Scripps Networks Recruits 'Digital Lifestyle Experts'

Trio known for cooking, style, travel content signed on to aid online efforts
Ryan VD web.jpg

Scripps Networks has announced the first three of what it says will be 40 or more "digital lifestyle experts" hired to help fill a growing need for ad-generating digital content in food, home, travel and other genres -- and maybe find future stars for Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel and its other TV networks in the process.

“This new division within Scripps Lifestyle Studios will be the home of the brightest and best lifestyle experts from around the world, providing creative and commercial opportunities for the next generation of designers, chefs, travel enthusiasts and more,” Vikki Neil, general manager of Scripps Lifestyle Studios, said in a release. “Discovering and creating stars is something brands like HGTV and Food Network have been doing for years, across all platforms, and this concentrated effort will further expand our digital offerings and make talent more accessible.”

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Scripps has a growing need to meet advertiser demand for digital content and to feed platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram, Kathleen Finch, SNI's chief programming, content and brand officer, said in an interview.

In the first quarter of 2017, the lifestyle studios created more than 1,000 digital video assets that generated 3 billion video views, she said, with the numbers continuing to rise. Scripps said the studios in May delivered more than 1.5 billion total video views and hosted more than 550 million visitors to its digital platforms.

"These content pieces all need people behind them," Finch said. And Scripps network shows are built around their talent, so Finch and company are always looking for new stars. "We know how to build lifestyle stars at Scripps; that's what we do," she said.

Finch said Scripps has 40 or more experts in its sights and will be naming more of them soon.

The three new experts named and described by Scripps today are:

Lazarus Lynch – a young chef and culinary personality who was raised in New York City and discovered a passion for southern food through his relationship with his father. Through his video series Son of a Southern Chef, his personality and down-to-earth approach to cooking has earned him a loyal following of fans across the world. Lynch has appeared on Food Network’s The Kitchen, Chopped Junior and Beat Bobby Flay.

Maria Antoinette Loggins – a new contributor to HGTV’s Handmade social and YouTube channel, and is also the creator of MariaAntoinetteTV, a YouTube channel dedicated to hair, make-up, fashion and DIY. She's an artist in general and has a penchant for teaching herself how to create new things, from fabulous hairstyles to tiny baby moccasins. She is a wife, mother and creator with a dream of keeping life simple, fun and memorable.

Ryan Van Duzer (pictured) – A travel journalist and bicycle enthusiast from Colorado with a keen sense of adventure. In the past, he’s hosted Travel Channel’s Bike Tour of California Wineries web series, as well as Microbrew Madness and America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions. He has a strong following on YouTube and Instagram.