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Sky Living Head Outlines Programming Vision for Channel on Dublin Visit
07 Mar 2013 : By Kevin Cronin
Ms Antonia Hurford-Jones presents new channel line-up to embrace broader audience.

The Penthouse suite at the top floor of the Clarence Hotel provided a magnificent view of Dublin city for the launch of Sky Living’s new programming line-up this Tuesday afternoon, spearheaded by channel director Ms Antonia Hurford-Jones.

A firm advocate of the belief that Sky Living should embrace programming that appeal to women without alienating men, Ms Hurford-Jones outlined her vision for a channel in which US imports like ‘Elementary’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ sit comfortably alongside content produced closer to home.

‘Sky Living should be loved by women and watched by men,’ she said, acknowledging that while the channel might be perceived as female-skewed, it aims to avoid any stereotyping.

Thus while the channel’s new series of comedy pilots ‘Love Matters’ might lean towards the female side of the viewing spectrum, forthcoming shows like ‘Hannibal’ starring Mads Mikkelsen and ‘Dracula’ with Johnathan Rhys Meyers will embrace a broader demographic.

Indeed, Ms Hurford Jones was particularly effusive about the appeal of ‘Dracula’, citing the magnificent sets and impressive dailies, along with Hannibal with its gory recreation of crime scenes played out onscreen.

Ms Hurford Jones lists among her commissioning credits such shows as ‘Got To Dance’, ‘A League of Their Own’, ‘Love Machine’ and ‘Sing Date’, but was quick to dispel any preconceptions people might have about Sky Living.

She cited their most popular US import the modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes ‘Elementary’, starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, as a show that succeeds in attracting both genders equally with its unique mix of mystery and romance.

On the topic of commissioning ideas and pilots from Irish production companies in the future, Ms Hurford Jones was enthusiastic and saw no distinction between Irish and UK audiences in terms of their viewing preferences.

Given the £600m per annum that Sky has pledged to earmark for ‘home-grown’ (UK/Irish) original programming by 2014, this fund presents a new and exciting revenue stream soon to be made available for Irish and UK production companies alike.

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