Posted in TV

Colbert Report’s time on CTV comes to an end: “exclusive to Comedy”

I remember when the Colbert Report first launched in 2005. I remember the three weeks between the time it debuted on Comedy Central in the U.S. and the time that CTV began airing it in Canada. I remember the handoffs between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, which got viewers of the first show to tune in to the second.

But after eight long and truthy years, the Colbert Report aired its final new episode on CTV on Aug. 15. When it comes back from vacation in September, CTV will have replaced Colbert at 12:35am with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a move being made in anticipation of the replacement of Fallon with SNL’s Seth Meyers in early 2014.

Stewart is staying on CTV, as is Conan O’Brien, whose show gets pushed back by half an hour. The new schedules, as of Sept. 2, will look like this:

  • CTV: National news at 11pm, local news at 11:30pm, Daily Show at 12:05am, Late Night at 12:35am, Conan at 1:35am, a Comedy Now! rerun at 2:05am, and then infomercials
  • CTV Two: Local news at 11pm, Tonight Show at 11:35pm, Criminal Minds rerun at 12:35am, then infomercials
  • Comedy Network: Daily Show at 11pm, Colbert Report at 11:30pm, Conan at midnight

The move makes sense for Bell Media for two main reasons:

  • Simultaneous substitution: Airing Late Night instead of Colbert means that CTV can take over NBC’s signal for that hour each night and insert its own ads. Because Comedy Central isn’t available in Canada, there’s nothing to substitute with Colbert (which airs at a different time anyway). It’s the same reason why NFL games air on CTV but CFL games air on TSN. The system favours airing U.S. network programs on broadcast channels.
  • Must-have programming on Comedy: With Colbert being “exclusive to Comedy”, a fact that CTV isn’t hiding (it even bragged about that during ads shown to the audience at Just for Laughs galas this summer), fans of the show must subscribe to that channel to get it. I suspect most fans already subscribe to that channel, but this is even further incentive. And specialty channels are where the big money lies in television right now.

There are other bonuses too. Colbert no longer airing on CTV might push more cable distributors to offer Comedy in high definition (Videotron, for example, currently doesn’t, which means Videotron subscribers won’t be able to watch the show in high definition anymore.)

Of course, the wishes of viewers aren’t really factored in here. Given the choice, they would probably prefer the existing system, seeing Stewart and Colbert on CTV and having the option to watch classic late-night on NBC. But when the wishes of the viewers conflict with the ability to game the system for more profits…

58 thoughts on “Colbert Report’s time on CTV comes to an end: “exclusive to Comedy”

  1. William

    I’m just about to cut my Bell Fibe cable so it’s a drag that I’ll lose Colbert but I’ll still be able to catch it on the Comedy Network website.

    Reply
  2. Dilbert

    The wonders of a non-competitive industry.

    You can bet that Bell isn’t paying any more for the rights to the show (and in fact are likely paying less) and in the mean time get to score some nice simsub advertising dollars in the same time frame. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, a perfect double dip.

    Now if they can just con the CRTC in allowing them to simsub on their cable channels, and they will have a fiesta of non-competitive action!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      You can bet that Bell isn’t paying any more for the rights to the show (and in fact are likely paying less) and in the mean time get to score some nice simsub advertising dollars in the same time frame.

      As I understand the deals, Bell pays for the Canadian rights to the show and does what it wants with it. So you’re probably right here.

      Though I don’t get where the “non-competitive industry” thing comes from (unless you’re referring to the lack of competitors to Comedy Network). Shaw, Rogers and others would probably pick up Colbert if Bell didn’t want it or wasn’t paying much for it.

      Now if they can just con the CRTC in allowing them to simsub on their cable channels, and they will have a fiesta of non-competitive action!

      Doing simsub on cable channels might help in certain cases (sports, particularly), and might even have some advantages for viewers (CTV airing something other than NFL games on Sundays), but for the most part it wouldn’t make much of a change because most big U.S. cable channels aren’t distributed here.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        “Though I don’t get where the “non-competitive industry” thing comes from (unless you’re referring to the lack of competitors to Comedy Network). Shaw, Rogers and others would probably pick up Colbert if Bell didn’t want it or wasn’t paying much for it.”

        Well, it starts with Bell having the largest national network, which means if they want a program, they typically will have the most income available to pay for it. As a result, they are also in a position to pay (and perhaps overpay a bit) to keep the programming from others and use it as an “exclusive” on their cable channels. The exclusive on the comedy channel means that the other companies don’t have any real way to market it in the appropriate niche either. It’s just the way the current situation plays out, Bell’s only real competitor for the programming is… Bell.

