Much (TV channel)
|Launched||August 31, 1984|
|Owned by||Bell Media|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Slogan||It's a lot|
|Sister channel(s)||The Comedy Network|
|Bell TV||Channel 570 (SD)|
Channel 1670 (HD)
|Shaw Direct||Channel 580 (SD)|
86 / 586 (HD)
|Available on most cable systems||Channel slots vary on each provider|
|Izzi Telecom||Channel 262|
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||Channel 220 (SD)|
Channel 424 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 570 (SD)|
Channel 1570 (HD)
|Bell MTS||Channel 25 (SD)|
Channel 1025 (HD)
|Optik TV||Channel 9557 (SD)|
Channel 557 (HD)
|SaskTel||Channel 12 (SD)|
Channel 312 (HD)
|VMedia||Channel 701 (HD)|
|Zazeen||Channel 52 (HD)|
The channel launched on August 31, 1984, under the ownership of CHUM Limited, as one of the country's first specialty channels. Upon its launch, and for much of its life, the network primarily aired music programming, including blocks of music videos and original series focusing on musicians and artists. In the years since, the channel has canceled the majority of its original music programming due to budget and staffing cuts, as well as shrinking interest in music programming on linear television due to the growth of online platforms. The channel would gradually phase out its music programming in the 2010's; as of 2019, music programming on the channel has been limited to an hour-long midday block focused on classic hits, and occasional specials (such as the network's annual music awards show, the iHeartRadio MMVAs).
- 1 History
- 2 Programming
- 3 Relationship with MTV
- 4 Affiliated channels
- 5 High definition
- 6 Much personalities
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
MuchMusic was licensed on April 2, 1984 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to CHUM/Citytv. It had faced competition from two other proposed services. One of them, CMTV Canadian Music Television, was deemed not to have sufficient financial resources. The third applicant was Rogers Radio Broadcasting. The CRTC believed that the Canadian market could only support one music video service and CHUM's proposal was chosen because of various commitments it had made and the company's expertise in music programming. The station was initially patterned on City Limits, an overnight weekend rock music show which had aired on sister station CITY-TV since 1983.
Shortly thereafter, MuchMusic was launched on August 31, 1984 as one of the first Canadian cable specialty channels. It was headed by the channel's founders John Martin and Moses Znaimer. The first video played on MuchMusic was "an early music-to-film synchronization short from the 1920s which featured Eubie Blake performing Snappy Songs." The first video made specifically for television air play was Rush's "The Enemy Within".
Making use of CHUM's facilities and production teams, the channel produced many specialty musical and variety shows, including the long-running dance show Electric Circus and the late 1980s game show Test Pattern, and Citytv shows such as City Limits and The New Music also became integral parts of the MuchMusic schedule.
The channel's format consisted primarily of an eight-hour daily block which mixed scheduled shows with VJ-hosted general "videoflow", which would then be repeated two more times to fill the 24-hour schedule. Some variance from this model was seen with the late-night shows City Limits and Too Much 4 Much (a show that featured panel discussions surrounding controversial music videos that the channel had refused to air in regular rotation), and live specials such as Intimate and Interactive.
In 1994, MuchMusic began distribution in the United States through Rainbow Media. The American feed was largely a simulcast of the Canadian version, before turning into its own direction, rebranding as Fuse in 2003. 
MuchMusic is well known for its annual music awards show that airs every Father's Day called the MuchMusic Video Awards (or MMVAs). It is anticipated and promoted for weeks before the night of the MMVAs.
MuchMusic has been credited with helping to foster a vibrant Canadian music scene because of the Canadian content broadcast rules which mandated native musical acts had a secure and prominent place on the channel's video schedule. As well, MuchMusic funds the creation of new Canadian music videos through MuchFACT and produces the popular album series Big Shiny Tunes and MuchDance.
In 2002, MuchMusic introduced promos that consisted of one of twelve images of a VJ posing in front of the network's logo, lasting for only 1/60th of a second each. The "quickies" were recognized with a Guinness World Record for the world's shortest television commercial.
Sale to Bell (2006–present)
In July 2006, Bell Globemedia (later renamed CTVglobemedia) announced that it would purchase CHUM for an estimated $1.7 billion CAD, including MuchMusic. The sale was subject to CRTC approval and was approved in June 2007, with the transaction completed on June 22, 2007 while the Citytv stations were sold to Rogers Media that same year. Since then, MuchMusic has aired a vast number of non-music related shows. Before those shows aired, Much Mega Hits was a prominent show that played various music videos based on singles.
In 2010, the CRTC rejected a request by CTVglobemedia to reduce the percentage of music video programming that the channel shows from 50 to 25 percent. CTV's second request to the CRTC to reduce and reposition its Canadian programming was also denied. For the reasoning behind these requests, CTV explained that "music videos no longer distinguish the service as they are readily available through other sources." This was met with mixed reaction by music fans and has drew the ire of notable artists.
