PBS’s commercial UK channel to launch Nov. 1

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PBS is looking for advertising partners for its first international channel, according to the British-based Mediaweek news site. The PBS-branded channel, bankrolled by a Canadian oil entrepreneur (Current, Aug. 1), has obtained its commercial Ofcam broadcast license and will initially be available to more than 9 million households on the Sky Digital platform; carriage negotiations also continue with Virgin Media. Initial content will include major program strands such as Nova, American Experience and Frontline. Filmmaker Ken Burns’ six-hour Prohibition series also will have its international premiere on the channel.

“This initiative is a logical next step in creating wider distribution for PBS programs,” Anne Bentley, PBS spokesperson, told Current, “and the vision is to include most major icon series, as well as other films and specials, presenting the best of American culture to the UK.”

The channel’s general manager, Richard Kingsbury has hired two staffers from his former employer, UKTV: Katie Cook is heading up programming, and Rebecca Edwards is overseeing public relations and marketing. The project is a collaboration with PBS Distribution (PBSd), a partnership between PBS and WGBH, which holds international rights to most PBS content.