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CTV is Canada's oldest private broadcaster, and second-oldest network behind the publicly owned Creator/{{CBC}}. It began broadcasting in 1961, nine years after the CBC, and was established for many of the same reasons that {{ITV}} was in the United Kingdom: to end the public monopoly over Canadian broadcasting and provide choice for viewers. (Throughout the history of analog transmission, most Canadians have been able to watch the [[Creator/{{ABC}} three]] (and later [[{{Fox}} four]]) [[Creator/{{NBC}} American]] [[Creator/{{CBS}} networks]] as well. Simulcasts with Canadian stations are plastered over on cable.)

"CTV" doesn't legally stand for anything, but nearly everyone [[CommonKnowledge assumes]] it to mean "Canadian Television". Many {{Station Ident}}s, by American branding firm Pittard Sullivan, have capitalized on this assumption.

The network took a long time to find its feet. Most shows were simulcasts (essentially, authorized network feeds) from the three American networks, which remains true to this day. However, "[=CanCon=]" content laws required some local broadcasting. During the early years, most of these were very cheaply produced game shows. Famously, the network's first well-known attempt at a sitcom was the notorious flop ''The Trouble With Tracy'', regarded as one of the worst shows ''of all time''. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFLEvAhSTwQ Judge for yourself.]]

After over a decade in the doldrums, the network's fortunes began to change in the [[TheSeventies mid-1970s]]. Lloyd Robertson, a star news anchorman for the CBC, was lured over to CTV with the promise of editorial control, and remained at the news desk [[LongRunners for 35 years]], until his retirement in 2011. Canada's most popular game show, ''{{Definition}}'', began running in 1974. The network also has a knack for taking American programs and making [[CaptainErsatz Canadian versions]] of them. It actually beat ''60 Minutes'' to the punch by two years with their own newsmagazine show called ''W-Five''. A morning show called ''Canada AM'' began running in 1972. One of the iconic Canadian series, ''The Littlest Hobo'', debuted in 1979.

But the CBC remained the dominant network well into TheNineties, at which point public funding began to dry up in the face of federal budget problems. At the same time, the CBC made the well-intentioned but [[TooDumbToLive boneheaded]] decision to stop simulcasting American programs (except for strip repeats of ''TheSimpsons'', for some reason). This allowed CTV (and rival network Creator/{{Global}}) to become incredibly dominant. One major homegrown success from this period was ''Series/DueSouth'', which was the first series produced for Canadian audiences to be simulcast by an ''American'' network a rare and incredibly satisfying role reversal.

In the early 90's, Baton Broadcasting (a major owner of CTV affiliates, and flagship CFTO) made a few tricky moves with an intent to either gain more power within CTV, or subvert it entirely and build its own network; it bought several CTV affiliates from various owners, but then realized that under its cooperative bylaws, Baton still only had one vote on business decisions in the network. Then it launched Ontario Network Television as a secondary affiliation across its Ontario CTV stations (and several independents), to fill in the gaps already provided in the network schedule for local primetime programs.

When CTV was faced with a re-organization in 1993 (which changed its structure from a cooperative to a private company with shares divided based on station ownership, and reduced network primetime programming further), a consulting firm suggested that Baton go for the ultimate prize of majority ownership and control of the CTV brand. But just to be on the safe side, Baton introduced BBS, a new primary brand for its stations, and an expanded lineup of supplemental programming. It then formed a joint venture with fellow CTV affiliate owner Electrohome (which gave them joint ownership of several stations, which they later sold to Baton), but part of the deal gave Baton control of Electrohome's shares, giving it 42.9% control. For a grand finale, Baton swapped stations with CHUM; giving it the Atlantic Television System and ASN in exchange for Baton's independents, giving it majority control. After triggering an option to allow the remaining owners to sell their stakes, Baton's mission was accomplished. The BBS brand was ultimately replaced by CTV; however, BBS remained as a technicality for affiliates that had not yet reached an affiliation deal to air programs beyond the base CTV schedule (such as CHAN-TV in Vancouver; which Baton decided to [[ExecutiveMeddling meddle with]] after it launched the BBS-only independent CIVT. A purchase of its parent company by Canwest and CIVT eventually picking up CTV in 2001 led to DisasterDominoes for just about ''every'' station in Vancouver).

In the new millennium, CTV decided to start producing substantial Canadian programming, and has for the most part been very successful. It lured some of the producers of the old ''Degrassi'' shows away from the CBC for the {{Revival}} series ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration''. But their greatest success was ''Series/CornerGas'', reckoned by many as the best (which is to say, the only ''good'') Canadian sitcom since ''King of Kensington'' in TheSeventies. Both ''Degrassi'' and ''Corner Gas'' also became [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff very popular in the States]]. The recent WGA strike resulted in American networks investing in several Canadian productions. One of these, ''Flashpoint'', has aired on Creator/{{CBS}} as well as CTV (just like ''Series/DueSouth'', in fact) and became a moderate success for both networks. Another, ''The Bridge'', started airing in summer 2010, but it quickly flamed out south of the border. At the same time, two new sitcoms, ''Hiccups'' and ''DanForMayor'', produced by and starring many of the same people from ''Series/CornerGas'', were unveiled with much fanfare.

Unfortunately, it seems as though recent [=CanCon=] efforts have not been quite so fruitful. ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration'' saw its ratings fall so far that the show had to make a ChannelHop to cable sibling [=MuchMusic=] (avoiding outright cancellation [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff thanks to its immense popularity in the lucrative American market]]); ''The Bridge'' was cancelled after a season; ''Hiccups'', ''DanForMayor'', and the popular ''[[SoYouThinkYouCanDance So You Think You Can Dance Canada]]'' were all cancelled in September 2011.

Famously, CTV wrested the Olympics away from the CBC starting with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, paying top dollar and nearly being bankrupted when the recession hit; luckily, and unlike in the case of Creator/{{NBC}}'s infamous experience with the 1980 Olympics, they were a huge success. CBC did, however, regain the rights to the Olympics and will be doing so beginning in 2014. CTV has also succeeded with gaining the rights to the World Cup until 2022. Also, the network has also shown an interest in poaching ''HockeyNightInCanada'', the CBC's last remaining bastion in the ratings, but they've been unable as of yet. They ''did'', however, succeed in taking the famous ''[[CrowningMusicOfAwesome theme music]]'', currently owned by sister cable channel TSN (which is not only a Canadian version of Creator/{{ESPN}}, but is itself partly owned by the network); perhaps someday they'll be [[StarCrossedLovers reunited]]...

CTV Two was established for the 2011-12 television season. It's a re-branding of what was formerly called "A" (before that, A-Channel, and before ''that'', [=NewNet=], as well as, in Atlantic Canada, the regional cable channel ASN [Atlantic Satellite Network], which itself is now [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CTV_Two_Atlantic CTV Two Atlantic]]); it has a PrimeTime schedule composed primarily of [[ReRun reruns]] and "surplus" American shows with lower ratings. The flagship network continues to be known as simply "CTV", with no "One" or any other modifier attached.

Not to be confused with the many TV stations around the world that share its initials, including [[http://www.ctv.co.jp Chukyo Television]] in Nagoya, Japan; China Television in Taiwan; Canterbury Television in New Zealand, and the television service owned by [[UsefulNotes/VaticanCity the Vatican]].
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