning show either air the morning show from a larger market, or run daytime programming repeated from Canwest's cable specialty channels, such as Great Taste, No Money and Room to Grow.
From 1997 to 2006, local newscasts on Global stations had a standard title, Global News. The long-dominant CHAN (BCTV) had been an exception since it joined Global in 2001. In connection with the above-noted rebranding, effective February 6, local newscast titles and timeslots were standardized, following the BCTV model, as follows. Note that the exact lineup of newscasts and titles varies by station.
Since the relaunch, Global National has quickly gained ground on longtime number-one CTV National News, overtaking it on several occasions.
Over the network's history, there has been some evidence that Global considers its news coverage subordinate to its usual primetime lineup of entertainment programming. While coverage of some breaking events has increased since the launch of Global National, the network attracted controversy in 2003 when CKND aired its usual programming schedule on the night of the Manitoba provincial election rather than providing any special news programming, and when CIII bumped its Ontario provincial election coverage to CHCH in order to avoid preempting Survivor. Both stations aired full election night coverage in those province's 2007 elections.
Global announced plans to launch its first newsmagazine series in fall 2008. The weekly 30-minute program, tentatively titled 9, will be the network's first foray into the field long occupied by CTV's W-FIVE and CBC's the fifth estate. Global also airs a weekly documentary series, Global Currents.
On October 4, 2007, parent company Canwest announced it would be centralizing news production control room functions for all owned & operated conventional TV stations (except CHBC Kelowna) at four broadcast centres - CHAN Vancouver, CITV Edmonton, CICT Calgary, and CIII Toronto. The company stated this would allow all of its stations to make a transition to high definition broadcasting, and create around 50 new jobs at the four stations. Approximately 250 positions were to be eliminated in the other stations, the majority of which were behind-the-scenes/technical positions.
A press release from the company has also stated that on-air talent (including weather anchors), reporters, producers, photographers, editors, and other news gathering positions will remain at the affected stations. This cost-cutting move by the company will be completed over several months. On mid August, Global Edmonton took over production of Global Halifax's newscasts, and on September 4'th, 2008, took over production of all newscasts at CHCA News in Red Deer, Alberta. Global Calgary is expected to begin production of Global Lethbridge's newscasts in mid-september, and later in the year Global Vancouver will take over production of both Global Regina and Global Saskatoon. The production centralization process is also co-inciding with the launch of digital news sets, as the physical set sits in a green screened space, but through the use of digital technology, appears to be in a fully decorated room. This move has allowed the look of the news set to be tailored to the specific stories of the day.
Global has built its business on profitable entertainment programming produced in the United States, and has long been criticized for not investing enough in Canadian content. Canadian programming carried on the network, such as a revival of 1960s American science fiction series The Outer Limits, or the Chicago-set drama Zoe Busiek: Wild Card, has often avoided Canadian themes, presumably to focus on sales to United States and international cable or syndication markets (although Psi Factor did include Canadian themes, produced a "killer wheat" episode and set stories in Northern Quebec and Halifax). Series initially intended for the US and international market are sometimes called "industrial" productions and largely disappeared with the collapse of the international action hour market.
In recent years, Global has aired somewhat more identifiably Canadian entertainment programming, including the long-running finance drama Traders, the British-Canadian animated comedy Bob and Margaret, the police procedural drama Blue Murder, the nightly improvised drama Train 48, the sitcom The Jane Show and the reality show My Fabulous Gay Wedding. In 2003, Global signed comedian Mike Bullard, host of the nightly Open Mike with Mike Bullard on CTV and The Comedy Network, to a multi-year contract for a new nightly talk show on Global, but The Mike Bullard Show was cancelled after 60 episodes amid poor ratings.
Global recently purchased the rights to produce a Canadian edition of the popular entertainment magazine Entertainment Tonight; ET Canada launched on September 12, 2005. It also secured Canadian production rights to the American reality series The Apprentice, but there is no word on when, or if, a Canadian version will air.
Hit American shows currently airing on Global include first-run episodes of Heroes, Survivor, The Simpsons, Family Guy, 24, House and Prison Break. On July 21, 2006, Global signed a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment to broadcast the new ECW brand, starting on August 11 and then every Friday night in a late night slot.
Global profits due to Canada's simultaneous substitution (or "simsub") regulations, which allows the owner of content to control programming rights for that show in Canada. So when an American broadcast network is broadcasting the same show at the same time that Global is (such as Survivor), Canadian cable subscribers can only watch the Global Television broadcast, even when trying to view the American stations. This law gives them double exposure for their content and a larger share of advertising revenue, effectively blocking American border cities from access to the Canadian market. This was done to help give money to the networks to fund Canadian content development. Global is certainly not the only Canadian broadcaster to use simsubs; nonetheless, some complaints, specific to Global, have arisen due to the following related practices:
In October 2004, Global started airing select American programs in Widescreen HDTV and launched a national HD service called Global HD, which is a simulcast of its affiliated station CIII-TV; since then, some Canadian series such as Falcon Beach have been added to its HD lineup. On April 11, 2008, Global launched an HD simulcast of Vancouver's CHAN-TV.
Global cross-promotes heavily with other Canwest properties, most frequently E! in the growing number of markets where both services operate in parallel.
In 1979, Global, which was then an Ontario regional network, purchased the Toronto Blizzard soccer team and produced and aired coverage of the team's games in-house. The team was not a success on the field, in attendance or ratings and Global sold the franchise in 1981 but continued to broadcast seven games a year until 1983.
Aside from its brief experiment with soccer, the Global network has never had an in-house sports production division as do CBC and CTV/TSN. Network sports broadcasts are either simulcast with American networks or outsourced to independent producers such as Molstar. Global was the longtime broadcaster of National Football League football games in Canada, an association that ended in 2007 when CTV outbid Global for the NFL broadcast package. The network continues to air coverage of The Masters and, on most stations, various PGA Tour events.
Nevertheless, many Global stations were well-known for local late-night sports highlights shows, such as Sportsline in Ontario, Sports Page in Vancouver (later moved to sister station CHEK), and Sports Night in Edmonton. Most of these programs were later unified under the Global Sports brand. However, due to declining audiences, by fall 2005 all but the Ontario program had been cancelled, although stations continued to cover sports in their local newscasts.
In January 2007, Global Ontario not only cancelled its nightly sportscast but closed its sports department entirely, outsourcing sports news coverage to Rogers Sportsnet. This production deal ended on February 1, 2008, due to Rogers' acquisition of the competing Citytv system. CityNews in Toronto began using Rogers Sportsnet for portions of its sports coverage when the deal ended. A similar deal between Global Ontario and The Score began shortly thereafter — Canwest had recently acquired a minority interest in Score Media from Alliance Atlantis.
Some of Global's stations outside Ontario continue to produce their own in-house sports coverage such as Global BC and Global Edmonton. Global Maritimes and Global Quebec use the sports anchors from Global BC to fill their newscast sports programming time.
Most of these stations serve their entire province through a network of relay stations as a part of the key station's licence, although some of their transmitters may air separate advertising targeted to their local community.