Just in time to catch the wave generated by the #1 movie in America, Baz Luhrmann’s biopic “Elvis,” the Presley estate has just launched the Elvis Presley Channel, a 24-hour channel available on free, ad-supported streaming services.
On launch, you can find the EP Channel on Sling TV, Plex, Amazon Freevee, Xumo, Local Now, LG Channels and VIZIO WatchFree+. Each of these services has a cable-style channel guide and offer hundreds of free options. Viewers who use Pluto TV, the Roku Channel and Tubi are out of luck so far, but Elvis is likely to turn up on those services at a later date.
If you’re imagining a channel that shows hit Elvis movies like “Jailhouse Rock,” “G.I. Blues,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Blue Hawaii” on repeat, that’s not exactly what’s going on here, either. The channel has documentaries about Presley, an Army veteran, and a selection of movies and shows said to represent Elvis’ favorites, documentaries about the Black artists who inspired Presley’s music and 1950s rock and roll movies.
Elvis’ favorites seem to include reruns of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” early John Wayne movies like “Angel and the Badman,” “Blue Steel” and “Riders of Destiny,” and Bruce Lee movies such as “A Warrior’s Journey” and “The Man, The Myth.”
The real diamonds in the early days are the Presley documentaries, including the TV programs “Elvis ’68 Comeback Special,” “Elvis Aloha from Hawaii” and both the broadcast & unedited versions of “Elvis by the Presleys.”
Programming on June 28, 2022, was a fascinating mixed bag, starting with a 1970 John Wayne anti-communist, pro-Vietnam War documentary called “No Substitute for Victory.” There is a couple of hours of “The Beverly Hillbillies, several hours of “Elvis by the Presleys,” a show called “Legends of Country Comedy,” the documentary “Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music,” “Country Icon: Tammy Wynette,” three overnight showings of the “Elvis ’68 Comeback Special,” the documentary “Elvis on Elvis,” a pair of Muddy Waters live performance films, “Lone Ranger” television episodes, “Flash Gordon” television episodes and then a series of western movies.
There’s a lot of Elvis content in that 24-hour block, but the rest of it seems designed to replicate the experience of staying up all night at home with the King in his Graceland mansion’s TV Room, restlessly flipping channels and talking to the screen.
The folks behind the Elvis Presley Channel promise that they’ll refresh the content each month, so there will always be something new to watch. If the new “Elvis” movie and this streaming channel don’t offer enough of the King, Presley fans can observe the 45th anniversary of his passing Aug. 9-17 at Graceland, and Netflix is set to premiere an animated action-comedy series called “Agent King.”
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