UKTV’s subscription entertainment channel Watch will rebrand and relaunch as W in February, with original shows, US exclusives and select BBC content.
W aims to appeal to 30 to 39-year-old women and their partners, husbands and family, according to UKTV, with whom they share a love of ‘smart entertainment.’
“UKTV is known for peerlessly strong channel brands, which guide audiences to shows that are perfect for them,” said UKTV controller Emma Tennant. “W will be no different, a premium channel for smart women and men seeking high-quality escapism.”
The channel is the first to be unveiled as part of UKTV's portfolio since the launch of Drama in 2013. The company has previously rebranded channels within its portfolio including crime drama channel Alibi, natural history channel Eden and Gold.
W will feature select BBC content, including the repeat of BBC One flagship drama EastEnders on same day as premiere transmission plus weekend omnibus The Honourable Woman.
New original series to be aired on W include ON, an authored documentary strand featuring films by radio DJ Sara Cox, musician Sophie Ellis-Bextor and journalist Grace Dent; new factual entertainment format Get Me To The Church, and Nev’s Indian Call Centre, following boss Nev Wilshire of BBC3 show, The Call Centre and his band of staff as they embark on the business opportunity in India.
W’s launch night peak schedule (8 – 10pm slots) on 15 February will consist entirely of UKTV originals.
The channel will also show US exclusives, including medical drama Code Black; Criminal Minds spin-off Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders; and MasterChef USA.
Steve North, W's general manager, said, “We want to dazzle our viewers and have evolved and honed this entertainment channel, building a schedule that entertains but never patronises. W’s programming includes our new authored documentary strand, which covers modern life in the digital age - from dating and friendship, to the cult of celebrity. We also have shining, new entertainment properties that focus on key life moments, like getting married (Get Me To The Church) and buying a first home (Honey I Bought the House) as well as one of the nation’s favourite dramas, EastEnders, on air just a few hours after its BBC One premiere as well as bringing back the omnibus. The peak W schedule will include a host of glittering US series.”