Audience (TV network)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Audience Network)
Audience Network
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersEl Segundo, California
Picture format720p HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
LaunchedNovember 25, 1999 (1999-11-25)
ClosedMay 22, 2020 (2020-05-22)
Former namesFreeview (1999–2005)
The 101 Network (2005–11)
Audience Network (2011–16)

Audience Network (also known as Audience from 2016 until 2020)[1] was an American pay television channel that was owned by AT&T. It featured a mix of original and acquired series, specials, and feature films. The network operated as a commercial-free service and broadcast its programming without editing for content. It was originally exclusive to DirecTV, though it was also added to AT&T U-verse after AT&T's 2015 acquisition of DirecTV. It was also made available on later AT&T streaming efforts, including AT&T TV and AT&T Watch TV, a lower-cost option available to AT&T Mobility customers.[2] As of 2019, the channel had a subscription base of 26 million.[3] The channel ceased operations on May 22, 2020.


The network launched on November 25, 1999, as Freeview, a service on DirecTV channel 103 carrying a continuous loop of concerts and other events.[4] Freeview was part of all of the satellite provider's subscription packages, starting with the Total Choice tier.[4] In 2005, it was moved to channel 101 and was rebranded as The 101 Network (as a suffix, "101" is college jargon for basic classes or, in more general terms, a way to describe any basic concept). Following the rebrand, the channel's schedule began to expand to include original programs. It also presented its very first original, CD US, which was announced on November 1, 2005.[5]

The channel was rebranded as Audience Network on June 1, 2011.[6] In 2015, the channel was added to AT&T U-verse after DirecTV was acquired by AT&T.[7] In June 2018, AT&T announced its discount streaming service, WatchTV, which would carry Audience.[8]


On January 8, 2020, it was announced by parent company AT&T that Audience would end operations in its current format and transition to a barker channel for HBO Max, a service which launched on May 27.[9] Rich Eisen later confirmed in a statement regarding the future of his daily radio show (which had maintained a longtime video simulcast on Audience) that the network would go off the air on February 29 (his show ended the day before on Audience, and ended on radio on April 7).[10][11] AT&T itself would not confirm the actual end date for the network at the time and it did continue for two months after with previous programming, though simulcasts of Eisen's show and The Dan Patrick Show both ceased on February 28, and the network's website became merely a redirect to the generic DirecTV network listing. Eisen later found a new television home on NBCSN and YouTube, with Patrick also utilizing a YouTube live stream during the COVID-19 pandemic, before both ultimately ended up at Comcast-owned streaming service Peacock. In mid-April 2020, AT&T notified customers the network would officially sunset at 12:00 AM Pacific on May 22, 2020.[12][13] The network closed as scheduled after an airing of the documentary Black Sabbath: The End of The End, after which the channel space created by Freeview in 1999 folded.[14]


Original series[edit]

Former acquired series[edit]

Acquisition of Wonderland[edit]

Starting in January 2009, the channel aired Wonderland, a controversial drama series that had briefly aired on ABC in the spring of 2000.[15] The run included all eight episodes of the series, six of which were not originally aired during the program's ABC run.[15]

Past partnerships with NBC[edit]

Acquisition of Passions[edit]

DirecTV and NBC Universal Television Studio announced on April 25, 2007, that new episodes of the soap opera Passions would begin airing exclusively on the channel on September 17, 2007,[16][17] retaining its 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time timeslot that it held during its NBC run, with reruns airing on weekends. The series had aired on NBC since July 1999, however in early 2007, the network announced they were not renewing the series as a result of replacing the series by a fourth hour of Today and very soon DirecTV bought exclusive Broadcasting rights from NBC to continue airing the series and the final NBC episode was aired on September 7th, 2007 concluding its eight year broadcast on NBC and then the new episodes began airing exclusively on DirecTV starting September 17th, 2007. Although Passions had left NBC and moved to DirecTV, NBC continued to maintain the series official website on due to the fact that their parent company NBCUniversal maintained Ownership and production rights to the series, however the free streaming service of the new episodes of Passions on and the option to purchase the episodes for download on iTunes, which had started in the final NBC season of 2006-07 were completely discontinued once DirecTV began exclusively airing the new episodes. Initially the DirecTV episodes were only supposed to be available on their own network, but DirecTV later announced an agreement to allow NBC to rebroadcast the DirecTV episodes of Passions only as a paid subscription internet streaming content on with a monthly subscription fee as an alternative for viewers who were unable to subscribe to DirecTV after the series left terrestrial television; this began in October 2007.[18] In December 2007, DirecTV announced that it would not pick up Passions from NBCU for a tenth season,[19] the series finale aired on August 7, 2008.

