Upfronts ’19: Bell Media finalizes specialty rebrands

The company has officially unveiled the CTV Life, Comedy, Sci-Fi and Drama Channels.
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In a move 12 months in the making, Bell Media has finally unveiled the new brand identities of four of its specialty networks.

Starting Sept. 12, food, lifestyle and travel network Gusto will  be known as CTV Life Channel; Comedy Network is now CTV Comedy Channel, Space is now CTV Sci-Fi Channel and Bravo is now CTV Drama Channel.

Other specialty nets including TSN, Discovery and Much will remain unchanged.

The intent to rebrand was initially announced during last year’s Upfront season, with Bell Media president Randy Lennox stating that in the current media landscape, “It’s essential for our services to have the same scale and brand ubiquity as our international competitors.”

Mike Cosentino, president of content and programming at Bell Media, said in a statement that putting these networks under CTV’s brand umbrella will allow them to flourish further after an already-strong year. In the last year, Bell Media saw 20% growth on its entertainment-category specialty channels, with key growth on networks such as Space and Gusto (which grew more than 70% within its key adult demos and nearly doubled its 18 to 34 audience).

Bell Media has also announced new additions to the upcoming slates for each of the rebranded specialties. CTV Comedy Channel will see a revival of Mad About You, with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt reviving their respective roles. It will also roll out the sports interview series Cold as Balls from Kevin Hart’s digital comedy brand Laugh Out Loud. U.S. comedy series Tacoma FD will come to CTV Comedy Channel, and late-night shows such as The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee return.

On CTV Sci-Fi Channel, new series Resident Alien, based on the comic book series of the same name, will hit the airwaves. The channel will also be home to the upcoming series Star Trek: Picard and anthology series Castle Rock, along with a new season of Star Trek: Discovery.

CTV Drama Channel will bring the new thriller Gold Digger (starring Emmy-winner Julia Ormond) and mystery series The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (starring Patrick Dempsey). Returning series include Killing Eve and The Handmaid’s Tale.

And CTV Life will continue to roll out content from Brit celebrity chef Jamie Oliver with the new series Jamie’s Ultimate Veg, along with returning favourites Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club, Escape to the Country, Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, Bonacini’s Italy and Where To I Do.