2006–08: Five Life
A collage of excerpt images from 5STAR’s launch as Five Life. Note that the images date back to c. October 2006.
The channel was intended to be a female-oriented channel with an emphasis on lifestyle programming. Channel 5 announced that programming on launch would include The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Love My Way, Windfall, Angela's Eyes, and a weekday double-bill of the chat show Trisha Goddard. On 16 October 2006, a day following the channel's launch, Australian soap opera Home and Away began airing from episode 4212 (Series 19). New episodes are shown Monday to Friday in a 'First Look' screening with episodes following the Channel 5 airing. Repeats of popular female-skewing dramas, both nationally and internationally produced, were soon acquired. Following the channel's launch, a time-shift version of the channel was launched in summer 2007.
Five Life relaunched as Fiver in 2008 while still targeting female audiences, the channel was re-positioned with a "younger, faster, louder" concept, meant to compete with Sky Living. On-air presentation reflected this shift with a "cursor" motif, typing out words reflecting programs and current events.
In 2011, the channel was re-launched again, as 5* (pronounced "Five Star"). The new brand focused on a "fun-loving" concept, with initial acquisitions including $h*! My Dad Says, Better with You and Parenthood. On 11 April 2011, 5* reduced its broadcast hours to 13:00 to 00:00, replacing the hours withdrawn with more teleshopping. When some of these new programs failed to make much of an impact in the channel's ratings, several were dropped and replaced by new locally produced and acquired programming. These included the American series 8 Simple Rules, 10 Things I Hate About You, Alphas and The Lying Game.
In 2012, in consort with Channel 5's acquisition of the series, 5* began airing the Big Brother companion show Big Brother: Live from the House, which aired 60 minutes of live feed following every eviction show. In 2013, after Live from the House set ratings records for the channel, the programme was expanded to two hours nightly. However, ratings were at a share below that of the channel's average, with just 70,000 watching the first live feeds. Subsequently, the live feeds were shut down and the spin-off show last aired in June 2013. Also in 2013, American Idol moved to 5* from ITV2. Continuing the channel's venture into reality based programming, Tallafornia was acquired from Ireland's TV3 and this was soon joined by Bar Rescue, World's Worst Tenants and Top 20 Funniest in 2014.
The current schedule includes a variety of programming, including the aforementioned reality series, as well as the first-run rights to Helix, the second-run rights to American series Falling Skies, Under the Dome and The Walking Dead, and Australian soap operas Home & Away and Neighbours. Popular documentary series shared with Channel 5 air throughout the daytime and primetime hours, such as The Gadget Show.
The time-shift version of the channel was shut down on 3 February 2014 and replaced by Channel 5 +24. The channel returned later, launching on Freesat on 16 September 2014 and Sky in the UK and Ireland on 4 November 2014, replacing BET +1 on the platform. The addition of the channel in Ireland was an error, thus it was removed on 6 November 2014.
On 11 February 2016, as part of an overall re-branding of Channel 5's networks following their acquisition by Viacom, the channel was re-branded as 5Star.