×
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.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Laverne Cox arrives at the 71st

    Laverne Cox Raises Awareness About LGBTQ Supreme Court Case With Rainbow-Colored Purse

    “Orange is the New Black” actress Laverne Cox strutted down the purple carpet at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards flaunting a small, rainbow-colored purse with the words “Oct. 8, Title VII Supreme Court” across the front. “Oct. 8 there’s an incredibly important case going to the Supreme Court involving Title VII,” she told Variety as [...]

  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge accepts the award for

    Emmys Surprise: Phoebe Waller-Bridge Wins Lead Actress in a Comedy

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge won the 2019 lead comedy actress Emmy for her titular role on Amazon Prime Video’s “Fleabag.” Waller-Bridge created the streaming series in which she also stars and was also nominated in the comedy writing category this year (the show was also up for comedy series overall). Her MI6 drama “Killing Eve” was also [...]

  • Alex Borstein Emmys

    Emmys: Alex Borstein Pays Tribute to Grandmother Who Survived the Holocaust

    After winning the supporting comedy actress Emmy for the second year in a row, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star Alex Borstein paid tribute to her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, in a powerful speech. She started by thanking a number of women, including “Maisel” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and the cast and crew of the Amazon Prime [...]

  • The Politician - Ben Platt

    Netflix Drops Final 'The Politician' Trailer (Watch)

    As Netflix is busy battling HBO on stage for Emmys supremacy, the streamer also released the final trailer for Ryan Murphy’s latest series “The Politician.” The series centers around Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), an aspiring politician from Santa Barbara, California who must navigate the ins and outs of high school if he’s to ever win [...]

  • Atmosphere71st Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Announcement,

    Emmy Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List (Updating Live)

    Television’s biggest night is currently underway at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are expected to be big winners at the 2019 Emmy Awards, but a handful of small-screen favorites are also vying for top prizes. Among drama series, the epic conclusion to HBO’s “Game [...]

  • Bethenny Frankel arrives at the 71st

    Bethenny Frankel Reveals Her New Slate of 'Female-Centric' Shows For MGM

    Reality star Bethenny Frankel is still staying busy after announcing her plans to exit the “Real Housewives” franchise last month. She left because she wanted to “explore my next chapter,” and entered a production partnership with Mark Burnett and MGM television. “Most of them happen to be female-centric,” she said on the Emmys purple carpet [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content