Freeview and Freesat viewers, take notice: another change is coming to AMC Networks’ channels in the UK, those previously known as the CBS Channels.
This move, set to be launched on November 22, aims to streamline the brand’s diverse offerings and appeal to a broader audience – and with it, the CBS brand will consequently disappear from the UK’s television landscape.
Among the major shifts, the CBS Reality channel will be renamed to True Crime, and a new streaming app called ‘Watch Free UK’ will replace the CBS Catchup Channels app.
The CBS channels, which are currently operated in the UK by AMC Networks International and Paramount, are available on Freeview, Freesat, YouView, Sky and Virgin Media.
The company also operates a streaming ad-supported channel, available on several streaming platforms in the UK – and it is also set to change (see the full list of changes below).
CBS Channels Are Changing… Again
Just a year ago, CBS’ free-to-air channels already went through a major rebrand, where three CBS channels experienced name and programming changes.
The Horror Channel transitioned to Legend, expanding its genre to include sci-fi, thriller, fantasy, and action alongside classic horror.
CBS Justice was shut down, with some of its crime and courtroom dramas moving over to Legend. CBS Drama morphed into RealityXtra, extending the CBS Reality brand to offer a mix of legal dramas and true-crime programming.
And a new channel, HorrorXtra, emerged to fill the horror genre void left by the original Horror Channel’s transformation into Legend. Meanwhile, CBS Reality remained unchanged during that phase.
But next month – we’re getting more changes.
Goodbye, CBS Reality
Central to the upcoming rebrand is the renaming of CBS Reality to True Crime, reflecting its core content of real-life crime narratives.
Currently, CBS Reality is available on Freeview Channel 67, Freesat Channel 135, Sky Channel 146, and Virgin Media Channel 148.
Current programming highlights on the upcoming True Crime channel include original content such as Evidence of Evil, Murder by the Sea, Killers: Caught on Camera, Donal Macintyre’s Killer Evidence, The Truth About My Murder and exclusive third-party content including Medical Detectives.
Similarly, the entertainment channel Legend (Freeview Channel 41) is set for a brand transformation as well, but will keep its current name.
Upcoming content on the Legend channel includes series like The Six Million Dollar Man, Walker Texas Ranger, action movies such as Hard Target, Barb Wire and thriller Sneakers alongside Jet Pilot and Angel and the Bad Man starring John Wayne, from the Westerns collection.
Other channels in the portfolio to rebrand include LEGEND XTRA (which will be the new name of Horror Xtra), and TRUE CRIME XTRA (which will be the new name of Reality Xtra), and the time-shift versions, LEGEND XTRA +1 and TRUE CRIME +1.
On-demand content from both True Crime and Legend channels, previously available on CBS Catch Up Channels UK, will now be housed under a new streaming app – called Watch Free UK.
The Rebranded Streaming App: Watch Free UK
The CBS Catchup app launched in 2022, enabling viewers to stream content from CBS Reality, Legend, and other free-to-air channels.
Initially available on Freeview Play and other platforms, it expanded to iOS and Amazon’s Fire TV, among others. The app provided a mix of genres from action thrillers on Legend to true crime documentaries on CBS Reality.
Come November 2023, the app will transition to Watch Free UK, housing the same on-demand content from the rebranded True Crime and Legend channels.
True Crime Changing To True Crime UK
Confused yet? Wait, more name changes are coming.
In addition to the Free-to-air channels and the streaming app, AMC also operates an ad-supported channel called True Crime on various platforms.
In November, the channel will change its name from “True Crime from CBS Reality” to True Crime UK.
On ITVX, ITV’s streaming app, True Crime UK will feature a curated on-demand collection, boasting over 250 hours of engaging content.
In addition, the Free, Ad-Supported (FAST) channel will be accessible through various platforms including Amazon Freevee, Rakuten TV, and Samsung TV+ services, with plans to extend its reach to more major platforms in the near future.
Sam Rowden, VP, AMC Networks International, said, “With such a vast array of content available across so many platforms, we wanted to elevate our UK portfolio to be more easily recognisable and accessible, and to clearly reflect our content offering.
“This rebrand closely aligns with our aim to provide carefully curated services catering to both existing and new audiences,2wherever they choose to watch our programmes.”