Channel 5 (UK) programming
Channel 5 airs a wide variety of programming that covers various genres and themes. Launched in 1997, the channel has always been seen to have less distinctive programming than their other terrestrial rivals at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.
The channel is notable for imported programming and is also notable for securing the rights to Home and Away in 2001, which helped boost early evening viewing figures for the channel, and since 2002, the broadcaster has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy, and has screened several of the highest-rating American dramas, including Grey's Anatomy, all three CSI series, House, three of the Law & Order series, The Mentalist and Prison Break. (However, the channel subsequently dropped all of these before they ended, with the exception of the CSI shows, the Law & Order shows, and The Mentalist.) The channel also poached talk show host Trisha Goddard from ITV to shore up its daytime schedule and Neighbours from the BBC after a bidding war with other broadcasters.
- 1 Public service
- 2 Early scheduling
- 3 Children and teenagers
- 4 Comedy
- 5 Daytime
- 6 Documentaries
- 7 Drama
- 8 Entertainment
- 9 Lifestyle and Cookery
- 10 News
- 11 Participation television
- 12 Reality television
- 13 Soaps
- 14 Sport
- 15 Controversy
- 16 See also
- 17 References
Channel 5, as a British public service broadcaster, are required to broadcast a wide variety of programming. As opposed to Channel 4, whose programming remit targets the fringes of society and ranges a variety of cultures, Channel 5's remit is more like ITV's. The Channel's remit is laid out in the Communications Act 2003, Section 265 and is regulated by Ofcom. The section states that:
- (1)The regulatory regime for every licensed public service channel, and for the public teletext service, includes a condition requiring the provider of the channel or service to fulfil the public service remit for that channel or service.
- (2)The public service remit— (a) for every Channel 3 service, and (b) for Channel 5, is the provision of a range of high quality and diverse programming
As a public service broadcaster, Channel 5 is required to show a quota of news bulletins and educational programmes. Documentaries such as Hidden Lives, Revealed and Extraordinary People are examples of how the channel has met this criteria. In 2005, Channel 5 acquired the right to the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. The channel has also featured some short educational documentary series such as Your Sport focusing on sport in local communities.
Upon launch, Channel 5's programming followed a strict schedule, with the intention that viewers could tune in and always know what to expect. Major features of the Channel 5's early scheduling structure included daily soap opera Family Affairs at 6.30pm, a nightly news broadcast at 8.30pm, presented by Kirsty Young. That was followed by a film at 9pm every night and The Jack Docherty Show at around 11pm, a comedy chat show sending viewers to bed with a smile. Daytime programmes included Sunset Beach, the American soap opera, Leeza Gibbons' chat show, Leeza and 5 News Early. Weekend programming included Night Fever, a panel show presented by Suggs and the fantasy series Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Children and teenagers
Channel 5's pre-school programming block Milkshake! is shown from 06:00 to 09:00 each day. The block has a number of presenters, including Eddie Mathews and Naomi Wilkinson, and features a range of pre-school programming, including Fifi and the Flowertots, Peppa Pig and Hi-5. Until October 2007, the channel also had a block called Shake! at weekends, which was aimed at an older audience. However, Channel 5 then removed the Shake! block from its schedules, as Neighbours was taking up the Saturday slot. Shake! made a return to the channel on 4 October 2009 every Sunday morning after agreeing a deal with Disney. The block features Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place and Snobs. It also saw the return of Channel 5's hit teen show The Tribe.
In November 2008, Channel 5 had been set to launch a new children's channel based on its pre-school programming block. This was a response to the BBC launching CBBC and CBeebies in 2002 and ITV launching CITV in 2006, but plans to launch a standalone pre-school channel were put on hold indefinitely while the broadcaster awaited a buyer.
