|Launched||January 1, 1995|
|Owned by||Bell Media|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Formerly called||Bravo! (1995–2012)|
|Bell TV||Channel 620 (SD)|
Channel 1734 (HD)
|Shaw Direct||Channel 523 (SD)|
Channels 82 and 582 (HD)
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||Channel 203 (SD)|
Channel 420 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 620 (SD)|
Channel 1620 (HD)
|Bell MTS||Channel 123 (SD)|
Channel 1123 (HD)
|Optik TV||Channel 9302 (SD)|
Channel 302 (HD)
|SaskTel||Channel 73 (SD)|
Channel 373 (HD)
|VMedia||Channel 40 (HD)|
|Zazeen||Channel 121 (HD)|
The channel was founded as a Canadian version of the U.S. channel Bravo (which is now owned by NBCUniversal), and originally focused on performing arts, drama, and independent film. As with its U.S. counterpart, the channel has largely dropped its arts programming but unlike its U.S. counterpart, which largely shifted to reality and lifestyle-oriented series, the Canadian Bravo adopted a general entertainment format with a focus on drama.
In the 1980s, a precursor to Bravo existed called C Channel. The service was a national commercial-free pay television channel that focused on arts programming. C Channel launched on February 1, 1983, before it went bankrupt and ceased operations five months later on June 30 of that year due to its inability to attract a sufficient number of subscribers at a price of $16 per month.
Over 10 years later, another attempt at an arts-based channel was proposed when CHUM Limited applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a license to operate Bravo. In June 1994, CHUM's application for Bravo was approved, citing its nature of service as focusing on "performance and drama programming, as well as documentary and discussion".
Bravo was launched on January 1, 1995, at 3pm, with an introductory slide of a letter from Moses Znaimer explaining how Bravo was intended to help show that TV was not "a monumental waste of time", as he claimed most people thought of it, followed by their first program, the BBC documentary TV Is King. It focused on arts programming, including music, ballet, literature, television and film drama, visual arts, modern dance, opera and architecture. As a condition of licence, Bravo was to contribute a predetermined amount or percentage of its revenues to ArtsFACT (now called Bravo!FACT), a fund established to provide grants for the production of Canadian short films covering a wide range of arts-related disciplines. Films funded by Bravo!FACT have regularly aired on the channel.
Sale to CTVglobemediaEdit
In July 2006, Bell Globemedia (later called CTVglobemedia) announced that it would purchase CHUM for an estimated CAD$1.7 billion, included in the sale was Bravo The sale was approved by the CRTC on June 8, 2007, and the transaction was completed on June 22, 2007. After CTVglobemedia's purchase of Bravo, the channel increasingly shifted its focus toward more television and film dramas (such as Criminal Minds), and lessened its focus on arts programming.
On September 10, 2010, BCE Inc. (a minority shareholder in CTVglobemedia) announced that it planned to acquire 100% interest in CTVglobemedia for a total debt and equity transaction cost of $3.2 billion. The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 7, 2011, and was finalized on April 1 of that year, on which CTVglobemedia was rebranded Bell Media.
While under Bell Media ownership, the shift toward television and film dramas and general entertainment programming was expanded upon, although it still carries some arts-related programming as a condition of its licence. This format shift was further emphasized on May 14, 2012, when Bravo unveiled a new on-air logo and new on-air presentation as part of an extensive rebranding of the network. The new logo dropped the original "square" logo that Bravo had maintained since its launch (which resembled the 1993 to 2003 logo used by the U.S. channel), in favour of a design no longer resembling any logo used by its American counterpart.
On June 6, 2013, Bell announced that Bravo would become the company's first network to implement a TV Everywhere service, which would allow subscribers of participating television service providers that carry Bravo to stream video on demand content as well as a live feed of the Bravo channel via the Bravo Go app.
On June 7, 2018, during the CTV upfronts, it was announced that Bravo would be re-branded as "CTV Drama", as part of a re-branding of several Bell Media specialty channels under the CTV name. The following year, it was revealed the channel would rebrand as CTV Drama Channel on September 12, 2019.
In its early years, Bravo often aired short films by Canadian artists between programs, funded by its foundation Bravo!FACT, which ranged from comedy to drama to opera to jazz to animation. Many of these also aired on Bravo's weekly series Bravo!FACT Presents. Bravo has also produced a limited amount of scripted and non-scripted series and has broadcast many notable specials, including a telecast of Canadian rock band Spirit of the West's Open Heart Symphony concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and three early television films within the Murdoch Mysteries franchise: Except the Dying, Poor Tom Is Cold and Under the Dragon's Tail.
- 19-2 (English-Language version)
- Arts & Minds
- At the Concert Hall
- The Borgias
- Bravo!FACT Presents
- Bravo! Videos
- Live at the Rehearsal Hall
- The O'Regan Files
- The People's Couch (Canadian Version)
- Star Portraits, a celebrity portrait painting competition. In each episode, three different artists would compete by painting a portrait of a Canadian celebrity (who would model for the artists). Notable celebrities who have appeared on the show include Elvis Stojko, Debbie Travis, Alex Trebek, Colin Mochrie, Roméo Dallaire, and Roberta Bondar.
- CRTC Decision 1994-281
- Bell Globemedia acquires CHUM Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine; Fasken Martineau; 2006-07-12
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2007-165; CRTC; 2007-06-08
- Bell Canada (2010-09-10). "Bell to acquire 100% of Canada's No.1 media company CTV". CNW Group. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- CRTC approves BCE's purchase of CTVglobemedia Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Bell completes acquisition of CTV, launches Bell Media business unit CNW 2011-04-01
- "Bell Media to give subscribers full online access to Bravo". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Magnum P.I. reboot, new Jann Arden comedy on CTV's fall lineup". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
- "Bolstered by New Acquisitions, New CTV Suite of Specialty Channels to Be Unveiled Sept. 12". Newswire. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
- "Bravo! Celebrates Canada's Famous Faces with New Original Series STAR PORTRAITS, Premiering Sept. 12".