Upfronts 2014: HGTV Adds 'Ellen's Design Challenge'

DeGeneres Series Highlights SNI Upfront Event
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Ellen DeGeneres has signed on as executive producer for a six-episode design competition series on HGTV, Scripps Networks revealed at its upfront event in New York. The series, Ellen’s Design Challenge, is produced in part by her production company, A Very Good Production, and scheduled to premiere in 2015. The show will feature six contestants designing and building furniture as they compete for a cash prize.  

“There has been a lot of dancing in our halls since we shared that we will be collaborating with Ellen,” Kathleen Finch, president, HGTV and DIY Network, said in a release. “When she talked to us about her love of buying and renovating homes, her personal passion for the creative process of furniture design emerged as something that she wanted to explore more. Since HGTV is the ultimate forum in this space, and since no other network can deliver an audience who is as enthusiastic as she is about the creative process, we just had to make it happen.”

Scripps Networks also detailed new series on Food Network, Cooking Channel and the DIY Network following Cablevision's decision to add the latter two networks to its Optimum TV lineup.

DIY has followed HGTV's lead by enlisting celebrity personalities to grow its “celebrity home rehab” franchise. The network will follow William Shatner’s home renovation in October’s premiere of The Shatner Project, and Daryl Hall’s renovation of an 18th-century Connecticut home will be featured in July’s premiere of Daryl’s Restoration Over-Hall

Food Network and Cooking Channel also look to increase their originals with 35 new series on the table for the upcoming year. 

“Increasing our development slate to satiate the audience demand for entertaining and informative programming has been our focus,” Brooke Johnson, president of Food Network & Cooking Channel, said in a release. “Food Network will be launching new shows we believe fans are hungry for while Cooking Channel offers an exciting complement of flavors and cuisines; all-in-all 2014 represents a year where we have something to offer for every taste.” 

New series on tap for Food Network’s prime time include Kitchen Casino, a cooking competition show hosted by Bill Rancic, and America’s Best Cook, a cooking competition show featuring Food Network chefs Cat Cora, Tyler Florence, Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon. Rewrapped, the offshoot of junk food series Unwrapped, finds Joey Fatone hosting and Marc Summers serving as head judge as contestants incorporate classic snack items into new recipes. 

New series on Cooking Channel include Siba’s Table, which features Siba Mtongana exploring her native South Africa’s local cuisine, and Real Girl’s Kitchen with Haylie Duff, which offers an inside look at the actor and artist’s life. 

Food Network and Cooking Channel also plan to return over 30 popular series to the networks. 

New programming announcements continued at the Scripps Networks upfront event with the unveiling of a development slate of eight original series potentially for Travel Channel. The network greenlit eight pilots for production, including Breaking Borders, Guiding Alaska and Adventure Capitalists (all working titles). 

“This has been an exciting time where we’ve discovered a treasure trove of compelling storytellers and inspirational talent,” Ross Babbit, SVP of Programming & Development, Travel Channel, said in a release. “We’re excited to move ahead with our new development slate that not only spotlights a fresh group of authentic talent and experts in global locations, but also delivers an immersive travel entertainment experience.” 

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