New Freeview channel Spike TV launches
Breaking Bad among the highlights on new TV channel Spike, launching on Freeview and Sky
Spike TV is coming to the UK. On 15 April Viacom – the network behind MTV, Channel 5, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon – are launching a new channel available via Freeview, FreeSat and Sky. So what have they got in store?
The biggest news is that Spike will be the first free-to-air channel to broadcast all 62 episodes of Breaking Bad. So anyone without Netflix can finally catch up on the meth-centric crime drama starring Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul. Episode 1 will screen on opening night with a further episode every night.
Fantasy adventure Olympus (15 Apr) will be making its début. A brand new take on Greek mythology following a young hero, rather appropriately named Hero (Tom York), as he battles Cyclops, nymphs and other legendary beasties.
Spike have also announced they have secured the rights to Sons of Anarchy, Justified and The Walking Dead in the coming months.
Following the template set by its American counterpart Spike TV is very male orientated. Focussing on police docs (including the Vinnie Jones fronted Police Interceptors: Unleashed, from 15 Apr); blokey food shows (such as Josh Capon's Frankenfood, 17 Apr, where amateur cooks create bizarre culinary concoctions) and Mixed Martial Arts signing an exclusive deal with BAMMA for UK TV rights to British bouts and US promoters Bellator MMA.
Other factual content includes Fail Army (clips from the YouTube channel of the same name capturing epic, crunching fails), Tattoo Disasters UK (which speaks for itself) and To Catch a Contractor (though why British viewers should care about a show tracking down dodgy US cowboy builders is a mystery). Plus quirky comedy gameshow Lip Sync Battle, hosted by LL Cool J, which does exactly what it says on the tin as celebs go head to head miming along to their favourite tunes. First up is former WWE star Dwayne Johnson vs Jimmy Fallon (15 Apr), with Common vs John Legend the next week.
The rest of the line-up padded out with the likes of Cops, Criminals: Caught on Camera, Cowboy Builders, Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers and a rerun of the much over looked Terminator spin off The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
So a bit of a mixed bag. Spike have pinpointed their audience with an unapologetically masculine programming policy but the fact that they will screen every single episode of Breaking Bad makes it all worth while.
Spike TV launches on Wednesday 15 April.
Find it on Freeview* (31), Freesat (141) and Sky (160).
* also YouView, BT, TalkTalk & EE TV