Bravo (British TV channel)
Logo from 2001 to 2006
|Launched||31 December 1985|
|Closed||1 January 2011|
|Owned by||Living TV Group
|Picture format||16:9, 576i (SDTV)|
|Slogan||Home of the Brave|
|Sister channel(s)||Bravo 2|
|Timeshift service||Bravo +1|
(at time of closure)
Channel 124 (+1)
|Virgin Media||Channel 136
Channel 137 (+1)
Catch Up TV on Demand
TV Choice on Demand
Bravo HD on Demand
|UPC Ireland||Channel 508
Channel 509 (+1)
Bravo was a British television channel, owned by Living TV Group, a subsidiary of BSkyB. Its target audience was males in their 20s to early 40s and showed a variety of both archive programming (such as Knight Rider and MacGyver) and original productions.
The Bravo channels closed on 1 January 2011, with its most popular programmes moved to other Sky channels including Spartacus: Blood and Sand (now on Sky1), Chuck, Leverage (now on Fox), Dog the Bounty Hunter (now on Pick), Star Trek (now on CBS Action), TNA Wrestling (now on Challenge), Sun, Sea and A&E, Motorway Patrol, Highway Patrol, Brit Cops and Caribbean Cops (now on Pick and Sky Livingit).
Bravo was launched in 1985 as a cable only channel, created by United Artists Programming, broadcasting mainly black & white B-movies from the 1950s and 1960s. Initially, the channel was a cassette-delivered service delivered to cable head ends for automatic play-out.
In 1991, United Artists merged with their largest shareholder TCI (now[update] Liberty Media), to form the largest cable operator in the US. TCI and US West announced a joint venture, and in 1992, the joint venture company became Telewest Communications. In 1993, talks were held with Tele-Communications Inc. which resulted in Flextech acquire TCI's European programming business in exchange for shares. By January, the deal was complete with TCI,  which allowed ICI to acquire 60.4% of Flextech, while Flextech acquired 100% of Bravo, 25% of UK Gold, and 31% of UK Living and 25% of the Children's Channel which increase its share in that channel.
On 22 July 1993, Bravo launched on the Astra 1C satellite in anticipation of the launch of Sky Multichannels in September 1993. With the launch on Astra, the channel started broadcasting between noon and midnight (as opposed to 3pm to 3am), which it continued doing until 3 February 1997, when Trouble launched and took over the channel's afternoon and early evening broadcast hours, meaning Bravo would broadcast between 20:00 and 06:00. European Business News timeshared with the channel on weekdays and Living on weekends until 2001.
Its programming output was alternated around the same time, when the channel obtained many of the ITC Entertainment productions and other cult series such as The Avengers. It upgraded its on-screen image with an elaborate ident of a modernist skyscraper under rolling thunderclouds and promoted itself as 'Timewarp Television', even using stars such as Roger Moore and Tony Curtis to feature in specially shot trails. Armstrong and Miller first made their broadcast television appearance on Bravo in a series of presentation promotions during Bravo's Cult Weekend on 5 August 1995. A policy change in 1996 to withdraw the black & white shows saw it move on to specialise in science fiction and horror with movies from the Troma Entertainment catalogue before becoming known for showing crime documentaries by day and adult programming at night. It subsequently decreased the adult content and increased sports and imported shows like Alias. They also aired World Championship Wrestling's flagship show Nitro during WCW's final year in business and also showed Extreme Championship Wrestling's show ECW Hardcore TV during its final year in business.
On 28 August 2005, the channel started showing Serie A Italian football, bringing back the Channel 4 format Football Italia. However, poor viewing figures saw them cancelling the weekly Gazetta Football Italia show first, then announce it would stop showing Italian Football altogether after 23 December 2006 (it was later taken up by Channel 5, and is currently shown on BT Sport). The channel's other highest-profile sports coverage was its exclusive UK rights to Ultimate Fighting Championship archives as well as recent events (live rights are now held by BT Sport), as well as related reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter.
From January 2007, Bravo's sister channel Bravo 2 had the exclusive UK rights to broadcast Total Nonstop Action Wrestling programming which consisted of only a two day delay from the American broadcast of TNA's weekly show "TNA iMPACT!" (which, since of 3 February 2011, has moved to Challenge, and is now known as Impact Wrestling) and a three day delay for TNA's monthly Pay Per Views. Since 5 January 2008, TNA iMPACT was moved to Bravo with replays of the show on Bravo 2. Bravo's original contract for TNA Wrestling programming was an 18 month contract and was distributed by RDA TV and the deal was extended on 1 July 2008 for another 18 months which was once again negotiated by RDA TV.
From 3 June 2008 onwards, Bravo along with the other Living TV Group owned channels began broadcasting in widescreen (16:9). This was coupled with a redesign of the on-screen graphic (the word BRAVO was shown rather than the logo).
On 25 May 2010, Virgin Media Television unveiled new channel branding for Bravo to coincide with major new series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. It involved a new logo to "match the premium content and ambition of the channel" along with a new strapline, "Bravo: Home of the Brave".
On 1 January 2011, Bravo ceased broadcasting on all platforms.
In August 2013, it was revealed that BSkyB had registered the trademark for 'Sky Bravo', paving the way for a possible relaunch of the channel, although nothing has been heard about it since.
- Clover, Julian (2010-09-16). "Sky shuts Bravo after 25 years.". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Flextech Wants To Buy TCI Unit". Telecompaper. 1993-10-26. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Merger Plans For Flextech". The New York Times. 1994-01-03. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Flextech Set To Acquire TCI Programming". Telecompaper. 1993-12-21. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Bravo TV & Channel One Axed - What About A Subscription Discount?". PJCNET. 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- TNA News: Big News: TNA to air on Bravo 2 in the UK
- TNA News: TNA Confirms Bravo Change, Oshawa Note, & More News
- TNA wrestling announces two big media agreements in the UK - KocoSports.com
- VM TV unveils 'brave' new Bravo branding - Digital TV News - Digital Spy
- Laughlin, Andrew (2010-11-22). "Sky confirms Bravo shutdown date". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- Curtis, Chris (2013-08-08). "Sky keeps its options open on Bravo relaunch". Broadcast. Retrieved 2013-08-11.