Shared broadcast rights of Friday Night Lights[edit]

DirecTV, NBC, and Universal Media Studios announced a deal on April 2, 2008, in which The 101 would carry the 13-episode third season of Friday Night Lights beginning on October 1.[20][21] Through the deal, after the season ended on The 101, the drama series' third season aired in second-run form on NBC (with some scenes edited) starting on January 16, 2009. On March 31, 2009, NBC and DirecTV announced that they had renewed Friday Night Lights for two additional seasons, again to be broadcast first on DirecTV and then on NBC.[22]

Acquisition of Damages[edit]

On July 19, 2010, DirecTV announced it had acquired the rights to the former FX drama Damages, and renewed the series for two additional seasons. The 101 began airing reruns of its first three seasons on January 5, 2011. Season 4 premiered on the rebranded Audience Network on July 13, 2011, and the fifth and final season premiered on July 11, 2012.[23]

Former off-network reruns[edit]

The channel aired repeat episodes of SoapNet's original soap opera limited series, General Hospital: Night Shift throughout the series' run from July to October 2008.[24]

The channel broadcast the Nat Geo Adventure's documentary travel/adventure series Odyssey: Driving Around the World starting in June 2008.

The short-lived ABC drama The Nine began airing on the channel on May 27, 2009.[25]

The channel also aired reruns of the 2005–06 Showtime drama series Sleeper Cell.[26] On April 21, 2009, it was announced that DirecTV picked up the syndication rights to HBO's Oz and Deadwood.[27][28]

The channel began airing the CBS drama Smith on April 8, 2009.[25][29] It also began a general agreement with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to air Eyes onto the channel also in 2009.[30]

DirecTV aired repeats of the HBO drama series The Wire starting on July 18, 2010.[31]

Former international programming[edit]

In recent years, DirecTV began acquiring exclusive US broadcast rights to series from fellow English-speaking countries UK, Canada and Australia.

The 101 began airing the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys on February 5, 2009.[32]

On September 17, 2009, DirecTV announced that The 101 had picked up rights to the Australian miniseries Underbelly, which began airing on February 3, 2010.[33]

On September 28, 2010, DirecTV acquired rights to the British shows No Heroics, How Not to Live Your Life and Mutual Friends, which premiered on The 101 in November 2010.[34]

On February 10, 2011, DirecTV acquired rights to the Canadian series Call Me Fitz, which premiered on the network on April 21, 2011.[35]

In the spring of 2011, DirecTV acquired the rights to the Australian series Rake.[36]

In the fall of 2011, DirecTV acquired rights to the Canadian sitcom Less Than Kind[37] and the British drama Hit & Miss, the latter of which premiered on June 27, 2012, with a sneak preview, with the first full episode airing on July 11, 2012.[38]

DirecTV picked up the rights to the Australian series The Slap and the British series The Shadow Line, which started airing on Audience Network in February 2012.[39]


Celebrity Beach Bowl – Since 2007, during Super Bowl week, DirecTV has held an annual celebrity flag football game, which promotes DirecTV's exclusive sports package NFL Sunday Ticket. A concert follows the game, which is simulcast on Chicago television station WGN-TV, its sister network WGN America, Now known as NewsNation, and in 2013, NBC Sports Network.

