E! Entertainment Television Returns to Canada

TORONTO -- E! Entertainment Television is to return to Canada after a year-long absence.

Comcast International Media Group on Monday inked a multi-platform supply and licensing deal with local broadcaster CTVglobemedia to get its U.S.-based celebrity TV brand back across the border.

The pact follows an earlier supply deal between Comcast and rival Canwest Global Communications Corp. that rebranded a Canadian conventional TV Network, CH, as E! Canada, starting in September 2007.

That rebranding of a Canadian over-the-air network eventually went sour and faded to black in September 2009.

This time, CTV will rebrand an existing cable channel, Star! as E! Canada from Nov. 29, and overnight get the E! brand into 6.2 million homes countrywide.

The irony is Comcast and then-Chum Ltd. struck a similar 1999 supply and licensing deal to get U.S.-originated E! programming onto the Star! channel, an arrangement that was eclipsed by the ill-fated pact with Canwest Global in 2007.

“We're delighted to bring E! back to audiences in Canada as we enter this new partnership with CTV," Duccio Donati, executive vp of of CIMG, said Monday.

As with the earlier Canadian supply deals, CTVglobemedia will license and manage E! programming and content north of the border, including series like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Soup and E! True Hollywood Story.

The Canadian E! channel will offer 50% Canadian programming, and 40% in primetime, to comply with domestic broadcast license commitments.

That means homegrown celebrity-driven programming already airing on the CTV network, a division of CTVglobemedia, will air on the rebranded E! channel, including eTalk, TV specials and red carpet programming from Canadian film festivals and award shows.

The latest Comcast deal includes a online component, eonline.ca, and exclusive access for CTVglobemedia to E!-branded digital media assets in Canada, including mobile and VOD content.