BBC America

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BBC America
BBC America.svg
LaunchedMarch 29, 1998
Owned byBBC Worldwide
Discovery Communications
(Both owning 50%)
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
HeadquartersNew York City
Sister channel(s)Discovery Networks
BBC World News
Websitebbcamerica.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV264 (HD/SD)
1264 VOD
Dish Network135 (HD/SD)
C-BandH2H/4DTVAMC 18—Channel 202
Cable
Available on many cable systemsCheck local listings for channels
IPTV
AT&T U-verse122 (SD)
1122 (HD)
Verizon FiOS689 (HD)
189 (SD)
 
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BBC America
BBC America.svg
LaunchedMarch 29, 1998
Owned byBBC Worldwide
Discovery Communications
(Both owning 50%)
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
HeadquartersNew York City
Sister channel(s)Discovery Networks
BBC World News
Websitebbcamerica.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV264 (HD/SD)
1264 VOD
Dish Network135 (HD/SD)
C-BandH2H/4DTVAMC 18—Channel 202
Cable
Available on many cable systemsCheck local listings for channels
IPTV
AT&T U-verse122 (SD)
1122 (HD)
Verizon FiOS689 (HD)
189 (SD)

BBC America is an American television network, owned and operated by BBC Worldwide, and available on both cable and satellite. Unlike the BBC's wholly owned domestic channels which are principally funded by a television licence fee, BBC America is a commercial station and as such carries advertising messages.

As of August 2013, approximately 80,066,000 American households (70.11% of households with television) receive BBC America.[1]

History[edit]

The channel launched on March 29, 1998,[2] broadcasting comedy, drama and lifestyle programs from BBC Television and other British television broadcasters like ITV and Channel 4.

In the early days, the channel focused on repeats of popular lifestyle shows such as Changing Rooms and Ground Force. BBC America's head of television programming later stated that it was important for the channel to establish a niche since non-UK viewers found the lifestyle shows appealing. The evening schedule is where most new programming would appear.

The network removed the popular British soap opera EastEnders from the schedules in 2003 after low ratings, but the cancellation provoked complaints from viewers, which caught the attention of the media.[3][4][5]

After CEO Paul Lee moved to ABC Family, the network appointed Bill Hilary from Comedy Central. He appointed Kathryn Mitchell to the newly created position of GM. Under Hilary's tenure, BBC America was restructured; it moved its main offices to New York City and saw its programming budget increase substantially.

The channel was led by Garth Ancier, who was the president of BBC Worldwide Americas from February 2007 until 2010, when he was succeeded by former MTV Networks executive Herb Scannell. Meanwhile, Perry Simon serves as general manager.[6]

Distribution and availability[edit]

BBC America is distributed in association with Discovery Networks, the United States division of Discovery Communications and parent company of the Discovery Channel, which also handled affiliate and advertising sales until this moved in-house on April 1, 2008.[2]

The network is not subject to funding from the UK licence fee by law: the BBC cannot fund any of its channels that are not available in the United Kingdom.[7] As this is the case, the channel carries advertisements.

Outside the US[edit]

BBC America is available in Bermuda on both Bermuda CableVision's digital cable TV service,[8] and the WOW (World on Wireless) service,[9] as well as in Barbados on Multi-Choice TV's wireless service.,[10] Cayman Islands on Weststar TV,[11]Grenada[12] on Flow Digital Cable, and Sint Maarten on SXM Cable & Data. It is also available in the US Pacific territory of Guam on MCV Broadband cable service[13] and GTA Teleguam's IPTV service,[14] the only territory outside North America where the channel is available.

iTunes Store[edit]

As of Q2 2008, select BBC America Shows are available on Apple's iTunes Store.

Xbox Video[edit]

As of December 2013, selected BBC America shows are available on Microsoft's Xbox Video.

BBC America HD[edit]

BBC America HD, a 1080i high definition simulcast version of BBC America, is carried nationally by Dish Network,[15] DirecTV,[16] and regionally on Xfinity (Comcast), Charter Communications, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable,[17] Cox Communications, Verizon FIOS [18] and some smaller providers. As of October 24, 2013, AT&T U-verse began carrying BBC America in HD.

Programming[edit]

The following is a list of some of the current programming that is currently airing on the channel. While many of the shows were produced by the BBC, some of the shows were produced by other British networks. There are also some re-runs of American programming.

Most of the non-news programming is edited either for adult content or to allow for commercials. However, occasionally comedy shows run in specially formatted 40-minute blocks and a few first run drama programs in a longer block that allow them to run to their original broadcast length, though adult content can be edited.

Original programming[edit]

In the mid-2000s, BBC America produced a few of its own shows along with some joint productions. This has included Sharpe's Challenge, part of the Sharpe series of TV movies and co-produced with ITV; also The State Within and Jekyll which were co-productions with the BBC. Its first sole-produced original series is Copper which premiered in the summer of 2012.[19]

Upcoming original series[edit]

Newscasts[edit]

BBC America currently airs BBC World News weekday mornings (Monday-Fridays) from 6:00-8:00 am Eastern/Pacific Time.[21]

The weekday morning (6:00–9:00 am ET) simulcast which included BBC World News newscasts, World Business Report, Sport Today, Asia Today and a one-hour newscast called World News Today, was canceled for a brief period without any announcement on April 6, 2009. The weekend morning (6:00–6:30 am ET) simulcast was also abruptly canceled on April 4, 2009. According to BBC America the simulcast was canceled because of disappointing ratings.[22] BBC World News was replaced in its morning time slot by re-runs of Cash in The Attic and Gordon Ramsay's F Word. The morning simulcast returned on May 18, 2009 and now airs from 4:00–8:00 am on weekdays. The weekday morning simulcast now includes BBC World News newscasts, World Business Report, Sport Today, and GMT with George Alagiah.

From 2007 to 2011, BBC America aired BBC World News America, presented live from Washington by Matt Frei. Katty Kay served as Washington correspondent. On February 18, 2011, it was announced that BBC World News America would be discontinued on BBC America and would instead be airing only on BBC World and local PBS stations in the United States.[23]

The network was in discussions to unveil a weekly news program fronted by Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman. He was to introduce a synopsis of Newsnight items with an international aspect and was expected to bring his brash interviewing style to bear on American politicians. "Jeremy Paxman is the sort of person that Americans will just eat up," Garth Ancier told the Financial Times. An international edition of Newsnight debuted on February 29, 2008, in the 10 pm time slot. This program was canceled in November 2008, but the cancellation was not announced until April 2009.[22]

During major breaking news situations, the network will sometimes take BBC World News's coverage and pre-empt regular programming. The London Bombings in July 2005 were one such example. However, BBC World News itself is not currently widely available in the US as a separate channel (although it does appear on several cable systems throughout the United States, generally in lieu of BBC America; one previous example is the New York based service Cablevision which until August 2011, did not carry BBC America) or in a 30-minute telecast on public television stations daily.

References[edit]

External links[edit]