While 40% of the channel’s content will be HBO material, Sky is also in negotiations to acquire UK and US indie features.
Stuart Murphy, director of programmes for Sky 1 HD and Sky Atlantic HD, confirmed an impressive content slate for new channel Sky Atlantic.
Launching on Feb 1, Sky Atlantic will kick off with Martin Scorsese’s 12-part hit Boardwalk Empire and Barry Levinson’s film You Don’t Know Jack, starring Al Pacino and Susan Sarandon.
The 24-hour channel will be available in SD and HD, with the first runs of major series airing on Saturdays at 9pm in a bold move to challenge primetime terrestrial content. HBO films will air on Sundays at 9pm.
Later 2011 programming will include fantasy drama Game Of Thrones; Luck (starring Dustin Hoffman); five-part miniseries Mildred Pierce, directed by Todd Haynes and starring Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce; New Orleans-set series Treme, from the creator of The Wire, David Simon; and New York-set comedy series Bored To Death, starring Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson.
The channel will also air HBO’s back catalogue, which includes The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Murphy also confirmed deals with CBS on New York cop series Blue Bloods, created by Sopranos producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, which will screen in February, and glossy period drama The Borgias, starring Jeremy Irons, set for a July release.
Via separate deals with Lionsgate Television, the channel will also exclusively screen the forthcoming fifth series of hit drama Mad Men (the series was previously aired in the UK on the BBC).
Among the channel’s six-seven UK commissions per year are Paul Abbott’s original drama Hit And Miss.
Speaking at today’s press briefing in London, Murphy was unable to disclose the names of the independent features he said would air pre-watershed, but he confirmed that negotiations were ongoing for UK and US titles.
The deal between Sky and HBO is reported to be worth $233m (£150m) over five years.