Fine Living's Year 2 Will Get More Original


With one year under its belt, Fine Living is hoping to expand its subscriber base by creating more original programming and specials.

Fine Living president Ken Solomon would not disclose the lifestyle network's programming budget, but said the channel would look to add more series to its 24-hour original programming lineup during its sophomore campaign.

"We will produce 40 original series by the end of the year, and distribute a new original special every week," Solomon said. "We have a very cost-effective model of programming — we don't spend any more or less than our sister services spend on their programming."

Parent Scripps Networks also owns cable channels Home & Garden Television, Food Network and Do It Yourself.

Fine Living's series pipeline includes Best For Less, which will instruct viewers on how to shop below cost for top-line items in major cities; and The Wine Show,
featuring former master sommelier Andrea Immer, who promises to demystify the art of selecting a bottle of wine.

The network is also in "serious discussions" with top restaurateur Michel Chiarello about creating a new series, Solomon said.

The announcements follow Fine Living's first anniversary, a year that saw it reach the 14 million-subscriber mark — 10 million direct-broadcast satellite homes and 4 million cable households. Solomon said the channel is on pace to pass 20 million homes by year-end.

Solomon attributes the network's success to its original programming lineup. While the network is not rated, he said that programs like The Genuine Article, a look at the production of quality products; Radical Sabbatical, highlighting people who've pursued their personal passions; and the recently launched home-decorating show Sheila Bridges: Designer Living have resonated with viewers.

"We are giving people what they want to see. We don't have to guess what they want, but we only have to be good listeners," Fine Living senior vice president of programming production and network strategy Charles Segars said. "We took Scripps Networks' programming legacy and put it into the one category that everyone is thinking about everyday, which is 'How do I make my life a little better?' "

The network brand has also gained some awareness: Officials noted that an ICR Centris consumer poll shows 22 percent of national consumers are aware of the network, despite its low cable penetration. That awareness evidently has been reinforced by cross-channel promotion on its sister channels.