On August 29, Bell Media rebranded its A-Channels under the CTV Two banner including stations in Vancouver/Victoria, Toronto/Barrie, London, Windsor, Ottawa and Atlantic as well as CIAN in Calgary and CJAL in Edmonton typically referred to as Access TV. Two days later CTV Two began broadcasting in HD, the day before the transition from analog to digital was mandated to be completed by the CTRC. As of September 1, 2011, CTV has discontinued operating CIAN and CJAL citing costs for the digital conversion as too high for the limited revenue the station is able to generate as a condition of its licence.
CTV Two is no longer available over the air, much to the chagrin of many viewers who can no longer receive the signal. All former A news programs were rebranded as CTV, with the Ottawa and Atlantic morning news shows being renamed CTV Morning Live. On October 17, 2011, CTV Two’s sister stations in Alberta, CTV Edmonton and CTV Calgary, will launch a three and a half hour morning newscast also named CTV Morning Live.
Unlike A, which some reported to be a dumping ground for repeats and lesser series not worthy of the CTV brand, CTV Two’s new prime-time lineup boasts some of television’s hottest shows. They include Simon Cowell’s The X Factor, the revamped Two and a Half Men, Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, Law & Order: SVU, The Vampire Diaries, Anderson Cooper’s new talk show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Alberta Primetime, the hour long weekday news magazine, remains unchanged. It will still air live at 7:00pm and repeat at 11:00pm and again at 11:00.
The programming will remain a half-and-half mix of educational and commercial, a balance determined by its licence as an educational channel through the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The CTV Two component is going to be largely a program stream, mainly in prime time,” Lloyd Lewis CTV Edmonton’s Vice President and General Manager. “It will be very glossy and highly promotable programming that is probably consistent with what we think of when we think of CTV. A lot of it is obviously foreign, some of it is Canadian. But it is largely the part of the schedule that will generate a lot of the audience and ideally enough revenue to be able to provide the 50 percent of our schedule that is non-commercialized.
In addition to Alberta Primetime, the station’s preschool and early-school programming and numerous shows that are presented in conjunction with post-secondary institutions in the province will remain unchanged.
The channel will also be producing segments to run during prime time in partnership with Alberta Education and Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. These locally shot bits will highlight different careers and education opportunities available to Albertans, Lewis said.
Let’s say you are watching anything from So You Think You Can Dance, to Alberta Primetime or any of the shows we run between six and midnight,” says Lewis. “You will probably see one of these (educational items) run every hour. We have actually made a significant commitment of resources to develop a crew that will write, produce and generate this type of material that will run on an ongoing basis.That’s part of our commitment to education in the province.
The Channel was launched by the province in 1973, but privatized 20 years later by the Ralph Klein government. As conditions of its licence, the CRTC outlines the percentage of education versus commercial programming the stations can air and puts restrictions of the type and volume of advertising.
CTV Two’s main studios in Alberta remain located in Edmonton where they share the newsroom with CTV Edmonton.