Sky Witness (formerly Living then Sky Living) is a British pay television channel owned and operated by Sky, a division of Comcast. The channel's programming was originally aimed mainly at women and young adults. More recently, with shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Boston Legal and The Blacklist, the channel has broadened its audience reach to a wider range of demographics, including men aged 18–45.
|Launched||1 September 1993|
|Picture format||2160p UHDTV|
(downscaled to 1080i and 16:9 576i for the HDTV and SDTV feeds, respectively)
0.04% (+1) (June 2019 , BARB)
|Formerly called||UK Living|
Sky Sports F1,
Sky Sports News,
Sky Sports Racing,
Sky Box Office,
|Timeshift service||Sky Witness +1|
|Sky||Channel 107 (HD)|
Channel 207 (+1)
Channel 807 (SD)
|Virgin Media |
|Channel 111 (HD)|
Channel 112 (SD)
Channel 180 (+1)
|Virgin Media (Ireland)||Channel 124 (SD)|
Channel 125 (+1)
Channel 144 (HD)
|WightFibre||Channel 71 (SD)|
Channel 62 (+1)
|TalkTalk TV||Channel 302|
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK, Ireland and EU)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only) Watch live (Ireland)|
UK Living began broadcasting on 1 September 1993, as part of the Sky Multichannels network. It was originally owned by a three way partnership; former ITV London franchise holder Thames Television, Tele-Communications Inc. and fellow cable communications company Cox Enterprises, with a budget of £25million. The channel was mainly aimed at women aged between 25 and 45, broadcasting films, dramas, chat shows and soap operas. Most of its original programming came from the programme libraries of Thames Television and the BBC. A unique aspect was the repeats of programmes such as Kilroy, Anne and Nick, and Floyd, which were all shown within a week of being transmitted on mainstream television.
By 1996, Telewest's Flextech division gained full control, after buying out the now-defunct Thames and Cox Enterprises. Shortly afterwards the channel moved away from its reliance of BBC programming, and increase its output of American programming.
In 1997, when the BBC and Flextech launched the UKTV Network: UK Style, UK Horizons and UK Arena, it was decided that UK Living would remain a separate channel. As such, it had to remove the 'UK' branding to avoid being confused with the UKTV services; thus UK Living became Living.
BSkyB announced on 25 October 2010, that Living would be rebranded as Sky Living in early 2011 and moving EPG positions on Sky from channel 112 to 107, between Sky One and Sky Atlantic, to improve their entertainment line-up. As part of an attempt to appeal more to men, the channel's pink branding was replaced by a blue and silver logo in September 2013.
The channel has also aired Yvette Fielding's Most Haunted and Most Haunted Live!, in which Fielding and the team, that at one point included medium Derek Acorah, investigate haunted locations in the UK and abroad. The show had brought some of the channel's biggest ratings to date.
In 2001, the channel helped to launch a whole new genre of paranormal programming with such shows as Crossing Over with John Edward, 6ixth Sense with Colin Fry, Scream Team, Jane Goldman Investigates, Dead Famous, I'm Famous and Frightened! and Most Haunted, which continued to be popular.ŵ
The channel has also launched a number of successful US television shows in the UK market. Past successes include Charmed, Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Miss Match, Joan of Arcadia, CSI, and Just Shoot Me!. At present, the channel currently has first run UK rights to Boston Legal, Criminal Minds, Blindspot, Grey's Anatomy, Ghost Whisperer, The L Word, Men in Trees and the Australian comedy Kath & Kim. In 2008, the channel also debuted the first seasons of Army Wives, Lipstick Jungle, and Viva Laughlin.
Brian Dowling was put forward as one of the public figures to represent the channel – by presenting programming including Celebrity Extra, Trolley Dollies, and a spin-off to I'm Famous and Frightened!. However, in recent years, he has been mostly absent from the channel apart from the occasional Celebrity Extra presenting duties. Instead, fellow Big Brother contestant Jade Goody became the channel's newest public face, with three different shows devoted to her life, Jade's Salon, Just Jade and Jade's PA, but in January 2007, she was dropped due to the racism row on Celebrity Big Brother. In 2009, when Jade discovered that she had terminal cancer, the channel acquired the exclusive rights to film a documentary through her final days followed by the show producing two-hour-long tribute shows a week after her death followed by a further two tribute shows in 2010 and 2011.
