Hallmark Channel (UK) to become Universal Channel in October

MUMBAI: Universal Networks International has announced the rebranding of Hallmark Channel in the UK to Universal Channel, launching its new look on 18 October with the UK premiere of Shattered – an original series produced in partnership with E1 Entertainment.

The new channel will also host the UK premieres of Rookie Blue – a global acquisition, which has already launched to huge success in the USA and Canada – and Facing Kate, a co-production between Universal Cable Productions and Universal Networks International.

"The Hallmark Channel has a loyal audience in the pay-tv market and already offers a strong line-up of great content including the Law & Order franchise of shows," said Universal Networks International UK managing director Laurence Dawkin-Jones.

"This rebrand will allow us to enhance the channel by adding fresh, new content – including our global acquisition Rookie Blue and our own co-productions such as Shattered and Facing Kate to the best of the existing line-up of series under a channel name that is instantly recognisable, has an exceptional global heritage and feels very contemporary. We know it will appeal to both our existing fan base and a whole new audience who may not have previously been familiar with the Hallmark Channel brand," he added.

Universal Channel will further expand the already broad appeal of Hallmark by offering viewers the best US drama series – including Law & Order franchise of shows – as well as a slate of new and exciting original productions.

The rebrand is part of NBC Universal’s ongoing multi-million dollar plan to reposition its global network of pay-tv channels around five core brands – Syfy Universal, Studio Universal, Diva Universal, 13TH STREET Universal and Universal Channel – and its commitment to invest in fresh and original productions.

Universal Networks International and Digital Initiatives president Roma Khanna said, "The Universal Channel is the flagship brand in our core channel portfolio and we are delighted to bring it to such an important market as the UK. This move is part of our strategy to deliver strong, exclusive subscription channels with world-class content to audiences around the globe."

Hallmark Channel has already rebranded to Universal Channel in Australia and Africa, adding major markets to the channel’s global distribution.