Lifestyle Productions Still Big for Tremendous

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With demand for food and lifestyle programming steady and rising, suppliers such as Tremendous Entertainment have been able to weather the choppy seas of unscripted production.

The company, founded 20 years ago and based in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie, Minn., is best known for the “Bizarre Foods” franchise, which has run on Travel Channel for 12 years. Roughly 50% of the company’s activity is centered on food and lifestyle.

“There’s a lot of room in the marketplace,” says Colleen Needles Steward, president and CEO of Tremendous. “We’re taking people to the far corners of the world. We’re not teaching people how to prepare meals—we’re taking them to the places where [the meals are] eaten.”

Integrating sponsorships into programming—the coin of the unscripted realm—can often be more organically executed in the lifestyle arena, she notes.

One recent integration challenge for Tremendous came on the show Rock the Park, which features trips to national parks and appears on The CW affiliates during the Saturday morning education/information block spearheaded by Litton Entertainment. They knew the show’s hosts would be shown on camera, 26 episodes and 52 weeks a year, packing up a vehicle and traveling from park to park. Would an automaker come in as a sponsor?

“Happily, we found that Subaru had a mission that matched up with what we were trying to do with the show,” says Steward. Several more deals followed with Columbia, Coleman and others attracted to the nature themes and safe, all-ages appeal.