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TORONTO – Shaw Media is pacting with A+E Networks to bring Lifetime and H2 to Canada, and rebranding History Television like the U.S. based History channel.
As the Americanization of Canadian TV gathers pace, Lifetime will launch in September in direct competition with the female-skewing W Network operated by rival Corus Entertainment, possibly as a rebrand of the existing Diva channel.
Also coming north in September is H2, possibly by rebranding Shaw Media’s newly-acquired The Cave channel, as A+E Networks continues to expand its Canadian reach.
“We are thrilled to partner with Shaw Media to bring these brands into Canada, where they will develop a voice and content that is unique to the Canadian audience,” Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager, History and Lifetime Networks, said on news of the Canadian deal.
The move marks the first international launch for Lifetime and H2.
Lifetime in Canada will feature a slate of programming that includes Dance Moms, Bristol Palin: Life’s A Tripp and The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet.
H2’s Canadian Fall schedule will include 10 Things You Don’t Know About, The Universe and Mankind Decoded.
The Canadian deals for Lifetime and H2 follow popular American brands like Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, HBO, MTV and FX and ABC’s Spark channels moving north, courtesy of partnering Canadian broadcasters.
The strategy is rebranding modest Canadian cable channels with sexy American names and lineups to entice cable and satellite TV subscribers to sign up.
Such forgettable Canadian channels as Drive-In Classics was transformed into the Sundance Channel Canada, Viva became OWN Canada and Dusk found a new dawn as ABC’s Spark channel in Canada.
Elsewhere, the U.S. Cartoon Network landed in Canada as part of a joint venture with Teletoon, bringing with it the popular Adult Swim prime time lineup.
The pairing of U.S. brands and Canadian broadcasters also aims to cut costs and boost margins by getting more cheaply-acquired American programming onto local cable schedules as the CRTC, charged with ensuring shelf-space for homegrown Canadian shows, looks the other way.
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