Sundance Channel to Canada on March 1

Corus to rebrand former Drive-In Classics cable channel

TORONTO -- A licensing agreement with Rainbow Media Holdings has opened the way for Corus Entertainment to launch the Sundance Channel in Canada on March 1.

Toronto-based Corus will rebrand its former Drive-In Classics cable channel as a Canadianized Sundance Channel with a schedule built around six programming blocks of genre-focused movies and TV series.

The Sundance Channel, which launched in 1996, was denied entry into the Canadian market by the CRTC back in 2001 on grounds it would compete with existing Canadian movie channels.

But by airing classic movies on the upcoming Sundance Channel, along with contemporary fare, Corus will be able to bring the Rainbow Media property into Canada and still comply with its CRTC license for Drive-In Classics.

Morphing existing Canadian cable channels into foreign services in recent years has become the preferred way for local cable operators to get round CRTC rules on so-called genre protection and launch U.S. services north of the border.