Audience (TV network)

Audience Network, also simply known as Audience since 2016,[1] is an American pay television channel that is owned by DirecTV. It features a mix of original and acquired series, specials, and feature films. The network operates as a commercial-free service and broadcasts its programming without editing for content. It was originally exclusive to DirecTV. However, after AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV it became available on AT&T U-verse. It is also available on subscription streaming service DirecTV Now, and the lower budget AT&T Watch TV service.[2] As of 2019, the channel has a subscription base of 26 million.[3]

Audience Network
LaunchedNovember 25, 1999; 20 years ago (1999-11-25)
ClosedFebruary 29, 2020; 15 days' time (2020-02-29)
Owned byDirecTV
Picture format720p HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
SloganNever ordinary
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersEl Segundo, California
Formerly calledFreeview (1999–2005)
The 101 Network (2005–11)
Audience Network (2011–16)
DirecTVChannel 101, 239, 334 and 500 (HD)
Channel 1239 (VOD)
AT&T U-verseChannel 114 and 599 (SD)
Channel 1114 and 1599 (HD)
Streaming media
DirecTV NowInternet Protocol television


The network launched on November 25, 1999 as Freeview, a service on DirecTV channel 103 carrying a continuous loop of concerts and other events.[4] Freeview was part of all of the satellite provider's subscription packages, starting with the Total Choice tier.[4] In 2005, it was moved to channel 101 and was rebranded as The 101 Network (as a suffix, "101" is college jargon for basic classes or, in more general terms, a way to describe any basic concept). Following the rebrand, the channel's schedule began to expand to include original programs.

The channel was rebranded as Audience Network on June 1, 2011.[5] In 2018, the channel was offered on AT&T U-verse after DirecTV was acquired by AT&T.[6] In June 2018, AT&T announced its discount streaming service, WatchTV, which would carry Audience.[7]

On January 8, 2020, it was announced by parent company AT&T that Audience would end operations in its current format, and will transition to a barker channel for the upcoming HBO Max SVOD service.[8] Rich Eisen later confirmed in a statement regarding the future of his daily radio show (which is simulcast on Audience) that the network would go off the air on February 29.[9]


Original seriesEdit

Former acquired seriesEdit

Acquisition of WonderlandEdit

Starting in January 2009, the channel aired Wonderland, a controversial drama series that had briefly aired on ABC in the spring of 2000.[10] The run included all eight episodes of the series, six of which were not originally aired during the program's ABC run.[10]

Past partnerships with NBCEdit

DirecTV and NBC Studios announced on April 25, 2007, that new episodes of the soap opera Passions would begin airing exclusively on the channel on September 17, 2007,[11][12] retaining its 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time timeslot that it held during its NBC run, with reruns airing on weekends. The series had aired on free broadcast television over the air network, NBC from July 1999 until September 2007 and was then picked up by The 101 after NBC decided to cancel Passions after eight seasons in January 2007 to expand Today to four hours on September 10, 2007 (three days after its final episode on the network). Although the series had left NBC and moved to DirecTV, continued to cover the series official website with new updates and products related to the series as the NBC television network's parent company NBCUniversal still continued to have ownership and production rights to the series, however the options to view new episodes for free on and for purchase on Itunes, which became available during their final NBC season were permanently discontinued after the move to DirecTV. Initially the DirecTV episodes were supposed to only be exclusively available on its own network, however in the end of September 2007, just immediately after the DirecTV debut of the series, DirecTV announced that they made an agreement to allow NBC to rebroadcast the DirecTV episodes, but only as an internet content on with a monthly subscription fee as an alternative for viewers who were unable to subscribe to DirecTV to continue watching the new episodes after the series left the free over the air broadcast television network, NBC and moved to paid television subscription service, DirecTV. The paid online streaming service to view the DirecTV episodes on began in October 2007.[13] In December 2007, DirecTV announced that it would not pick up Passions from NBC for a tenth season,[14] the series finale aired on August 7, 2008.

DirecTV, NBC, and Universal Media Studios announced a deal on April 2, 2008, in which The 101 would carry the 13-episode third season of Friday Night Lights beginning on October 1.[15][16] Through the deal, after the season ended on The 101, the drama series' third season aired in second-run form on NBC (with some scenes edited) starting on January 16, 2009. On March 31, 2009, NBC and DirecTV announced that they had renewed Friday Night Lights for two additional seasons, again to be broadcast first on DirecTV and then on NBC.[17]

Acquisition of DamagesEdit

On July 19, 2010, DirecTV announced it had acquired the rights to the former FX drama Damages, and renewed the series for two additional seasons. The 101 began airing reruns of its first three seasons on January 5, 2011. Season 4 premiered on the rebranded Audience Network on July 13, 2011, and the fifth and final season premiered on July 11, 2012.[18]

Former off-network rerunsEdit

The channel aired repeat episodes of SoapNet's original soap opera limited series, General Hospital: Night Shift throughout the series' run from July to October 2008.[19]

The channel broadcast the Nat Geo Adventure's documentary travel/adventure series Odyssey: Driving Around the World starting in June 2008.

