U.K. Cable Operator Virgin Media to Carry CBS Drama Channel

Ron P. Jaffe/CBS

The carriage deal means British subscribers will get all channels offered by a venture of CBS Studios International and Chello Zone.

LONDON -- CBS Chello Zone Channels, the joint venture partnership between CBS Studios International and Chello Zone, will debut CBS Drama on the Virgin Media pay TV cable platform.

The channel, currently carried on the U.K. satellite pay TV platform BSkyB and Freesat platforms, carries U.S. series including Cheers, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Dallas alongside British shows such as Bad Girls and Cutting It.

The launch means Virgin Media will now be home to the full compliment of CBS Chello Zone's bouquet of channels, joining CBS Reality, CBS Action and Horror Channel already carried on the platform.

Fresh programming planned for the channel’s launch includes the network premiere of hit BBC series Playing The Field, starring Melanie Hill (Merlin), Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family) and Lesley Sharp (Starlings).

Adapted from the Pete Davies novel, I Lost My Heart To The Belles, the five-series drama follows female football team Castlefield Blues from South Yorkshire.

The deal with Virgin follows the expansion of the CBS-branded channels across EMEA this month, with new-look channels launching in 83 territories including Poland, South Africa, Netherlands and Romania.

Chello Zone’s vp of affiliate sales Louise Cottrell said: "With the channel’s growth across the EMEA territories earlier this month, this is the perfect time to extend CBS Drama’s reach to a wider U.K. audience. The launch onto Virgin Media is significant as it not only means the entire CBS Chello Zone U.K. portfolio is now available on this platform, but offers viewers the chance to enjoy the exceptional variety of dramas on the channel in addition to the offerings of its sister channels, CBS Reality, CBS Action and Horror Channel."