Sky Atlantic Launches in February With 'Mad Men,' 'Boardwalk Empire'

The new channel will not have a budget in the same ballpark as the main entertainment network, Sky 1, director of programs Stuart Murphy said.

LONDON -- British viewers in search of the cream of “epic and immersive” television can tune into Sky’s lavish new entertainment channel, Sky Atlantic, beginning Feb. 11.

The channel, which will be free to Sky subscribers, will be fueled by exclusive first-run rights to Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, The Borgias and forthcoming Al Pacino TV drama You Don’t Know Jack.

Stuart Murphy, director of programs for Sky1 and Sky Atlantic, said the new channel would have a budget in the same ballpark as Sky 1, its main entertainment channel, and was intended to convert older and more upmarket customers to pay-television.

“We think it will appeal to people who have never considered paying for television before,” he told reporters at the launch.

The Kate Winslet-starrer Mildred Pierce, the CBS cop drama Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck, Hurricane Katrina drama Treme and a new crime drama from British writer/director Paul Abbott about Chloe, a pre-op transsexual assassin, will also be among the highlights.

With exclusive access to all of HBO’s upcoming and archive content under a deal $150 million deal signed last year, Sky Atlantic will also be able to program long-running shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Entourage and In Treatment.