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The Movie Network or TMN is Eastern Canada's answer to HBO.
What eventually would become TMN started out in 1981 with the licensing by the CRTC of two movie-oriented pay-tv channels for distribution in eastern Canada First Choice and Star Channel. Star Channel went into receivership less than a year after its launch and First Choice acquired its assets and subscribers. Two years later First Choice itself was in serious financial trouble as well. Hardly surprising since it lost 25 million dollars in its first six months of operation.

Around this time Astral Bellevue Pathe (originally a film finishing company) a leading film producer and distributor and a failed applicant decided to rescue First Choice despite the fact that it would require an additional $25 million to bail the company out and if the attempt was unsuccessful it would ruin Astral too.

Fortunately Astral had a good reputation with the film distributors who comprised the majority of First Choice's (and its sister French network Primer Choix/Super Ecran) creditors and were able to convince them not to sue the company into bankruptcy. After making alliances with US pay channels such as HBO, Showtime and Cinemax to cost-share original programming production costs and a reworking of both the English and French services both netwoks were on their feet in 3 years.

In 1993 First Choice was rebranded The Movie Network and in 1994 the spinoff network Moviepix showing movies produced before the 1990's was launched. Shortly after three multiplex channels were launched first only broadcasting in prime time, then from noon to around 4am, then from 7am to 4am, and finally, 24 hours a day. Since then two additional multiplex channels have appeared along with a another channel called Moviepix Too which is a two hour delay of the main moviepix signal.

TMN and Moviepix only broadcast east of the Ontario-Manitoba border. The western versions are Superchannel and Moviemax both owned by WIC. This gives each company an effective monopoly in their respective areas. I have no idea about the quality of Superchannel's programming since I've never been to Western Canada but I assume it is similar to TMN's. However, because of the partnership between TMN and HBO shows such as The Sopranos are not shown on Superchannel.

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