The majority of Channel 5's comedy programming are imports from other countries. Numerous American sitcoms are shown on Channel 5, most notably the Friends spin off Joey, as well as the first series of Two and a Half Men and the first two series of Everybody Hates Chris. In 2007, 8 Simple Rules began airing, but was later moved to Fiver. Other British sitcoms aired on the channel include:
- Bring Me The Head Of Light Entertainment
- Suburban Shootout
- That's So Last Week
- The Jim Tavare Show
- The What in The World? Quiz
- Top Buzzer
- We Know Where You Live
Channel 5 has always struggled to make inroads into the daytime TV ratings having tried a variety of magazine formats, quizzes and discussion shows since 1997. In the early days, Channel 5's morning schedules consisted mainly of American imports such as the soaps The Bold and the Beautiful and Sunset Beach. Between 1998 and 2003, Gloria Hunniford hosted Open House with Gloria Hunniford, an afternoon chat and lifestyle magazine show featuring interviews, cookery and consumer advice.
On 2 June 2003, Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin joined the channel to host the morning talk show The Terry and Gaby Show, which lasted only ten months, as it could not compete with ITV's This Morning. In September 2004, Trisha Goddard left ITV Anglia to join Channel 5 in a new programme titled Trisha Goddard, which made its debut on 24 January 2005. Similar in style to her old show, it focused on relationships, families in crisis, and reunions. In January 2009, Channel 5 announced it was not renewing her contract for financial reasons.
Until March 2007, the station screened quiz show BrainTeaser which was presented by Alex Lovell. After four and a half years, BrainTeaser was withdrawn, following the revelation that production staff were faking winners on the programme's premium rate call-in competition. Other game shows have since been aired in daytime, including a new version of Going for Gold and Wordplay.
The Vanessa Show presented by Vanessa Feltz was launched in a morning timeslot in January 2011. Following low ratings, the format was moved to an afternoon slot but the programme was not a success and it was axed in June 2011.
In 2013, Channel 5 bought the rights to screen Trisha Goddard's American version of her former chat show Trisha Goddard, which was broadcast on Channel 5 until 2009. However, due to low viewing figures, the programme is thought to have been pulled from the schedules.
Currently, Channel 5's daytime schedule consists of the flagship programme The Wright Stuff with the soaps Neighbours and Home & Away its main ratings successes. In the afternoons, the channel usually screens American and Canadian TV movies and sometimes US produced mini-series and one-off TV dramas. Its daytime and weekend morning schedules also contain repeats of documentaries, lifestyle programming and American crime series.
The Wright Stuff
In 2000, Channel 5 launched its flagship daytime show The Wright Stuff presented by Matthew Wright in which celebrity guests on a panel debate news stories in front of a small audience. In January 2011, The Wright Stuff was extended to an hour and 45 minutes from 09:15 to 11:00. From June 2011, the format was extended further with the launch of The Wright Stuff Extra with Gabby Logan presented by former BBC Radio 5 Live host Gabby Logan, however this was later dropped from the schedule, with the main show being extended a further ten minutes, now airing from 09:15 to 11:10.
Channel 5 has broadcast a number of documentaries following the lives of numerous individuals. The Hotel Inspector hosted initially by Ruth Watson and later by Alex Polizzi is an example of one of the channel's documentaries and is one of the channel's most watched programmes. The Business Inspector was a four-part spin-off show presented by Hilary Devey in 2010 who later moved to become a dragon on the BBC's Dragon's Den. In 2011, the channel hosted the latest addition to the 'Inspector' franchise, The Restaurant Inspector.
Animal and nature programmes have been a popular element in Channel 5's schedules with a number of series often repeated. These include Michaela's Zoo Babies, Wild Animal ER, Animal Rescue Squad, Vets in Action and Zoo Days. Older series such as Nick's Quest are repeated in the early morning schedules. Monkey World aired a new series in 2011 but the emphasis on wildlife and animal rescue programmes has been reduced since 2008. In August 2011, the channel broadcast repeats of Meerkat Manor the popular wildlife documentary series first broadcast on BBC TV. In 2012, Dominic Monaghan’s Wild Things aired, a series that followed British actor Dominic Monaghan travel the globe to find – and then handle – some of the biggest and most dangerous creatures on the planet.
