Channel 5 is a British commercial television network. It was launched in 1974, and was the fifth national terrestrial analogue network in the United Kingdom after BBC One, ITV, BBC Two and Channel 4 (and sixth overall including Welsh-language channel S4C in Wales). It is generally the fifth-placed network in the country in audience share, and has been since its inception.
The station was branded as Five between 2002 and 2011, when it was owned by the RTL Group. Richard Desmond purchased the station from RTL on 23 July 2010, announcing plans to invest more money in programming and return to the name Channel 5 with immediate effect, and it was relaunched on 14 February 2011. On 1 May 2014 the channel was acquired by Viacom for £450 million (US$759 million).
Channel 5 is a general entertainment channel that shows both internally commissioned programmes such as Fifth Gear, Big Brother UK, The Gadget Show, The Hotel Inspector and Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun and foreign programmes. The station has been very successful with imports from the United States in particular, including the CSI franchise, the NCIS franchise, Power Rangers, The Mentalist, Body of Proof, Once Upon a Time, Dallas and Under the Dome. In July 2014, Channel 5 announced plans to open up its production arm and allow it to create shows for other channels, aping ITV Studios and the BBC.