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PBS to launch UK channel on Sky

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American public broadcaster PBS has confirmed plans to launch a UK channel on Sky later in the year, while carriage talks with Virgin Media are also "ongoing".

PBS UK, launching on November 1 to Sky's 10 million-plus TV subscribers, will aim to make the broadcaster's "rich offering of award-winning science, history and current affairs programming available to British viewers".

The channel will launch with a British TV premiere of Prohibition, the Ken Burns-directed three-part documentary series about the prohibition era in America.

Reflecting the output of its US counterpart, PBS UK will also air shows such as NOVA, American Experience and Frontline. It will sit within the Entertainment section of Sky's electronic programme guide (EPG), but PBS is still awaiting confirmation of its exact channel number.

Prohibition
After recently securing a UK broadcast licence from Ofcom, PBS UK general manager Richard Kingsbury is "in the process of securing a highly visible Sky EPG slot for PBS". Carriage negotiations are said to be "ongoing" with Virgin Media.

"It is a tremendous honour to be tasked with introducing one of America's most trusted brands to the British public," said Kingsbury.

"Many will have watched PBS shows acquired by other channels without realising it, but with the vast majority of PBS's back catalogue still to premiere in the UK, there is a tremendous wealth of epic true stories available to craft a highly valued channel here."

The PBS UK channel is a joint venture between PBS Distribution and Canadian-born entrepreneur and philanthropist David Lyons. PBS will hold the international rights to the majority of the channel's output and will license its brand for the project.

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