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New channel offers Canadians more HBO shows
A new pay channel with a slate of HBO programs never before seen on this side of the border is to be launched in Canada in October.
Astral Media and Corus Entertainment are jointly launching a channel that will be known as HBO Canada, they announced Monday.
It will be available at no extra charge to those who already subscribe to the Movie Network and Movie Central.
HBO is the U.S. network Canadians most often say they would like to see offered in Canada.
But the federal broadcast regulator has blocked attempts to launch U.S. pay channels, such as HBO and USA Network, in Canada saying Canadian players are not well enough developed to withstand the competition.
The Movie Network and Movie Central already carry a large slate of HBO programs such as Entourage, True Blood and Flight of the Conchords.
But Corus and Astral said this will be the first chance for Canadians to get programs such as Real Time with Bill Maher, Def Comedy Jam and Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger.
The network will also carry older HBO series such as OZ and Da Ali G Show, movies Gia, The Late Shift and If These Walls Could Talk and older miniseries including From the Earth to the Moon and Angels in America.
“For years, HBO’s dramatic programming has been available on The Movie Network and Movie Central. But even with all of the HBO titles we offered, Canadians still wanted more,” John Riley, president of Astral Television Networks, said in a release Monday.
HBO, backed by Time Warner, will have no business interest in the new channel, but Astral Media and Corus Entertainment have expanded their long-term programming deal with the U.S. network.
HBO Canada, like all other Canadian stations, will be required to carry Canadian content, and that will include the series Durham County and Terminal City.
TMN, owned by Astral, is available only in eastern Canada while Movie Central, owned by Corus, is available in western Canada.