Universal TV
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom, Ireland
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift serviceUniversal TV +1
OwnerNBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUniversal)
Sister channelsCNBC Europe
Movies 24
Sky Sci-Fi
Launched18 October 1999; 24 years ago (18 October 1999)
Closed27 January 2020; 4 years ago (27 January 2020)
Replaced bySky Comedy
Former namesHallmark Entertainment Network
Hallmark Channel (1999–2010)
Universal Channel (2010–2018)
Websitewww.universaltv.co.uk (archived, now redirects to Sky.com)

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


The channel launched in October 1999 and was previously owned by the privately backed Sparrowhawk Media Group, until late 2007 when it was bought out by NBCUniversal. It previously licensed programming and branding from Crown Media Holdings, and was previously known as the Hallmark Entertainment Network and the Hallmark Channel (Crown Media had sold off their international assets in 2005).

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

As Universal Channel

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

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]


In December 2019, BT TV announced that Universal TV would be leaving the UK market along with VH1 and that the channel will close.[7]

The channel closed down its operations on 27 January 2020, with Sky Comedy taking its place on EPG guides.


Sister and subsidiary channels

Universal TV HD

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

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.

Former logos

See also


  1. ^ "NBC plans to ditch Hallmark UK brand". Broadcast. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Hallmark Channel to rebrand as Universal". Digital Spy. 2 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Subtitles in Ireland – From 1st December". Universal Channel. 29 November 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Universal ad deal secured by TV3". The Irish Post. 26 December 2010. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  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 7 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Axe falls on Universal and VH1 UK - RXTV Log". Archived from the original on 23 December 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Sky Extends High Definition Leadership with HD Channel Milestone". British Sky Broadcasting. 12 March 2010. Archived from the original on 23 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 "Second Hallmark channel launch denied". Sky Digi Online. 28 March 2006. Archived from the original on 14 June 2006. Retrieved 19 February 2024.