Universal TV (UK and Ireland)

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Universal TV
Universal TV 2018.svg
Launched 18 October 1999
Owned by Universal Networks International (NBCUniversal)
Picture format 16:9, 576i (SDTV)
16:9, 1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 0.30%
0.07% (+1) (November 2017 (2017-11), BARB)
Country United Kingdom
Broadcast area United Kingdom, Ireland
Formerly called Hallmark Entertainment Network
Hallmark Channel (until 18 October 2010)
Universal Channel (until 3 May 2018)
Sister channel(s) CNBC Europe
Movies 24
Style Network
Timeshift service Universal TV +1
Website www.universaltv.co.uk
Sky (UK) Channel 113 (SD/HD)
Channel 213 (+1)
Channel 813 (SD)
Sky (Ireland) Channel 113
Channel 213 (+1)
Channel 342 (HD)
Virgin Media (UK) Channel 137
Channel 138 (+1)
Channel 164 (HD)
Virgin Media (Ireland) Channel 123
Channel 173 (HD)
TalkTalk TV Channel 320
BT Channel 320
Channel 385 (HD)
Plusnet Channel 320
Streaming media
Sky Go Watch live (UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV Anywhere Watch live (UK only)

Universal TV is a British and Irish pay television channel owned by the Universal Networks International division of NBCUniversal. It is devoted primarily to imported drama series, primarily from the United States.


The channel was previously owned by the privately backed Sparrowhawk Media Group, until late 2007 when the company was bought by NBC Universal. It was previously known as the Hallmark Entertainment Network and the Hallmark Channel.

Coinciding with the launch of Hallmark Channel HD, Hallmark Channel became 16:9 widescreen capable on 28 June 2010.

As Universal Channel[edit]

In June 2009, a memorandum leaked to the television trade newspaper Broadcast stated that NBC Universal planned to rebrand the Hallmark Channel as a Universal Channel in October 2009. The "Hallmark Channel" brand was licensed to NBC Universal from Crown Media (which operates the US Hallmark Channel) and was due to expire. An NBC Universal spokesperson denied such a rebrand would happen.[1]

On 2 September 2010, Universal Networks International confirmed plans to rebrand the Hallmark Channel as the Universal Channel in the UK. On 18 October, the pay-TV channel and its timeshift and high definition variants became the Universal Channel, Universal Channel +1 and Universal Channel HD.[2]

The Universal Channel gave UK premieres to cop show Rookie Blue and legal drama Fairly Legal in early 2011. It also aired Shattered, which stars Callum Keith Rennie as a homicide detective suffering from multiple personality disorder.

On 1 December 2010, Universal Channel launched a specific feed which targets Ireland. Universal Channel in Ireland airs localised advertising. The Irish feed does not include subtitles.[3] TV3 act as the Irish variation's advertising sales agents.[4]

On 31 July 2013, Universal Channel unveiled a refreshed branding and new slogan it launched on 5 August, "100% Characters". The brand reflected "that great characters are the magnets that draw viewers back to their favourite shows - week after week".[5]

As Universal TV[edit]

On 3 May 2018, NBCUniversal unveiled a new name and branding for its Universal Channel chain, Universal TV, launching first on the United Kingdom feed. The rebranding was intended to make the network a "destination brand that celebrates world-class, high-quality, character-driven content".[6]

Former logos[edit]


Current programming[edit]

Former programming[edit]

Most watched programmes[edit]

The following is a list of the ten most watched shows on Universal (previously The Hallmark Channel), based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 17 June 2018.[7] The number of viewers does not include repeats or airings on Universal +1

Rank Show Episode Number of Viewers Date
1 Sleepy Hollow 1.02 - Blood Moon 612,000 16 October 2013
2 1.01 - Pilot 527,000 9 October 2013
3 1.03 - For the Triumph of Evil 491,000 23 October 2013
4 Gone 1.01 - Pilot 481,000 2 April 2018
5 Sleepy Hollow 1.07 - The Midnight Ride 473,000 20 November 2013
6 Mr. Robot 1.01 - eps1.0_hellofriend.mov 459,000 21 July 2016
7 Sleepy Hollow 1.04 - The Lesser Key of Solomon 456,000 30 October 2013
8 2.01 - This is War 449,000 15 October 2014
9 Harry's Law 1.02 - The Heat of Passion 448,000 17 October 2011
10 Sleepy Hollow 1.06 - The Sin Eater 439,000 13 November 2013

Other channels[edit]

Universal TV HD[edit]

Universal TV HD, a high-definition simulcast, launched on Sky (as the Hallmark Channel HD) on 28 June 2010 at 7pm.[8][9] Showing US shows like the Law & Order titles, CSI and Without a Trace in high definition.[10]

Universal TV HD was also launched on BT TV on 1 September 2016.

Hallmark 2[edit]

In July 2005, there were rumours that Sparrowhawk were going to launch a sister channel to the Hallmark Channel, called Hallmark 2.[11] This was denied by a spokesperson for Hallmark who said that "a second channel from Hallmark will not be launching 'anytime soon'".[11] Movies 24 was launched instead.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shepherd, Robert (25 June 2009). "NBC plans to ditch Hallmark UK brand". Broadcast (Emap Media). Retrieved on 25 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Hallmark Channel to rebrand as Universal". Digital Spy. 2 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Subtitles in Ireland – From 1st December". Universal Channel. 29 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Universal ad deal secured by TV3". The Irish Post. 26 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Fletcher, Alex (31 July 2013). "Universal Channel rebrands with '100% Characters' tagline, new logo". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "NBCUniversal Int'l Entertainment Channel Renamed Universal TV in Brand Refresh". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-05-07. 
  7. ^ BARB, via [1]
  8. ^ "Sky Extends High Definition Leadership with HD Channel Milestone". British Sky Broadcasting. 12 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hallmark Channel HD Launches Tonight on Sky 220". PR Newswire. 28 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "Hallmark Channel HD to launch tonight". Digital Spy. 28 June 2010. 
  11. ^ a b [2] Archived 14 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]