The first incarnation of E!, also referred to as E! Entertainment Television, was a Canadian English language privately owned television system that existed from 2001 to 2009 under the ownership of Canwest. At its peak it consisted of eight local television stations located in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, including five stations owned and operated (O&O) by Canwest and three affiliates owned by Jim Pattison Group.
The system was launched in 2001 as CH Television or CH (derived from the call sign of flagship CHCH-TV in Hamilton), providing a secondary schedule parallel to Canwest's larger Global Television Network. It initially focused on airing programs from the U.S. broadcast networks that could not fit on Global's own schedule, in order to avail of simultaneous substitution opportunities. The system became "E!" in fall 2007, as a result of a deal with Comcast to carry programming from that company's U.S.-based E!: Entertainment Television, although it continued to air much of the same American network series in primetime and the afternoon.
Following corporate financial difficulties, which eventually led to the company filing for bankruptcy protection and the sale of their properties to Shaw Media, Canwest announced in early 2009 it would look to either sell or close its E! O&Os by that fall. Those stations saw varied fates as E! ceased operations on August 31, 2009: two stations (CHCH and CJNT-TV Montreal) were sold to Channel Zero; CHEK-TV Victoria was sold to a consortium of local investors and station employees; CHBC-TV Kelowna was converted to a Global O&O; and CHCA-TV Red Deer was shut down entirely. The three Pattison-owned affiliates subsequently joined Rogers Media's City network, as did CJNT several years later. This left CHCH and CHEK as the only independent former stations of this system to still exist.