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HGTV Ready to Ambush Viewers

2/14/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

In shaping a new round of original
series, HGTV is taking cues from viewers,
who want their home and hearth wishes to
come true.

“HGTV is a powerful brand in the marketplace,”
general manager Kathleen Finch said.
“We’ve listened to viewers and what they say
they want — and that’s having our talent come
to their homes and provide them with wishfulfillment programming.”

Making those dreams a reality for some,
HGTV expects to serve up 20 new series and
specials in 2011.

New series including HGTV’d, Room
Crashers
and Run My Makeover are in production,
headed for summer debuts.

“We’ve signed or are in the process of signing
14 more people to join our on-air talent team.
HGTV is going to green-light many more shows,”
Finch said. “We’re in full-throttle mode.”

FANS GET ‘HDTV’D’

HGTV’d, coming in June, sends a different
network star traveling across America in a
specially-outfitted 18-wheeler, surprising
fans with makeovers and over-the top home
transformations. HGTV began taking submissions,
requiring mini-essays, plus photo
and video uploads, on Jan. 1 and had 15,000
entries that month alone.

Makeovers will yield designs from such network
talent as David Bromstad (Color Splash),
John Gidding (Curb Appeal: The Block), Genevieve
Gorder (Dear Genevieve), Sabrina Soto (Get
It Sold and Real Estate Intervention
) and Vern
Yip (HGTV Design Star).

Initial stops in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas
yielded projects including a new family room
and an outdoor karaoke stage, Finch said.

Finch, who believes HGTV’d will be a hit,
said 13 episodes were ordered for a June premiere.
“Then, we’ll take a slight break and do a
second batch.”

The Scripps Networks outlet recorded modest
gains in primetime and total-day viewership
to 1.23 million and 688,000, respectively,
during 2010. January brought its highest-ever
primetime average audience, ages 18 and over,
at 361,000, officials said, though Nielsen figures
indicate total viewers averaged 1.34 million, flat
with January 2010.

HGTV continues to tout its upscale female
audience, saying its women viewers aged 25 to
54 have the seventh-highest median income
among ad-supported cable networks.

Room Crashers (July), with HGTV Design
Star
runner-up Todd Davis, will ambush viewers
in furniture or antique stores or home-furnishings
outlets. “We’re going to tap them on
the shoulder, and if they’re willing, go to their
homes and work on a new master suite or living
room,” Finch said. It debuts in July.

Tying into HGTV’s online community, Run
My Makeover
(July) will offer an interactive
experience for viewers who watch the network
and fantasize about being a designer.

Visitors to HGTV.com/RunMyMakeover
can view photos and videos of a homeowner’s
room and then decide which design elements,
such as lighting, flooring and paint
colors, will be installed. Host Alexi Panos and
her design team and the homeowner will integrate
the winning selections into the space
— regardless of the outcome.

“They will get a full makeover, even if it’s
not necessarily what they had in mind,”
Finch said.

DISNEY IN THE YARD

In My Yard Goes Disney, HGTV brings the
imagineers of Walt Disney World directly
to homeowners. Topiary depicting a favorite
pet or a Swiss Family Robinson-inspired
tree house are on tap. “This is truly a case of
taking a little of that Disney magic home,”
Finch said.

HGTV is presenting Cari Cucksey in Cash
and Cari
and has lined up Emily Henderson,
the season-five HGTV Design Star winner, to
helm Secrets From a Stylist.

Americans are ready to reinvest even more
in their homes, Finch said, and “HGTV viewers
come to us for ideas because they love their
homes and want to make them better.”

June