Friday 15 January
- UKTV unveils flagship entertainment channel, W, evolving Watch
- First significant change to UKTV's portfolio since Drama launched in 2013, replacing Blighty
- W flagship shows include the same day repeat of BBC One's EastEnders.
Multi-award winning media company, UKTV today revealed details of W, a flagship subscription entertainment channel. Watch will relaunch as W in February 2016 with a dazzling new look themed around its glossy and geometric jewel-shaped logo, offering compelling entertainment.
Brand new launch shows will include a mix of channel-defining originals such as:
- ON (Cactus TV) an authored documentary strand featuring films by radio DJ Sara Cox, musician Sophie Ellis-Bextor and journalist Grace Dent
- Brilliant, new factual entertainment format Get Me To The Church (Twofour Productions)
- Nev's Indian Call Centre (Liberty Bell), following larger-than-life boss Nev Wilshire of hit-BBC3 show, The Call Centre and his band of key staff as they embark on the business opportunity of a lifetime in India.
W's launch night peak schedule (8 - 10pm slots) on Monday 15 February consists entirely of UKTV Originals; Honey I Bought the House (Objective/Crook Productions), Get Me To The Church and ON.
Stunning US exclusives, including:
- Heart-pounding medical drama Code Black
- Criminal Minds spin-off Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
- Police procedural CSI: NY
- Cult hit, Grimm
- MasterChef USA, with judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot.
Plus the very best of BBC content, including:
- The narrative repeat of BBC One flagship drama EastEnders on same day as premiere transmission plus weekend omnibus
- Bafta-award winning The Honourable Woman.
UKTV controller Emma Tennant, said,
UKTV is known for peerlessly strong channel brands, which guide audiences to shows that are perfect for them. W will be no different, a premium channel for smart women and men seeking high-quality escapism.
Steve North, W's general manager, said,
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. We want to dazzle our viewers and have evolved and honed this entertainment channel, building a schedule that entertains but never patronises.
UKTV has spotted a demographic growth area for W in 30 to 39-year-old women and their partners, husbands and family, with whom they share a love of smart entertainment.
W's programming includes our new authored documentary strand, which covers modern life in the digital age - from dating and friendship, to the cult of celebrity. We also have shining, new entertainment properties that focus on key life moments, like getting married (Get Me To The Church) and buying a first home (Honey I Bought the House) as well as one of the nation's favourite dramas, EastEnders, on air just a few hours after its BBC One premiere as well as bringing back the omnibus. The peak W schedule will include a host of glittering US series.
The channel is the first to be unveiled as part of UKTV's thriving portfolio since the launch of Drama in 2013, the most successful British TV channel launch in five years and now a channel vying for the title of most-watched non-PSB, behind Dave, also owned by UKTV.
UKTV has a strong track record in launching and rebranding premium channels with its portfolio including crime drama channel Alibi, natural history channel Eden and Gold, home of the nation's favourite comedies and a growing slate of UKTV Originals.
UKTV's increased investment in original content contributed to UKTV's record-breaking viewing in 2015, which saw the network grow its share of viewing to 5.27%, up 3.7% year on year.
For further information:
Sky 109/245, Virgin 124/191, BT & TalkTalk 311
On demand on Sky and Virgin
W is UKTV's premium entertainment channel, offering audiences a dazzling mix of original factual entertainment formats - Get Me To The Church, Honey I Bought the House - alongside hit shows from the US including Code Black, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, CSI:NY, Grimm and The Strain plus the very best from the BBC and Channel 4.
UKTV is the multi-award winning media company that reaches 42 million viewers a month.
UKTV's eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, W, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food - include the most popular non-PSB channel in the UK and account for 9% of the British commercial TV market. The company's most recent financial results showed record-breaking year-end revenue of £283m and EBITDA of £74.1m. It invested £123m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity.
UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC, alongside programmes originally shown on ITV and Channel 4. The network embraces technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories.
Now celebrating its 23rd year at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the only British television broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies.