|Launched||November 25, 1999|
|Picture format||720p HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Headquarters||El Segundo, California|
|DirecTV||Channel 101, 239, 334 and 500 (HD)|
Channel 1239 (VOD)
|DirecTV Now||Internet Protocol television|
|AT&T Watch TV (future)||Internet Protocol television|
Audience Network, also simply known as Audience since 2016, is an American pay television channel that is owned by DirecTV. It features a mix of original and acquired series, specials, and feature films. The network operates as a commercial-free service and broadcasts its programming without editing for content. It was originally exclusive to DirecTV. However, after AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV it became available on AT&T U-verse. It is also available on subscription streaming service DirecTV Now, and the upcoming lower budget AT&T Watch TV service. As of 2019, the channel has a subscription base of 26 million.
The network launched on November 25, 1999 as Freeview, a service on DirecTV channel 103 carrying a continuous loop of concerts and other events. Freeview was part of all of the satellite provider's subscription packages, starting with the Total Choice tier. In 2005, it was moved to channel 101 and was rebranded as The 101 Network (as a suffix, "101" is college jargon for basic classes or, in more general terms, a way to describe any basic concept). Following the rebrand, the channel's schedule began to expand to include original programs.
The channel was rebranded as Audience Network on June 1, 2011. In 2018, the channel was offered on AT&T U-verse after DirecTV was acquired by AT&T. In June 2018, AT&T announced its discount streaming service, WatchTV, which would carry Audience.
Starting in January 2009, the channel aired Wonderland, a controversial drama series that had briefly aired on ABC in the spring of 2000. The run included all eight episodes of the series, six of which were not originally aired during the program's ABC run.
DirecTV and NBC Studios announced on April 25, 2007, that new episodes of the soap opera Passions would begin airing exclusively on the channel on September 17, 2007, retaining its 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time timeslot that it held during its NBC run, with reruns airing on weekends. The series had aired on free broadcast television over the air network, NBC from July 1999 until September 2007 and was then picked up by The 101 after NBC decided to cancel Passions after eight seasons in January 2007 to expand Today to four hours on September 10, 2007 (three days after its final episode on the network). Although the series had left NBC and moved to DirecTV, NBC.com continued to cover the series official website with new updates and products related to the series as the NBC television network's parent company NBCUniversal still continued to have ownership and production rights to the series, however the options to view new episodes for free on NBC.com and for purchase on Itunes, which became available during their final NBC season were permanently discontinued after the move to DirecTV. Initially the DirecTV episodes were supposed to only be exclusively available on its own network, however in the end of September 2007, just immediately after the DirecTV debut of the series, DirecTV announced that they made an agreement to allow NBC to rebroadcast the DirecTV episodes, but only as an internet content on NBC.com with a monthly subscription fee as an alternative for viewers who were unable to subscribe to DirecTV to continue watching the new episodes after the series left the free over the air broadcast television network, NBC and moved to paid television subscription service, DirecTV. The paid online streaming service to view the DirecTV episodes on NBC.com began in October 2007. In December 2007, DirecTV announced that it would not pick up Passions from NBC for a tenth season, the series finale aired on August 7, 2008.
DirecTV, NBC, and Universal Media Studios announced a deal on April 2, 2008, in which The 101 would carry the 13-episode third season of Friday Night Lights beginning on October 1. Through the deal, after the season ended on The 101, the drama series' third season aired in second-run form on NBC (with some scenes edited) starting on January 16, 2009. On March 31, 2009, NBC and DirecTV announced that they had renewed Friday Night Lights for two additional seasons, again to be broadcast first on DirecTV and then on NBC.
On July 19, 2010, DirecTV announced it had acquired the rights to the former FX drama Damages, and renewed the series for two additional seasons. The 101 began airing reruns of its first three seasons on January 5, 2011. Season 4 premiered on the rebranded Audience Network on July 13, 2011, and the fifth and final season premiered on July 11, 2012.
The channel also aired reruns of the 2005-06 Showtime drama series Sleeper Cell. On April 21, 2009, it was announced that DirecTV picked up the syndication rights to HBO's Oz and Deadwood.
In the fall of 2011, DirecTV acquired rights to the Canadian sitcom Less Than Kind and the British drama Hit & Miss, the latter of which premiered on June 27, 2012, with a sneak preview, with the first full episode airing on July 11, 2012.
Celebrity Beach Bowl - Since 2007, during Super Bowl week, DirecTV has held an annual celebrity flag football game, which promotes DirecTV's exclusive sports package NFL Sunday Ticket. A concert follows the game, which is simulcast on Chicago television station WGN-TV, its sister network WGN America, and in 2013, NBC Sports Network.
Bracket Breakdown was an exclusive NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship pre-game show with several college basketball analysts and insiders, including the University of Louisville's Rick Pitino, the University of Kentucky's John Calipari, the University of Oklahoma's Jeff Capel, the University of Tennessee's Bruce Pearl and the University of Washington's Lorenzo Romar and former UCLA player and current sports talk radio show host Sean Farnham. It served as supplemental coverage to DirecTV's exclusive (now defunct) Mega March Madness package.
On February 23 and 24, 2007, Audience Network aired a preview of Chiller, a then-recently launched cable channel owned by NBC Universal dedicated to horror programming that launched on DirecTV channel 257 on March 1, 2007. Programming featured during this preview included the two-hour pilot episode of Twin Peaks, the pilot episode of American Gothic, episodes of Monsters, Tales from the Crypt, Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Friday the 13th: The Series, and various horror movies.
Audience Network has aired a number of dramatic series a few days before their scheduled premieres on Showtime including The Tudors in March 2007 and Nurse Jackie in June 2009, as well as the Starz series Party Down on April 22, 2010.
On August 24, 2007, Audience Network aired an exclusive high-definition broadcast of High School Musical 2, one week after its premiere on the Disney Channel (Disney Channel did not launch a high definition simulcast feed until April 2, 2008).
On November 11, 2007 Audience Network premiered the first part of the two-part documentary The Volunteers. This is a documentary about volunteers taking up arms against ISIS in Syria.Ricky Schroder is the executive producer.