The Comedy Network (generally referred to as just ''Comedy'' since 2010) went on the air in October of 1997. It is owned by Bell Media, owners of CTV. On September 12, 2019, The Comedy Network was relaunched as CTV Comedy Channel, aligning the channel under the CTV brand.
Initially, the station was subject to a fairly limited schedule. Episodes of British television were common (Mr. Bean and The Baldy Man), and the airtime was full of Just For Laughs comedy festival performances, Open Mike With Mike Bullard (a low-budgeted talk show that aired for eight seasons), Saturday Night Live repeats (aired from the beginning and, unlike most American reruns, includes episodes from the much-maligned sixth and 11th seasons), repeats of CTV comedies, and other older TV shows.
Eventually, the British programs were dropped, and the network started showcasing both original programming (Kevin Spencer, Puppets Who Kill, Butch Patterson: Private Dick, Corner Gas, etc.), and shows from Comedy Central (including The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and @midnight). Pretty much anything from Comedy Central ended up on The Comedy Network, but since September of 2013, most of the former network's shows have premiered on sister network MuchMusic (which has since shortened it name to Much). In late 2016, The Comedy Network launched a branded Sunday night block for Comedy Central programming.
Today, The Comedy Network has become home to repeats of The Big Bang Theory and other contemporary sitcoms. With most of Comedy Central's programming now airing on Much (Outside of Comedy Central's late-night news satire shows), the network has also become home to several original comedies from TBS. To meet with Canadian Content guidelines, the Comedy Network still produces and airs a small number of Canadian-made shows, including a revival of Match Game in 2012. Since The Comedy Network wholly owns some of these shows, they have helped create profit for them in the past.
Any rebranding the network has taken on has occurred slowly. For most of the network's lifetime, before the CRTC began phasing out genre protectionnote , various Canadian shows would air with great repetition and lots of ad time. Corner Gas got it, and two of it's successors (Hiccups and Dan for Mayor) got it as well. Canadian Content laws plus Adored by the Network counts for a lot.
The Comedy Network previously had a sister channel in Comedy Gold. Formally a Canadian version of TV Land, Comedy Gold focused on classic sketch comedy and sitcoms from the 1970's to 2000's. From September 2018, Comedy Gold was in the process of being acquired by Wow! Unlimited Media, which planned to relaunch it as a kids' and youth channel. In exchange, Bell Canada would gain common voting shares in Wow, Wow would provide children's content for sibling services Crave and SnackableTV, and both Wow and Bell Media would jointly produce children's programming. The rebrand ultimately didn't come into fruition; after a period of Network Decay (during which, Wow pushed back the date to fully acquire the channel) Comedy Gold would shut down on September 1, 2019.
It is not to be confused with The Comedy Channel in Australia.
Original programming broadcast by The Comedy Network include (Ongoing shows in bold):
- Alice, I Think (2006)
- The Beaverton (Based on the website of the same name; moving to CTV in Fall 2018; 2016-present)
- Butch Patterson: Private Dick (1999-2001)
- Corner Gas Animated (2018-present)
- Comedy Now! (1997)
- The Gavin Crawford Show (2000-2003)
- Girls Will Be Girls (2005)
- Good Morning World (2007)
- Hotbox (2009-2010)
- Improv Heaven and Hell (1998-2001)
- The Jon Dore Television Show (2007-2009)
- Just for Laughs: All Access (2013-present)
- Kevin Spencer (One of the longest-running, domestically-animated, Canadian series in history; 1995-2009)
- Keys to the VIP (2006-2008)
- Liocracy (2001-2003)
- Match Game (2012 English-Language version)
- Odd Job Jack (2003-2007)
- Picnic Face (2011)
- Point Black (2002)
- PopCultured (2005)
- Puppets Who Kill (2002-2006)
- Supertown Challenge (1998-2000)
- This Sitcom Is...Not to Be Repeated (2001)
- The Stand-Up Show with Katherine Ryan (2019)
- The Tom Green Show (Began as a public access show on Rogers Television 22; 1994-2000)
- Truthhorse (2004)
- Y B Normal? (1998-1999)
- You Bet Your Ass