|Broadcast area||United Kingdom and Ireland|
|Picture format||16:9 576i SDTV|
|Timeshift service||Pick +1|
|Owner||Sky Group (Comcast)|
|Launched||31 October 2005|
|Former names||Sky Three (2005–2008)|
Sky 3 (2008–2011)
Pick TV (2011–2013)
|Virgin Media (UK)||Channel 165|
|Virgin Media (Ireland)||Channel 133|
Channel 145 (+1)
Channel 259 (+1)
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
Launch and beginnings
The channel was originally launched in 2005 as Sky Three. It was essentially a barker channel for Sky's main entertainment channel Sky One and its other subscription services, which served to "offer digital terrestrial viewers the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of popular programmes from Sky". From its launch on 1 November 2005 until 24 June 2010, the channel carried Sky Travel's commercial presentations selling holiday deals for a number of providers.
Early highlights from the channel's schedule included Futurama, Cold Case, Tru Calling, Relic Hunter, Road Wars, the Inside strand of documentaries, Brainiac: Science Abuse, Airline, and 35mm from Sky Movies (which looks at upcoming films in the cinema and on Sky's premium movies service Sky Movies) and Dream Team. The channel has also shown the free-to-air premieres of some of Sky One's more prestigious shows such as series 3 and 4 of 24, Rescue Me, The 10th Kingdom, Hex and the latest remake of Battlestar Galactica. The channel also showed seasons 3 and 4 of Prison Break in 2010.
In recent years[when?], the number of well known Sky One shows being shown on Pick TV has declined. The channel is well known for airing repeats of Road Wars and Airline whilst other shows such as Coach Trip and It's Me or the Dog are also shown regularly, the closure of Sky Real Lives responsible for the increase in lifestyle programming. The number of American shows airing on the channel has declined rapidly, with Prison Break the last major US Sky One drama to be shown on the channel in 2010.
Since its rebrand to Pick TV in February 2011, recent Sky One shows such as UK Border Force, Pineapple Dance Studios and documentary series hosted by Ross Kemp such as On Gangs and In Search of Pirates. In recent years, Sky has spent more on the channel, with an increased focus on airing Sky One and Sky Living programmes 12–18 months after their original broadcasts, and content tailored towards Pick. Such programmes included Z Nation and Monkey Life.
On 1 February 2011, Sky Atlantic launched on Sky channel 108, which had originally been occupied by Sky 3. Sky rebranded Sky 3 as Pick TV on 28 February 2011. On Monday 7 October 2013, Pick TV became Pick introducing a new look and logo for the channel. On 28 June 2016, another new logo was announced which also included a brand new look.
Freeview and rebrands
Sky Three was the first free-to-air general entertainment channel from Sky. It launched on 1 November 2005, replacing the Sky Travel's EPG slot on Freeview in a bid to attract more subscribers to Sky's satellite service. Due to its wider availability on Freeview channel 11, the channel constantly had higher ratings than Sky Two where Sky Three was achieving on average a 1% share compared to Sky Two's 0.1–3% share. Instead of Sky selling on the terrestrial free-to-air rights for their programmes to another broadcaster, these rights are usually retained to remain exclusive to Sky. In 2008, Sky's entertainment channels changed the wording in the logos to numbers, hence Sky Three became Sky 3.
On 23 August 2010, Sky Sports News became a pay-TV channel, which was replaced on Freeview by a one-hour timeshift version of Sky 3. Sky 3 +1 also launched on Sky channel 223 on the same day. A final rebrand took place in early 2011 and saw Sky 1, 2 and 3 gain similar rectangular logos to Sky News and Sky Sports.
The channel was rebranded as Pick TV (and Pick TV +1) on 28 February 2011. Only the name was changed, as the channel retained the look of the most recent rebrand which occurred a few weeks earlier. Sky's acquisition of Challenge saw quiz and gameshow type programming move off Pick TV. On 20 September 2011 at 14:00, Pick TV +1 was removed from Freeview.This was so that all of the channels owned by BSkyB could be on multiplex C and Challenge could broadcast for 24 hours a day in Wales on the platform, in-line with the rest of the UK. On 1 March 2018, Pick +1 was added back on Freeview as a FreeviewHD service. A while later the channel moved from channel 97 to 92 on Freeview.
On 7 October 2013, Pick TV was rebranded as Pick on all platforms. On 23 June 2016, Pick and Challenge were rebranded with entirely new looks.
Since its rebrand to Pick, it is fairly common for Pick and Challenge to cross-promote its programmes to viewers. These include regular trailers inbetween shows, and when a certain show finishes, the continuity announcer will usually tell viewers what is coming up next on both channels.
On 18 June 2020, Pick +1 was removed from Freeview channel 92.
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Pick TV showcased some of Sky's premium entertainment content once a week from 24 January 2013 for 12 weeks. 'Sky Thursdays' was a branded segment that offered selected episodes of some of Sky's most popular programmes, usually only available on its pay TV channels.
Sky Thursdays kicked off on 24 January 2013 with the first episode of comedy series Modern Family at 7pm. Sky's recent documentary on cyclist Bradley Wiggins was shown at 7:30pm. Elementary followed at 9pm and the evening ended with the first episode of Sky Atlantic's Game of Thrones at 10pm.
During subsequent weeks, selected episodes of shows like Boardwalk Empire, An Idiot Abroad, Michael Parkinson's Masterclass and Mad Dogs were shown. Excluding An Idiot Abroad and Elementary, there is no indication that the full set of episodes for any of these programmes will air on Pick TV.
Sky News on Pick
Between June and July 2020, Pick broadcast 25 of the remaining 92 Premier League games, simulcast on Sky Sports, which were played behind closed doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To coincide with this, a temporary high-definition simulcast of Pick launched on Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat in the United Kingdom on 16 June 2020. The HD simulcast ceased broadcasting on 4 August 2020.
- Plunkett, John. "Sky Three to launch on Freeview", MediaGuardian, 22 September 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- "Sky confirms strengthened entertainment line-up". British Sky Broadcasting. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- Farber, Alex. "Sky 3 to relaunch as Pick TV". Broadcast. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- Lane, Alex. "Sky3 to become Pick TV". What Satellite and Digital TV. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Sky Sports News to get bigger and better as a pay TV channel". British Sky Broadcasting. 17 June 2010.
- "Pick TV+1 leaves Freeview channel 44". Freeview. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Pick+1 removed from freeview". 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
- "Sky News bulletins coming to Pick TV". Digital Spy. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
- "Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games, and make 25 available free to air". Sky Group Newsroom. 28 May 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- TV Listings at sky.com