DIY Adds 130 New Original Hours in Fall

Digital-cable network Do It Yourself will launch a fall lineup that contains roughly 130 hours of new original programming, including six new series and five mini-series, officials said last week.

"We want to expand our base of programming," DIY general manager Jim Zarchin said. "DIY is not just gardening and home repair, not just hammers and nails."

The new series include: Ask DIY, an interactive show to which viewers can e-mail questions to 15 experts; Car Care & Repair, a show on basic car care hosted by Trisha Hessinger; Complete Fix-It, in which projects from Time Life Inc.'s book, The Complete Fix-It, will be brought to life; Family Sports, a guide to activities for the home; In the Workshop, which offers tips on everything from building tables to storage solutions; and Just Ask Jon Eakes, in which the home-repair expert demonstrates a variety of projects.

Some of DIY's miniseries "workshops" for the fourth quarter include Build a Boat and Family Outdoors, which are both five-parters, as well as Home Office, Home Tech and Scrapbooking.

Programs from the new slate start debuting Oct. 2.

One-year-old DIY is trying to expand its programming categories beyond home repair with shows such as Car Care & Repair and Family Sports, Zarchin said. For example, Family Sports will teach viewers to install a basketball hoop and build a personal putting green.

Time Life approached DIY-which is owned by Home & Garden Television parent Scripps Networks-about creating a TV show based on The Complete Fix-It, which will be available in bookstores in October, according to Zarchin. There will also be future publishing-DIY alliances, he added.

Most of DIY's new series will air in primetime, although Ask DIY will air both Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Friday night.

With the addition of these shows this fall and early next year, DIY's schedule will have between 65 percent and 75 percent original programming, Zarchin said-a high ratio for a digital network.

In conjunction with its fall-season premiere week, DIY will relaunch its companion Web site Oct. 2, with improved navigation and search capabilities. Zarchin said he prefers to call the changes in the site a "tweaking," rather than a relaunch.

The goal was to make the site, originally "TV-centric," more "Web-centric" with the ability to be independent and stand on its own, Zarchin said.

For example, in the past, the Web site would refer to specific episodes of DIY shows. Now it will be organized by project, with detailed step-by-step instructions on 2,000 projects.

One component of Ask DIY, hosted by Chris Wragge, is live chat both during each episode and for one hour afterward on the Web site, which has averaged 5 million hits per month, according to Zarchin.

DIY expects to have 2 million subscribers by the end of the year, he said. The network is now carried by DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp., and it has carriage deals with Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Adelphia Communications Corp. DIY has a small amount of analog carriage in addition to digital berths.

DIY is also negotiating to be part of the No. 13 transponder AT & T Broadband is adding to its digital platform, Headend in the Sky, in October.