HGTV Revamps With Personality

HGTV in 2010 will turn the screws on a new programming focus beginning in January that emphasizes personalities along with its core building and decorating programming.
The network - which in 2009 is averaging 1.2 million viewers in primetime, an increase of 9% over last year with its home buying, decorating and improvement shows like My First Place and Divine Design - will look to increase its viewership by adding more personality-driven programming, according to senior vice president of program development and production Freddy James. First out of the gate is the Jan. 1 premiere of The Outdoor Room With Jamie Durie, featuring the Australian-bred home designer who helps homeowners create their ultimate outdoor sanctuary .
Among other shows set to debut in January is Curb Appeal: The Block, in which architect and designer John Gidding and his team budget $20,000 to spruce up neighborhood houses in an effort to enhance the property value of the entire block.
James said that the more personality-oriented shows follow the appeal of the network's most popular competition show, Design Star. The show's season-four winner, Antonio Ballatore, is currently in production for his new series, The Antonio Treatment, which is scheduled to premiere in March.
"What you will also see next year is us adding more personality driven shows - not only with our hosts, but also our homeowners," James said. "It's not just about how the home is changing, but it's about how their lives change in those environments. By telling those stories and broadening that net of storytelling, we feel like we'll be able to serve our audiences in a much better way."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.