Getting Ahead With Style

Apr 26, 2009  •  Post A Comment

To Salaam Coleman Smith, president of the Style Network, putting together a schedule is a lot like putting together a great outfit.
“You kind of do the high-low. Mixing high-end designer shoes with a fabulous outfit from Target, you can really put together a great outfit,” Ms. Smith said.
Similarly, for a developing network like Style, which programs about 90% original shows, “Our programming schedule is a blend of shows that are on the higher end of the cost range, and some shows that are more cost-effective and affordable,” she said.
There’s also a mix of the new and the old.
New is “Giuliana & Bill,” featuring Giuliana and Bill Rancic. She’s an anchor on Style’s big-sister network E! in Los Angeles, he’s the former “Apprentice” winner based in Chicago. Their 2007 wedding was shown in a popular Style special, leading the network to eye the couple’s long-distance marriage for a series.
“For her, there’s a lot of fish-out-of-water moments because she’s new to being a wife. She didn’t know how to cook,” Ms. Smith says. “She’s very much a modern woman in that she’s been a career girl for a very long time. That’s a shift that a lot of women go through.”
The network also will be launching “Mothers and Daughters of Dallas” (working title) this fall, focusing on an exclusive, upscale community.
“We hope that viewers at home will see something that … reminds [them] of a relationship that they’ve had with their mother or daughter,” Ms. Smith said.
Style has renewed eight series, including “Ruby,” featuring Ruby Gettinger, who lost more than 100 pounds during season one.
Other renewed shows include “The Dish,” “How Do I Look?,” “Split Ends,” “Clean House,” “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway,” “Clean House Comes Clean” and “Dress My Nest.”
The renewals indicate that Style has a high batting average in developing shows that resonate with its viewers, Ms. Smith said. Several series are nearing their 100th episode, she said.
Ms. Smith said parent company Comcast is investing in the Style Network and increasing its programming budget.
“We’re kind of a recession-proof brand, because women always want to look good and women always want to feel good,” she said. “They may want to do it at a cheaper price point, but they always want to look and feel good.”
Going into the upfront, Style is launching a new slogan: “Before Meets After.”
“We are the home of makeovers, we are about transformation, we are about the before and the after,” Ms. Smith said. “We always like to say that everyone has an after in them, and so our job is to give people the tips and the stories and the inspiration and the fun and the humor and celebrate the journey that we’re all on to transform ourselves and reach our greatest potential.”
Style, the No. 60-ranked basic cable network among total viewers in primetime, lured its biggest audience ever in the first quarter, up 5% from a year ago. The network focuses on young female viewers, particularly upscale women. In the knot of networks aiming for young women, Style said its audience has the highest median income.
“There is a lot of advertiser demand for this category and the viewers that we represent because women are key decision makers, and women love style and are predisposed to our category,” Ms. Smith said.


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