CBS strikes U.K. deal with Chello

U.K. to get six CBS-branded channels

LONDON -- CBS Studios International is partnering with the U.K.'s Chellomedia to form a U.K. television partnership, the parties said Monday.

Chellomedia's international broadcaster arm Chello Zone, has formed a 50/50 joint venture in the U.K. with CBS International through the pact.

Under this joint venture CBS-branded channels will be created from six of Chello Zone's existing portfolio of TV channels in the U.K.: Zone Romantica, Zone Thriller, Zone Horror and Zone Reality, Zone Horror+1 and Zone Reality+1.

The re-branded themed channels will secure programming from CBS's catalog of more than 70,000 hours of programming, including shows such as "Dynasty" and the original re-mastered series of "Star Trek."

The partners said the re-branded channels would also continue to source programming from third parties.

The advertiser-supported Chello Zone channels collectively reach more than 13 million homes throughout the U.K. via the BSkyB, Virgin Media and FreeSat platforms.

That bouquet of channels will continue to be operated by Chello Zone with a new board being formed with representatives from CBS and Chello Zone, to guide strategy and direction for the new venture.

"The CBS brand is recognized around the world for quality, both as a production studio and as a network," said CBS Studios International president Armando Nunez. "This venture opens a new distribution outlet for our vast library of content, and complements our strong ongoing licensing of programming in the U.K. and around the world."

Chellomedia president and Liberty Global chief strategy officer Shane O'Neill said: "The joint venture with CBS will significantly enhance our U.K. channel portfolio, create a clear proposition for advertisers, and above all create essential TV destinations where British viewers will enjoy a rich choice of popular programming from CBS."