New York -- Like the interior-decorating and
exterior-landscaping projects shown on the network, Home & Garden Television is
freshening up its programming, chiefly in primetime, for the fall season.
HGTV, the fall season of which begins in October, plans
more than 800 hours of new programming, said Burton Jablin, the network's senior vice
president of programming and production. Jablin added that its schedule will be at least
90 percent original overall and 100 percent in primetime. That total will include at least
10 new series and 30 one-hour specials, he said, not to mention additional episodes for 35
returning series -- all chiefly in primetime.
In broad strokes, Jablin explained that primetime will
remain heavily lifestyle-oriented and shot on location, while daytime will remain more
practical and studio-based.
In one departure, he said, HGTV will "try to
differentiate mornings and afternoons more," by incorporating more lifestyle product
in the afternoons as a transition into primetime. Its daytime target audience is women 25
and older, while primetime skews to adults 25-plus.
On weekends, when it targets men 25 and up, HGTV will
continue to feature gardening and landscaping shows on Saturday afternoons and interior
decorating on Sundays, but with "some tweaking." In primetime, it will beef up
its "Design Time Saturday Night" block with more originals, Jablin said.
When the fast-growing network's reach virtually
doubled to 41 million-plus homes over the past year or so, even its rerun programming was
perceived as new to those additional subscribers. But now, the network needs to be seen as
fresh by all of its subscribers, he said.
The specials include a bunch of higher-profile,
"But we're not going tabloid. When we go into
celebrities' bedrooms, it's not to find out who they're sleeping with, but
what they're sleeping on," Jablin said.
Primetime shows range from Model Homes, featuring
ways that supermodels decorate their homes or apartments, to TV Momsat Home
and Athletes at Home, for Mother's Day and Father's Day in 1999,
Some primetime series will be spinoffs from current ones. Landscaping
for Less, for instance, was spawned by Decorating Cents, Jablin said, and New
Spaces will revamp one room at a time, whereas its parent series, Before &
After, focused on remodeling homes in their entirety.
Still other new primetime series (all with tentative
titles) include: Vacation Living, a lifestyle series; If These Walls Could Talk,
tracing "the roots of people's homes" back 50 or more years; and a series
of profiles of great artisans and craftsmen, probably including "Masters"in
Way to Grow, a daytime gardening strip, and The Fix,
a do-it-yourself series on repairs doable during a weekend, also are in the works.
Although HGTV and Food Network merged their affiliate-sales
forces earlier this year, and they have since cross-promoted on each other's air, the
two sister networks have only worked on one cross-programming idea, with Food contributing
cooking segments to HGTV's recently produced special, Best of Jamaican Design,
The two networks are also "exploring the idea of doing
joint contests," said Steve Newman, HGTV's senior vice president of ad sales.