NBC to 'replace Hallmark with Universal'

Thursday, June 25 2009, 10:53 BST

By Andrew Laughlin

NBC Universal reportedly intends to replace the Hallmark Channel with the Universal Channel as part of a new look for its TV portfolio in the UK.

According to Broadcast, a leaked internal memo sent by the firm has revealed the plans, with the new channel possibly to launch this October.

Currently broadcast in certain parts of Europe, Latin America and South East Asia, the Universal Channel carries shows such as Californification and Dexter.

Executives at the firm have reportedly instigated the change to better target "brand rejectors and men", rather than the family audience of the Hallmark Channel.

The memo has also revealed that consumer research conducted by the firm has shown that loyal viewers are "not wedded to the Hallmark brand".

It is understood that the company's other UK channels - Diva TV, Sci Fi and Movies 24 -may also be changed as part of efforts to "to tap into the heritage of the Universal brand".

However, an NBC spokesperson told the website: "No decisions have been made with regard to rebranding NBCU channels.

"We are exploring various options and will make a decision in conjunction with our partners. No announcement is planned at this time."