Story from Guardian Media:
UKTV has struck a deal to air same-day repeats of EastEnders and bring back the popular weekend omnibus of the BBC1 soap, as part of a revamp of Watch into a more female-focused channel under the new brand W.
The pay-TV company has taken over the EastEnders rights from BBC3, which will close as a TV channel next month, and reinstitute the omnibus, which BBC1 dropped a number of years ago.
The move is part of a rebranding of eight-year old Watch as a premium entertainment channel and will see it compete with rivals such as Discovery’s TLC and ITVBe.
W will feature a higher proportion of originally commissioned content including Nev’s Indian Call Centre, a spin-off of the BBC3 show The Call Centre, and factual entertainment shows Get Me to the Church and Honey I Bought the House.
UKTV says it has identified a growth area in the market targeting 30- to 39-year old women and their families.
“W will be a premium channel for smart women and men seeking high-quality escapism,” said Emma Tennant, UKTV controller.
The new channel, scheduled to launch on 15 February, will also broadcast a number of US shows including the medical drama Code Black, CSI: NY and Grimm.
“We have a treasure trove of compelling original commissions, our own crown jewels. Plus the gold standard of US acquisitions, combined with the best shows from the BBC,” said Steve North, general manager of W.
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