BBC America

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BBC America
BBC America.svg
Launched March 29, 1998; 20 years ago (1998-03-29)
Owned by BBC Studios (50.01%)
AMC Networks (49.99%)
Picture format 1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters New York City, New York
Sister channel(s) AMC
BBC Entertainment
BBC World News
Sundance TV
DirecTV Channel 264
Channel 1264 (VOD)
Dish Network Channel 135
C-BandH2H/4DTV AMC 18 – Channel 202
Available on every American provider Channel slots vary on each operator
AT&T U-verse Channel 122 (SD)
Channel 1122 (HD)
Verizon FiOS Channel 189 (SD)
Channel 689 (HD)
Streaming media
PlayStation Vue Internet Protocol television
Sling TV Internet Protocol television
YouTube TV Internet Protocol television

BBC America is an American pay television network that is jointly owned by BBC Studios and AMC Networks.[1]

Unlike the BBC's domestic channels in the United Kingdom, BBC America does not receive funding from the British licence fee (which is the principal funding for the BBC's channels within the United Kingdom), as the BBC cannot fund any of its channels that are available outside the United Kingdom.[2] Consequently, BBC America operates as a commercial-supported channel and accepts traditional advertising. It is also funded by television subscription fees.

As of February 2015, BBC America is available to approximately 78.4 million television households (67.3% of subscription TV customers) in the United States.[3]


BBC America was launched on March 29, 1998,[4] presenting a mixture of comedy, drama and lifestyle programs from BBC Television and other British television broadcasters including ITV and Channel 4. In the channel's early days, it focused on repeats of popular lifestyle shows such as Changing Rooms and Ground Force. BBC America's head of television programming later stated that it was important for the channel to establish a niche since non-British viewers found the lifestyle shows appealing.[5] Most of the newer programs appeared as part of BBC America's evening schedule.

The network removed the British soap opera EastEnders from its schedule in 2003 due to low ratings; however the program's removal from BBC America provoked complaints from viewers, which caught media attention.[6][7][8]

After CEO Paul Lee was appointed president of ABC Family in 2009, the network appointed Bill Hilary from Comedy Central to serve as its chief executive officer. Hilary appointed Kathryn Mitchell to the new position of general manager. Under Hilary's tenure, BBC America was restructured; it moved its main offices to New York City and had its programming budget increase substantially. The channel was led by Garth Ancier, who served as the president of BBC Worldwide Americas from February 2007 until 2010, when he was succeeded by former MTV Networks executive Herb Scannell. Meanwhile, Perry Simon serves as general manager.[9]

In 2014, AMC Networks acquired a 49.9% equity stake in BBC America for $200 million, and replaced Discovery Communications as its management partner. As part of the deal, AMC Networks also took on the responsibility of negotiating U.S. broadcast and advertising sales for the BBC World News channel. AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan stated that the deal gave his company "a powerful collection of networks that are among the most critically acclaimed, with distinct dramas and other potent content that creates a deep connection with viewers", while BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie considered it "an opportunity to grow the creative quality and ambition from an already high base."[10][11]

AMC Networks is also a partner in BritBox, an over-the-top subscription service focused on British television that is operated by BBC Worldwide and ITV plc.[12][13]



Some of the programs on the channel are edited either for adult content or to allow for commercials. Occasionally comedy shows are run in specially formatted 40-minute blocks and a few first-run drama programs are broadcast in a longer block that allows them to run to their original broadcast length. Additional series which have been previously broadcast may periodically return to the schedule as part of the network's rotation of daytime programming.

Original programming and co-productions

In the mid-2000s, BBC America produced a few of its own shows along with some joint productions. These have included Sharpe's Challenge, part of the Sharpe series of made-for-television movies and co-produced with ITV; as well as The State Within and Jekyll, which were co-productions with the BBC. The first original series produced solely by the channel was Copper, which premiered in the summer of 2012.[14]

BBC America has also branched into co-producing British series, including Robin Hood, The Musketeers, and, from its fourth series, the revival of Doctor Who.[15] They also co-produce the Canadian series Orphan Black.


