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Sky to launch Sky Atlantic channel

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Mad Men

© Rex Features

Sky has confirmed the launch of the Sky Atlantic channel to carry its exclusive HBO shows, as well as the new series of Mad Men poached from the BBC.

Launching in early 2011, Sky Atlantic and Sky Atlantic HD will provide an exclusive home to all of HBO's new series, including the UK premiere of Martin Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire in February.

The channel will also give premieres to HBO's Mildred Pierce in March, as well as Game Of Thrones and Treme in April.

In a separate deal with Lionsgate Television, Sky has also secured broadcast rights to acclaimed drama Mad Men from next year after outbidding the BBC.

The fourth series of Mad Men is currently airing on BBC Four, but series five of the drama, which depicts the fictional exploits of advertising executives in New York in the 1960s, will be broadcast exclusively on Sky Atlantic.

The channel, which will be made available as part of Sky's Variety Pack, will also air a raft of UK shows, with further details to be announced shortly.

"Sky Atlantic HD will be an extraordinary TV channel. It will have compulsive television that pushes creative boundaries and tells great stories," said Sophie Turner Laing, Sky's managing director of entertainment, news & broadcast operations.

"The addition of Sky Atlantic completes a fantastic portfolio of entertainment channels including Sky 1 HD, Sky Arts, Living and Sky Movies. Together, our channels will bring customers high-quality programming that is worth paying for."

Coinciding with the launch of Sky Atlantic, Sky1 controller Stuart Murphy will expand his role to become director of programmes for Sky1, Sky2 and Sky3 and Sky Atlantic HD.

Turner Laing added: "In just over 12 months Stuart has made a tremendous impact at Sky, creating a really strong brand identity for Sky1 and producing some truly original, talked about television. His passion, commitment and expertise will be integral to Sky Atlantic and Sky's entertainment portfolio."

Also today, Sky officially launched its Sky 3D channel to residential customers, with the opening weekend featuring Ryder Cup coverage and Bollywood dancing.

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