Two-Hour Morning Newscast Coming to Winnipeg TV

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) cleared the way for Shaw Communications to purchase Canwest’s television and cable assets on Friday.

The $2 billion deal has been in the works for months, ever since Canwest filed for bankruptcy protection last October.

Shaw will acquire 11 of Global TV’s stations and specialty cable channels, including HGTV, Showcase, History Television, TVtropoplis and the Food Network.

The Calgary-based company will also produce new two-hour morning newscasts in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

Other highlights of the transaction include the conversion of 67 analog transmitters to digital in smaller markets, and the installation of a satellite or receiver dish free of charge to viewers who can no longer view over-the-air signals.

Shaw’s proposal also includes the purchase of more drama, documentary and comedy programs from independent producers, and the investment in new media content that will support news programming and programs of national interest.

The company will spend roughly $180 million over the next seven years to implement its plans.

The federal broadcast regulator approved the deal on the same day Shaw’s CEO, Jim Shaw, announced he would be stepping down. The reigns of the company will be given to Jim’s younger brother, Bradley Shaw, on January 13, 2011. Jim served as CEO for the last 12 years and will remain on the board of directors.

— With files from a news release