Citytv (branded as "City" from 2012-2018) is unofficially Canada's fourth national TV network, though it serves as more a system of TV stations. Currently owned by Rogers Media, who also owns/owned Sportsnet note , OLN (formerly a Canadian version of what's now known as NBCSN), and Canadian versions of FX, FXX, Viceland (in a joint venture with Vice Media), and G4 Canada (originally TechTV Canada)
The original Citytv station was CITY-TV in Toronto (now officially known as CITY-DT following the 2011 switch from analogue TV to digital TV across Canada), which signed on in 1972. The station was originally owned by a partnership between Moses Znaimer and the Pouliot family, who was, at the time, the owner of Montreal's CTV affiliate, CFCF-TV. Thanks to money troubles during its' early years, several others took stakes in the station, and the consortium sold the station to CHUM Limited, which retained Znaimer. He then established the new station as having a unique mix of programming typical of many American independent stations that would become affiliates of Fox or The CW nowadays. Znaimer would lead not only Citytv, but CHUM's creation of several new cable networks, including MuchMusic and Space (the latter was fueled by City's predilection for both cheesy B-movies, as well as Star Trek; City was known as "Your Federation Station" for years, airing all the new shows through Star Trek: Enterprise, and even broadcasting the TNG finale live at the SkyDome to a crowd of Trekkies).
CITY-TV's schedule, back in its heyday of the 1980s and 1990s, was composed of many unique shows produced at the station. It regularly aired movies through its Great Movies in prime time and, at late night, both Late Great Movies (old and cheap films bridged by the sarcastic wit of announcer/reporter Mark Dailey, a fixture of City for years, and bumpers with random pedestrians and tourists) and softcore pornography (under the banner of The Baby Blue Movie), something which would never fit on broadcast TV in modern society.note Their local news, dubbed CityPulse, was also innovative, with all sorts of unconventional techniques and gimmicks, such as anchors and reporters standing around in the newsroom, that have been copied by many other news operations worldwide. Other popular original shows included the dance music program Electric Circus, the Vox Pops show Speaker's Corner (utilizing a video booth at the corner of the ChumCity Building's exterior, costing a dollar that went to charity, to record up to 2 minutes of yourself on video). and the globally-syndicated trio of FashionTelevision, MovieTelevision and MediaTelevision. The station's facility at 299 Queen Street West was renowned for being converted from an older building (previously used as a printing press and a retail warehouse, among other uses) into what Znaimer dubbed the "Streetside Studioless Television Operating System" — there were no studios per se, instead every inch of the building had wiring run through, so cameras and mics could be hooked up anywhere with "wire hydrants", with both the parking lot and the neighborhood outside becoming frequent shooting locations; CityPulse got a massive open newsroom, while MuchMusic stuff came from the "environment", a control room, office and performance area rolled into one. Moses even had the original CityPulse LiveEye newstruck (after its' retirement from active duty, and a narrow rescue from the scrapyard) embedded in one wall, as though it were bursting out of it. (They even called it "Breaking News". Heh.) We Will Use WikiWords in the Future was in full effect, as you can see; this type of naming spread throughout the CHUM empire.
In 2007, when CHUM Limited merged with the then CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media), the CRTC, through Executive Meddling, required CHUM to divest of Citytv to a third party owner. It was sold to Rogers Media in return. As a result, City had to leave 299 Queen West, settling at new digs in Yonge-Dundas Square in 2008. By this point, Citytv had expanded its operations to Western Canada, adding affiliates in Vancouver in 2002, followed by Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg (the latter licensed to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba) in 2005 by acquiring the A-Channel system, which was owned at the time by Craig Media. CHUM purchased Craig Media in 2005.
Unfortunately, soon after its purchase, the new owners removed much of the programming and details that gave Citytv its unique urban flavour, such as its original material, and replaced its special late night Late Great Movies with infomercials. CityNews (formerly CityPulse) was similarly homogenized. In October 2012, Citytv was awkwardly shortened to just "City". One of the reasons was that its flagship station in Toronto now has the callsign CITY-DT, which in effect made the "Citytv" name more of an Artifact Title. (After the 2011 switch, most TV stations in Canada that switched to digital broadcasting switched the "-TV" suffix in their callsigns to the "-DT" suffix.) The network quietly reverted back to the "Citytv" name in the fall of 2018.
Currently, Citytv operates similarly to CTV and Global Television Network, airing a schedule in prime time composed largely of simulcasts of shows from the "Big Four" American networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox), and the Great Movies are no longer present. The network has also had its own share of original programs, including Murdoch Mysteries, which aired on Citytv for its first five seasons before moving to the CBC.
Original shows produced by Citytv:
- The Bachelor Canada
- Between (co-produced with Netflix)
- Hockey Night in Canada (is a component of a nation-wide multi-game telecast involving CBC Television and several Rogers cable properties)
- Mother Up (co-produced with Hulu)
- Murdoch Mysteries
- Package Deal
- Seed (original series, also aired on The CW)