Educational documentaries have also been prominent in Channel 5's schedule, many originally produced for the Discovery Channel. Highland Emergency and How Do They Do It? are often shown in the 19:30 slot. The 20:00 slot is often filled with male-oriented programmes such as Ice Road Truckers, Police Interceptors, Emergency Bikers, Revealed (mystery and archaeology), Monster Moves, Nature Shock and the Demolition series. The documentary series, Sea Patrol UK has aired since 2009 and in 2011, the spin-off show, Royal Navy: Caribbean Patrol made its début.
From 2002, the channel aired several major documentary series on the arts, architecture, philosophy and religion representing a major shift away from the station's previous down-market image. These included series on the lives of the great artists presented by Tim Marlow who also presented regular previews of major art exhibitions and a series on Tate Modern. Divine Designs, presented by Professor Paul Binski examined religious architecture around the UK with two series. These arts programmes are no longer produced on a regular basis but are often repeated.
Crime series are another established part of the Channel 5 schedule, some repackaged repeats such as True CSI and Forensic Files and the channel has featured several series on serial killers such as Fred West, Myra Hindley and Jack the Ripper. In 2012, crime series Born to Kill? was screened, which delved into the matter of whether killers such as Harold Shipman and Fred West were born to kill. Another crime series titled Murder Files was also broadcast in 2012, which focused on several notorious criminal cases such as The Schoolboy Assassin, looking back at how police eventually caught their killer. Countdown to Murder aired in 2013, a unique new crime show that follows a countdown of events that led to the murder of a victim.
New programming for 2011 included a series titled Candy Bar Girls based on the lives of young lesbian women in a bar in London's Soho district. 2011 also saw Justin Lee Collins present Living in Las Vegas and The Restaurant Inspector, building on the success of The Hotel Inspector. In 2011, Collins also presented the documentary series, Justin Lee Collins Turning Japanese. Additionally, the four part documentary series, Essex Jungle aired in Spring 2011 focusing on the world of exotic, often dangerous reptiles living in people's homes.
In 2012, Chris Tarrant was presenter to a documentary series titled Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways. Each week, Tarrant took an extreme railway journey, meeting the passengers and people who work on railways which go through extreme environments. Tarrant also delved into the history of these extreme railways and found out how they were built.
In 2013, Channel 5 broadcast Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild, which followed the presenter as he travelled to meet some of the world's few people who have swapped the usual life for something a little different, such as living in a desert as opposed to living in New York City. The programme regularly ranked among the channel's top ten. Also in 2013, Channel 5 broadcast Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun, a documentary following the life of the residents in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. The six-part series enjoyed steady ratings, and as a result was recommissioned for a second series which aired shortly afterwards in 2014.
In 2014, the channel pioneered "Supersize Season", which included sets of documentaries each attached to the same theme of supersize people. Documentaries produced within this season included Saving Britain's Biggest Man, Fat For Cash, My Gastric Band Ruined My Life, Too Fat To Fly, Got Thin - Got Fat Again! and I Lost Weight and Lost My Husband. The use of "seasons" was a common theme during 2014, with Nazi Season, a season dedicated to the Nazis, also produced.
8 O'Clock Heroes (2011)
In 2011, the 8:00pm daily weekday documentary slot was given the title "8 O'Clock Heroes" with a stripped content of action-packed documentaries focusing on police, emergency services and other "heroic" deeds. Series included in the strand include Police Interceptors and Emergency Bikers. Other series in the strand include Supersize Grime, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series focusing on the world of industrial cleaners from the makers of ITV1's popular Grimefighters and Sky 1's Real Filth Fighters.
Channel 5 has occasionally commissioned its own drama series. In 2004, it commissioned the hit drama Murder Prevention which lasted just one series and in 2006, it co-commissioned Tripping Over with Network Ten in Australia. Channel 5 also screened Perfect Day, a commissioned British drama, in 2005. The success of this one-off drama led to the commissioning of a prequel and a sequel, Perfect Day: The Millennium and Perfect Day: The Funeral, which were shown in 2006. In 2009, Channel 5 broadcast a new version of Minder starring Shane Richie. Other dramas broadcast include A Mind to Kill, Beyond Fear, Wing and a Prayer and Urban Gothic.
