DIRECTV’s The 101 Network Becomes The Audience Network on June 1

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Looks like there’s a new network coming into town, thanks to DirecTV.

Beginning June 1, DirecTV’s The 101 Network will transform itself into the Audience Network and become the new home for DirecTV’s exclusive programming, which includes some of the smartest, most daring entertainment on television. The Audience Network will be accessible in 19.4 million homes on channel number 239.

According to the folks over at DirecTV, the newly-branded network will focus on maintaining the network’s growing commitment to providing subscribers with premium programming that can’t be seen anywhere else. The name change and new look unveils shortly before the new season of Damages and will include a new on-air presence and will be supported by a robust marketing campaign that includes broadcast, print and online media.

Derek Chang, executive vice president of Content Strategy and Development at DirecTV had this to say:

“We’ve spent the last six years building this network into something very special. DirecTV is the only television operator who provides customers with a premium quality entertainment channel for free and the new name perfectly captures who we are doing this for, specifically our demographic, the DirecTV audience.”

In 2006, DIRECTV entered into the original programming arena with CD USA, a weekly, one-hour music performance series featuring the hottest music artists of the day based on the UK hit CD UK. In 2007, DirectTV adopted the NBC daytime drama Passions and produced exclusive, original episodes of the eclectic soap opera. And, in 2008, the network changed the television landscape by partnering with NBC to produce and air three additional seasons of the Emmy Award-winning series Friday Night Lights. Throughout the years, the network would become known for a television version of the nationally syndicated sports radio hit The Dan Patrick Show, giving new life to respected, critically acclaimed programming (Friday Night Lights, Damages), turning American audiences on to quality programming from other countries (Underbelly from Australia, Mutual Friends and No Heroics from the United Kingdom, Call Me Fitz from Canada) and revisiting highly respected shows that deserved another look (complete season runs of Wonderland, Smith, The Nine, Eyes, The Wire, Oz and Brotherhood). In the coming months the Audience Network will announce a number of unique, high-profile series and specials from well-known producers.

So what do you think of this new change? Are you happy to see a new network that is going to offer some brand-new shows as well as broadcast some old favorites? I’ve actually caught a few shows on the 101 and think this could be a big step for DirecTV.

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