|Launched||March 29, 1998|
|Owned by||BBC Worldwide|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Headquarters||New York City|
|Sister channel(s)||Discovery Networks
BBC World News
|Dish Network||Channel 135|
|Available on many cable systems||Check local listings for channels|
In the early days, the channel focused on repeats of popular lifestyle shows such as Changing Rooms and Ground Force. BBC America's head of programming later stated that it was important for the channel to establish a niche since non-UK viewers found the lifestyle shows appealing. The evening schedule is where most new programming would appear.
The network removed the popular British soap opera EastEnders from the schedules in 2003 after low ratings, but provoked a high number of complaints from viewers which caught the attention of the media.
After CEO Paul Lee moved to ABC Family, the network appointed Bill Hilary from Comedy Central. He appointed Kathryn Mitchell to the newly created position of GM. Under Hilary's tenure, BBC America was restructured; it moved its main offices to New York City and saw its programming budget increase substantially.
Currently, the network is led by Garth Ancier, who has been the president of BBC Worldwide Americas since February 2007. Since then the channel has adopted the same visual presentation (including the circle-themed IDs) used on BBC One, the BBC's flagship channel in the UK.
BBC America is distributed in association with Discovery Networks, the United States division of Discovery Communications and parent company of the Discovery Channel, which also handled affiliate and advertising sales until this moved in-house on April 1, 2008.
The network is not subject to funding from the UK licence fee by law: the BBC cannot fund any of its channels that are not available in the United Kingdom. As this is the case, the channel carries advertisements.
BBC America is available in Bermuda on both Bermuda CableVision's digital cable TV service, and the WOW (World on Wireless) service, and is also available in the US territory of Guam in the Pacific, the only territory outside North America where the channel is available.
BBC America On Demand refers to a selection of BBC America programs available as video on demand programming on many U.S. digital cable systems. These video-on-demand programs are usually available for two to four weeks before being rotated out. These programs are offered commercial-free though they are interrupted for network promos.
As of Q2 2008, select BBC America Shows are available on Apple's iTunes Store.
As of June 2009, select BBC America shows are available on Microsoft's Zune Marketplace.
BBC America HD, a high definition simulcast version of BBC America, is carried nationally by DISH Network, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications. It was rolled out by these carriers on February 10, 2010, and is also carried on some smaller regional providers. 
The channel was originally made available to all the channel's distribution partners on July 20, 2009. No providers carried the HD version at launch. However, in an interview with Multichannel News on July 21, 2009, channel publicity VP Amy Mulcair said "We've got great reaction from viewers on our HD service." She added, "Everyone's very keen to see it and we're very keen for them to see it. And we're glad to say there are a number of deals that will be announced imminently." The article also said "Citing complications involving the availability of HD shows such as Torchwood: Children of Earth, which only just aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom with big ratings, the network did not announce the HD launch date until June 1. As a result, it has taken a while for BBC America to line up launches." On August 19, 2009, Time Warner Cable's New York City division became the first provider to carry the HD channel. BBC America HD is available on Dish Network as of February 10, 2010, but its restriction to newer orbital locations makes it difficult to obtain for many customers. 
The following is a list of programming that is currently airing on the channel . While many of the shows were produced by the BBC, some of the shows are either Channel 4, ITV or Five programs, or reruns of American programming that was co-produced by the BBC or a British network:
Most of the non news programming is edited either for adult content or to allow for commercials. However, many comedy programs run in specially formatted 40-minute blocks and a few first run drama programs in a longer block that allow them to run to their original broadcast length, though adult content is still edited.
In the mid 2000's BBC America produced a few of its own shows along with some joint productions. This has included Sharpe's Challenge, part of the Sharpe series of TV movies and co-produced with ITV; also The State Within, a co-production with the BBC; Jekyll.
BBC America simulcast several newscasts during the day from its sister channel, BBC World News.
The weekday morning (6:00–9:00 am ET) simulcast which included BBC World News newscasts, World Business Report, Sport Today, Asia Today and a one-hour newscast called World News Today, was canceled for a brief period without any announcement on April 6, 2009. The weekend morning (6:00–6:30 am ET) simulcast was also abruptly canceled on April 4, 2009. According to BBC America the simulcast was canceled because of disappointing ratings. BBC World News was replaced in its morning time slot by re-runs of Cash in The Attic and Gordon Ramsay's F Word. The morning simulcast returned on May 18, but now airs from 5:00–8:00 am on weekdays.
At 7–8 pm ET and repeated at 10–11 pm ET, BBC America airs BBC World News America, presented live from Washington by Matt Frei. Katty Kay serves as Washington correspondent. Rome Hartman (formerly of CBS Evening News) is executive producer.
The network was in discussions to unveil a weekly news program fronted by Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman. He was to introduce a synopsis of Newsnight items with an international aspect and was expected to bring his brash interviewing style to bear on American politicians. "Jeremy Paxman is the sort of person that Americans will just eat up," Garth Ancier told the Financial Times. An international edition of Newsnight debuted on February 29, 2008, in the 10 pm time slot. This program was canceled in November 2008, but the cancellation was not announced until April 2009.
During major breaking news situations, the network will sometimes take BBC World News's coverage and pre-empt regular programming. The London Bombings in July 2005 were one such example. However, BBC World News itself is not currently widely available in the US as a separate channel (although it does appear on several cable systems throughout the United States, generally in lieu of BBC America; one such example is the New York based service Cablevision) or in a 30-minute telecast on public television stations daily.