In April 2013, Channel 5 announced that they had acquired the rights to Wentworth, a re-imagining of the classic cult drama Prisoner Cell Block H, a soap that they had shown re-runs of at the turn of the century.
|Programme||Status||Premiered||Broadcast Rights||Current season|
|Wentworth||Off air||2013||UK premiere rights; seasons 1–2||Finished Season 1|
|Mr & Mrs Murder||Off air||2014||UK premiere rights; season 1||N/A|
|Secrets & Lies||Off air||2014||UK premiere rights; season 1||N/A|
In March 2013, Channel 5 announced another acquisition of Irish drama, Love/Hate. In April 2013, it was confirmed that Channel 5 had acquired the rights to the first two seasons the drama, with plans to air them as one block of episodes later in the year. A premiere date was later set for 24 July 2013 at 10:00pm.
|Programme||Status||Premiered||Broadcast Rights||Current season|
|Love/Hate||Off air||2013||UK premiere rights.||Finished Series 1|
|Jack Taylor||Off air||2013||UK premiere rights.||Finished Series 1|
Channel 5 shows a large number of American drama series. These currently include:
|Programme||Premiere||Broadcast details||Status||Current season|
||UK premiere rights; Seasons 1 - present.||Off air||N/A|
|Body of Proof||
||Terrestrial UK premiere rights after Alibi; Seasons 1 - present.||Off air||Season 2 finished.|
||Terrestrial UK premiere rights after Alibi; Seasons 1 - present.||On air||Airing Season 3.|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||
||Terrestrial UK premiere rights. Repeat rights are shared with 5USA and Sky Living.||On air||Airing Season 14.|
||UK premiere rights; Seasons 1 - present.||Off air||Season 2 finished.|
||UK repeat rights; Seasons 1 - present.||On air||Airing Season 4.|
||UK premiere rights; Season 1.||On air||Airing Season 1.|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||
||Terrestrial UK premiere rights after Universal Channel; Seasons 1 - present.||On air||Season 12 airing.|
||UK premiere rights, and repeat rights that are shared with 5*, 5USA and Universal Channel; Seasons 1 - present.||On air||Airing Season 6.|
||Terrestrial UK premiere rights after Fox; Season 1 - present.||On air||Airing Season 10.|
|NCIS: Los Angeles||
||Terrestrial UK premiere rights after Sky 1; Season 1.||Off air||Airing Season 1.|
|Person of Interest||
||UK premiere rights; Season 1 - present.||Off Air||Season 2 finshed.|
|Under The Dome||
||UK premiere rights; Season 1 - present.||Off air||Season 1 finished.|
||UK premiere rights.||Off air||Airing Season 1.|
- Sky Living had the rights to seasons 1–3 of Greys Anotomy spin-off Private Practice.
- Sky 1 had the exclusive first run rights to NCIS spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles, before Channel 5 bought the terrestrial airing rights.
Previously shown drama
Previous drama programmes aired on the channel include:
- Angel - Terrestrial rights for series 3–4 from 2003–2005.
- Alias - Terrestrial rights from 2003–2004.
- Big Love - Season 1 only.
- Boomtown - 2003–2004.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Series 1 terrestrial rights only.
- Charmed - Series 1–7 (Series 8 was aired on Channel 4), Channel 5 had the second run rights after Living.
- Coma - 2013, Terrestrial UK premiere rights.
- Criminal Minds - Series 1 only, Season 2 onwards aired on Living and Virgin1.
- CSI: Miami - 2003–2012, First run rights. Finished its last season at season 10.
- CSI: NY - 2004–2013, First run rights. Finished its last season at season 9.
- Dark Angel
- FlashForward - First run rights, with re-runs on Fiver. After series 1, the show was cancelled.
- Grey's Anatomy - 2006, Terrestrial premiere rights after Sky Living. Aired up to Season 5.
