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HGTV Has Designs on Contests

Dec 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

When the economy turns bad, what’s a lifestyle network supposed to do?
The new management at HGTV is planning to add more reality to its real estate shows and make its design shows more competitive.
“One of the first things that we wanted to do right was to step up the amount of design competition on the air,” said Jim Samples, who was named president of HGTV last year. “We had such good success with ‘Design Star,’ but it really was the only design competition show.”
Mr. Samples said one of his first actions was to move forward with “Summer Showdown,” a series that pits the network’s top designers against one another. “We’re happy with the way that went and so we commissioned more of those,” he said.
But while the network wants to do more design shows, it also has ordered four more of the real estate shows that account for a good part of its schedule.
Despite the housing market crash, HGTV has held up, in terms of both ratings and revenues.
Response to Recession
“Surprisingly, HGTV has not been hit harder than other cable networks,” said Derek Baine, analyst with SNL Kagan. “They said they have shifted the programming to respond to the recession.”
“I think that they’re reading the market correctly,” said Tom Weeks, senior VP at media buyer Starcom. “They’re being true not only to their brand but to what the everyday consumer or viewer is experiencing .”
Kagan projects that HGTV, the No. 15 ad-supported cable network in prime time, will generate $605 million in ad revenues in 2008, up from $555.8 million in 2007. With the recession hitting harder next year, Kagan expects HGTV’s ad sales to be flat to slightly down in 2009.
In its real estate shows, “We’re going to be presenting [even more of a] slice of life in terms of adapting to what’s happening with the current financial times,” said Freddy James, who was named senior VP of program development and production in October.
The new shows, launching Jan. 1, are “The Unsellables,” “Desperate to Buy,” “Income Property” and “The Property Shop.
Also in the works is a limited series called “The Big Payoff.” The winner of that show gets his or her mortgage paid off.

20 Comments

  1. HGTV feeds my interior design addiction!
    Since putting my home on the market in late July, I rarely move the channel from HGTV. I’ve always loved home design and decorating and have been shopping and staging for family and friends many years.
    Keep the shows coming and if you are ever in need of a fresh face to host a show, look me up!
    Twila
    Columbia, SC

  2. We love your show. We have done numerous updates and remodeling jobs on our home. We are now considering building an in ground swimming pool. We are researching the pros and cons now. would love to see more outdoor remodels. How about building this for me and i would pay the materials.

  3. I have a question…What happened to last year’s winner on the design star contest? I have not seen anthing abour her upcoming design show!!!

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