Travel Channel is getting ready for some football.
The National Football League will announce a deal with the
network to provide unprecedented access to one of its teams as it travels to away
games. NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland
Browns will premiere Dec. 4 at 10 p.m. and follow the Browns as it prepares
to play in New York, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, Denver and Pittsburgh.
NFL Road Tested is
being coproduced by NFL Films and RIVR Media.
For Travel Channel, the opportunity to work with the most
powerful force in television programming comes as it looks to replace its most
prominent personality, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who has joined CNN. The
NFL programming is expected to appeal to Travel Channel's male-skewing
After the loss of Bourdain, Travel Channel re-signed Adam
Richman, popular host of Man v. Food
and Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in
America. Losing both Bourdain and Richman would have been difficult for
both the network and its sponsors to swallow.
Travel Channel's connection to the NFL comes via the Browns'
new owner Jimmy Haslam, a prominent businessman from Knoxville, Tenn., where
Travel Channel parent Scripps Networks Interactive, is based. Scripps has been working to rebuild the
Travel Channel since acquiring it from Cox Communications in 2009.
Versus Olympic competition during the third quarter, Travel
Channel's viewership among adults 18-49 was down 7%. But Travel Channel's
revenues were up 10% during the quarter.
"This show will offer viewers a great perspective of the
inner-workings of an NFL team and what it takes to support a team," Haslam said
in a statement. "With Travel Channel working alongside NFL Films and RIVR
Media, we expect that this will be first-class production. We are excited
about what this will mean to Northeast Ohio, the Browns and our fans."
NFL road trips are unique and the new series will provide an
inside look at what it takes to move an entire team from city to city,
including feeding, clothing and housing six tons of humanity. It will also look
at how NFL stadiums prepare to deal with thousands of fans.
"This series is a first-of-its-kind program providing an
exclusive pass to NFL fans during the season,"
said Andy Singer, general manager of the Travel Channel. "This is an
emotionally-charged world. Now, viewers will get a never-before-seen
opportunity to see what it's like for players to live on the road, often away
from their families. We'll hear from the players themselves, coaches and
scores of support staff in multiple cities."
Singer added, "Working with the Emmy award-winning
storytellers from NFL Films, NFL Road
Tested: The Cleveland Browns will take viewers beyond the gridiron and
inside the action that happens between games as the storied franchise attempts
to return to football greatness."
"We look forward to working with Travel Channel to
bring fans a behind-the-scenes look at the logistical preparations leading into
each week's game," said Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.