- The Guardian - Now on Sony Entertainment Television
- Hatfields & McCoys 2012, UK premiere rights.
- House - Series 1–4 first run rights from 2005–2009, Channel 5 originally had first run rights which was shared with Hallmark Channel until Sky1 took over. Repeats of the early series are still shown on Channel 5.
- Killer Instinct - Premièred in the UK on Channel 5 during 2005–2006, cancelled after one series.
- K-Ville - 2010, Terrestrial airing, first run rights were shown on Five USA.
- La Femme Nikita
- Law and Order - Terrestrial rights; Broadcast from season 7 (aired in 2001) to season 17. Rights not obtained for later seasons.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent - First run rights for all ten seasons, broadcast from 2003–2013.
- Martial Law - 1999–2000.
- Once Upon a Time - UK premiere rights; Season 1 - present. Season 1–2 only.
- Pacific Blue - 1998–2002.
- Poltergeist: The Legacy - 1997–2000.
- Prison Break - Seasons 1–2 - Sky1 took over the rights to series 3–4.
- Shark - First run rights during 2007–2009, cancelled after two series.
- Stargate Atlantis - Series 1, terrestrial re-run rights only.
- Stephen King's Bag Of Bones - 2012, UK premiere rights.
- The Lyon's Den - 2003, cancelled in the US after one series.
- The Shield - First run rights from 2003–2009, with series 1–6 aired on Channel 5 and series 7 exclusive to Five USA.
- The Walking Dead - First run rights after FOX for seasons 1–2. This applied to season 3, however due to low ratings, from episode 2 the show moved to 5*.
- Vanished - First run rights in 2007, cancelled after one series.
Channel 5 has screened a variety of entertainment programs. The channel screened game show Fort Boyard from October 1998 to December 2001. Between 12 January to 9 December 2001, Channel 5 broadcast two seasons of the popular game show The Mole which quickly gained a cult following. In 2003, Channel 5 acquired cult show Robot Wars, previously shown on BBC Two, though the show ended soon after this.
The evening magazine show Live from Studio Five was launched in September 2009 with a strong emphasis on entertainment news. The show was axed in February 2011 and replaced with OK! TV co-hosted by Kate Walsh who also presented the former show. As part of the relaunch of February 2011, Channel 5 commissioned a range of new entertainment programming including Impossible with mind-reader Philip Escoffey hosting a gameshow with a jackpot of £40,000.
Lifestyle and Cookery
Early evening lifestyle and makeover programmes formed a major part of Channel 5's early schedules and they saw a revival in 2011. Former series include property shows, such as House Doctor, presented by Ann Maurice, Build a New Life in the Country and How Not to Decorate, presented by Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan. Makeover and property shows have declined in Channel 5's schedules but former series such as House Doctor and Housebusters are often repeated in the daytime and early morning schedules. In 2011, the channel launched new makeover programmes Garden ER and Superior Homes with Kelly Hoppen. In September 2011, a new cookery show with a focus on healthy eating was launched, Real Food Family Cook Off sponsored by Tesco.
In 2012, Channel 5 introduced property show Half Built House, which was fronted by property guru Sian Astley, and focused on Astley rescuing homes that have had DIY disasters. Best House In The Street, another property show, also went to air in 2012, and saw Charlie Luxton transform a family's home in each episode.
In 2013, Great Northern Cookbook aired, a cookery series following Sean Wilson (best known for his role in Coronation Street, a Michelin-star chef) as he travels around the North of England, cooking up recipes past and present, exploring the heritage of the towns, completing a series of competitive challenges, and hoping to please the locals.
Marco Pierre White's Kitchen Wars
In June 2012, chef Marco Pierre White launched his own cookery competition show, comprising seven 60-minute episodes, to find a couple who creates Britain's Best Dining Experience.
The premise of the show from Channel 5 is: Marco Pierre White uses his exceptional culinary eye to find the UK's best restaurant partnerships balancing fabulous food with seamless service. They’re fighting for a place in a specially designed studio restaurant, where the top three couples will each be given both their own kitchen and set of diners to impress. It’s not just about being a good chef; it’s also about having the skills to run the best restaurant. Who will make the cut?