To continue the list of reality TV stars hosting programmes, Jodie Marsh announced that she would be presenting a new programme called Get A Life starting on 1 March 2007. However, the channel announced that the show was to be cancelled and discussions got underway as to whether the remaining four episodes would be aired.
The channel announced in February 2007 that Abigail Clancy, the runner up of Britain's Next Top Model (cycle 2), signed a deal with the channel to make a new reality show with Janice Dickinson as her mentor, on trying to crack into America.
The channel announced in June 2010 that model Katie Price had signed a £5 million, 2-year contract to make and broadcast Series 3 and 4 of her fly-on-the-wall show, What Katie Did Next, after turning down a weaker offer from rival channel ITV2 to continue making further series of the show. This was the first time that her show was broadcast in HD.
Current US programmingEdit
- Blue Bloods
- Chicago Fire
- Chicago Med
- Criminal Minds
- For The People
- The Good Doctor
- Grey's Anatomy (moved from Channel 5)
- How to Get Away With Murder (moved from Universal Channel)
- Law and Order:SVU (moved from Universal TV)
- Madam Secretary
- The Rookie
- Station 19
Most watched programmesEdit
The following is a list of the ten most watched programmes on Sky Witness, based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 9 April 2017. The number of viewers does not include repeats or airings on +1.
|1||The Enfield Haunting||1.01 - Episode One||1,871,000||3 May 2015|
|2||1.02 - Episode Two||1,302,000||10 May 2015|
|3||1.03 - Episode Three||1,262,000||17 May 2015|
|4||The Blacklist||1.06 – "Gina Zanetakos"||1,197,000||8 October 2013|
|5||Elementary||2.04 – "Poison Pen"||1,193,000||12 November 2013|
|6||The Blacklist||1.04 – "The Stewmaker"||1,142,000||25 October 2013|
|7||Elementary||1.02 – "While You Were Sleeping"||1,119,000||30 October 2012|
|8||Blindspot||1.02 – "A Stray Howl"||1,117,000||1 December 2015|
|9||Elementary||1.14 – "The Deductionist"||1,103,000||19 March 2013|
|10||2.06 – "An Unnatural Arrangement"||1,099,000||26 November 2013|
|2.01 – Step Nine||1,099,000||22 October 2013|
Sky Witness in IrelandEdit
Sky Witness is also available in Ireland via Sky Ireland and Virgin Media Ireland. The Irish opt-out feed features localised advertising and sponsorship. The channel has been further trying to appeal to the Irish market with outdoor advertising in urban areas. Previously, Irish television channel TV3 were in charge of overseeing the Irish advertising, but Sky Media Ireland now operates the Irish opt-out feed.
The same Sky Witness schedule, shown in both the UK and Ireland, also includes a selection of documentary programming from both the Irish Broadcasters, RTE and TV3/Virgin Media Television Ireland (the Irish broadcaster now owned by the cable tv company of the same name in Ireland, not to be confused with the earlier Flextech version of Virgin Media Television). Also there is some independently produced series, some commissioned directly by Sky, focusing on Ireland's various emergency services, medical, and certain Government of Ireland agencies, such as the Revenue Commissioners. The selection is similar to the genres focusing on other countries equivalent agencies, also shown on Sky Witness.
Living launched its website in 2001 as livingtv.co.uk, prior to the channel being renamed LivingTV in early 2002. This was initially represented on-screen by the addition of the letters 'TV' to the established logo. In a 2004 branding relaunch, the way the name was displayed changed to LIVINGtv.
In a further change in 2007, the channel name reverted from LIVINGtv back to LIVING (still officially spelt all in capitals, though some media write the name in normal case). In 2009, the idents were changed to a 3D logo, with glass on the side of the 'L' in either pink or blue. Other idents show the logo covered in paint, while Livingit adopted a slightly different appearance.
