Sky unveils entertainment channels, orders Billie Piper drama

European pay TV operator Sky is adding two new channels to its entertainment portfolio and has commissioned a drama starring Billie Piper.

Sky Crime and Sky Comedy channels will be available to all Sky customers at no extra charge, and will be offered as part of the Now TV Entertainment pass for Now TV customers.

Sky Crime, which launches in October 2019, will play host to “premium US true crime” shows from from US pay TV networks Oxygen and HBO. The channel’s key shows include I Love You, Now Die and The Disappearance of Susan Cox Powell.

The other channel, Sky Comedy, will launch in February 2020, and air scripted US comedy from HBO, NBC and Showtime including Curb Your Enthusiasm, A.P. Bio and Dwayne Johnson-starring Ballers.

Sky Comedy will also house US talk shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Many of the programmes featured on Sky Comedy are broadcast at present on Sky Atlantic, the broadcasters US-dedicated entertainment channel.

Zai Bennett, managing director of content at Sky, said: “Sky Crime, the home of premium true crime, will complement Sky Witness perfectly, while Sky Comedy is an exciting new proposition for Sky customers, offering them a daily dose of the best US comedy which will sit alongside our expanding slate of Sky Original comedy on Sky One.

“By investing in the best of the US as well as doubling our investment in original drama and comedy, we are making Sky an unbeatable destination for the best range of premium TV.”

Sky’s entertainment portfolio now includes six core channel brands: Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness, Sky Arts, Sky Crime and Sky Comedy.

Meanwhile, Sky has ordered original drama I Hate Suzie, written by Lucy Prebble (Succession, Enron) and co-created by Piper. The eight-part series follows a celebrity who has her life upended when her phone is hacked and a photo of her emerges in an extremely compromising position.

The show will air on Sky Atlantic and via Now TV in 2020 and is being produced by Bad Wolf. Sky Vision will handle the international distribution.

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