Judy Girard Tops HGTV

Judy Girard is packing up her shopping bags and moving into the home-and-garden space.

After helping remake Scripps’ retail network Shop at Home, Girard will become president of Scripps’ premier network HGTV. Girard succeeds Burton Jablin, who earlier this year was upped to executive VP of programming and content for all of Scripps Networks.

Girard was president of Scripps’ Food Network when the company tapped the company veteran in January 2004 to head up Shop at Home. Scripps acquired the majority rights for the home-shopping network in Oct. 2002 and invested some $285 million in making it a competitor to already established channels QVC and HSN.

Taking advantage of Scripps’ patience with its emerging networks, Girard has overhauled Shop at Home, improving the network’s infrastructure, call center, warehouse and IT systems. She hired a senior staff, used Scripps’ portfolio of cable networks for talent and merchandise, and made over its web site. The network has also grown from 45 million to 53 million homes.

In her new role at HGTV, Girard moves a bigger network in some 90 million homes. She starts Nov. 14. Scripps will likely name Girard's successor in the next two weeks.

Before Shop at Home, Girard helped expand Food Network’s reach to a mainstream audience, adding some 40 million subscribers and branching out from its slate of cooking shows into entertainment.

In addition to its cable networks, Scripps also owns newspapers, broadcast stations, e-commerce ventures, licensing and syndication. HGTV averaged 854,000 total viewers in prime during third quarter, down 4 percent from last year.