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Comcast to retire Sky satellite’s flagship network Sky One

American media giant Comcast Corporation will retire the flagship channel on its British satellite television service as part of a major branding reshuffle, company executives announced this week.

Sky One has served as the cornerstone of Sky Group’s satellite service dating back to 1982 when it operated as a pan-European satellite channel with a full schedule of domestic and imported comedies, dramas and movies. The channel became mostly exclusive to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1989 when it adopted the Sky One branding as part of the Sky Television Network.

Now, after nearly four decades in operation, Sky’s corporate owner feels it’s time to move on from the network.

Starting September 1, the network will be replaced with Sky Showcase, a channel offering a mixture of programming from around a dozen other Sky-branded channels on the service.

“In this golden age of television, the sheer volume of incredible programming can be overwhelming,” Zai Bennett, a Sky executive in charge of content, said in a statement, adding that the Sky Showcase channel will help viewers find TV shows and movies that they might otherwise miss on Sky’s other networks.

In addition to the relaunch, Sky says it will debut a new flagship channel called Sky Max, which will operate much in the same way as Sky One, with a slate of imported and domestic programming airing at all hours of the day and night.

“From September those looking for the very best of Sky will find it at the top of their program guide on Sky Showcase, while Sky Max will become the new home of blockbuster entertainment joining the host of genre-led channels launched in the past year, so whether you’re in the mood for true crime, a documentary or just a laugh there’s always a channel to suit,” Bennett said.

Most programs that previously aired on Sky One will move to the new Sky Max channel, except for a handful of comedy shows, which will move to Sky Comedy. Other channels, including Sky Witness, Sky Crime, Sky Arts and Sky Kids, will remain unaffected.

Sky will shuffle around its channel lineup on September 1 to accommodate for the new changes:

  • Sky Showcase will replace Sky One on Channel 106
  • Sky Max will replace Sky Comedy on Channel 113
  • Sky Comedy will move to Channel 114
  • Sky Documentaries will move to Channel 121
  • Sky Crime will move to Channel 122
  • Sky Arts will move to Channel 130

Sky says the two new channels will also be available on its over-the-top streaming TV service, Now, and will be distributed to customers of BT and Virgin Media.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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