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.

Universal TV
Launched18 October 1999
Owned byNBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUniversal)
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Audience share0.30%
0.07% (+1) (November 2017 (2017-11), BARB)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom, Ireland
Formerly called
  • Hallmark Entertainment Network
  • Hallmark Channel (until 18 October 2010)
  • Universal Channel (until 3 May 2018)
Sister channel(s)CNBC Europe
Movies 24
Timeshift serviceUniversal TV +1
Sky (UK)Channel 113 (SD/HD)
Channel 155 (+1)
Channel 228 (SD)
Astra 2F
11306 H 27500 5/6
11306 H 27500 5/6 (+1)
12304 H 27500 2/3 (HD)
Astra 2E
11836 H 27500 5/6
11836 H 27500 5/6 (+1)
Virgin Media (UK)Channel 121 (HD)
Channel 122
Channel 206 (+1)
Virgin Media (Ireland)Channel 123
Channel 173 (HD)
TalkTalk TVChannel 320
BTChannel 320
Channel 385 (HD)
PlusnetChannel 320
eir VisionChannel 113
Streaming media
Sky GoWatch live (UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV AnywhereWatch 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.

Coinciding with the launch of Hallmark Channel HD, Hallmark Channel became 16:9 widescreen capable on 28 June 2010.

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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3] TV3 act as the Irish variation's advertising sales agents.[4]

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".[5]

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".[6]


Current programming

Former programming

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.[7] The number of viewers does not include repeats or airings on Universal +1

Rank Show Episode Number of Viewers Date
1Coroner1.08 Bridges645,50011 March 2019
21.03 Scattered641,0004 February 2019
31.02 Bunny634,60028 January 2019
41.04 Quick or Dead618,70011 February 2019
5Sleepy Hollow1.02 - Blood Moon612,00016 October 2013
6 The Resident2.04 - About Time597,4006 November 2018
7Coroner1.07 The Suburbs580,2004 March 2019
81.06 Confetti Heart558,00025 February 2019
9 Departure1.03 - Prime Suspect555,20024 July 2019
10 The Resident2.03 - Three Words540,20030 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.[8][9] Showing US shows like the Law & Order titles, CSI and Without a Trace in high definition.[10]

Universal TV HD was also launched on BT TV on 1 September 2016.

Hallmark 2

In July 2005, there were rumours that Sparrowhawk were going to launch a sister channel to the Hallmark Channel, called Hallmark 2.[11] This was denied by a spokesperson for Hallmark who said that "a second channel from Hallmark will not be launching 'anytime soon'".[11] Movies 24 was launched instead.

Former logos

See also


  1. Shepherd, Robert (25 June 2009). "NBC plans to ditch Hallmark UK brand". Broadcast (Emap Media). Retrieved on 25 June 2009.
  2. "Hallmark Channel to rebrand as Universal". Digital Spy. 2 September 2010.
  3. "Subtitles in Ireland – From 1st December". Universal Channel. 29 November 2010.
  4. "Universal ad deal secured by TV3". The Irish Post. 26 December 2010.
  5. Fletcher, Alex (31 July 2013). "Universal Channel rebrands with '100% Characters' tagline, new logo". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  6. "NBCUniversal Int'l Entertainment Channel Renamed Universal TV in Brand Refresh". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  7. BARB, via
  8. "Sky Extends High Definition Leadership with HD Channel Milestone". British Sky Broadcasting. 12 March 2010.
  9. "Hallmark Channel HD Launches Tonight on Sky 220". PR Newswire. 28 June 2010.
  10. "Hallmark Channel HD to launch tonight". Digital Spy. 28 June 2010.
  11. Archived 14 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine
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