        “Doing simsub on cable channels might help in certain cases (sports, particularly), and might even have some advantages for viewers (CTV airing something other than NFL games on Sundays),”

        Actually, I was thinking more about CTV 2 being able to simsub broadcast (ABC CBS NBC FOX) stuff, or for that matter any other cable channel. Right now simsub requires an over the air broadcast in the area, but if they could manage to get the CRTC to say “any program shown on a Canadian broadcaster at the same time” then they could pretty much simsub everything, and take all the ad revenue :)

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          it starts with Bell having the largest national network, which means if they want a program, they typically will have the most income available to pay for it.

          Bell being the largest hardly makes the industry non-competitive. The fact you think they’re overpaying for content is the opposite of what would happen if the industry was so. Canadian exclusivity rights (at least first-run) are standard, and apply as much to CTV’s rights to the Colbert Report as they do Global’s rights to Saturday Night Live, City’s rights to America’s Got Talent, etc.

          Reply
          1. Dilbert

            “The fact you think they’re overpaying for content”

            I don’t think they are overpaying for content, where do you get that impression? I think they are paying fairly for the content on a “per viewer” basis, and having more viewers means that they can pay more and have the best choice of shows. So they get to pick and choose because they can offer the most money, and then global, and then city, and so on down the list. If you have 10 cents per viewer per year for programming, example, and Bell has twice as many viewers, then they can afford to pay twice as much for programming, pretty simple, no? That doesn’t mean they over pay for any one program, but they may be able to pay for the higher end stuff, the most popular stuff, or to have more of it (and more use of it in repeats, second channel use, etc).

            However, shifting the program to the Comedy network shows perhaps that with a smaller audience (and smaller potential audience) the payout on cable channels is high enough that they can now afford to use “big boy” programming, rather than second run or second rate stuff.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              I don’t think they are overpaying for content, where do you get that impression?

              From the part where you said “they are also in a position to pay (and perhaps overpay a bit) to keep the programming from others”

              So they get to pick and choose because they can offer the most money, and then global, and then city, and so on down the list.

              It’s an oversimplification, but yeah, that’s the Canadian TV business.

              However, shifting the program to the Comedy network shows perhaps that with a smaller audience (and smaller potential audience) the payout on cable channels is high enough that they can now afford to use “big boy” programming, rather than second run or second rate stuff.

              The Comedy Network has 6 million subscribers, so I don’t think the audience is that much smaller. And cable channels have been airing “big boy” programming for quite a while now.

              Reply
              1. Dilbert

                Comedy has 6 million subscribers because it’s jammed into a pack with other channels people want, not because 6 million people actively selected the channel. Since channels like this are generally used as balance against popular US stations, the number of paying subscribers never adds up to the number of actual viewers. From the ratings I could find, their very top shows might get a couple of hundred thousand viewers.

                The 6 million subscriber number is only good in proving how many people are being forced to pay, not how many people want or view it.

                Would you care to highlight some first run, top end “big boy” programming that is on CANADIAN cable these days, aside from sports?

              2. Fagstein Post author

                Comedy has 6 million subscribers because it’s jammed into a pack with other channels people want, not because 6 million people actively selected the channel.

                Regardless of why they have the channel, the point is they have it and can watch Colbert there. The potential audience is actually quite large.

                Would you care to highlight some first run, top end “big boy” programming that is on CANADIAN cable these days, aside from sports?

                Sports is obviously the big thing. Some big TSN programming has reached into the millions of viewers. For the rest, I guess it depends how you define “big boy” programming. Do scripted dramas fit the bill, like Orphan Black (Space) or Lost Girl (Showcase)? How about documentary programs like Mayday (Discovery), which airs around the world? And of course there’s a whole bunch of reality shows. And here I’m just talking about original Canadian productions. Lots of U.S. shows are first-run on cable here, including mega hits like Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad.

      2. Partrick Cashman

        Replacing the Colbert Report with the gawd awful Jimmy Fallon will mean one more show to download from Pirate bay and less time to watch CTV. i will watch CNN or CBC instead.

