Q. I got a notice from AT&T saying that the Audience Network is going away. What’s up with that? And what will happen to the shows on the channel? Are they gone, too? — Sheila, Cleveland, Ohio.
Sheila, it’s true. AT&T just announced that the Audience Network will be canceled effective May 22, 2020.
“Effective May 22, 2020, AT&T Audience Network will sunset its linear and streaming broadcasts. We regret any inconvenience,” stated an e-mail sent to subscribers of such AT&T TV services as DIRECTV and AT&T Watch TV.
AT&T first said last January that it would close the Audience Network sometime in the spring, but did not reveal a termination date until now. The company plans to turn the channel into a ‘barker channel’ highlighting programming that will be available on HBO Max. (HBO Max, expected to launch next month as a streaming service, will offer the HBO catalog as well as other shows for $14.99 a month.)
The Audience Network debuted on DIRECTV in November 1999 (under the name, Freeview) and over the years it’s been home to such original shows as Friday Night Lights, Passions, Damages, Mr. Mercedes (pictured above), The Dan Patrick Show, Loudermilk as well as repeats of cult favorites such as Mad Men and The Wire.
It’s unclear what will happen to current original programs on the channel, such as Mr. Mercedes and Loudermilk, but it’s possible AT&T will continue them on HBO Max.
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— Phillip Swann