Local CBC affiliates in Eastern Ontario cut ties, partner with Bell Media's CTV

TORONTO – A new programming agreement at three local TV stations in Eastern Ontario will leave viewers in the area who watch over-the-air television without access to CBC programming.

Longtime CBC affiliates CKWS-TV in Kingston, Channel 12 in Oshawa and CHEX-TV in Peterborough will each begin carrying an array of CTV shows beginning Aug. 31.

The move bumps CBC programming, including “Dragons’ Den” and “Rick Mercer Report,” off the schedule in favour of CTV’s “The Amazing Race Canada” and “MasterChef Canada.”

CBC’s nightly news broadcast of “The National” will be replaced by “CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme.”

All three local stations are owned by Corus Entertainment (TSX:CJR.B), which struck the new pact with CTV’s operator Bell Media, a division of BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE).

The change means that some viewers in the affected communities will not have access to CBC programs if they use an antenna to pick up over-the-air signals.

They will, however, have access to CTV shows on more than one channel — through both the local CTV stations that have operated for years and the new affiliates.

Corus spokeswoman Sally Tindal said that local news coverage will make each channel unique, despite the overlap in CTV shows.

“This deal ensures that while the stations gain access to CTV’s leading programming schedule, at the same time they have a local voice through their local newscasts,” she said in an email.

Fred Mattocks, general manager of media operations and technology at CBC English Services, said the impact will be “essentially nil” for viewers, though he wasn’t able immediately to provide estimates of how many people access CBC by antenna in the three areas.

In an announcement, the CBC said some viewers may be able to pick up over-the-air CBC signals from nearby stations in Toronto or Ottawa or access some CBC programming through the broadcaster’s website.

For cable and satellite subscribers, the programming shift won’t affect access to CBC programs. Regulators require cable providers to offer a CBC channel from another city in their basic cable package if there isn’t already one available in their city.

Follow @dj_friend on Twitter.