        Reply
        1. John

          Cut my cable 4 yrs ago, last report out from the states is 1.8 million more cable cutters so far this year. Shaw has lost another bunch so far this year. Can understand why their internet rates have gone up. When the digital age came about Shaw promised us channels of our choice, view when we want too. None of that has come about except on the internet. I can watch any program I want when I want. I pay 36 bucks a year for a high speed proxie so I can stream American programing. Any show worth its weight in gold is available for download otherwise. Instead of giving us what we want when we want it , the bean counters look for short term financial gain and the company will lose it in the long run.

          Reply
          1. Fagstein Post author

            Instead of giving us what we want when we want it , the bean counters look for short term financial gain and the company will lose it in the long run.

            Keep in mind that distributors and broadcasters have to acquire separate streaming and on demand rights to programming to be able to offer it to you. And most of them do exactly that. Most big U.S. shows can be streamed for free from CTV.ca or Globaltv.ca, and more and more programming is available through cable companies’ video on demand systems.

            So I’m not sure what “short term financial gain” is being looked for here by denying on-demand content.

            Reply
  3. It's Me

    The whole idea is sort of a moot point anyway when The Colbert Report is available on TCN’s website anyways, along with most of their other first-run programming. The only reason to actually subscribe to this channel is if you don’t have the Internet/dial-up/a poorly-ran computer or if you like reruns (which, TCN’s website has older content as well, so even that’s a bit of a moot point as well). This is the case with many of the other channels out there too. They put most first run programming online for free. So, I say, cut the cable and stop paying money directly into these bafoons and get it for free online. Watching them online will still technically be payign them money in online ads, but it’s much less profitable for them and you don’t have to pay the ridiculously high cable bills too.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The whole idea is sort of a moot point anyway when The Colbert Report is available on TCN’s website anyways, along with most of their other first-run programming.

      It’s available the next day. For something as timely as Colbert that might not be good enough.

      Reply
      1. DaninTO

        I’d rather watch it the next day online than pay Bell or Rogers the rates they charge.
        Having a digital antennae and the internet beats paying for cable any day.
        For me anyway.

        Reply
      2. Lard

        It’s really not, and I used to like to watch Conan right after Colbert. Guess what? It moved to Much at 11 PM EST. I literally have to switch over to Colbert halfway through to catch it, or wait ’till 2:30 AM to catch it on the west-coast feed. Also, The Comedy Network doesn’t seem very interesting without Tosh, South Park, etc. I think they even moved the Simpsons to Much.

        Reply
  4. m0rt0n

    I have a great little digital hd antenna and cut my cable a while ago. I also run video from my computer to my tv. It’s all quite clear, comfy womfy, and I won’t be missing any Colbert.

    I will be transitioning Internet to TekSavvy as they have higher speed/cheaper packages than Bell. The landline will likely move too.

    Reply
  5. Brian

    Thanks for posting this, it was an unfortunate surprise to see Colbert Report no longer on my Shaw CTV listings.

    My late night lineup was to watch Jimmy Fallon then the Daily Show Followed by The Colbert Report and Conan. Now the lineup is Jimmy Fallon on NBC, then The Daily Show as per usual on CTV, followed by… more Jimmy Fallon on CTV… Great. Nothing like having options.

    I like Jimmy, but not enough to watch him twice (sorry Jimmy!).

    Reply
  6. philip

    Geez I hate change…. Will miss the Colbert Report as I don’t have the Comedy network..

    Just one question. Are we going to get Fallon all year round or when Seth Meyers takes over Fallon’s show when he takes over the Tonight show in February I believe., will we get Meyers on CTV?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Are we going to get Fallon all year round or when Seth Meyers takes over Fallon’s show when he takes over the Tonight show in February I believe., will we get Meyers on CTV?

      We’ll get Meyers. Part of the reason for the pickup was to get in on the ground floor of that. The Tonight Show will remain on CTV Two.

      Reply
  7. Colin

    Uggghhh…….the only reason i was keeping cable was that I liked having timeshifting and could watch TDS and TCR at 9:00 and 9:30 instead of having to remind myself to download or watch it the next day. It was a nice routine.
    Since i’ll have to get it online now anyways, it might be time to cut the cable.

    Reply
  8. P-L

    I remember when CTV failed to carry Star Trek Voyager in the early 2000s after years of broadcasting TNG and DS9. Letters asking to show Voyager went unheeded, so it forced me to to look for “alternatives” in those early days of the internet. I’m OTA so I guess once again they’re pushing me to look for “alternatives.”