Bell Canada gained control of MuchMusic through its takeover of CTVglobemedia on April 1, 2011, in effect changing the company's name to Bell Media. Shortly thereafter, MuchMusic received a new look and a new "Much" logo, while continuing to add non-music television series, mainly dramas and reality shows.
Since September 2013, the channel has been airing significantly more comedy programming targeting young adults during the late afternoon and primetime hours, much of it moved from The Comedy Network. Such shows included Comedy Central series (such as South Park, Tosh.0 and The Jeselnik Offensive), reruns of The Simpsons and The Cleveland Show, as well as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Conan. These changes came when Comedy's request for license amendments to reduce requirements for Canadian content and increase the amount of animated programming it could air was denied.
Most of the channel's previous non-music programming, such as the teen dramas Pretty Little Liars and Degrassi, moved to sister channels M3 (formerly MuchMoreMusic) and MTV respectively. At the same time the channel cut back further on original music-related programming apart from Video on Trial, The Wedge, countdowns, and other non-hosted blocks of music videos, with New.Music.Live. confirmed to have been cancelled and the likes of RapCity no longer appearing on Much's schedule. By the summer of 2014, amidst production and staffing cutbacks, the Countdown went on hiatus and Much's remaining original shows, including a revamped Video on Trial, were cancelled.
Meanwhile, in August, Much celebrated its 30th anniversary. A half-hour anniversary special, "30 Years of Much", aired on August 30, 2014 and was preceded by a full-day countdown of The 100 Greatest Videos Ever. Repeats of both the special and the countdown aired throughout the Labor Day weekend. On September 27, 2014, the Countdown returned with a revamped format.
On April 1, 2015, Much announced the launch of Much Digital Studios, a multi-channel network on YouTube. The network features content catered towards Much's demographic of 12-34s, and would also be integrated into their on-air programming.
In late 2017, Much cut back its music programming, reducing its music blocks to the morning hours and removing the Much Countdown from its schedule. The MuchFACT show was also discontinued, as a result of the CRTC having dropped the requirement for Much to fund it. On October 11, 2017, Much premiered Sides*, a new talk show which discusses youth issues; it is streamed live on Twitter, and compiled into weekly televised editions on the channel. In November 2017, Much began to air a Friday-night block known as Icons, which featured airings of music-related documentaries.
In 2019, the daytime Playlist block of music videos was discontinued and replaced with library programming, citing decreased interest and viewership. The Much Retro Lunch block remains the only regularly-scheduled music video programming on the channel, with the network citing its popularity among youth as a factor.
Much currently airs comedy and pop culture-themed programming, including Comedy Central programs not shown by The Comedy Network, sitcoms, encore repeats of shows sourced from CTV and other sibling networks, and broadcasts of feature films.
Relationship with MTV
In its early years, the network had imported some of its programming from the similar U.S. network MTV.
Its owner Viacom would later attempt to launch MTV-branded channels in Canada via other partners, including Craig Media, which launched MTV Canada as a digital cable network in 2001. However, due to CRTC genre protection rules of the time, these new channels were forbidden from unduly competing with existing analog channels such as MuchMusic, and its license henceforth restricted the channel to only devoting 10% of its weekly programming to "music video clips". CHUM filed a complaint with the CRTC over MTV Canada in early-2002, alleging that 60% of the schedule contained music video programming. CHUM also alleged that the licensing deal with MTV was a "bait and switch" to encroach upon MuchMusic's protected format, rather than deliver the broadly teen-based channel it had promised in the licensing process.
Craig disputed the allegations as inaccurate, arguing that CHUM had incorrectly classified any programming "that has some connection to the general topic of music or music videos" (CRTC category 8a, "Music and dance other than music video programs or clips"), as counting as CRTC category 8b "music video clips" programming for the purposes of the complaint, and that it only aired two hours of purely music video-based programming per-day (accounting for 8% of weekly programming). Upon analysis of MTV Canada's programming, the CRTC ruled that music videos played within a category 8a program still counted as music video programming for the purposes of this limit, and found the network in violation of its license for this and failure to deliver the broadly teen-based service it promised.
CHUM would later acquire Craig Media; due to the licensing agreement with Viacom becoming void upon a change in ownership, both MTV Canada and its sister channel MTV2 Canada were re-launched in June 2005, with MTV becoming the youth entertainment channel Razer, and MTV2 becoming PunchMuch—a new interactive sister channel to MuchMusic featuring viewer-voted music videos. The following year, Viacom would partner with CTVglobemedia to relaunch its cable channel TalkTV as a new Canadian MTV. The agreement also gave the company rights to air MTV programming on other properties such as the CTV network. However, any potential to cannibalize MuchMusic was rendered moot by its licensed format (which required the new channel to focus more on talk and lifestyle series), MTV in the U.S. having also begun to downplay music videos in favour of more reality programming due to the growth of internet streaming, and CTVglobemedia's subsequent acquisition of CHUM—which placed the new MTV and MuchMusic under common ownership.
