People/Biz

Smithsonian Channel to expand footprint to the UK

American cable network Smithsonian Channel is expanding its global footprint to the UK. Beginning Feb. 12, British and Irish viewers will have access to the channel’s original non-fiction content across history, ...
February 8, 2019

American cable network Smithsonian Channel is expanding its global footprint to the UK.

Beginning Feb. 12, British and Irish viewers will have access to the channel’s original non-fiction content across history, travel, air and space, science, nature and pop culture in HD via Virgin (Channel 295), Sky (Channel 195) and Freesat (Channel 175), and in SD on Freeview (Channel 99).

The British launch marks the first foray into the European marketplace for Smithsonian Channel, owned by Smithsonian Networks – a joint venture between Showtime and CBS. The channel is already available internationally in Canada, Singapore and Latin America.

Smithsonian Channel will be introduced to UK viewers with a handful of localized commissions, including When Tariq Ali Met Malcolm X, about a friendship between two controversial firebrands, and Mystic Britain, the Clive Anderson-fronted series revealing the secrets of Britain’s most mysterious sites.

In addition, the channel is in production on a series with the American-born entrepreneur and reality star Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, and will honor such landmark occasions as the 50th anniversary of the moon landing through its 2019 program slate.

Schedule highlights for March and beyond include Aerial Ireland (March 17 at 10 p.m.), which provides a bird’s-eye view of Ireland’s natural wonders and ancient ruins; Epic Yellowstone (pictured; March 20 9 p.m.), which aims to provide an unprecedented portrait of America’s Yellowstone National Park and is hosted by Bill Pullman; Pocahontas: The True Story (March 21 at 9 p.m.), which reveals the story of the Native American princess that includes kidnapping, starvation, ocean journeys and manipulation of history; and Big Cat Country (6 x 60 minutes), which follows onscreen hosts Nathan Pilcher and Sam Davies as they take an in-depth look at the drama brewing between three dynasties of lions in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley.

Upcoming programming on Smithsonian Channel UK will include such popular signature series as the archive-focused America in Color, which utilizes modern colorization techniques to transform American history; The Lost Tapes franchise, which relives iconic moments in history through contemporary footage, audio recordings and news reports; The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, a documentary revealing the true story of the motorist’s travel guide in the midst of racial segregation in 1960s America; and Aerial America, telling the stories of all 50 states from the air.

“We have a long track record of working with UK production companies, and over the years our programs have been featured by leading UK broadcasters,” said David Royle, chief programming officer at Smithsonian Networks, in a statement. “Now we’ll be bringing a lot of exciting new programs to the UK, along with commissioning new programs specific to British interests.”

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