    Reply
      1. P-L

        Gee, there’s an idea…

        Actually, come to think of it, CTV did carry Voyager. It was Star Trek: Enterprise that they refused to show when it started in 2001, coincidentally the same year that saw the launch of a new technology that went by the name of BitTorrent.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Actually, come to think of it, CTV did carry Voyager. It was Star Trek: Enterprise that they refused to show when it started in 2001

          Voyager started in 1995, two years before the Space channel launched. Space, which was owned by CHUM at the time, carried Enterprise through its entire run.

          Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              Yeah, and Space is/was A) a crappy version of SciFi/ScyFy and B) a paid service.

              Say what you want about Space, but it had the Canadian rights to the show.

              Reply
  9. Charles Placktis

    What a disgusting underhanded move by CTV. Colbert Nation, rise up against this putrid, money grubbing decision!

    Reply
  10. Adam

    This is a travesty, Daily show with J.Stewart and Colbert Report are the two funniest and informative shows I’ve ever watched. Bell always had my attention for 3 shows, Now I just switch the channel after the daily show. Shame the Bell media for replacing a comedic/political satirical genius like Colbert with another redundant talk show.

    Reply
  11. Nemo

    FAIL! CTV or whoever owns it really shit the bed here…I’ll be tuning out after Daily Show or simply watching Daily Show and then Colbert on Comedy at 8 & 8:30 or midnight. Fallon’s only good 10% of the time (and you watch it on YouTube after someone posts a decent clip on Facebook) but Colbert is dead on 100% of the time.

    Reply
  12. Rob

    Cut your Cable everyone.. OTA and internet are the way to go.. I put up a 50$ antenna a few months ago and cut my FibeTv.. No regrets.. OTA is all HD digital now.. I live in the montreal area and receive 22 Free channels.. CTV,CBC,Global,NBC,ABC,NBC,FOX,PBS..etc.. I use Apple tv and Roku to stream.. Streaming has really just begun, I get a lot of options with the ATV and Roku, Cable tv is Dead they just don’t know it yet.. with more and more channels becoming available to these internet boxes Cable tv is getting very nervous, won’t be long before they take over.. I download the shows that I like so no real need for a costly cable package or PVR.. I cancelled everything Bell and use a smaller lesser known internet company, They are cheaper (36$) faster and give me 300gb of downloading which is more than enough for what I need.. I’m saving 150$ each month.. as for Colbert I just download it in the Morning, No biggie..

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Bad Idea, BELL you should keep Daily Show, and Colbert Report together period.
    Why can’t the network use their equivalent of a PVR and push Jimmy Fallon back a half hour,
    Or move Daily Show, and Colbert Report to CTV2 push the Criminal Minds re-run back an hour, then do the damn infomercials

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Why can’t the network use their equivalent of a PVR and push Jimmy Fallon back a half hour,

      Because then it wouldn’t be able to force cable companies to replace NBC’s ads with its own.

      Or move Daily Show, and Colbert Report to CTV2 push the Criminal Minds re-run back an hour, then do the damn infomercials

      I suppose that’s a possibility, but it would mean both shows airing a half hour later than people are used to. On top of that, much of the country, including Montreal, doesn’t get CTV Two.

      Reply
  14. Winstone

    this is exactly why I opposed the Bell/Telus/Rogers bullet*t campaign on wireless markets this summer. Their CEOs are greedy, rapacious liars who care not one whit about our needs and expectations. Cope, Entwhistle an Mohamed feel they are the new ruling class, we are their indentured serfs, and shareholders are saps.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      this is exactly why I opposed the Bell/Telus/Rogers bullet*t campaign on wireless markets this summer.

      I’m not sure why you’re bringing Telus into this. Telus made a conscious decision not to own television broadcasters.

      Reply
  15. Joe G.

    I have 3 suggestions:

    1) Send a strong message to Bell by cancelling your service and going OTA + streaming (there are boxes that do both now). You need OTA (antenna) television so you can save your bandwidth for the good stuff not available for free from broadcast

    2) If you want to stay subscribed, CANCEL your Comedy network package as soon as Colbert goes into reruns. SOOOO many people stay subbed to high-end sports packages when there’s no hockey, other packages when they’re not even watching. Track your TV viewing. If you’re watching less than 10h/month on a package it’s probably not worth the extra $$$. Why give them extra cash?

    3) Call and complain every time there is a price increase, even threaten to leave. You will be surprised how often the “Customer Loyalty Dept” will give out promos to keep you. Most people just sit back, take it and pay the bill … call and get some of your cash back!