With the success of MuchMusic, several spinoff channels have been launched within Canada and around the world, including:
- MusiquePlus: Launched in 1986, it was developed as a Canadian French language version of MuchMusic. In September 2008, new owner Astral Media dropped the MuchMusic branding and separated itself from the network.
- PunchMuch: an all-request music video service consisting of music videos from various genres. On November 17, 2011, PunchMuch was replaced by Juicebox, a new music video channel aimed at pre-teens. Stingray Digital relaunched that channel as Stingray Juicebox in 2016.
- M3: Originally known as MuchMoreMusic, this channel focused on adult contemporary, classic rock classic hits and even generally lighter music in addition to current pop-rock hits like its sister stations Much & MTV. In 2013, it rebranded under its current name; marketed as an entertainment-focused "superstation" and a separate brand. In September 2016, the channel was shut down and its broadcast license was used to relaunch Gusto on all service providers.
- MuchLoud: Focuses on rock, modern rock, alternative, punk and metal. In August 2016, new owner Stingray Digital relaunched the channel as Stingray Loud.
- MuchVibe: Focuses on urban music such as rap, hip hop, R&B and reggae. In August 2016, new owner Stingray Digital relaunched the channel as Stingray Vibe.
- MuchRetro: Focuses on music videos from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Originally known as MuchMoreRetro, a spinoff of what is now known as M3, the channel rebranded on November 1, 2013; aligning itself with the Much brand. In 2016, new owner Stingray Digital relaunched the channel as Stingray Retro.
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- MuchMusic Czech: Launched in 2006, available in the Czech Republic.
- MuchMusic Latin America: Launched in 1992, originally available in Argentina only, currently distributed on several Latin American countries. It is owned by Turner Broadcasting System Latin America.
- MuchMusic Brasil: Launched in 2000. Ceased broadcasting in 2001.
- MuchUSA: Launched in 1994. License to use MuchMusic name and content revoked, and renamed Fuse in 2003. A number of MuchMusic programs were broadcast on this channel in an agreement between the two networks, which share certain programs at times. These included The Wedge, Video on Trial (both Canadian, and an American version) as well as the MuchMusic Video Awards.
- MuchMusic also had a programming block on MTV3 in Finland called JYRKI.
On June 1, 2011, MuchMusic launched a high definition simulcast feed called Much HD. It is currently available on Bell Satellite TV, Bell Fibe TV, EastLink, SaskTel Max, Optik TV, Rogers Cable, Shaw Cable and Videotron.
VJ era (1984–2014)
Several individuals have served as MuchMusic's on-air hosts, or video jockeys ("VJs"). A number of notable Canadian and American television personalities either began their careers at MuchMusic or spent time there. Among these are J.D. Roberts who, under the name John Roberts, is a national correspondent for Fox News; Christopher Ward, a noted songwriter and producer who collaborated musically with Mike Myers on the Austin Powers movies; Sook-Yin Lee, now a noted CBC Radio host and actress; Terry David Mulligan, a prolific film and TV character actor; actress Amanda Walsh; Erica Ehm, who became a noted songwriter after leaving Much; and George Stroumboulopoulos, who became a television personality on CBC, U.S. network CNN and currently Sportsnet.
- Steve Anthony
- Matte Babel
- Glen Baxter
- Jeanne Beker
- Laurie Brown
- Rick Campanelli
- Kim Clarke Champniss
- Lance Chilton
- Tim Deegan
- Monika Deol
- Angela Dohrmann
- Denise Donlon
- Phoebe Dykstra
- Ed the Sock
- Tyrone "T-Rex" Edwards
- Erica Ehm (Erica Miechowsky)
- Simon Evans
- Rainbow Sun Francks
- Diego Fuentes
- Dan Gallagher
- Jesse Giddings
- Craig F. Halket
- Jennifer Hollett
- Bradford How
- Namugenyi Kiwanuka
- George Lagogianes
- Avi Lewis
- Sook-Yin Lee
- Patrick Lima
- Ziggy Lorenc
- Catherine McClenahan (first female VJ)
- Leah Miller
- Terry David Mulligan
- Nardwuar the Human Serviette
- Rachel Perry
- Juliette Powell
- Nadine Ramkisson
- Natalie Richard
- Daniel Richler
- J.D. Roberts
- Teresa Roncon
- Hannah Simone
- Devon Soltendieck
- George Stroumboulopoulos
- Sarah Taylor
- Lauren Toyota
- Liz Trinnear
- Amanda Walsh
- Christopher Ward
- Matt Wells
- Bill Welychka
- Chloe Wilde
- Scott Willats
- Michael Williams
- Byron Wong
- Tony "Master T" Young
Some of the former Much VJs have moved onto other opportunities within Bell Media's entertainment brands like etalk and E!, but occasionally return for special Much events like the annual iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards.
