BBC America is the BBC Worldwide owned-and-operated cable television network in the United States, which was launched on March 29, 1998.
From the outset, BBC America has cherrypicked the highlights from the UK television networks, including comedy, drama, and lifestyle programming. There are also at least four half-hour BBC World news bulletins included in each 24-hour period. Today, the critically-acclaimed highlights of the BBC networks air in primetime slots, while the daytime is given to repeats of home-improvement shows such as Changing Rooms.
BBC America is distributed in association with Discovery Networks, the parent company of the Discovery Channel, which also handles the affiliate and advertising sales. The channel, unlike the BBC's domestic networks which are supported through television licence fees, is wholly advertising-supported. However, the comedy programs run in specially-formatted blocks that allow them to run unedited (this has begun to change).
Previously, BBC America simulcast news bulletins from BBC World with U.S. commercials inserted. They now run commercial-free. During major breaking news situations, the network will sometimes take BBC World's coverage and pre-empt regular programming. The London Bombings in July 2005 were one such example.
BBC America caused some dismay to some viewers when it dropped the soap opera EastEnders in October 2003, but it argued that the show was one of the channel's least popular, although EastEnders, along with other BBC programming, also appears on PBS stations. It now airs reruns of The Office, Keeping Up Appearances, Coupling, Monty Python's Flying Circus, My Hero, Cash in the Attic, Little Britain and Blackadder. It also regularly purchases the US broadcast rights to non-BBC British programs, such as Father Ted, The Avengers, Footballers' Wives, and The Saint. The Canadian comedy Trailer Park Boys airs on BBC America as well.
In 2012 it premiered its first original program (as opposed to UK productions) - period crime drama Copper.
- Program Listing: A complete listing of shows that aired new episodes on BBC America.