Channel 5's news service relaunched as 5 News on 14 February 2011.
Quiz Call was broadcast simultaneously on Five, Fiver and Five USA on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between around 00:00 and 04:00/04:30. The phone-in quiz show invites viewers to play along for a chance to win cash prizes in return for solving on-screen puzzles. Entrants must be aged eighteen or over to participate and each call and SMS text is charged whether an entrant successfully gets through to the show or not. Quiz Call ended its programming on Five when the channel signed with NetPlayTV to air its Live Roulette programming from midnight to 04:00 - 7 nights a week.
Channel 5 has a history of broadcasting reality TV shows. Shows broadcast include a UK version of The Mole, to which the channel acquired the format rights, and which was well received: the website UKGameshows.com announced that The Mole beat The Crystal Maze to win its first reader poll to find the best UK gameshow of all time. There was also a series of Touch the Truck and Jailbreak, however these were less successful.
In 2004, the channel hosted the "ultimate" reality show, Back to Reality featuring contestants from a variety of reality shows under one roof. Despite high hopes, the series failed to gain a large audience. Another programme broadcast was Make Me a Supermodel, a reality show in which contestants try to win a contract with the Select Modelling Agency. The format lasted two series, and the second series was also featured on 5*.
Celebrity Super Spa
On 17 June 2013, Channel 5 announced that they had commissioned a new reality television show that will follow six celebrities working in a spa based in Liverpool, where they will be taught to pamper, preen and pluck by Herbert Howe, a man with fifty years experience in the hair and beauty industry. The show is expected to be broadcast later in the year.
On 14 June 2011, Channel 5 made the announcement that they will now air the British version of the The Bachelor, a spin-off of the popular American reality series, The Bachelor. The British version had previously been broadcast on BBC Three.
In the first series to air on Channel 5 (Series 4), the role of the bachelor was by rugby star and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Gavin Henson. In the second series to air on Channel 5 (Series 5), the role of the bachelor was by Spencer Mathews, star of the E4 Reality TV Series Made in Chelsea.
On 6 April 2011, it was confirmed that Channel 5 had signed a £200 million contract with media company Endemol to screen former Channel 4 reality show Big Brother for 2 years. The series returned at 9pm on 18 August 2011 with Celebrity Big Brother 2011. Series 1 of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5 kicked off with the entry of housemates including reality show regulars Kerry Katona, Amy Childs and Jedward. It was followed in September by the main show.
Brian Dowling signed up to be main presenter of the show following the move to Channel 5, whilst Emma Willis became the host of the new spin-off discussion show, Big Brother's Bit on the Side. From Big Brother 2013 Emma Willis is the main presenter.
The Farm was Channel 5's version of the international TV format The Farm. It had a series of celebrities appearing on it during its two series run and did attract some controversy. Channel 5 cancelled The Farm following series two in 2005, and no plans have been made for the UK series to be brought back.
When Channel 5 launched in 1997, the staple of its earlier programming was the channel's newly commissioned soap, Family Affairs. The soap continued throughout the Channel's life until it was dropped on 30 December 2005 due to poor ratings.
Acquired Soap Operas
Channel 5 has screened a number of acquired soap operas. Every episode of the cult Australian soap Prisoner Cell Block H was aired between April 1997 and 11 February 2001 and they also showed another classic Aussie soap Sons and Daughters, (which like Prisoner Cell Block H had also been previously shown on ITV in the 80's and early 90's) running the entire series between March 1998 and 6 November 2005.
In addition, the channel showed two popular American soap operas Sunset Beach and The Bold and the Beautiful every weekday morning. After the end of Sunset Beach in 1999, the remaining episodes were screened until early 2000. The channel replaced it with another soap opera popular in America Days of our Lives, though after poor ratings it removed both soaps from weekday morning schedules in 2002.
The entire run of futuristic New Zealand teenage drama series The Tribe was shown from 1999 to 2003. Channel 5 also acquired the rerun rights to the BBC and Network Ten serial drama Out of the Blue, which were screened from 2009 on Channel 5's digital counterpart, 5*.