    Reply
  16. Annoyed

    So I’m going to have to go to the Torrents if I want to keep watching Colbert eh? I was getting it for free all this time – I’m not going to start paying for it now.

    Canada sucks.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      So I’m going to have to go to the Torrents if I want to keep watching Colbert eh?

      Or subscribe to The Comedy Network. Or watch the episodes on the Comedy Network website.

      Reply
  17. Wendy Arthur

    But If you don’t live in an urban area, your internet speed isn’t high enough to watch anything online. Bell will sell you satellite, but not high-speed internet.

    Clearly, CTV is not interested in me and what I want to watch. I don’t think I’m interested in them anymore either.

    Good will come of this. I will just start going to bed at a reasonable hour. But I will miss you, Stephen.

    Reply
  18. John

    The giant telecommunications/media company Bell decided that their friends on the right were being trashed talked to much so that’s why they decided to dump The Colbert Report is my bet.
    Screw you Bell!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The giant telecommunications/media company Bell decided that their friends on the right were being trashed talked to much so that’s why they decided to dump The Colbert Report is my bet.

      Right. So they kept Jon Stewart. Because Jon Stewart doesn’t say embarrassing things about right-wing thinkers in the U.S.

      Reply
  19. Joan

    This is ridiculous. The Daily Show followed by the Colbert Report is a staple. They just go together. This has just turned me totally off of Jimmy Fallon. He’s on all over the place anyway. Very bad programming move.

    Reply
    1. Muldfeld

      Yes. Jimmy Fallon is one of the worst, least funny people on TV — aside from Kimmel, who’s not as talented, but not as annoyingly needy and phony, either.

      Reply
  20. JJ

    I guess Bell doesn’t care if people watch the local news since its up against Colbert on the Comedy station.
    How out of touch are the honchos at Bell anyway. Colbert is the best show on the air.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I guess Bell doesn’t care if people watch the local news since its up against Colbert on the Comedy station.

      Bell owns a bunch of channels. It can’t program every one of them so there’s nothing competing with local news.

      How out of touch are the honchos at Bell anyway. Colbert is the best show on the air.

      All the more reason to use it to get people to subscribe to the Comedy network, no?

      Reply
      1. Muldfeld

        Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. It makes sense to be ruthless and cruel, but it’s unethical and destructive to the greater good. Bell wasn’t forced to have a monopoly; it wanted one and has been ruining Canadian TV by doing so.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. It makes sense to be ruthless and cruel, but it’s unethical and destructive to the greater good.

          Replacing The Colbert Report with Late Night on CTV is “cruel”?

          Bell wasn’t forced to have a monopoly

          Bell doesn’t have a monopoly. There are other players in the Canadian broadcasting scene, including the very rich Shaw and Rogers.

          Reply
  21. Muldfeld

    This is why I hate Canadian corporate media. They make NOTHING and leech of American TV channels that make 99.9 % of quality programming between Canada and the US, and they give us those lousy, horrid Canadian ads made for the sensibilities of 13 year old fools. What’s worse is that channels like Space, Comedy Network, Showcase, MuchMusic, and Discovery Channel have been terribly dumbed down; when you buy the specialty version of each (Showcase Diva or Much More Music), that gets dumbed down, too. Canadian monopolies are destroying our culture.

    I wish we got all American channels, including CSPAN 2; then we could be rid of the weasely do-nothing Canadian channels.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      This is why I hate Canadian corporate media. They make NOTHING and leech of American TV channels that make 99.9 % of quality programming between Canada and the US

      Actually, Canadian “corporate” media do make their own programs. CTV in particular has made plenty in the past year alone. But people want to watch American TV series. So why shouldn’t the Canadian networks buy them?

      I wish we got all American channels, including CSPAN 2; then we could be rid of the weasely do-nothing Canadian channels.

      CSPAN is on the list of American channels authorized for distribution in Canada. I’m not sure if that applies to CSPAN 2 as well. Either way, I wouldn’t expect much coverage of the House of Commons there.

      Reply
  22. britt

    I came on here, after googling ctv cancels colbert. A large crowd of my childhood friends are currently complaining about this very thing on facebook. In the boonies where I used to reside, cable is not an option, and sat, is simply too expensive. This leaves the digital cable box users only having main channels such as ctv. So people claiming it being moot because of “internet” (ever use low speed internet satellite internet with only 50 gb a month to watch tv? don’t work to well.) is not an option for many people, nor tcn. I realize overwhelming majority will not have issues, but don’t forget some still do.

    Reply

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