×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sky Rebrands U.S. Drama Channel, Lands MGM’s ‘Harry Quebert’

Sky Witness will be the new name for the pay-TV giant’s U.S. drama channel from August. Currently known as Sky Living, the name change is designed to signpost the pay-TV channel as a drama, rather than a lifestyle, offering. The rechristened net will launch with shows including “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” (pictured) and ABC legal drama “For the People.”

Sky Living concentrates on big-ticket network procedurals, while serialized U.S. cable fare plays on Sky Atlantic. The programming on Sky Witness will be broadly the same as before the name change, but there will be more money for acquisitions and marketing, Sky’s director of programs Zai Bennett told Variety.

“It’s about the branding, the name and the tone in which you talk about it,” Bennett said of the rebrand. “All the favorites are coming back, but there will be more of them. We might widen our appeal a little bit. ‘The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair’ is a serial drama, not an episodic procedural, and we’ll allow some of them in there. We will give ourselves that latitude.”

“Harry Quebert” lands at Sky as part of a wider programming deal between the 21st Century Fox-backed company and MGM. That deal also gives Sky series including “Get Shorty” and SVOD rights to “The Handmaids’s Tale.”

Sky is one of the big buyers of U.S. drama in Britain alongside UKTV and, in free-TV, Viacom’s Channel 5. Sky Witness will be the home of U.S. network series including “The Good Doctor,” “Madame Secretary,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“The Good Doctor” has been the highest-rated show on Sky Living over the past year, with an average audience of 1.1 million, including repeat showings. “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Chicago Fire” are also solid performers for the soon-to-be-renamed channel.

MGM-distributed “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair,” is a new acquisition. Starring Patrick Dempsey (“Bridget Jones’ Baby”) and based on the Joël Dicker bestseller, it will play on Epix in the U.S. It launched internationally at the Canneseries event in April and has also been acquired by TF1 in France.

Sky had already bought Angela Bassett cop procedural “9-1-1,”  which will be part of the new channel’s launch schedule. Also on the grid will be CBS’s “Instinct,” which stars Alan Cumming as a former CIA operative who is lured back to his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer.

Bennett said there would be a major marketing campaign for the launch of Sky Witness in August, centered on “Instinct,” with Cumming a familiar face to British viewers. The marketing effort will ramp up again in the fall as new seasons of the U.S. shows return.

More TV

  • Discovery Corporate New Logo

    Discovery, FuboTV Strike Distribution Pact

     Discovery, Inc. and FuboTV said they have struck a multi-year deal that brings 13 of the cable-programmer’s networks to Fubo’s live-TV streaming service in coming weeks. The agreement extends a relationship that had been in place between Fubo and the former Scripps Networks Interactive, which Discovery acquired in 2018. That pact included carriage of five [...]

  • Rosamund Pike A Private War

    Rosamund Pike to Lead ‘Wheel of Time’ TV Adaptation at Amazon

    The long-gestating “Wheel of Time” TV adaptation has finally found its lead. Rosamund Pike cast been cast as Moiraine, a member of the powerful all-female organization called the Aes Sedai, in the Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television co-production. Based on Robert Jordan’s best-selling fantasy novels, “The Wheel of Time” is set in a high [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Joins Shondaland's Bridgerton Netflix Series

    Julie Andrews is the first person officially cast in one of Shonda Rhimes’ upcoming Netflix shows. Andrews has joined the untitled series based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton family novels. She will voice the character Lady Whistledown. Anonymous to readers, the sharp-tongued gossip writer uses a curious mix of social commentary and scathing insult to send [...]

  • Riverdale Alladin Avengers Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Riverdale,' 'Aladdin' Top 2019 Teen Choice Award Nominations

    The nominations for the 2019 Teen Choice Awards have been revealed, and voting has opened for the top movies, TV shows and music that has dominated the last year. “Avengers: Endgame” and “Aladdin” are the top contenders in the movie category with nine and five nods, respectively. In TV, “Riverdale,” “The Flash” and “Shadowhunters” each [...]

  • Chilevisión, RTVE, Boomerang, Amazon Share ‘Inés

    ‘Inés of My Soul’s’ Production Details, Shoot Date Unveiled at Conecta Fiction

    PAMPLONA, Spain — A project pitched three years ago at the very first Conecta Fiction in the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela, “Ines of My Soul” was back at the international co-pro and networking summit, this year in Pamplona, where it was held up as one of the still-young event’s most significant success stories. [...]

  • Charter Communications logo

    Five NY1 Anchors Allege Gender Discrimination in Lawsuit

    Five veteran female anchors and correspondents at NY1, the local-news outlet that appears on cable systems owned by Charter Communications in New York City, filed a suit Wednesday alleging they have been “repeatedly marginalized and relegated to second-class status” since Charter took over the outlet’s operations after acquiring the assets of the former Time Warner [...]

  • The Handmaid's Tale -- "Watch Out"

    Yvonne Strahovski on Serena's 'Trauma' in 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 3

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Unknown Caller,” the fifth episode of the third season of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” ended with Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) truly becoming a mother as well as seemingly picking a side in the fight against the misogynistic regime — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content