Bravo (styled bravo) is a Canadian English language Category A cable and satellite specialty channel that is owned by Bell Media. Bravo maintains an entertainment format, with a particular focus on television dramas and films.
The channel was founded as a Canadian version of the U.S. channel Bravo (which is now owned by NBCUniversal). However, the channels have since diverged from a focus on the arts; Bravo in the U.S. was relaunched with an emphasis on fashion and pop culture programming in 2003, while Bravo in Canada began to add more dramatic series to its lineup beginning in 2006. Aside from still airing programming such as Inside the Actors Studio, a 2012 rebranding effectively separated the Canadian Bravo from its American counterpart.
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.
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 (a minority shareholder in CTVglobemedia) announced that it planned to acquire 100% interest in CTVglobemedia for a total debt and equity transaction cost of CAD$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.19-2
Between programs, Bravo often aired short films by Canadian artists, 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.Arts & Minds
At the Concert Hall
Live at the Rehearsal Hall
The Borgias (2011 TV series)
The O'Regan Files
The People's Couch (Canadian Version)
Bravo has also produced a number of 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.
Bravo HD is a high definition simulcast feed of Bravo, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format; the feed was launched on October 6, 2011. It is available on Bell TV, Bell Fibe TV, Shaw Cable, Rogers Cable, Vidéotron and Telus Optik TV.