This is a pretty big blow to those of us who refuse to pay a subscription for telly: it's one of the better channels on Freeview. I didn't realise Sky had so much control over it, wasn't it launched by Virgin when Sky were trying to charge them more for Sky 1?
Yes, it was originally called Virgin 1.
Sky bought the Living TV Group (AKA Virgin Media Television) from Virgin Media last year, giving them ownership of Living, Bravo, Virgin 1 and Challenge. As part of the deal, and probably to keep the monopolies and mergers people happy, Virgin gained access to a number of Sky's HD channels.
The first thing they did was rename Virgin 1 to Channel One.
My understanding is that when Sky Atlantic launches there will be a bit of a reshuffle in the Sky EPG with Sky One, the renamed Sky Living and Sky Atlantic on 106, 107 and 108. It's not clear what will happen to Sky 2 or Sky 3 or what they will replace Sky 3 with on Freeview. They are replacing Channel One with Challenge, apparently.
Oh well, another nail in the coffin of my traditional telly-watching habits. I increasingly watch catch-up services and torrented shows nowadays anyway.
Indeed. The amount of TV I watch is shrinking, thanks in part to the crappy way TV is broadcast in this country (shows STILL suffering from PAL speed-up on HD channels), plus the general decline in quality and quantity of TV for male audiences.