MADRID – The girls are back in town.
Expanding its presence in the U.K. market, A + E Networks U.K. has confirmed it will launch femme-focused entertainment channel Lifetime there some time this fall giving a new U.K. TV outlet to shows starring a high-profile Hollywood femme list including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Glenn Close, Queen Latifah and Lindsay Lohan.
Although Lifetime recently launched in South East Asia and reaches 170 million homes in the U.K. and Canada, bow will mark Lifetime’s European debut.
The six-part romantic reality show “The Proposers” will be Lifetime’s first original U.K. commission, A + E Network U.K. also announced Thursday.
A fly-on-the-wall series produced by London-based Alaska TV, “The Proposers” tracks two businesswomen, Daisy Amodeo and Tiffany Wright, as they try to persuade real-life but reluctant Romeos to do right by their gal and pop the question.
A joint venture between Sky and A + E Networks, owned by Disney-ABC and Hearst, A + E Networks U.K. has signed carriage deals with the U.K.’s Sky and Virgin Media for Lifetime to air in both pay TV operators’ basic packages.
Lifetime will sit with A + E Networks U.K. factual channels History and Crime & Investigation Network and international history service H2, launched in May.
Electronic Program Guide details – where Lifetime will figure exactly on the operators’ dial– have yet to be confirmed.
Launch marks just the latest move to target the U.K.’s prized demo of femme TV audiences after the launch of TLC in April, and the rebranding of Living as Sky Living in 2011.
Initial line-up details also answer one key question hanging over any Lifetime channel outside the U.S.: How its localized versions will shape a schedule when Lifetime’s flagship shows, both drama and factual, have been bought for international broadcast by distributors, led by Hollywood’s studios.
Lifetime U.K.’s programming blend looks set to mix original U.K. show commissions with third-party pick-ups and purchases of key original Lifetime skeins – such as “The Client List,” with Jennifer Love-Hewitt, acquired from Sony Pictures TV Intl, as was Season 4 of the DirecTV-aired “Damages” – plus U.K. preeming original Lifetime TV movies, such as Queen Latifah-starrer “Steel Magnolias,” “Liz & Dick,” with Lindsay Lohan, and Courtney Cox-helmed telepic “Talhotblond.”
Lifetime’s factual entertainment roster in the U.K. will take in Lifetime-aired U.S. reality dance series “Dance Moms,” “Preachers’ Daughters,” which has just ended its first-season run on Lifetime, and chat show “The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet,” exec produced by Demi Moore.
“I am thrilled that the U.K. will be the first country in Europe to launch this popular channel, bringing viewers big-name Hollywood talent, both on and off-screen, as well as supporting the U.K. indie sector with original U.K. commissions,” Tom Davidson, managing director of A + E Networks U.K. said Thursday, announcing launch details.