Foxtel has confirmed plans to merge two comedy focused channels in a move that will see the closure of another beloved brand.
From September 1, The Comedy Channel and entertainment channel, FOX HITS, will merge to form a new channel, FOX COMEDY.
It’s a decision that will see the closure of one of Foxtel’s most well-known names. The Comedy Channel has been an important part of Australia’s pay-tv history since 1996 and at its peak, provided access to a broad range of comedy programming previously unavailable in this country
While The Comedy Channel name will disappear, Foxtel is promising the new channel will maintain some of the familiar heritage from the brand including the iconic “c-fer” logo.
Explaining the decision, a spokesperson for Foxtel told TV Blackbox;
“Foxtel routinely evaluates its channel line up to ensure our content strategy and programming best reflects our customers viewing preferences and habits.”
“There has been strong viewer identification with those (Fox branded) channels and our viewing data indicates these are increasingly the go-to destination for specific genres and styles.”
The decision to rename Fox HITS is somewhat surprising given the brand was only launched in November of last year. Prior to that, the channel was known as 111Funny. Foxtel also recently closed long-standing music brands Channel V and Max.
As part of the changes, key programs previously broadcast on The Comedy Channel will move to a new home. This includes:
• Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (to FOX8)
• Tosh.0 (to FOX8)
• South Park (to FOX8)
• Curb Your Enthusiasm (to FOX Showcase)
• Silicon Valley (to FOX Showcase)
• Broad City (to FOX Showcase)
• Saturday Night Live (to FOX8).
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will no longer be available via Foxtel. 10 recently confirmed this program would be part of its line-up on new free-to-air multichannel 10Shake.
Foxtel’s library of classic comedies will continue to be available On Demand and via entertainment channels, FOX COMEDY, FOX FUNNY, FOX8 or FOX SHOWCASE.
These titles include, Friends, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Office, Two and a Half Men, 30 Rock, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Nanny and Parks and Recreation.
Additionally, Foxtel has confirmed plans to expand its movie line-up with an additional channel. Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) will launch exclusively on Foxtel in September with a focus on ‘movies that are inspired by, fuelled by and created by women. With intriguing mysteries, gripping thrillers, the sweetest romances and heart-warming heroes and heroines.