Michael Smith, the Food Network top marketer, has been named general manager of the new Cooking Channel, both at Scripps Networks Interactive.
Smith has guided Food Network's creative and brand strategies for the last 10 years, most recently served as senior vice president of marketing.
He will now oversee the development, staffing and production of the Cooking Channel, a multi-platform network that will cater to avid food lovers with informational and instructional cooking programming. Scripps said earlier this month it's reformatting Fine Living Network, in 55 million homes, into that channel next fall.
"Michael has earned the respect of everyone in the industry for his creative genius in building the Food Network name into one of the strongest brands in media as well as his leadership within cable and television," said John Lansing, president of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Scripps Networks. "He has the depth and breadth of experience needed to launch this new venture in a bold way. His strategic thinking, combined with his relationships with well-known and emerging food talent, will go a long way in making the new Cooking Channel a distinct destination for ‘foodies' everywhere."
Smith's marketing and creative teams during the last decade have won several industry awards, including the prestigious Brand Builder Award from Promax in 2003 and NAMIC's Luminary honors earlier this year. He also has been named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Minorities in Cable in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Smith is a regular speaker for groups such as the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC).
"The explosion of interest in food and cooking has been amazing, and we are perfectly positioned to build on our category dominance with the introduction of the new Cooking Channel," Smith said in the release. "The concept of the Cooking Channel has been received with such enthusiasm by our distribution partners, advertisers and talent, I am looking forward to serving up the pièce de résistance when we roll the new network out to consumers next year."
Smith earlier worked for Disney/ABC Cable Networks and for the CBS Television Network.
Brooke Johnson, president of Food Network, said in the release "Michael is a brilliant brand strategist who has helped develop some of the leading brands in cable. He also is a collaborative guy who knows how to lead people in the intense work of launching a new cable network."