On 18 May 2007, Channel 5 acquired the rights to Australian soap opera Neighbours, previously screened on BBC One. This was the second time UK networks had fought over an Australian soap, with Channel 5 having previously competed over broadcast rights to Home and Away.
Neighbours is one of Channel 5's most popular programmes, and is in fact more popular in the United Kingdom than in its home country of Australia.
Home and Away
Until 2010 late-night sports programming had been a feature of the channel since its original launch, especially focusing on live or short-delay coverage of major North American sports. Most notably, the channel covered Major League Baseball games, both regular season and playoffs since its first night on air. After the conclusion of Family Affairs, Five's MLB baseball coverage was the longest and continuously run programme on the channel. Jonathan Gould is the host, with former Great Britain national team player Josh Chetwynd as the in-studio analyst. Due to the Global recession of 2008-09, the channel did not renew its contract to show Major League Baseball in 2009. This left no Baseball available on free to air television in the UK, though Gould, Chetwynd and their producer Erik Janssen continued to broadcast baseball coverage on the digital radio station BBC 5 Live Sports Extra.
Until 2004, Channel 5 also covered the regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League; following the lost 2004–05 season, the primary broadcast rights passed to NASN. However, since 2006-07, Five has relaunched its coverage with a weekly NHL game on short-delay along with highlights of other action from around the league. After the end of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, which had been reduced to edited highlights and shunted to a timeslot after 04:00, and the NHL did not return to the channel.
Channel 5 also acquired American football and basketball coverage in the wake of Channel 4 dropping them. In 2007, the channel renewed its NFL coverage with a two-year deal to screen Monday Night Football and NBC Sunday Night Football live (the latter coverage began once the MLB Playoffs and World Series ended). Nat Coombs hosted and Mike Carlson, a former college-football player, was the studio analyst, with game commentary taken from the American broadcasters. In 2009, Channel 5 dropped the Monday night game and only broadcast the Sunday night game for the 2009-10 season, with a Saturday morning magazine programme called NFL UK showing highlights and previews of the coming weekend's games. Channel 5 decided not to renew its contract with the NFL for the 2010-11 season, and the sport returned to its original home on UK television, Channel 4 which had shown the sport since the channel's launch in 1982 until 1997. Coombs followed Jonny Gould and Josh Chetwynd to cover the sport on 5 Live Sports Extra, while Carlson hooked up as analyst on Channel 4 with Gary Imlach, and on BBC One alongside Jake Humphrey for their coverage of the NFL International Series held at Wembley, the playoffs and Super Bowl.
The Channel also showed Basketball, with the hosts Mark Webster and Andre Alleyne, who took over as analyst from British former NBA star John Amaechi. It generally followed the model of the channel's NHL coverage, a single midweek game either live or on short-delay, plus a review of the previous week's action. Sport coverage has included forays into the NCAA scene, notably the Rose Bowl and the NCAA Basketball Tournament. On 18 February 2008, Five showed full live coverage of the NBA All-Star Game. Along with all the other sports dropped by the channel, the NBA coverage followed suit - the last game screened was the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 5 win over the Orlando Magic to take the 2009 NBA title.
Until 2012 Channel 5 showed a mix of European and international club football, notably weekly matches or highlights from the Dutch Eredivisie, Portugal's SuperLiga, Primera División Argentina and Copa Libertadores from South America. They acquired exclusive live rights to the Italian Serie A 2007/08 season, but lost them for the following season. For many years Channel 5 showed live matches from the UEFA Europa League and when the package is centralised Channel 5 became the principle rights holder, sharing coverage of the group stages with ITV Sport and ESPN. Channel 5 also hold UK rights for the Europa League Final. The channel showed the 2008 FIFA Club World Championship. In 2007, the channel resumed coverage of Major League Soccer (MLS) with a match between Toronto FC and Los Angeles Galaxy on 4 August 2007; the match was expected to be David Beckham's competitive debut as a Galaxy player. In the past, the channel has shown other MLS matches on tape delay or as highlights, generally in the same manner as its coverage of European domestic leagues (excluding Serie A). MLS coverage used to include David Beckham's Soccer USA, a show presented by Tim Lovejoy on Wednesdays at 19:15 during the season to show highlights of the week's matches, funny moments and also interviews with Beckham on his latest match. Other guests made appearances from time-to-time. Channel 5 stopped showing live football after the 2012 Europa League Final with ITV taking over as main broadcaster of the Europa League.
