BBC America

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BBC America
BBC America.svg
Launched March 29, 1998
Owned by BBC Worldwide
Discovery Communications
(each owning 50%)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters New York City, New York
Sister channel(s) Discovery Networks
BBC World News
DirecTV 264 (HD/SD)
1264 (VOD)
Dish Network 135 (HD/SD)
C-BandH2H/4DTV AMC 18 – Channel 202
Available on most U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider for channel availability
AT&T U-verse 122 (SD)
1122 (HD)
Verizon FiOS 689 (HD)
189 (SD)

BBC America is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned as a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Discovery Communications (both of which own a 50% interest in the channel), the latter company also handled affiliate and advertising sales until these operations moved in-house on April 1, 2008.[1]

Unlike the BBC's wholly owned domestic channels in the United Kingdom, the network is not subject to funding from the UK licence fee by law (which is the principal funding for the BBC's channels within the United Kingdom); the BBC cannot fund any of its channels that are not available in the United Kingdom,[2] therefore BBC America operates as an advertiser-supported channel and accepts traditional advertising.

As of August 2013, BBC America is available to approximately 80,066,000 television households (70.11% of cable, satellite and telco customers) in the United States.[3]


BBC America was launched on March 29, 1998,[1] maintaining a format of comedy, drama and lifestyle programs from BBC Television and other British television broadcasters like 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-UK viewers found the lifestyle shows appealing. Most of the newer programming appeared as part of BBC America's evening schedule.

The network removed the popular 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.[4][5][6]

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 newly created position of general manager. Under Hilary's tenure, BBC America was restructured; it moved its main offices to New York City and saw 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.[7]

As of the second quarter 2008, select BBC America Shows are available on Apple's iTunes Store. As of December 2013, selected BBC America shows are available on Microsoft's Xbox Video.

BBC America HD[edit]

BBC America HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast feed of BBC America. It is available nationally by satellite provider Dish Network,[8] DirecTV,[9] and regionally by Xfinity by Comcast,[10] Charter Communications,[11] Cablevision,[12] Time Warner Cable,[13] Cox Communications,[14] Verizon FIOS,[15] AT&T U-verse and some smaller providers.


The following is a list of some of the current programming that is currently airing on the channel. While many of the shows were produced by the BBC, some of the shows were produced by other British networks. The channel also includes some reruns of American programming.

Most of the non-news programming on the channel is edited either for adult content or to allow for commercials. However, occasionally comedy shows run in specially formatted 40-minute blocks and a few first-run drama programs air in a longer block that allows them to run to their original broadcast length, though adult content can be edited.

Upcoming original series[edit]

Original programming[edit]

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.[17]


BBC America currently airs BBC World News each Monday through Friday morning from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.[18]

The weekday morning (6:00–9:00 a.m. Eastern Time) simulcast used to include BBC World News newscasts, World Business Report, Sport Today, Asia Today and a one-hour newscast 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.[19] BBC World News was replaced in its morning time slot by reruns of Cash in the Attic and Gordon Ramsay's F Word. The morning simulcast returned on May 18, 2009, airing weekdays from 4:00 to 8:00 a.m. and began featuring simulcasts of BBC World News newscasts, World Business Report, Sport Today and GMT with George Alagiah.

From 2007 to 2011, BBC America aired 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 airing only on BBC World and PBS member stations in the United States.[20]

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 released until April 2009.[19]

During major breaking news situations, the network will sometimes preempt regular programming to carry coverage from BBC World News (the London bombings in July 2005 were one such example). BBC World News itself is not currently widely available in the U.S. as a separate channel (although it is carried on several cable systems throughout the United States, generally in lieu of BBC America; one previous example is New York City-based Cablevision, which did not carry BBC America until August 2011) or in a 30-minute telecast on public television stations daily.


BBC America is available in Bermuda on both Bermuda CableVision's digital cable service,[21] and the WOW (World on Wireless) service,[22] as well as in Barbados on Multi-Choice TV's wireless service,[23] on Weststar TV in the Cayman Islands,[24]Grenada[25] on Flow Digital Cable, and on SXM Cable & Data in Sint Maarten. It is also available in the U.S. territory of Guam on MCV Broadband[26] and GTA Teleguam's IPTV service,[27] the only territory outside North America where the channel is available.


  1. ^ a b BBC America Press - Corporate
  2. ^ BBC America - Frequently Asked Questions
  3. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | EastEnders returns to US screens
  5. ^ BBC AMERICA; Alas, 'East Enders' - New York Times
  6. ^ Arts, Briefly; A Reprieve for 'EastEnders' - New York Times
  7. ^ "Home - BBC America Press". Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  8. ^ List of DISH HD Programming
  9. ^ On August 15 four exciting channels will be available in eye-popping HD! DirecTV press release, August 15, 2012
  10. ^ "Comcast crunchbase". 30 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Charter Communications, Inc. Company Profile". 
  12. ^ "Cablevision Systems Corporation". 
  13. ^ BBC America HD Launches in NYC on TWC
  14. ^ "Company Overview of Cox Communications, Inc.". 30 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Verizon Adds BBC AMERICA HD to FiOS TV Lineup
  16. ^ "John Simm to star in BBC America drama Intruders". BBC News. January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  17. ^ Press, Joy (2012-01-04). "BBC America gives details about its first original drama, 'Copper'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  18. ^ BBC America television schedule
  19. ^ a b BBC America drops BBC World
  20. ^ "'BBC World News America' Shifts To BBC World News - 2011-02-18 20:13:35 | Multichannel News". Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  21. ^ Welcome To Bermuda CableVision
  22. ^ WOW :: World On Wireless - Bermuda
  23. ^ Multi-Choice TV
  24. ^ Weststar TV
  25. ^ Flow Digital
  26. ^ MCV Broadband Guam: High-Definition Television
  27. ^ Guam Cable TV vs GUdTV - Schedules and Channel line up - GTA Teleguam

External links[edit]