Genevieve Gorder is working harder to get noticed on HGTV.
The designer, who made her reputation with TLC's Trading Spaces and Town Haul, has a new show on HGTV called Dear Genevieve, tackling design issues from viewers.
It launched in a prime location - on New Year's Day, after the Tournament of Roses parade telecast. Two million viewers caught the initial episode, at 1 p.m., and about 1.57 million watched the one that ran right after it, according to live-plus-same-day Nielsen figures.
Since then, initial airings at Dear Genevieve's regular time (Mondays at 8:30 p.m.) have ranged from about 809,000 average viewers to about 1.15 million. That's on par with HGTV's primetime average (about 1.12 million in January).
"She's doing OK," Jon Steinlauf, senior vice president of ad sales at HGTV parent Scripps Networks, said last week.
But HGTV has more in mind for the tall blonde in cowboy boots. "We see her as a future star on the network," Steinlauf said. "Genevieve is being launched aggressively right now."
On Feb. 8, she was featured in an HGTV Showdown episode, teamed with Carter Oosterhouse (Carter Can) against Monica Pederson (Designed to Sell) and Eric Stromer (Over Your Head) over who could best remake a Maryland couple's family room.
This summer, she'll be a judge on HGTV's Design Star, a competition show, alongside Vern Yip and Candice Olson (Divine Design), another designer and host HGTV wants to promote.
"It's been an area we're concerned about," Steinlauf said. "Television is very much of a star-driven medium."
Scripps's Food Network has benefited from brand-name talent - such as Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay - Steinlauf noted. "Food's talent is so strong right now. You can go 10 to 15 deep and they're all first namers."
Gorder's got a head start: Her first name's in the show title.
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