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The History Channel is a mainstream cable television channel, which primarily presents programming related to historical events and personsoften with observations and explanations by noted historians as well as reenactors and interviews with witnesses. Some of the original programming is also shown on History Television in Canada. The UK version of the History Channel is operated as a joint venture between A&E and British Sky Broadcasting.
Five, launched in 1997, is the fifth and final national terrestrial analogue television channel to launch in the United Kingdom. Originally called Channel 5, the channel rebranded to Five in 2002. Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited (As of 2006, still the legal name of the company, though it now trades exclusively as five) was licensed by the UK Government in 1995 after an exhaustive bidding process that lasted from 1993 and throughout 1994. The initial round of bidders, which included a network of city-TV stations planned by Thames Television, was rejected outright and the Independent Television Commission contemplated not awarding the licence at all. On 27 February 2004 it was reported that Five and Channel 4 were discussing a possible merger; this was widely seen as a potential upset for Channel 4's pride. Some comics joked that the merged company should call itself Chanel 9 after the spoof foreign network on The Fast Show. Channel 4 and Five announced that merger plans were being called off in November of that year. On 20 July 2005, RTL Group paid £247.6 million for United Business Media's 35.4% stake in the channel. The acquisition was approved on 26 August 2005.
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