Sky One is being scrapped – but what's replacing the flagship channel?

Sky Max
(Image credit: Sky)

Sky One, the flagship channel of the UK broadcaster – and the oldest running non-terrestrial channel in the UK – is being closed down in September, almost 30 years after it started airing.

The channel is set to be replaced by two new channels, though, marking something of a "reset" for the broadcaster's programming. Sky One will be replaced by Sky Max and Sky Showcase, each with their own individual content lineups.

Sky Showcase is continuing in Sky One's 106 channel, tying together choice programming from across other Sky-run channels (Sky Crime, Sky Documentaries, Sky Nature, and the like). 

Sky Max, meanwhile, is said to be a home for "blockbuster entertainment", and will have an on demand component for watching big-name programming and original series at your leisure – with a healthy comedy component such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks and The Russell Howard Hour. 

A Sky News article states that "From September those looking for the very best of Sky will find it at the top of their programme guide on Sky Showcase, while Sky Max will become the new home of blockbuster entertainment joining the host of genre-led channels launched in the past year – so whether you're in the mood for true crime, a documentary or just a laugh there's always a channel to suit."

We're also told that "Sky Comedy will also get a content refresh, with Sky Original comedies from Sky One, such as Code 404 and Hitmen Reloaded, moving over to the channel."

Speaking to Variety, Sky’s director of program strategy (Jamie Morris) said that it's "a time for a reset", and that the company was motivated by wanting to "make our portfolio offering as clear as possible to customers."

Analysis: A way for Sky to highlight its entire programming slate?

We wouldn't be worried about the loss of Sky's flagship channel – the broadcaster has no need to cast aside popular programming, and flagship shows and series will be continuing in some form across remaining or new channels.

Sky Showcase is the most intriguing option, however, with content drawn from across other Sky channels (Sky Nature, Sky Arts, Sky Crime, etc). So if you like a little of everything, this might be the best way to get a varied content diet without having to flick through channels or make sure you're signed up for the most extensive Sky TV packages.

However, sticking to this channel may mean you're jumping between entirely different genres every hour or so – and it's hard to tell how much of a jumble it is until Sky releases a detailed programming guide.

A Sky spokesperson says that "if you're not sure what to watch Sky Showcase will curate some of the highlights from our line-up so you can find something new to watch."

The news comes amidst reports of Sky broadband outages in various parts of the UK, but with the issue seemingly now resolved, there's little reason not to be excited for the changes ahead.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.