Here's a repeat cheat from last year's list, copied almost word for word (with a few small additions and deletions), because everything I said then still applies. One thing you likely will not notice on any critic’s year-end list is mention of any series on any of the Scripps Networks Interactive channels, including HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, DIY and Travel Channel -- or any of their respective platforms -- even though it is darn near impossible to walk into the home of anyone outside of the media industry and its immediate environs and not find the people inside watching shows on one or more of those networks (or, at the very least, playing them as a sort of visual background music as they go about the business of their day).
I included HGTV’s House Hunters (and House Hunters International) in my Top 25 Shows of 2015 and 2016 lists because that was the show I heard the most about almost everywhere I went, from visiting family and friends in New Hampshire to talking with show-runners and others in Los Angeles. It’s included on this year’s list for that reason again, but this time it represents something more: The overall impact of all of those home arts and aspirational shows on so many of Scripps’ platforms. In fairness, there are a number of similar home-driven shows on other networks such as A&E and TLC that seem to have found loyal audiences -- especially those focused on various aspects of the burgeoning tiny house movement. But there is no arguing that Scripps owns the genre.
This is particularly true with younger viewers, especially Millennials. Earlier this year, during a Lunch at Michael's interview with Jack Myers and me, Scripps Networks Interactive COO Burton Jablin told us that he gain valuable insights into the changing tastes and interestes of younger generations through conversations with his husband's students at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville. (Jablin's husband, Barron Patterson, is a pediatrician there, as well as Vice Chair of Pediatrics and Associate Professor.) “Ten years ago everything was about Food Network; they were so fascinated that I worked for the company that had Food Network,” Jablin said. “But within the last five years or so it has shifted to HGTV. The guys and the gals, that’s what they want to ask about. I think the Millennials are beginning to fill up the 25-54 demo, which is our target. They are getting into that life stage where these things are of interest to them."
And then there are the stars of HGTV's Property Brothers, the increasingly popular Drew and Jonathan Scott. I have heard that their show is just as popular with viewers as House Hunters; Drew's very successful run this fall on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, in which he ended up in the top four (and, thus, in the semi-finals), would seem to support that. (During the competition Drew shared his thoughts about the competition with our own Steve Gidlow.)
As documented here on MediaVillage, Scripps remains very forward-thinking in all areas of media, leading rather than following across multiple digital extensions. They are especially adept at mixing and matching talent from the most popular shows on their many networks, reinforcing the concept that all of their networks exist as one dominant force in the entertainment and infotainment categories. From what I see and hear in everyday life, far away from my work in the media, the strategy seems to be working just fine. I don’t often watch Scripps programming in my free time – not with so many “buzzy” shows to keep up with under the crushing burden of so-called Peak TV – but when I do I totally get why so many people gravitate toward them as their viewing of choice.
Previously in the Top 25 Programs of 2017
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
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