- Universal Networks
International has today announced the rebranding of Hallmark Channel
in the UK to Universal Channel, launching its new look on Monday 18th
October with the UK premiere of SHATTERED - an original series
produced in partnership with E1 Entertainment.
The new channel will also host the UK premieres of ROOKIE BLUE -
a global acquisition which has already launched to huge success in
the USA and Canada - and FACING KATE, a co-production between
Universal Cable Productions and Universal Networks International.
"The Hallmark Channel has a loyal audience in the pay-tv market
and already offers a strong line-up of great content including the
Law & Order franchise of shows," said Laurence Dawkin-Jones, UK MD,
Universal Networks International.
"This rebrand will allow us to enhance the channel by adding
fresh, new content - including our global acquisition ROOKIE BLUE and
our own co-productions such as SHATTERED and FACING KATE to the best
of the existing line-up of series under a channel name that is
instantly recognisable, has an exceptional global heritage and feels
"We know it will appeal to both our existing fan base and a whole
new audience who may not have previously been familiar with the
Hallmark Channel brand," he added.
Universal Channel will further expand the already broad appeal of
Hallmark by offering viewers the best US drama series - including its
already popular LAW & ORDER franchise of shows - as well as a slate
of new and exciting original productions.
Hallmark Channel, on the SKY and Virgin platforms, along with
Hallmark Channel HD (on SKY) will become Universal Channel and
Universal Channel HD at 6am, while Hallmark Channel +1, on Sky and
Virgin, will transform at 7am on the same day.
Rob Webster, BSkyB's director of channels and operations, said:
"Sky has enjoyed a distribution relationship with the Hallmark
Channel dating back over many years. The channel occupies a
distinctive place in UK pay TV and we believe this will only be
enhanced through rebranding as the Universal Channel. With fresh
impetus and wider appeal, this is good news for Sky customers."
Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin
Media, added: "The Universal Channel is a strong addition to our
fantastic line up of pay television brands and will offer our
customers new series of hugely popular shows. We are confident the
rebrand will prove successful in attracting new viewers to the
channel, whilst maintaining the loyal 'Hallmark' audience."
The rebrand is part of NBC Universal's ongoing multi-million
dollar plan to reposition its global network of pay-tv channels
around five core brands - Syfy Universal, Studio Universal, Diva
Universal, 13TH STREET Universal and Universal Channel - and its
commitment to invest in fresh and original productions.
Roma Khanna, President, Universal Networks International and
Digital Initiatives, said: "The Universal Channel is the flagship
brand in our core channel portfolio and we are delighted to bring it
to such an important market as the UK. This move is part of our
strategy to deliver strong, exclusive subscription channels with
world-class content to audiences around the globe."
ROOKIE BLUE is a high-octane police drama, starring Missy
Peregrym (Heroes), which follows the lives of five rookie cops who
have just graduated from the Academy. The show launched to huge
success on ABC in the US, garnering over 9m viewers.
SHATTERED follows tough, smart homicide detective Ben Sullivan
(acclaimed actor Callum Keith Rennie - 24, Flashforward, Battlestar
Galactica, Californication) as he races to solve the murder cases
that cross his desk daily, with the help of his partner Detective Amy
Lynch (Camille Sullivan - Intelligence, Reunion, Da Vinci's Inquest).
Sullivan, however, suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder and
his career as a successful homicide detective - as well as his
personal life - soon face considerable pressure from his secret
condition. Sullivan never knows which personality will surface and
the effect it will have on him and those around him.
FACING KATE stars Sarah Shahi (Life, The L Word) as a top
litigator who becomes frustrated with the endless bureaucracy and
injustice she witnesses on a daily basis and decides to become the
ultimate anti-lawyer: a mediator. The 11x1-hour episodes will air on
Universal Channel in the New Year.
Hallmark Channel has already successfully rebranded to Universal
Channel in Australia and Africa, adding major markets to the
Channel's global distribution.
In the UK SCI FI became Syfy in April, launching the new look
channel with a re-imagining of the '80s mini-series V to unparalleled
success. More than 1.4m people tuned in to V during the launch week -
39% of whom had never tuned in to the channel previously.
About Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel launched in the UK in May 2000. Broadcasting in
152 countries globally the international (non US) versions of the
channel were bought by privately backed UK-based company Sparrowhawk
Media in 2005. Two years later NBC Universal acquired the Hallmark
channels - along with Diva TV and Movies 24 - from Sparrowhawk Media,
thus complementing its existing television portfolio which included
the Sci-Fi, 13th Street, Studio Universal and Universal Channel
brands. In the UK the channel is watched by 2.4m viewers who tune in
for an average of 78 minutes per day*.
About Universal Networks International
Universal Networks International, the global channels division of
NBC Universal, is one of the world's premier entertainment networks,
delivering quality content and compelling brands to over 180 million
subscribers in 150 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa,
Latin America and Asia. The portfolio is spearheaded by five core
channels - Syfy Universal, DIVA Universal, Studio Universal,
Universal Channel and 13th Street Universal - which deliver a full
range of entertainment experiences to local audiences across the
globe. Universal Networks International also operates Movies 24, the
(non-US) Hallmark Channel and an interest in the KidsCo joint
venture. Universal Networks International is part of NBC Universal;
one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the
development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and
information to a global audience. NBC Universal is 80% owned by
General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.
The launch of Universal Channel will bring to the UK the flagship
of our global brand portfolio and will deliver a strong and exclusive
a strong and exclusive subscription TV channel to an audiences
Note to Editors:
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ots Originaltext: Hallmark Channel UK and Universal Networks International
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch
CONTACT: Further details: Jane Muirhead, Universal Networks