Audience (TV network)
|Headquarters||El Segundo, California|
|Picture format||720p HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Launched||November 25, 1999|
|Closed||May 22, 2020|
|Former names||Freeview (1999–2005)|
The 101 Network (2005–11)
Audience Network (2011–16)
Audience Network (also known as Audience from 2016 until 2020) 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. As of 2019, the channel had a subscription base of 26 million. The channel ceased operations on May 23, 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. Freeview was part of all of the satellite provider's subscription packages, starting with the Total Choice tier. 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.
The channel was rebranded as Audience Network on June 1, 2011. In 2015, the channel was added to AT&T U-verse after DirecTV was acquired by AT&T. In June 2018, AT&T announced its discount streaming service, WatchTV, which would carry Audience.
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. 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). 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 of the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-April 2020, AT&T notified customers the network would officially sunset at 12:00 AM Pacific on May 22, 2020. 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.
Former acquired series
Acquisition of Wonderland
Starting in January 2009, the channel aired Wonderland, a controversial drama series that had briefly aired on ABC in the spring of 2000. The run included all eight episodes of the series, six of which were not originally aired during the program's ABC run.
Past partnerships with NBC
Acquisition of Passions
DirecTV and NBC Studios announced on April 25, 2007, that new episodes of the soap opera Passions would begin airing exclusively on the channel on September 17, 2007, 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 from July 1999 until September 2007, when it was replaced by a fourth hour of Today. Although Passions had left NBC and moved to DirecTV, NBC continued to maintain the series official website on NBC.com 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 NBC.com 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 an internet paid content on NBC.com 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. In December 2007, DirecTV announced that it would not pick up Passions from NBC for a tenth season, the series finale aired on August 7, 2008.
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. 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.
Acquisition of Damages
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.
Former off-network reruns
The channel also aired reruns of the 2005–06 Showtime drama series Sleeper Cell. On April 21, 2009, it was announced that DirecTV picked up the syndication rights to HBO's Oz and Deadwood.
Former international programming
In recent years, DirecTV began acquiring exclusive US broadcast rights to series from fellow English-speaking countries UK, Canada and Australia.
In the fall of 2011, DirecTV acquired rights to the Canadian sitcom Less Than Kind 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.
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, 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. It served as supplemental coverage to DirecTV's exclusive (now defunct) Mega March Madness package.
Films and previews
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).
On November 11, 2017, Audience Network premiered the first part of the two-part documentary The Volunteers. This is a documentary about volunteers taking up arms against ISIS in Syria. Ricky Schroder is the executive producer.
- AT&T AUDIENCE Network Announces Upcoming 2018 Original Programming Slate AT&T, January 11, 2018
- AT&T launches a low-cost live TV streaming service, WatchTV Tech Crunch
- Philo vs AT&T Watch TV: Which is Right for You? Cord Cutter News, July 20, 2018
- "DirecTV Announces DirecTV Freeview Series of Special Programming Events; Exclusive Series Offered Free of Charge to Customers". Business Wire. November 18, 1999. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- "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.
- Umstead, Thomas (September 30, 2015). "AT&T to Launch DirecTV's Audience Network". MultiChannel News. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Perez, Sarah. "AT&T launches a low-cost live TV streaming service, WatchTV". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- Petski, Denise (2020-01-09). "AT&T Audience Network To End; Will Transition To HBO Max Preview Channel". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
- Contes, Brandon (17 January 2020). "END OF AUDIENCE NETWORK SPELLS UNCERTAINTY FOR EISEN". Barrett Sports Media. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- 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.
- Frankel, Daniel (2020-04-20). "AT&T to Shutter Audience Network on May 22". NextTV. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
- "AT&T monthly carriage and sunsetting notice" (PDF) (Press release). Paid advertisement in USA Today. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- Nunn, E. "The End of Audience (May 23, 2020)". YouTube. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
- "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". DTV.Client.Shareholder.com. December 10, 2008. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
- NBC.com ~ "NBC’S Passions to work its magic on DirecTV viewers with all new episodes beginning September 17"
- TVPredictions.com April 25, 2007 DirecTV Unsure On Passions In HDTV Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- DIRECTV Provides All-Access Pass to Passions with New Online Feature Starting October 1 Business Wire, September 27, 2007
- TVSeriesFinale.com Passions: DirecTV Cancellation Confirmed Archived June 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "NBC, Universal Media Studios and DirecTV Form Bold Partnership to Renew Friday Night Lights for a Third Season". DirecTV.com. April 2, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
- Ostrow, Joanne (April 2, 2008). "Friday Night Lights lives". DenverPost.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
- "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.
- DirecTV, Sony To Air Fourth, Fifth Seasons Of 'Damages' Multichannel News July 19, 2010
- "General Hospital: Night Shift Spoilers for October 14, 2008". Soaps.com. October 9, 2008. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
- MacIntyre, April (April 3, 2009). "DirecTV channel 101 brings back Smith, The Nine and Eyes". MonstersAndCritics.com (M&C). Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- DirecTV – Sleeper Cell on The 101
- DirecTV Press Release April 21, 2009 – Customers To Get a Jolt of Drama With the Addition of Deadwood and Oz
- DirecTV 101s Fresh Look
- DirecTV – Smith, only on The 101
- 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
- "DirecTV Cultivates More Comedy On The 101 Network With Trailer Park Boys". TrailerParkBoys.com. February 4, 2009. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
- DirecTV Press Release September 17, 2009 DirecTV Takes Viewers Deep Into the "Underbelly" of the Australian Crime World
- 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
- Critically-Acclaimed Series "Call Me Fitz" Heads for DirecTV's The 101 Network Futon Critic February 10, 2011
- DirecTV Delves Deeper Into Content With New Audience Network Wall Street Journal May 13, 2011
- 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
- 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
- Munn, Patrick (February 1, 2012). "DirecTV's Audience Network Acquires The Slap and The Shadow Line". TVWise. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Original Documentary More Than A Dream Premieres Feb. 13th on DirecTV's Audience Network[permanent dead link] DirecTV Press Release, February 13, 2012
- Multichannel News August 21, 2007 DirecTV airs High School Musical 2 in HD
- "The Volunteers | 2-Part Documentary on AUDIENCE Network". Show Experience. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
- 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.
- "A Documentarian Volunteers to Become Part Of His Own Syria-Set ISIS Documentary". The Daily Beast. 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2018-02-22.