The short-lived ABC drama The Nine began airing on the channel on May 27, 2009.[20]

The channel also aired reruns of the 2005–06 Showtime drama series Sleeper Cell.[21] On April 21, 2009, it was announced that DirecTV picked up the syndication rights to HBO's Oz and Deadwood.[22][23]

The channel began airing the CBS drama Smith on April 8, 2009.[20][24]

DirecTV aired repeats of the HBO drama series The Wire starting on July 18, 2010.[25]

Former international programmingEdit

In recent years, DirecTV began acquiring exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to series from fellow English-speaking countries England, Canada and Australia.

The 101 began airing the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys on February 5, 2009.[26]

On September 17, 2009, DirecTV announced that The 101 had picked up rights to the Australian miniseries Underbelly, which began airing on February 3, 2010.[27]

On September 28, 2010, DirecTV acquired rights to the British shows No Heroics, How Not to Live Your Life and Mutual Friends, which premiered on The 101 in November 2010.[28]

On February 10, 2011, DirecTV acquired rights to the Canadian series Call Me Fitz, which premiered on the network on April 21, 2011.[29]

In the spring of 2011, DirecTV acquired the rights to the Australian series Rake.[30]

In the fall of 2011, DirecTV acquired rights to the Canadian sitcom Less Than Kind[31] and the British drama Hit & Miss, the latter of which premiered on June 27, 2012, with a sneak preview, with the first full episode airing on July 11, 2012.[32]

DirecTV picked up the rights to the Australian series The Slap and the British series The Shadow Line, which started airing on Audience Network in February 2012.[33]


Celebrity Beach Bowl – Since 2007, during Super Bowl week, DirecTV has held an annual celebrity flag football game, which promotes DirecTV's exclusive sports package NFL Sunday Ticket. A concert follows the game, which is simulcast on Chicago television station WGN-TV, its sister network WGN America, and in 2013, NBC Sports Network.

Bracket Breakdown was an exclusive NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship pre-game show with several college basketball analysts and insiders, including the University of Louisville's Rick Pitino, the University of Kentucky's John Calipari, the University of Oklahoma's Jeff Capel, the University of Tennessee's Bruce Pearl and the University of Washington's Lorenzo Romar and former UCLA player and current sports talk radio show host Sean Farnham.[34] It served as supplemental coverage to DirecTV's exclusive (now defunct) Mega March Madness package.

SXSW – the channel exclusively carried the 2009 South by Southwest Festival concert live.[35]

Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America aired exclusively on DirecTV.[36]

On February 13, 2012, Audience Network premiered the original documentary More Than a Dream, about the Civil Rights Movement, narrated by Martin Sheen.[37]

Movies and previewsEdit

In October 2006, to mark Halloween, Audience Network aired several horror-themed movies, including The Toxic Avenger.

On February 23 and 24, 2007, Audience Network aired a preview of Chiller, a then-recently launched cable channel owned by NBC Universal dedicated to horror programming that launched on DirecTV channel 257 on March 1, 2007. Programming featured during this preview included the two-hour pilot episode of Twin Peaks, the pilot episode of American Gothic, episodes of Monsters, Tales from the Crypt, Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Friday the 13th: The Series, and various horror movies.

Audience Network has aired a number of dramatic series a few days before their scheduled premieres on Showtime including The Tudors in March 2007 and Nurse Jackie in June 2009, as well as the Starz series Party Down on April 22, 2010.

On August 24, 2007, Audience Network aired an exclusive high-definition broadcast of High School Musical 2, one week after its premiere on the Disney Channel (Disney Channel did not launch a high definition simulcast feed until April 2, 2008).[38]

On November 11, 2017 Audience Network premiered the first part of the two-part documentary The Volunteers.[39] This is a documentary about volunteers taking up arms against ISIS in Syria.[40] Ricky Schroder is the executive producer.[41]


