Tina Rodriguez of AspireTV on Their Expanding Lifestyle Filters

By UPtv / Aspire InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Tina Rodriguez of AspireTV on Their Expanding Lifestyle Filters

AspireTV in October expanded its lifestyle filter of "Eat Well" with the premiere of G. Garvin Live!, a new series starring the renowned chef, author, host, philanthropist and James Beard nominee. Garvin was no stranger to the network when he bought the show's concept to them and, coupled with AspireTV's vision of being "a platform for Black creatives and entrepreneurs, [where you can] essentially aspire to be whatever it is that you want to aspire to," that made him a perfect fit. "The response to the show has really been amazing," said Tina Rodriguez, Senior Director, Programming & Acquisitions. "Chef G has a long history as an executive chef and had previous shows on other networks before making his home at AspireTV. His connection with the audience is a genuine one, and how he relates to what he's doing to make it feel simple and approachable, has always been one of his many strong suits."

"The feedback around G. Garvin having the show on AspireTV has been really positive," she added. "He's been a friend of AspireTV for several years. We worked with him on a cooking series called Butter + Brown that he executive produced, along with Issa Rae. It started out as an internet series till we brought it over to the linear channel. Butter + Brown were two friends from an HBCU background who love to cook. We wanted to bring them on board because they were very authentic, very much themselves, and there was such a connection. Chef G came on to help them, as a mentor, as well as an executive producer, and to show them how you produce and cook for television, then make it all look good."

Through a continued relationship with AspireTV's General Manager, Melissa Ingram, Garvin bought his idea of a simple cooking show to the network, and they loved his pitch. "We were always looking for other avenues with him," explained Rodriguez. "So, when he brought this idea to us, it was perfect in every way. He's executive producing the series also, so this is all him. While it's not a 'live show' per se, it's live in terms of the energy and what's happening. There isn't a lot of cutting and fixing and here's this beautiful meal. He wanted to show the mistakes like if something fell so that you really have a sense that you don't have to be perfect, you just have to be you, and he can take you along for the ride."

"He does have a couple of guests or friends he brings on," she added. "One is a vegan chef, and what also works is the fact that being a lifestyle network, we're gearing up and beginning to produce more content in this area, particularly as it relates to Black experiences. There haven't been a lot of shows [on television] that have shown Black hosts in all of these various lifestyle spaces, and we're really excited to be able to essentially create what that looks like on AspireTV."

Through its lifestyle filters, Rodriguez is delighted with what's in store at AspireTV. "We work through those filters and our mantra," she shared. "One [is] 'Eat Well.' Under that filter Butter + Brown and G. Garvin Live! would live. We also have 'Live Your Life,' with series like Just Angela, with influencer and vlogger Angela Simmons. The Haqq sisters, Malika and Khadijah Haqq (Side by Side) are in our 'Live Space' talking about their life experiences. Then we have 'Shop,' [where viewers can] shop with purpose through the Aspire Marketplace."

"We know our audience," she continued. "They think about what it is they're buying and who they're buying from. All that's part of the AspireTV DNA, really supporting Black businesses. We do that through our series Unboxed with Nikki Chu, which is home design. And we have a new series launching next year called Chaos to Calm, debuting in January, which we're super excited about. We have these three amazing women with a home organization company called The Order Project, and what they do is unique and extraordinary in that space. We had to bring them on and share how they help so many people organize their lives. They come in, tackle one client's problem in a day which culminates in a dramatic makeover reveal, along with helpful tips and advice for viewers. We also have celebrity guests including Grammy-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin and NBA star Thaddeus Young, which is really fun."

"When we launched the network in 2012 the idea was that we wanted to be this platform for anyone and everyone that had something that they wanted to aspire to," she added. "We continue to air the I Aspire profiles that feature men, women and children from all over the country aspiring to be either the next great actor or musician or beyond. So, it's really been a place where we say, 'Come as your authentic self.' That's what we are bringing to you -- our authentic self as a network and brand. It's a place that introduces you to amazing Black talent and Black artists that are out there, along with regular folks that are just doing it and making things happen."

G. Garvin Live! is telecast Sundays, 8 p.m. ET, on AspireTV.

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