Bracket Breakdown was an exclusive NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship pre-game show with several college basketball analysts and insiders, including the University of Louisville's Rick Pitino, the University of Kentucky's John Calipari, the University of Oklahoma's Jeff Capel, the University of Tennessee's Bruce Pearl and the University of Washington's Lorenzo Romar and former UCLA player and current sports talk radio show host Sean Farnham.[40] It served as supplemental coverage to DirecTV's exclusive (now defunct) Mega March Madness package.

SXSW – the channel exclusively carried the 2009 South by Southwest Festival concert live.[41]

Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America aired exclusively on DirecTV.[42]

On February 13, 2012, Audience Network premiered the original documentary More Than a Dream, about the Civil Rights Movement, narrated by Martin Sheen.[43]

Films and previews[edit]

In October 2006, to mark Halloween, Audience Network aired several horror-themed movies, including The Toxic Avenger.

On February 23 and 24, 2007, Audience Network aired a preview of Chiller, a then-recently launched cable channel owned by NBC Universal dedicated to horror programming that launched on DirecTV channel 257 on March 1, 2007. Programming featured during this preview included the two-hour pilot episode of Twin Peaks, the pilot episode of American Gothic, episodes of Monsters, Tales from the Crypt, Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Friday the 13th: The Series, and various horror movies.

Audience Network aired a number of dramatic series a few days before their scheduled premieres on Showtime including The Tudors in March 2007 and Nurse Jackie in June 2009, as well as the Starz series Party Down on April 22, 2010.

On August 24, 2007, Audience Network aired an exclusive high-definition broadcast of High School Musical 2, one week after its premiere on the Disney Channel (Disney Channel did not launch a high definition simulcast feed until April 2, 2008).[44]

On November 11, 2017, Audience Network premiered the first part of the two-part documentary The Volunteers.[45] This is a documentary about volunteers taking up arms against ISIS in Syria.[46] Ricky Schroder is the executive producer.[47]


