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BBC America Unveils New Schedule, Launches Themed Programming Blocks

Confused about BBC America's wacky schedule? Tired of endless Benny Hill reruns? Fret no more.

Digital cabler BBC America has announced that, under new president Garth Ancier (remember him from the old WB?), it has reorganized its entire lineup, launching distinctive primetime programming blocks that target various demos every night of the week, which will also serve to modernize the channel and stabilize the schedule.

On Mondays, cabler will launch an 8-10 pm block called Murder Mondays, presenting a night of scripted mystery/dramas including new seasons of Robson Green-starrer Wire in the Blood and James Nesbit-led Murphy’s Law.

Tuesdays are all about male-driven action with Tuesday Nitro, with espionage drama MI:5 (aka Spooks, which was unceremoniously yanked from A&E), drama Ultimate Force, which follows an elite army unit as they encounter life-threatening and dangerous situations, and undisclosed reality series.

The girls get their own night with Wicked Wednesday, presenting a block of female-skewing soaps/dramas and comedies, including the final season of British soap Footballers Wives (with Joan Collins joining the gang), faintly Aaron Spelling-tinged drama Hotel Babylon, about the soapy goings-on at a luxe hotel, comedy Goldplated, about a seemingly wealthy family who subsist entirely on credit cards; and comedy Sinchronicity, about three young party-goers looking for love.

Big Thursday brings BBC America's audience, event-type celebrity-driven series including new seasons of Gordon Ramsay’s F-Word and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and the return of celebrity chat show/shrine to randomness The Graham Norton Show.

On Friday nights, the network will unveil Crime Scene Friday, primetime block of crime dramas including Whistleblower, The Innocence Project, Silent Witness, and (Televisionary favorite) Waking the Dead.

Saturdays are now the home of all things remotely sci fi or supernatural with Supernatural Saturday, a block of otherwordly dramas including newbie dramas Jekyll and Torchwood, as well as familiar faces Life on Mars, Hex, and Doctor Who.

Little bit of a change on Sundays, which launches a family action drama block at 7 pm with Adventure Sundays, including Robin Hood and Wild at Heart, followed by The Brit Movie, a different British movie each week.

At 10 pm Mondays through Fridays, BBC America will air long-running soap Hollyoaks (hmmm, no return of EastEnders, then). On Saturdays at 10 pm, it will air Jennifer Saunder's latest comedy The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle (starring Saunders and Miranda Richardson) and comedy Lead Balloon, as well as stand-up specials from comedian Dylan Moran and others.

And for those of us on the West Coast who are even more confused about the timing of programs, BBC America will soon launch a West Coast feed sometime in the next six months, which means not having to try and figure out what time the latest episode of Life on Mars is on anymore.

In the meantime, Ancier's new schedule debuts on BBC America in June.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Jericho (CBS); Friday Night Lights (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); George Lopez/George Lopez (ABC); Bones (FOX)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); Crossing Jordan (ABC); Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll (CW); According to Jim/In Case of Emergency (ABC); American Idol/'Til Death (FOX)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Medium (NBC); Lost (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: America's Next Top Model.

On tonight's episode ("The Girl Who Gets Thrown in the Pool"), the girls are told to come up with nicknames after learning how "fashion icon and living legend" Twiggy got hers and there's a cavalade of guests this week including 50 Cent, agent Nancy Josephson, Beverly Johnson, and producer Larry Sanitsky. (Um, why?)

10 pm: Lost.

I can't tell you how happy I am that Lost is back on the air again. On tonight's episode ("Left Behind"), it's an estrogen fueled episode as Kate and Juliet are forced to fend for their lives when tossed into the jungle and left to die but naturally they end up fighting rather than working together when Juliet tells Kate why Jack told her not to come back for him; meanwhile, Hurley convinces Sawyer to apologize for his actions or be banished from the group.

Comments

I think this is a really smart move for BBC America. They have so many brilliant programs but, as you said, a lot of people still associate them with programs like Benny Hill or Antiques Roadshow.

This is especially good news for "Torchwood" which I can't wait to see! And, hopefully, this means we'll get to see some of our favorite Brit imports earlier...like Life on Mars Season 2!
Anonymous said…
Just a note to say that "Goldplated" isn't a comedy, it's a drama about the Nouveau Riche set in the north of England, which is in itself a novelty.

Worth a try I would say.
George said…
I don't know what i would do without this network. I think BBC American provides some of the best entertainment on television - Top Gear forever!!
Anonymous said…
It is still not close in quality to the even older lineup with featued shows like Castaway, Brilliant, Big Train, Goodness Gracious Me, Cleaning Rooms, Ground Force.

Also I can see Doctor Who on PBS every week, as well as
a whole raft of British murder mysteries.

While it is true that something had to be done about the endless episodes
of Top Gear etc that followed after that older and far more diverse lineup,
the latest scheduling will, by giving a whole day (Wicked Wednesday?) to shows oriented to a female audience only you
divide the viewing audience and exclude men and children on that day and help
ensure the demise of family viewing. Same with male oriented viewing all on the same night.

There are far better examples of British TV that we are missing, shows like Fake Britain, and great British documentaries and reality shows (such as the UK Biggest Loser, many of which never are seen in the USA.
Anonymous said…
So you only want supportive feedback and not a discussion?
Maybe a "neutral" post to make it look like we're being open-minded?

Or maybe there's no one "in the office" to "approve" my respectfully
worded dissent?

Better take my thoughtful views elsewhere? I can do that.

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