Every few years, when new video jockeys were needed, Much ran a "VJ Search" to pick one new VJ to join the channel. They would usually visit cities across Canada and pick people who appear to show potential through their audition. In earlier years, the VJ Search was usually a two-part show, but in 2006 it evolved into its own reality series called MuchMusic VJ Search. As a result of that series, Tim Deegan was chosen as a VJ. It was followed in 2009 by VJ 2.0, where the winner Liz Trinnear was also picked to join the channel. The most recent search, Much VJ Search, which Chloe Wilde won in 2013.
Despite the popularity of the VJ Search, some of the other VJs are still hired by Much directly, without being VJ Search contestants.
Much Creators (2015–present)
- CRTC Decision 1984-338
- "TV stations start swinging to rock around the clock". The Globe and Mail, October 27, 1983.
- "About Us". MuchMusic. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Remembering MuchMusic's birth days". Toronto Star. Canadian Press. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "Former Much Music VJ, record exec Denise Donlon to receive Juno's Walt Grealis award". National Post. 2018-01-25. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- Larry LeBlanc (24 December 1994). A Breakthrough Year for Canadian Acts. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 53–. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Now You See It". Adweek. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2007-165; CRTC; 2007-06-08
- "CRTC denies MuchMusic's request to play fewer videos". Blogto.com. 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
- "This Magazine: Much, much less". Thismagazine.ca. Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
- Whaley, Karen (2008-03-03). "Much More Mediocre | news". Torontoist. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
- Nick Patch The Canadian Press (2009-08-25). "MuchMusic turns 25...quietly". Toronto: thestar.com. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
- "Fall is Fresh on Much with Exclusive Season Premieres of Hit Series TOSH.0 and SOUTH PARK, beginning September 3". Bell Media Press Room. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
- "MuchMusic featuring much less music in its fall lineup". Canada.com. August 20, 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
- "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-333". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "The Comedy Network is not allowed to lighten up". Canada.com. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "Find Out Where Your Favourite Shows Moved With This Handy Guide". Archived from the original on 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2014-05-11.
- "Big changes at MTV, Much as Bell Media makes deep cuts to production staff" Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine. Edmonton Journal, July 10, 2014.
- "MUCH LOVE TO OUR FANS FOR 30 AMAZING YEARS". Retrieved 2014-08-08.
- "#ForeverYoung. Much Rings in its 30th with Anniversary Special and Legendary Videoflow Countdown". Bell Media Press Room. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
- "Irreverent Comedy, Musical Misadventures, and More. Much Gets Fresh with Exclusive Premieres and Returning Fan Favourites". Retrieved 2014-08-30.
- "Much seeks YouTube creators to help freshen brand". Cartt.ca. Retrieved 2015-04-03.
- "Bell Media axes MuchFact, leaving a gap in how Canadian music videos get funded". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
- "MuchFACT Is Now Officially Dead". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
- Cristano, Sara. "How (And Why) To Watch 'SIDES*'". Much. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- "Much Launches New Music Anthology Series ICONS, Debuting November 17". November 1, 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
- Friend, David. "How much music? About 1 hour a day, channel once known as MuchMusic says". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Chum complaint "an exercise in turf protection"". Mediacaster Magazine. February 1, 2002. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
- "Change in the ownership structure of MTV Canada and MTV2, and the Commission's findings concerning complaints regarding the compliance of these services with their licensing decisions". CRTC. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "CHUM to launch interactive, automated music video station". The Globe and Mail. 2007-06-29.
- "CHUM Debuts Razer, PunchMuch". Billboard. June 8, 2005. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
- "The Fall Of 'TRL' And The Rise Of Internet Video". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "CTV prepares to launch 'new' MTV Canada". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- Caramanica, Jon (2011-10-26). "'Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head' on MTV". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Punch Much". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- ":: MuchMusic festeja su decimoquinto aniversario en Argentina ::". Realtvnews.com.ar. 2005-08-17. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- Who Would You Rather? Much HD or SD? Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine MuchMusic 2011-05-16
- "Much Announces Launch of Much Digital Studios". Retrieved 2015-04-03.
- Pegley, Kip (2009), Coming to you wherever you are: MuchMusic, MTV, and youth identities, Wesleyan Univ. Press, ISBN 0819568694