BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



Controller of E4 Kevin Lygo
"If there's a gap in digital television, it's for a pure focused entertainment channel"
 real 28k

Friday, 19 January, 2001, 14:14 GMT
E4 launches with US favourites
Courteney Cox-Arquette, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow
A new series of Friends will debut in the UK on E4
Channel 4 launched its new digital channel E4 on Thursday night, hoping to attract an audience of advertiser-friendly 16 to 34 year olds.

E4 will mix American sitcoms, such as Friends, and drama, such as ER, with homegrown hits such as Ali G and Trigger Happy TV.

Channel 4 reportedly paid more than 100m for the first rights to Friends and ER at the end of 1999.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G
Ali G launched the new channel
The new channel is seen as a direct competitor to Sky One, and a deal to carry E4 on Sky Digital - which means it can be received by seven million people - was only announced on Monday.

The ratings war between the channels will begin immediately.

Sky One is hoping to steal E4's thunder by screening the much-hyped American reality TV show Temptation Island on the night of the launch.

The BBC will enter the battle if, as expected, it re-launches its digital channel BBC Choice as BBC Three.

The corporation has already signed up All Saints' Nicole Appleton to front a new travel show on BBC Choice.

E4 is not free - viewers have to pay for it via a package with their digital provider - but Channel 4 claims terrestrial viewers are not being penalised.

Kevin Lygo, controller of E4, said in a recent interview: "No one will miss out on anything because of E4.

"All the popular US comedy will be on Channel 4 - it won't necessarily have it first but it will be there."

E4 is Channel 4's second venture into subscription television. Its movie channel, FilmFour, launched in November 1998.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

18 Jan 01 | Entertainment
E4 sparks war in the Sky
18 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Public consulted on BBC digital plans
04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
'Fairness' promised over BBC digital plans
06 Aug 00 | Entertainment
BBC3 and BBC4 planned
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Channel 4's 100m Friends deal
27 Oct 00 | Entertainment
'Wild times' over, says Perry
30 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Jennifer and Brad tie the knot
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories