The Circle TV Network Is No More, but Its Programming Is All Streaming Now

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Jan. 2 2024, Published 1:38 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • The companies behind Circle decided to “wind down” operations on the linear version of the country music TV network.
  • Circle’s TV shows are now streaming through Circle Country.
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You know that Carter Family song “Can the Circle Be Unbroken”? That might be the tune some TV viewers are singing as they wonder what happened to Circle and why it’s not in their channel lineups.

The bad news is that Circle left the airwaves on New Year’s Eve — Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023. The good news is that Circle’s programming is still available on streaming.

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Circle’s linear TV network ceased operations on Dec. 31, 2023.

In November 2023, Ryman Hospitality Properties announced that it and venture partner Gray Television had decided to call it a day on Circle in its linear TV incarnation after three years on the air.

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“In September 2023, we determined to pivot from television network ownership in favor of a distribution approach,” Ryman Hospitality’s third-quarter financial report stated, per Country Aircheck. “Therefore, we and our joint venture partner agreed to wind down the Circle joint venture, with operations expected to cease Dec. 31, 2023.”

In a statement to Country Aircheck, a Ryman Hospitality spokesperson said, “The Circle brand isn’t going away. The linear TV network will wind down at the end of the year along with the joint venture.”

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The spokesperson added: “Programming like Opry Live and Coffee, Country & Cody will continue to be produced and made available digitally on FAST [free advertising supported streaming television], streaming, and other digital distribution platforms. We also expect Opry Live to air on network television, just not on a dedicated Circle network. Opry Live will also air on Sky Arts in the U.K.”

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Fans can watch Circle programming for free on Circle Country.

Five days before the Circle TV network stopped airing, Circle announced that programming from the network — including Opry Live; Talking in Circles with Clint Black; Dinner Drive with Kyle Petty; and Coffee, Country & Cody —would stream free 24/7 at its new exclusive home, Circle Country.

The Circle announcement explained that Circle Country would be available on Roku, SamsungTV, Peacock, Xumo, Vizio, fuboTV, Sling, and Redbox, and that users can visit CircleCountry.com for more details.

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“As the New Year approaches, we ask you to embrace the change, enjoy the best of Circle programming, and make Circle Country your go-to destination for all things entertainment in 2024!” the announcement added. “Thank you for being part of the Circle family!”

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The transition came months after a “Square” April Fool’s prank.

Circle made another big announcement months prior, stating on April 1, 2023, that the country music and lifestyle network would be rebranding as Square Network, with the new name inspired by a geometric shape known for its balance and stability.

“We’re super excited about this rebranding, and we believe it’s going to be a real game changer for us. We may have changed our shape, but our commitment to providing the best country entertainment remains the same,” Drew Reifenberger, the general manager of Square Network, said at the time.

But the rebranding — which the network considered to be “the right angle” for its future — was just an April Fool’s Day joke, in case the timestamp didn’t give it away!

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