Smithsonian Channel has been promoted from slot 99 to slot 57 on the Freeview television guide in the UK following the ViacomCBS merger. The channel will also launch on Viacom-owned British broadcaster Channel 5’s streaming service My5 in the coming weeks. “We are thrilled to deepen our footprint in the UK as it’s been truly inspiring to see Smithsonian Channel’s programming resonate so strongly with international audiences,” said Tom Hayden, president of Smithsonian Networks.
Italian broadcaster Mediaset Italy has acquired Netflix’s Spanish period drama Cathedral Of The Sea in a deal with Endemol Shine International. The eight-part show is based on the best-selling novel by Ildefonso Falcones and is produced by Diagonal Televisió, part of Endemol Shine Iberia, for Atresmedia Televisión, Televisió de Catalunya and Netflix. “Cathedral Of
The Sea is a powerful historical drama with huge emotions and great characters,” said Mark Lawrence, executive director EMEA, at Endemol Shine International.
Barney Francis, a key figure in the growth of Sky Sports, is leaving the Comcast-owned broadcaster after nearly 20 years. Francis played a pivotal role in tightening Sky’s stranglehold on Premier League rights as the managing director of Sky Sports, while more recently served as the CEO of future sport at Sky. “The time is right to move on to new adventures in a changing world,” he said.
Channel 5’s director of programs Ben Frow has hailed as “quite an achievement” that the broadcaster has grown its viewing share by 4% across its portfolio of channels in its first year without Big Brother. The Viacom-owned broadcaster plowed the Big Brother cash into new shows including drama Cold Call, which achieved its highest ratings of 2019, averaging 2.6M viewers across its four episodes. Frow said: “It is no easy feat to have reinvented our peak schedule without a reality juggernaut like Big Brother, and to have grown audience in the process is quite an achievement. It is a huge testament to the tenacity of our team and the fact that we know what our viewers want.”