Universal Channel (Australia)
Universal Channel Australia logo
|Owned by||Universal Networks International|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV 16:9)|
|Audience share||0.5% (January 2010, )|
|Formerly called||Hallmark Channel Australia (prior to July 2010)|
|Sister channel(s)||13th Street
|Timeshift service||Universal Channel + 2|
Channel 162 (+ 2)
Channel 162 (+ 2)
|Optus TV||Channel 116|
|Neighbourhood Cable||Channel 34|
|Foxtel Play||Channel 116|
The Universal Channel (formerly Hallmark Channel) is an Australian cable and satellite television channel, owned and operated by Universal Networks International. It has been available on most subscription television platforms in Australia since 1998.
On 1 July 2010 the Hallmark Channel rebranded as the Universal Channel. This rebrand saw the slogan In every life there is drama replaced with Characters Welcome as well as the channel converting from 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 widescreen picture format. It brought the introduction of new series, including two Australian premiere series, as well as returning to first seasons of almost all programs already aired.
2014 channel rebranding
On 1 January 2014 the Universal Channel rebranded itself alongside other transformations to the Foxtel platform. Among the changes under the rebrand included the channel aligning itself with the international logo and slogan 100% Characters, launching Australian premiere series The Michael J. Fox Show, The Night Shift and the US adaptation of Rake and inherited series from the closure of TV1 including 30 Rock, Covert Affairs, Suits, Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: CI. In addition to the closure of TV1, this influx of programming was attributed to the end of the output agreement between NBCUniversal and Seven Network in mid 2013, allowing for more programming opportunities for Universal Channel.
Additionally, Universal Channel moved to the basic tier of the Foxtel platform, as opposed to its previous placement in a premium package, allowing all subscribers to access the channel. Also, a two-hour timeshift channel launched on channel 162.
The channel airs content from the original American Hallmark Channel, selected telemovies from America and the UK, along with classic and contemporary Australian drama series from Southern Star Entertainment.
A list of Australian produced shows broadcast on Universal Channel include:
- A Country Practice
- All Saints(moved to 111)
- Always Greener
- Blue Heelers
- City Homicide
- McLeod's Daughters
- Packed to the Rafters (moved to 111)
- Police Rescue
- Rescue: Special Ops
- Sea Patrol
- The Secret Life of Us
- Water Rats
Universal also airs a variety of international programs, including:
- 30 Rock
- Brothers & Sisters
- Covert Affairs
- Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files
- Harry's Law
- Legend Quest
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Law & Order: UK (seasons 4 and 5 only, seasons 1–3 shown on 13th Street)
- Lipstick Jungle
- The Michael J. Fox Show
- My Boys
- The Night Shift
- Private Practice
- Rake US
- Rookie Blue
- Single Father
- The Starter Wife
- White Heat
Universal Channel is part of most satellite and cable pay television providers in Australia, usually included in an extra or add-on package. Providers include Foxtel, Austar, Optus TV and Neighbourhood Cable.
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