If you like the sensationalist content of Reelz, there’s no reason you need to stick with cable to enjoy it. Read on to learn your options.
In a hurry? Reelz isn’t widely supported in the streaming industry, but a few great services offer it:
- DIRECTV STREAM: Transition from cable easily with Reelz and ~80 other channels. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
- Sling TV: Get Reelz with the Hollywood Extra add-on with any of its low-cost base plans. Save 50% on Sling TV now!
- Philo: Add Reelz to this super-low-cost streaming service. Try Philo free for 7 days.
You’re waiting in line at the grocery store, and it’s taking forever. What’s your convenient, reliable source of entertainment?
You don’t have to admit it to us, but you know you read them: the supermarket tabloid headlines. Mmm, feel that sweet sweet schadenfreude. And that same irresistible, victimless emotional rubbernecking instinct is exactly why people watch Reelz.
What Is Reelz
Reelz was founded as ReelzChannel in 2006 by Hubbard Broadcasting, which also owns the art-focused Ovation. Originally, it covered a lot of the same material as E! — movie reviews, entertainment news, and red carpet coverage of awards.
The name was shortened to Reelz in 2012. Over time, it’s narrowed its focus to the tragic, the morbid, and the salacious stories of famous people from actors to presidents.
The true-crime genre, in vogue on and off for decades, is currently experiencing a high in popularity. This is reflected in the present spate of murder and real-life mystery channels: A+E’s Crime + Investigation, Discovery’s Investigation Discovery (ID), NBCUniversal’s Oxygen, and Dan Abrams’s Law + Crime.
Networks covering celebrity lifestyles (and shenanigans), such as PeopleTV and E! are addictive guilty-pleasure fodder. Reelz double-dips, so to speak, by attracting fans of both true crime and celebrity gossip and goings-on.
By combining the two, it manages to stand out from channels that focus on one or the other. Plus, the majority of its content is originally-produced, so it’s not just another Law & Order rerun factory.
Reelz’s most popular shows tend toward the sensationalist docusoap end of documentaries. They are entertaining, but you’re not likely to discover who really killed Kennedy or anything. It’s more along the lines of The Smoking Gun covering murders instead of shoplifting and drunk driving arrests.
They also have shows about scandal without the murder, if you prefer your scuttlebutt sans blood. And there are COPS and COPS Reloaded for an extra hardcore dose of reality.
Featured series include:
- Autopsy: The Last Hours Of: A forensic pathologist examines celebrity deaths, usually ones that were sudden, early, or mysterious. The current season’s documentaries include Grace Kelly, Whitney Houston, and Tom Petty.
- Friends Speak: Friends of notorious criminals or their victims are interviewed. Current subjects include Bobbi Kristina Brown and Carole Baskin.
- Murder Made Me Famous: A deep dive with People crime reporter Steve Helling into high profile murders and what creates a celebrity criminal. Upcoming episodes feature the Menendez brothers, the DC Sniper, and the BTK Killer.
- The Price of Fame: A look at the dark side of celebrity, examining the tragic aspects of the lives — and deaths, where applicable — of various entertainers. Celebs covered include Angelina Jolie, Robin Williams, Patrick Swayze, and Carrie Fisher.
- The Real Story Of: The true stories behind “inspired by real events” movies. Films picked apart include Munich, Donnie Brascoe, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lone Survivor.
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Reelz isn’t the most ubiquitous channel, but it’s not super-obscure, either. It’s a pay channel, but you don’t need to pay cable’s high prices or commit to their long contract periods.
These streaming services all carry Reelz for cheaper than your average cable or satellite service and you pay month-to-month. Cancel anytime.
The streaming version of DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM leans on its pre-existing longstanding partnerships with content creators and distributors (NBCUniversal, Paramount Global, Discovery, etc) to give you a wide variety of the most popular channels.
The base tier, the Entertainment Package, is $74.99/mo and includes Reelz and its sister-channel Ovation, E!, ID, and roughly 80 other networks.
All plans come with unlimited DVR storage (online orders) and streaming on unlimited devices. See our DIRECTV STREAM review for more details.
Sling TV is a bit more complicated, but the flexibility can be worth the extra decision-making. First, you choose a base package for $40.00/mo. For Reelz fans, we recommend Sling Blue, which has has 40+ channels including ID, E!, and Oxygen.
Then you can customize your package with add-ons and premiums. The Hollywood Extra includes Reelz, Start TV, FXM, and more movie-centric networks for $6/mo.
The Sling Blue plan comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage and streaming on up to 3 devices at once. There are more details in our Sling TV review.
Philo likes to keep it simple. It’s got one package with 60+ channels for only $25/mo. The lineup includes Crime + Investigation, ID, Law & Crime, and PeopleTV. But if you subscribe to the Movies & More add-on (just $3/mo additional), you get Reelz, plus Cinémoi, HDNet Movies, MGM HD, and Sony Movies.
Other Ways to Watch
- Reelz Now: Reelz Now lets you watch Reelz content on-demand, but you have to log in with your TV provider. Note this only provides on-demand movies and episodes (like Netflix), not a live channel (with a schedule).
- Stand-Alone Subscription: Subscribe to the Reelz app through Amazon Prime Video Channels or the Roku Channel Store for $1.99/mo.
- Free Ad-Supported Streaming Sites: Most of the major free ad-supported web/app-based services have a Reelz channel: Xumo, The Roku Channel (not to be confused with the Roku Channel Store), Tubi, Redbox, IMDB TV (on Amazon.com), and Pluto TV. Note this will not be the same as the Reelz channel you get with a pay service. Content may be limited and will reflect older episodes.
TVs and Devices to Stream Reelz
All the major streaming services support the most popular devices in use. The ones we’ve discussed support the following:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Android mobile
- iOS devices
- Web browsers.
Sling and DIRECTV STREAM support Samsung smart TVs. Sling and Philo support Android TV-based devices.
Sling supports a number of other devices including LG and VIZIO smart TVs as well as Xbox and Oculus gaming systems.
See our streaming service reviews for more details.
Superpower Your Live TV Streaming With a VPN
You can’t beat a VPN for privacy, security, and access. We have used them for years as an important part of our streaming toolkit and we recommend ExpressVPN.
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So go ahead, roll around in all that delicious sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll scandal with Reelz, and see if truth really is stranger than fiction.
Sign up for one of the services above and check out your favorite celeb’s last hours — and leave your cable bill DOA.
What is the difference between Reelz Now and Reelz apps on Fire TV?
Most streaming platforms, including Amazon Fire TV and Roku, support both Reelz Now and Reelz, and it can get confusing as to which is which. We’re going to get a little technical here, so stick with us:
- Reelz Now is the app/web-based on-demand service that you sign into with your TV provider. It uses the TV Everywhere system, which is a protocol supported by most pay channels and most pay TV providers to allow you to access channels and on-demand content from that channel on different platforms (for example, watch TV on your computer or phone instead of your TV). If you don’t have a pay TV provider in the form of a cable, telecom, satellite, or streaming TV subscription, you can’t use it.
- Reelz is the one you want if you don’t have or want a TV provider and you want to watch Reelz (the live channel, not just on-demand). It’s currently $1.99/mo, and available on Amazon Prime Video Channels or the Roku Channel Store. Just subscribe, and the channel will be added to your available content on that platform.
How can I watch other channels beside Reelz without cable?
Check out these guides:
Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord
- Pick the right streaming service
- Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
- Supercharge your internet provider
That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!
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