Sky Comedy launches: what you need to know

An image showing the logo of Sky Comedy

As Universal TV closes down for the final time in the UK, Sky gets a new replacement channel.

After the success of genre-driven cinema and sports channels, Sky is giving its entertainment channel portfolio a revamp along the same lines.

The first new genre specific channel was Sky Crime, which launched in October.

And as Sky and NBCUniversal grow together under Comcast's ownership, new channel number 2, Sky Comedy, will take over Universal TV's channel numbers on both Sky and Virgin Media from midday 27th January 2020.

Where to find Sky Comedy...
Sky channel 113 (HD), 813 (SD).
Virgin UK channel 121 (HD), 122 (SD). 

What's on Sky Comedy?
Sky Comedy is a channel broadcasting US comedy from HBO, NBC and Showtime

Long running comedies Curb Your Enthusiasm and Ballers join the channel with new episodes alongside older episodes of 30 Rock, Everyone Hates Chris and Parks and Recreation.

NBC's late night comedy chat show Tonight with Jimmy Fallon will get a regular nightly slot at just before 11pm, with viewers able to watch most shows around 18 hours after it was first broadcast in the USA, with the exception of the Friday edition.

Other topical shows airing shortly after their US premieres include Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and NBC stalwart Saturday Night Live.

James Cordon's late night show also gets a regular UK slot on Sky Comedy: The Late Late Show is on weeknights just before midnight, straight after Jimmy Fallon.

Sky One favourite Modern Family and The Mindy Project, previously on E4, also move across to the channel.

Will Sky Comedy be available in HD?
Yes, an HD version of the channel will be available on Sky 113* and Virgin Media 121.

*in SD on 113 on older Sky boxes.

Is there a +1 channel?
No. Not yet: a slot for a +1 channel has been set up on satellite, but as of launch day, it will be either live or on-demand, but not on a one-hour time delay.

Will Sky Comedy be available on Now TV?
Yes, Sky Comedy will be available on Now TV for all those who take the Entertainment Monthly Pass.

Will Sky Comedy be available on BT TV?
Coming soon: Sky Comedy will be available on BT TV as soon as Now TV officially becomes available via the service. This is now overdue, but we're told is still in preparation.

Will Sky Comedy be available on TalkTalk TV?
No. Although Universal TV was available on TalkTalk TV, TalkTalk support has confirmed Universal won't be replaced by Sky Comedy on its platform.

Will Sky Comedy have an Irish version?
Yes, a version for viewers in the Republic of Ireland with different adverts will also be available.

What happens to programmes previously on Universal TV?
The channel has gradually been winding down over the past six months, leaving it with a schedule of repeats. Programmes that previously would have aired on Universal TV are now on Sky Witness, the dramas it's been repeating will appear scattered across other channels.

For example, during its last full day on air, it screened a marathon 14 hour session of NCIS.  NCIS will continue to be shown on CBS Drama, CBS Justice, 5 USA and Fox in the UK and Ireland.

Why is Sky Comedy showing programmes that have been on other Sky channels?
Sky is turning its entertainment channels into genre-driven services, like its sports and cinema channels.

So, Sky Comedy will become the home of US comedy while other channels will concentrate on focusing on their own genre of programmes. UK comedy such as The Russell Howard Hour will still be shown on Sky One.

Aren't there a lot of comedy channels around already?
Comedy is the latest thing that's gained popularity among TV executives: Dave - once known as the channel that repeated Top Gear all the time is now classed as UKTV's "flagship comedy channel", that's on top of sister channel Gold, which flipped to comedy over a decade ago. Then there's Comedy Central and Comedy Central Extra for US comedy.

Crucially, they are all grouped in the same area of Sky's channel list, so expect a lot of competition between them.

Remember, if broadcasters overdo it, it won't last long: see what happened to the number of crime, music and quiz channels...

Where can I find out more about Sky Comedy on Twitter?
Sky has recently converted and renamed the former Sky One Twitter feed into one that promotes all of Sky's entertainment channels.  While @Skycomedy was briefly active, all the activity is now found at @Skytv .