  1. ^ AT&T AUDIENCE Network Announces Upcoming 2018 Original Programming Slate AT&T, January 11, 2018
  2. ^ AT&T launches a low-cost live TV streaming service, WatchTV Tech Crunch
  3. ^ Philo vs AT&T Watch TV: Which is Right for You? Cord Cutter News, July 20, 2018
  4. ^ a b "DirecTV Announces DirecTV Freeview Series of Special Programming Events; Exclusive Series Offered Free of Charge to Customers". Business Wire. November 18, 1999. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  5. ^ "DirecTV's The 101 Network Becomes The Audience Network on June 1". The Futon Critic (Press release). DirecTV. May 16, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Umstead, Thomas (September 30, 2015). "AT&T to Launch DirecTV's Audience Network". MultiChannel News. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  7. ^ Perez, Sarah. "AT&T launches a low-cost live TV streaming service, WatchTV". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise; Petski, Denise (2020-01-09). "AT&T Audience Network To End; Will Transition To HBO Max Preview Channel". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  9. ^ Contes, Brandon (17 January 2020). "END OF AUDIENCE NETWORK SPELLS UNCERTAINTY FOR EISEN". Barrett Sports Media. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  10. ^ a b "DirecTV's The 101(R) Network Brings Back the Controversial and Critically Acclaimed Television Series Wonderland, Including Six Never-Before-Seen Episodes Beginning Jan. 14". December 10, 2008. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  11. ^ ~ "NBC’S Passions to work its magic on DirecTV viewers with all new episodes beginning September 17"
  12. ^ April 25, 2007 DirecTV Unsure On Passions In HDTV Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ DIRECTV Provides All-Access Pass to Passions with New Online Feature Starting October 1 Business Wire, September 27, 2007
  14. ^ Passions: DirecTV Cancellation Confirmed Archived June 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "NBC, Universal Media Studios and DirecTV Form Bold Partnership to Renew Friday Night Lights for a Third Season". April 2, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  16. ^ Ostrow, Joanne (April 2, 2008). "Friday Night Lights lives". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  17. ^ "NBC Universal and DirecTV Team Up Again to Renew Friday Night Lights for 26 Episodes Over Two Additional Seasons". March 31, 2009. Archived from the original on April 9, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  18. ^ DirecTV, Sony To Air Fourth, Fifth Seasons Of 'Damages' Multichannel News July 19, 2010
  19. ^ "General Hospital: Night Shift Spoilers for October 14, 2008". October 9, 2008. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  20. ^ a b MacIntyre, April (April 3, 2009). "DirecTV channel 101 brings back Smith, The Nine and Eyes". (M&C). Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  21. ^ DirecTV – Sleeper Cell on The 101
  22. ^ DirecTV Press Release April 21, 2009 – Customers To Get a Jolt of Drama With the Addition of Deadwood and Oz
  23. ^ DirecTV 101s Fresh Look
  24. ^ DirecTV – Smith, only on The 101
  25. ^ DirecTV Takes It Down to The Wire(R) with the Debut of the Acclaimed Series on the 101 Network Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release April 12, 2010
  26. ^ "DirecTV Cultivates More Comedy On The 101 Network With Trailer Park Boys". February 4, 2009. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  27. ^ DirecTV Press Release September 17, 2009 DirecTV Takes Viewers Deep Into the "Underbelly" of the Australian Crime World
  28. ^ BBC Worldwide and DirecTV Announce Heroic Deal – British Comedy Award Nominees "No Heroics," "How Not to Live Your Life" and "Mutual Friends" to Make Exclusive US Debut on The 101 Network DirecTV Press Release September 28, 2010
  29. ^ Critically-Acclaimed Series "Call Me Fitz" Heads for DirecTV's The 101 Network Futon Critic February 10, 2011
  30. ^ DirecTV Delves Deeper Into Content With New Audience Network Wall Street Journal May 13, 2011
  31. ^ Canada's Funniest Dysfunctional Family Finds a Home on DirecTV; Hit Comedy ‘Less Than Kind' Makes U.S. Debut Exclusively on the Audience Network Archived May 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release September 20, 2011
  32. ^ DirecTV Brings Highly Anticipated Paul Abbott Drama Series Hit and Miss to Audience Network Archived May 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release October 21, 2011
  33. ^ Munn, Patrick (February 1, 2012). "DirecTV's Audience Network Acquires The Slap and The Shadow Line". TVWise. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  34. ^ DirecTV Press Release March 4, 2009 DirecTV'sExclusive 'Bracket Breakdown' is College Hoops' Ultimate Meeting of the Minds Archived March 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ DirecTV Announces Lineup For SXSW Live, The Only Live Television Broadcast From The Trendsetting Music Festival, Airing March 20–21 On DirecTV's The 101(R) Network Archived March 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America Concert to be Broadcast Live in HD and Commercial Free Exclusively on DirecTV's The 101 Network Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine DirecTV Press Release September 15, 2010
  37. ^ Original Documentary More Than A Dream Premieres Feb. 13th on DirecTV's Audience Network[permanent dead link] DirecTV Press Release, February 13, 2012
  38. ^ Multichannel News August 21, 2007 DirecTV airs High School Musical 2 in HD
  39. ^ "The Volunteers | 2-Part Documentary on AUDIENCE Network". Show Experience. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  40. ^ Petski, Denise (2017-10-12). "'The Volunteers' Trailer: Ricky Schroder's Syrian War Documentary Is On Front Lines Of War Against ISIS". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  41. ^ "A Documentarian Volunteers to Become Part Of His Own Syria-Set ISIS Documentary". The Daily Beast. 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2018-02-22.

External linksEdit