In 2006, Channel 5 began highlights coverage of all of England's test and one-day cricket home matches. This followed a period of success for England and when the exclusive live rights to home matches were awarded to Sky Sports, Channel 5 was a surprise choice to pick up the highlights in the light of Channel 4's respected coverage and the BBC's previous interest. Prior to Channel 4, the BBC had long held the rights and Channel 5 were newcomers to cricket, but the coverage has taken up where Channel 4 left off in its coverage (with the help of production company Sunset + Vine). The show also secured former Channel 4 commentators such as Simon Hughes, Geoffrey Boycott and the anchor of Channel 4's coverage Mark Nicholas to offer expert analysis on the day's play. Cricket on 5 (which shows daily highlights of England's matches) is broadcast at 19:00, with highlights extended to an hour from the previous 45 minutes for the 2011 season. The theme tune as of May 2011 is entitled "The Time is Now", performed by Russ Ballard
Channel 5's only current live sporting action is occasional boxing matches following a deal with Hennessy Sports. Coverage is presented by Mark Pougatch with commentary from Dave Farrah and Richie Woodhall.
The channel has also covered motor sports, most notably Moto GP from 2000 to 2002 showing every race live before rights were snapped up by BBC Sport. Channel 5 held rights to show weekly highlights from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the IndyCar Series, although this was beset by cancellations, inaccurate scheduling and technical difficulties. The channel held right to broadcast highlights from the A1 Grand Prix series. As of 2010, most of their motor sport coverage, including NASCAR, IndyCars, V8 Supercars, Rolex Grand-Am Series and NHRA drag racing has been discontinued.
For a brief time, Channel 5 showed professional wrestling in the form of the WCW Worldwide show between Summer 1999 and March 2001, when the company was purchased by World Wrestling Entertainment, and ceased to produce any more shows.
Though not a regular part of the schedule, Channel 5 picked up the rights in 1997 to England v Argentina (shown on the same night as the England football team's World Cup qualifier against Poland). After the demise of the BBC's Rugby Special programme, Channel 5 also briefly showed free-to-air highlights of English Premiership Rugby during 2000, though these later transferred to Channel 4 for a short time and are now shown by ITV.
Golf coverage consists of weekly highlights from the PGA Tour, excluding majors.
Channel 5 also screened World's Strongest Man between 2006-2009, and from 2011 to present.
In 1998, the channel began to show more risqué late-night programmes such as Compromising Situations, Hotline and the controversially explicit Sex and Shopping. In 1999, there was a large increase in adult entertainment shown on the channel, including UK Raw and Red Shoe Diaries, giving the channel a reputation for being home to hours of pornography. Adult entertainment, live football, and the 21:00 films were the main source of viewing for the channel, causing then-director of programming Dawn Airey to stress that Channel 5 was about "more than just films, football and fucking!", though this quote is still often misquoted as a description of the channel's programming strategy rather than as a denial of that strategy. As the broadcaster entered the 2000s, changes were made to address this problem. The level of adult entertainment was scaled back, and reality shows such as Naked Jungle and The Mole proved popular. However, other reality shows such as Touch the Truck and Jailbreak were less successful.
The channel attracted some controversy for its reality series The Farm in 2004 and 2005. The show, which revolved around celebrities working on a farm, saw Rebecca Loos masturbating a pig in order to collect semen.
- Home and Away boosts ratings BBC News, 17 July 2001
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- Farmyard furore as Five lets Rebecca Loos on porker guardian.co.uk, 6 October 2004