TCA: Travel Drives Into Reality Competition Genre


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 The Travel Channel will embark on its first reality competition adventure with the launch of Streets of America: The Search For America's Worst Driver.

The channel hopes the series, along with original special Ghost Adventures Live will continue to diversify its programming lineup while increasing viewership, according to Michael Klein, senior vice president of content for the Travel Channel.

Streets of America, set to debut in first quarter 2010, will pit some of the worst drivers against each other in several driving challenges across streets in several different cities. "This is a reality show where being eliminated is a good thing," said Klein of the network's first competition reality show. He added that the show allows the network to jump into the reality genre without compromising its travel-based brand.

The network's seven-hour Ghost Adventures Live special, premiering Oct. 30, also marks the network's first live event for its paranormal investigation series. The special will investigate the Trans-Alklegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, rumored to be one of America's most haunted locations.

The series will also be interactive, with viewers able to access the investigation via Webcams and online chats with the crew via the network's website. During the seven-hour lockdown, viewers will also be able to send e-mails, text messages, to the series crew Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin.

Klein said the shows will also help bring in a younger, advertiser-friendly audience to the network, which drew 465,000 viewers in primetime during the month of July, up 11% from the same period last year.

On the Travel Channel executive front, Klein said the network has yet to find a replacement for outgoing Travel Channel president and general manager Patrick Younge. He added the search may be put on hold while owner Cox Communications evaluates strategic alternatives for the Travel Channel, including joint ventures and a possible sale through Goldman Sachs & Co.