Monday, 3 June 2013

Broadcast: Lifetime finalises UK launch plans.

Story from Broadcast:

Female skewing pay-TV network Lifetime is expected to make its UK debut in the fourth quarter of the year, as parent company A+E Networks UK enters the final stages of its launch plan.

The British version of the channel has begun ordering original programming from UK indies, with vice-president of programming Adam MacDonald commissioning a number of factual entertainment formats ahead of his move to run Sky 1 at the end of the summer.

Lifetime UK will stoke competition in the female-skewing space, following the April debut of Discovery’s TLC and Sky’s continued investment in Sky Living.

A+E Networks UK was previously working to an internal timetable of launching the channel in October, and remains confident that it will launch before the end of the year
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Lifetime UK has been in the works for around 18 months, but a number of issues have slowed down the launch process.

Unlike TLC, Lifetime does not own the international rights to the majority of its US shows, meaning that it would need to acquire high profile shows it screens in the US, such as Jennifer Love Hewitt-fronted drama The Client List, before it could air them in the UK.

For instance, Lifetime’s forthcoming Marc Cherry-produced Latino themed series Devious Maids was recently sold to TLC UK by Disney Media Distribution.

A+E Networks UK is currently in carriage negotiations with both satellite platform Sky and cable operator Virgin Media.

 It is understood that the broadcaster, which is a joint venture between the US cable group and Sky, is considering using Bio’s EPG slot to give it a strong position on the platforms.

Bio currently sits on 156 on Sky and 242 on Virgin Media.

The channel is expected to be a mix of original British commissions, remakes of its hit US reality formats and international acquisitions.

The impending departure of A+E Networks UK boss Macdonald, who oversees channels including Bio, Crime & Investigation Network and History, also means that the company will be searching for a replacement to run Lifetime.