Universal TV (British and Irish TV channel)
Universal TV is a British and Irish pay television channel owned by the NBCUniversal International Networks division of NBCUniversal. It is devoted primarily to imported drama series, primarily from the United States.
|Launched||18 October 1999|
|Owned by||NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUniversal)|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
0.07% (+1) (November 2017 , BARB)
|Country||United Kingdom |
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom, Ireland|
|Sister channel(s)||CNBC Europe|
|Timeshift service||Universal TV +1|
|Sky (UK)||Channel 113 (SD/HD)|
Channel 155 (+1)
Channel 228 (SD)
|11306 H 27500 5/6|
11306 H 27500 5/6 (+1)
12304 H 27500 2/3 (HD)
|11836 H 27500 5/6|
11836 H 27500 5/6 (+1)
|Virgin Media (UK)||Channel 121 (HD)|
Channel 206 (+1)
|Virgin Media (Ireland)||Channel 123|
Channel 173 (HD)
|TalkTalk TV||Channel 320|
Channel 385 (HD)
|eir Vision||Channel 113|
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
The channel was previously owned by the privately backed Sparrowhawk Media Group, until late 2007 when the company was bought by NBC Universal. It was previously known as the Hallmark Entertainment Network and the Hallmark Channel.
As Universal Channel
In June 2009, a memorandum leaked to the television trade newspaper Broadcast stated that NBC Universal planned to rebrand the Hallmark Channel as a Universal Channel in October 2009. The "Hallmark Channel" brand was licensed to NBC Universal from Crown Media (which operates the US Hallmark Channel) and was due to expire. An NBC Universal spokesperson denied such a rebrand would happen.
On 2 September 2010, Universal Networks International confirmed plans to rebrand the Hallmark Channel as the Universal Channel in the UK. On 18 October, the pay-TV channel and its timeshift and high definition variants became the Universal Channel, Universal Channel +1 and Universal Channel HD.
The Universal Channel gave UK premieres to cop show Rookie Blue and legal drama Fairly Legal in early 2011. It also aired Shattered, which stars Callum Keith Rennie as a homicide detective suffering from multiple personality disorder.
On 1 December 2010, Universal Channel launched a specific feed which targets Ireland. Universal Channel in Ireland airs localised advertising. The Irish feed does not include subtitles. TV3 act as the Irish variation's advertising sales agents.
On 31 July 2013, Universal Channel unveiled a refreshed branding and new slogan it launched on 5 August, "100% Characters". The brand reflected "that great characters are the magnets that draw viewers back to their favourite shows - week after week".
As Universal TV
On 3 May 2018, NBCUniversal unveiled a new name and branding for its Universal Channel chain, Universal TV, launching first on the United Kingdom feed. The rebranding was intended to make the network a "destination brand that celebrates world-class, high-quality, character-driven content".
- Acceptable Risk
- Agatha Christie's Poirot (now on ITV3)
- Bates Motel
- Bonanza (now on CBS Justice)
- The Disappearance
- The District (now on CBS Justice)
- Fairly Legal
- Gilmore Girls (later picked up by E4; now on 5Star and Paramount Network)
- House (now on Paramount Network)
- Hogan's Heroes
- How to Get Away with Murder (new episodes now on Sky Witness)
- McLeod's Daughters
- Proven Innocent
- Rookie Blue
- The Secret World of Alex Mack
- Sleepy Hollow (now on Paramount Network)
- Touched by an Angel (now on CBS Drama)
- Walker, Texas Ranger (now on CBS Drama and CBS Justice)
Most watched programmes
The following is a list of the ten most watched shows on Universal (previously The Hallmark Channel), based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 17 March 2019. The number of viewers does not include repeats or airings on Universal +1
|Rank||Show||Episode||Number of Viewers||Date|
|1||Coroner||1.08 Bridges||645,500||11 March 2019|
|2||1.03 Scattered||641,000||4 February 2019|
|3||1.02 Bunny||634,600||28 January 2019|
|4||1.04 Quick or Dead||618,700||11 February 2019|
|5||Sleepy Hollow||1.02 - Blood Moon||612,000||16 October 2013|
|6||The Resident||2.04 - About Time||597,400||6 November 2018|
|7||Coroner||1.07 The Suburbs||580,200||4 March 2019|
|8||1.06 Confetti Heart||558,000||25 February 2019|
|9||Departure||1.03 - Prime Suspect||555,200||24 July 2019|
|10||The Resident||2.03 - Three Words||540,200||30 October 2018|
Sister and subsidiary channels
Universal TV HD
Universal TV HD, a high-definition simulcast, launched on Sky (as the Hallmark Channel HD) on 28 June 2010 at 7pm. Showing US shows like the Law & Order titles, CSI and Without a Trace in high definition.
Universal TV HD was also launched on BT TV on 1 September 2016.
In July 2005, there were rumours that Sparrowhawk were going to launch a sister channel to the Hallmark Channel, called Hallmark 2. This was denied by a spokesperson for Hallmark who said that "a second channel from Hallmark will not be launching 'anytime soon'". Movies 24 was launched instead.
- Shepherd, Robert (25 June 2009). "NBC plans to ditch Hallmark UK brand". Broadcast (Emap Media). Retrieved on 25 June 2009.
- "Hallmark Channel to rebrand as Universal". Digital Spy. 2 September 2010.
- "Subtitles in Ireland – From 1st December". Universal Channel. 29 November 2010.
- "Universal ad deal secured by TV3". The Irish Post. 26 December 2010.
- Fletcher, Alex (31 July 2013). "Universal Channel rebrands with '100% Characters' tagline, new logo". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "NBCUniversal Int'l Entertainment Channel Renamed Universal TV in Brand Refresh". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- BARB, via
- "Sky Extends High Definition Leadership with HD Channel Milestone". British Sky Broadcasting. 12 March 2010.
- "Hallmark Channel HD Launches Tonight on Sky 220". PR Newswire. 28 June 2010.
- "Hallmark Channel HD to launch tonight". Digital Spy. 28 June 2010.
- Archived 14 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine