Virgin 1 Freeview channel to rival Sky One

Free-to-air channel will carry US TV imports

Virgin Media is about to launch its own Freeview entertainment channel. Virgin 1 will replace Virgin's own FTN channel and will be positioned to compete directly with Sky One .

The programming on Virgin 1 will consist largely of American TV imports, just like Sky's 'Sky One' channel. But Virgin is hoping that it will be able to usurp Sky One's dominance by signing exclusive deals with the US television networks.

Virgin Media has been in discussion with US network Warner Bros to seal an exclusive tie up between the stations. Under the terms, Virgin would show Warner's shows when the next US TV season starts in September. These shows would include the Terminator TV spin-off The Sarah Connor Chronicles (starring English actress Lena Headey) and vampire series Twilight.

"I want Virgin 1 and the newly reinvigorated Living TV to be two of the top ten TV channels by [the digital] switchover. Virgin 1 will shake up multi-channel and free to air TV, and start liberating viewers from the linear schedule," said Jonathan Webb, Managing Director of Virgin Media Television.

Virgin takes on Sky again

"It will be a creative tour de force and a cutting-edge example of any time, any place content. VMtv has huge support from Virgin Media and Richard Branson, who agree that Virgin 1 is what UK audiences have been waiting for."

Virgin Media recently held talks with Setanta - an Irish Sky Sports rival - over a deal which could see the two companies collaborating on a new sports news channel to rival the ever-popular Sky Sports News.

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