Plenty of local content on Foxtel’s new arts channel

17 March, 2015 by Don Groves

Launching on March 28, Foxtel’s new arts channel will spotlight Australian theatre, ballet, opera, films and other artistic pursuits together with international specials and documentaries.

Foxtel Arts replaces the SBS-owned Studio, whose carriage deal is expiring. The new channel will place more emphasis on opera, ballet and orchestral music and allocate regular slots to documentaries and performances, Foxtel Arts channel manager Fraser Stark tells IF.


“We are acquiring and commissioning a growing number of projects,” says Stark, foreshadowing further announcements. “The channel is designed for a passionate, niche audience.”

Of the decision to bring the channel in-house he said, “That allows us to fashion the channel in our own way and to bring it closer to the Foxtel brand.

“Foxtel Arts will be an active participant in the Australian arts scene. It will be a vocal and effective advocate for arts organizations, promote festivals and other events and hopefully increase attendances at live events.”

Premiering on Thursday April 2 at 8pm is Screen, its first local commission, co-hosted by Margaret Pomeranz and Graeme Blundell, who will review films, TV and online content in a panel format. Each show will feature a guest enthusiast such as The Chaser’s Chas Licciardello.

To ensure continuity of programming, documentaries will screen Monday through Thursday at 7.30 pm, each on a particular theme or themes: literature and drama; visual arts; dance and music; and screen arts. That  will followed at 9.30 by performance specials.

Friday evening will feature artists such as Andrea Bocelli and Andre Rieu. To launch the channel, Arts will broadcast Rieu’s Love In Venice, filmed in his home town in the Netherlands.

On Saturday night the channel will air classic rock and pop, followed by alternative rock and at 6.30 pm Sunday there will be family concerts such as The Sound of Music Live, Bach’s St. John Passion and Les Miserables Live from the O2 Arena.

Foxtel Arts will also screen the annual Helpmann Awards for live performance and Broadway’s Tony Awards live in HD.