BBC America used to broadcast BBC World News each Monday through Friday morning from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. All news programs now air exclusively on the BBC World News channel, also distributed by AMC Networks in the United States.[16]

The weekday morning (6:00–9:00 a.m. Eastern Time) simulcast used to include BBC World News bulletins, World Business Report, Sport Today, Asia Today, and a one-hour bulletin called World News Today. Most of these were removed from the schedule without any announcement on April 6, 2009. The weekend morning (6:00–6:30 a.m. ET) simulcast was also abruptly dropped on April 4, 2009. According to BBC America, the simulcast was dropped because of disappointing ratings.[17]

From 2007 to 2011, BBC America broadcast BBC World News America, a live Washington, D.C.–based program anchored by Matt Frei. Katty Kay served as a Washington-based correspondent. On February 18, 2011, network management announced that BBC World News America would be dropped from BBC America and would instead be broadcasting only on the BBC World News channel and PBS member stations in the United States.[18]

The network was in discussions to unveil a weekly news program fronted by Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman, who was to introduce a synopsis of Newsnight items with an international aspect and was expected to bring his brash interviewing style to bear on American politicians. An international edition of Newsnight debuted on February 29, 2008, in the 10 p.m. time slot. This program was canceled in November 2008, but the announcement of the program's cancellation was not made until April 2009.[17]

During major breaking news events, the network will sometimes replace scheduled programs with coverage from BBC World News; the London bombings in July 2005 was one example. BBC World News itself is not currently widely available in the U.S. as a separate channel, although it is carried on several providers throughout the United States, generally in lieu of or alongside BBC America (one previous example is New York City-based Cablevision, which did not carry BBC America until August 2011) or BBC World News America, an American-focused news program presented by Katty Kay and usually from Washington, D.C. mainly carried by American public television stations though a distribution agreement with Los Angeles independent public television station KCET.

Outside the U.S.

BBC America is widely available in Caribbean countries, such as Bermuda on One Communications's cable service,[19] and the WOW (World on Wireless) service,[20] as well as the Bahamas on REVTV,[21] in Barbados on Flow, [22] in the Cayman Islands on Logic TV,[23] Grenada on Flow,[24] Telbo MiTV in Bonaire,[25] in Curaçao on Flow[26] and on SXM Cable & Data in Sint Maarten.[27] It is also available in the Pacific in the US territory of Guam on DoCoMo Pacific[28] and GTA Teleguam's IPTV service,[29] as well as in the Northern Marianas on DoCoMo Pacific.[30]


  1. ^ Lieberman, David. "AMC Networks Pays $200M For 49.9% Of BBC America". Deadline. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "FAQs". BBC America. Archived from the original on November 7, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  3. ^ Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  4. ^ BBC America Press - Corporate
  5. ^ "EastEnders axe outrages US fans". The Guardian. September 30, 2003. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  6. ^ "Entertainment - EastEnders returns to US screens". BBC. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  7. ^ "BBC AMERICA; Alas, 'East Enders'". The New York Times. April 11, 2004.
  8. ^ "Arts, Briefly - A Reprieve for 'EastEnders'". The New York Times. January 31, 2005. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  9. ^ "Home - BBC America Press". Archived from the original on September 19, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  10. ^ "AMC Buys Half of BBC America to Bolster Pay-TV Leverage". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  11. ^ "AMC Networks Pays $200M For 49.9% Of BBC America". Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  12. ^ "BBC Worldwide, ITV SVOD Venture BritBox Launches With $6.99 Monthly Price". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "'Coronation Street' Episodes Now Available on BritBox a Day After U.K. Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  14. ^ Press, Joy (January 4, 2012). "BBC America gives details about its first original drama, 'Copper'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  15. ^ "Programs - BBC America Press Room". Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  16. ^ BBC America television schedule
  17. ^ a b Leigh Holmwood. "Jeremy Paxman's US Newsnight axed in shakeup at BBC America". The Guardian. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  18. ^ "'BBC World News America' Shifts To BBC World News - February 18, 2011 20:13:35 | Multichannel News". Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  19. ^ TV Packages & Channel Guide
  20. ^ WOW :: World On Wireless - Bermuda Archived April 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Flow Cable - Barbados
  23. ^ TV Guide for Logic TV
  24. ^ Flow Grenada | Channel Line-Up
  25. ^ "MiTV Packages - TELBO". Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  26. ^ Flow Extended Basic 24 channels
  27. ^ SXM Channel Line Up Archived April 17, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ DoCoMo Pacific Channel Listing
  29. ^ "Guam Cable TV - Guam Digital Television - GTA Teleguam". Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  30. ^ DoCoMo Pacific Channel Listing - CNMI

External links

  • Official website
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