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BSkyB launching US-programmed channel Sky Atlantic

UK pay TV operator BSkyB is launching Sky Atlantic, a new channel to house the content acquired from HBO under the terms of its recent output deal.

News Corp-backed Sky has also acquired Lionsgate-distributed advertising industry period drama Mad Men for the channel, wresting it from UK public broadcaster the BBC, which has aired the first four seasons of the show.

It has inked a life-of-series deal for the show, starting with season five. It also has second window rights to the first four seasons of the series.

Stuart Murphy will be director of programming at the new channel, adding it to the roster of Sky channels he already runs.

Sky announced its output deal with HBO in July and the new channel will transmit Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and other high-profile new and library series from the US company.

“Sky Atlantic HD will  be an extraordinary TV channel,” said  Sophie Turner Laing, Sky’s managing director, Entertainment, News & Broadcast Operations. “It will have compulsive television that pushes creative boundaries and tells great stories.”

Speaking about the Mad Men deal, Peter Iacono, managing director, Lionsgate International commented: “The UK has always been the weather vane for groundbreaking drama, great acting and the best writing.  Lionsgate is grateful to the British public for embracing the series and catapulting it  into a worldwide cultural phenomenon.”