The channel has an on demand service which is available on satellite and cable. It offers access to a number of shows which viewers may have missed first time around.
On demand content was added to BT Vision's library on 15 January 2009. 38 hours of programming from six of the channel's shows; Extreme: Skinny Celebrities, Dirty Dancing, Living with the Cheeky Girls, Ibiza 2008 and Most Haunted were available from launch. Subscribers to BT Vision taking the TV and Value Packs were able to access the content with no additional cost; others were able to view it on a pay per view basis with prices starting at 77p. Programming was removed from BT Vision on 13 January 2010.
The channel's on-demand offering was revamped during Autumn 2009 as Living Player on Virgin Media. Living Player offered dedicated seven-day catch-up on shows such as Ghost Whisperer and Grey's Anatomy, as well as hours of archive content previously shown on the channel. Living Player was available on PCs, and the player also offered HD programming for free to all customers on the Virgin Media's XL TV package. Original commissions were to be made available longer term.
Sky Witness HDEdit
On 12 June 2009, Virgin Media managing director Johnny Webb revealed that a high-definition version of the channel would be rolled out during 2009 as part of a cross-platform strategy to boost the channel's brand and said that taking it into HD was "an absolute priority", to kickstart a HD roll-out of all of the Virgin Media Television channels.
The channel launched on 6 October 2009 exclusively on Virgin Media. The channel shows programming such as Criminal Minds, CSI, Ghost Whisperer and Wonder Woman in HD and is "a significant step forward in Virgin Media Television's cross-platform entertainment strategy".
On 1 February 2011, the Living HD channel was relaunched as Sky Living HD. It now broadcasts on channel 107 for Sky+ HD customers with the HD channel swap. It continues to broadcast on Virgin Media, although, since July 2014, its channel number has changed.
- "Thames Television Plans Satellite/Cable Channel Launch". Telecompaper. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "Merger Plans For Flextech". The New York Times. 3 January 1994. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Flextech Set To Acquire TCI Programming". Telecompaper. 21 December 1993. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- Williams, Martyn (14 August 1996). "TS News – Flextech Reveals BBC, UK Gold Talks". Sat-net.com. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- Horsman, Mathew (30 October 1996). "Flextech ties up pay-TV deal". The Independent. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Flextech Set To Agree Channels Deal With BBC". Telecompaper. 16 August 1996. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Sky confirms strengthened entertainment line-up". British Sky Broadcasting. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- Halliday, Josh (24 August 2013). "Sky Living director: 'I am de-pinking the channel'". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Sky Living to become Sky Witness a516digital, 8 June 2018
- Clarke, Stewart (8 June 2018). "Sky Rebrands U.S. Drama Channel, Lands MGM's 'Harry Quebert'". Variety.
- Living gives Jodie's show the axe Digital Spy, 16 June 2007
- Katie Price signs multi-million pound TV deal Yahoo! TV, 24 June 2010 Archived 28 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- BARB, via  Archived 18 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- "Buy A Television Package". Virgin Media Ireland. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- More channels in the picture as TV ads competition hots up Irish Independent, 27 July 2006
- Living TV joins BT Vision's VOD service Digital Spy, January 2009
- Living TV ends on Vision tomorrow! Digital Spy, January 2010
- "Living Player coming to Virgin Media". Digital Spy. 27 August 2009.
- "Living boosts its on-demand service". Broadcast. 27 August 2009.
- "Trouble to be axed next month". Digital Spy. 24 March 2009.
- "VMtv to launch Living Loves channel". Digital Spy. 24 June 2010.
- "Living primed for HD roll-out". Broadcast. 12 June 2009.
- "Living HD placeholder now on Virgin Media". Digital Spy. 13 August 2009.
- "LIVING in HD with Virgin Media". Virgin Media. 25 September 2009. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013.
- "Living HD launch confirmed". Digital Spy. 13 July 2009.
- "Living HD launches on Sky". Digital Spy. 2 September 2010.
- Sky Witness at sky.com