  1. ^ AT&T AUDIENCE Network Announces Upcoming 2018 Original Programming Slate AT&T, January 11, 2018
  2. ^ AT&T launches a low-cost live TV streaming service, WatchTV Tech Crunch
  3. ^ Philo vs AT&T Watch TV: Which is Right for You? Cord Cutter News, July 20, 2018
  4. ^ a b "DirecTV Announces DirecTV Freeview Series of Special Programming Events; Exclusive Series Offered Free of Charge to Customers". Business Wire. November 18, 1999. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Dempsey, John (2005-11-02). "DirecTV gets original with music show". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  6. ^ "DirecTV's The 101 Network Becomes The Audience Network on June 1". The Futon Critic (Press release). DirecTV. May 16, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Umstead, Thomas (September 30, 2015). "AT&T to Launch DirecTV's Audience Network". MultiChannel News. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  8. ^ Perez, Sarah. "AT&T launches a low-cost live TV streaming service, WatchTV". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (2020-01-09). "AT&T Audience Network To End; Will Transition To HBO Max Preview Channel". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  10. ^ Contes, Brandon (17 January 2020). "END OF AUDIENCE NETWORK SPELLS UNCERTAINTY FOR EISEN". Barrett Sports Media. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  11. ^ Bucholtz, Andrew (2 March 2020). "After Audience Network, The Dan Patrick Show sticks with Fox Sports Radio, but The Rich Eisen Show's future is less clear". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  12. ^ Frankel, Daniel (2020-04-20). "AT&T to Shutter Audience Network on May 22". NextTV. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  13. ^ "AT&T monthly carriage and sunsetting notice" (PDF) (Press release). Paid advertisement in USA Today. Retrieved 23 April 2020.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Nunn, E. "The End of Audience (May 23, 2020)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  15. ^ a b "DirecTV's The 101(R) Network Brings Back the Controversial and Critically Acclaimed Television Series Wonderland, Including Six Never-Before-Seen Episodes Beginning Jan. 14". December 10, 2008. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  16. ^ ~ "NBC’S Passions to work its magic on DirecTV viewers with all new episodes beginning September 17"
  17. ^ April 25, 2007 DirecTV Unsure On Passions In HDTV Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ DIRECTV Provides All-Access Pass to Passions with New Online Feature Starting October 1 Business Wire, September 27, 2007
  19. ^ Passions: DirecTV Cancellation Confirmed Archived February 5, 2008, at
  20. ^ "NBC, Universal Media Studios and DirecTV Form Bold Partnership to Renew Friday Night Lights for a Third Season". April 2, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  21. ^ Ostrow, Joanne (April 2, 2008). "Friday Night Lights lives". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  22. ^ "NBC Universal and DirecTV Team Up Again to Renew Friday Night Lights for 26 Episodes Over Two Additional Seasons". March 31, 2009. Archived from the original on April 9, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  23. ^ DirecTV, Sony To Air Fourth, Fifth Seasons Of 'Damages' Multichannel News July 19, 2010
  24. ^ "General Hospital: Night Shift Spoilers for October 14, 2008". October 9, 2008. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  25. ^ a b MacIntyre, April (April 3, 2009). "DirecTV channel 101 brings back Smith, The Nine and Eyes". (M&C). Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  26. ^ DirecTV – Sleeper Cell on The 101
  27. ^ DirecTV Press Release April 21, 2009 – Customers To Get a Jolt of Drama With the Addition of Deadwood and Oz
  28. ^ DirecTV 101s Fresh Look
  29. ^ DirecTV – Smith, only on The 101
  30. ^ Schneider, Michael (2009-03-23). "DirecTV mines cancellations". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  31. ^ DirecTV Takes It Down to The Wire(R) with the Debut of the Acclaimed Series on the 101 Network Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release April 12, 2010
  32. ^ "DirecTV Cultivates More Comedy On The 101 Network With Trailer Park Boys". February 4, 2009. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  33. ^ DirecTV Press Release September 17, 2009 DirecTV Takes Viewers Deep Into the "Underbelly" of the Australian Crime World
  34. ^ BBC Worldwide and DirecTV Announce Heroic Deal – British Comedy Award Nominees "No Heroics," "How Not to Live Your Life" and "Mutual Friends" to Make Exclusive US Debut on The 101 Network DirecTV Press Release September 28, 2010
  35. ^ Critically-Acclaimed Series "Call Me Fitz" Heads for DirecTV's The 101 Network Futon Critic February 10, 2011
  36. ^ DirecTV Delves Deeper Into Content With New Audience Network[permanent dead link] Wall Street Journal May 13, 2011
  37. ^ Canada's Funniest Dysfunctional Family Finds a Home on DirecTV; Hit Comedy ‘Less Than Kind' Makes U.S. Debut Exclusively on the Audience Network Archived May 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release September 20, 2011
  38. ^ DirecTV Brings Highly Anticipated Paul Abbott Drama Series Hit and Miss to Audience Network Archived May 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release October 21, 2011
  39. ^ Munn, Patrick (February 1, 2012). "DirecTV's Audience Network Acquires The Slap and The Shadow Line". TVWise. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  40. ^ DirecTV Press Release March 4, 2009 DirecTV'sExclusive 'Bracket Breakdown' is College Hoops' Ultimate Meeting of the Minds Archived March 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ DirecTV Announces Lineup For SXSW Live, The Only Live Television Broadcast From The Trendsetting Music Festival, Airing March 20–21 On DirecTV's The 101(R) Network Archived March 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America Concert to be Broadcast Live in HD and Commercial Free Exclusively on DirecTV's The 101 Network Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release September 15, 2010
  43. ^ Original Documentary More Than A Dream Premieres Feb. 13th on DirecTV's Audience Network DirecTV Press Release, February 13, 2012
  44. ^ Multichannel News August 21, 2007 DirecTV airs High School Musical 2 in HD
  45. ^ "The Volunteers | 2-Part Documentary on AUDIENCE Network". Show Experience. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  46. ^ Petski, Denise (2017-10-12). "'The Volunteers' Trailer: Ricky Schroder's Syrian War Documentary Is On Front Lines Of War Against ISIS". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  47. ^ "A Documentarian Volunteers to Become Part Of His Own Syria-Set ISIS Documentary". The Daily Beast. 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2018-02-22.