Making Room for a New Network to Grow

Discovery Inc. has set an Oct. 4 launch date for Magnolia Network, a cable network that’s part of a joint venture between the company and producers Chip and Joanna Gaines. The channel (with an accompanying TV everywhere app), run by the former Fixer Upper stars, will replace the DIY linear channel.

Magnolia president and former HGTV president Allison Page spoke to Multichannel News at the TCA Winter Press Tour earlier this month about the challenges in getting Magnolia up and running in today’s competitive TV field. Here’s an edited version of the interview.

Allison Page

Allison Page

MCN: Why does Discovery feel this environment is the best time to launch a linear channel?
Allison Page:
Chip and Jo like taking risks. If something seems counterintuitive, it might be something that they are interested in, and the network is a great example of that. The year 2020 is not a year you would expect necessarily to see a linear channel launched, and I think that opportunity to challenge a different path was part of what was intriguing to them.

MCN: With all the discussion and momentum around the emerging streaming platform, how does a new linear network break through the clutter?
We have a belief that linear television is something special, and that it can hearken back to a time when the whole family sat down to watch television. This platform brought families together. There will certainly be digital elements as well, but there is something both romantic, inspiring and relatable about what a TV network can be.

MCN: What do Chip and Joanna Gaines bring to the table as content creators for Magnolia?
Chip and Joanna Gaines bring to the table a broader look into a lot of stories that we see being told today. The subject matter is wide. It does not only encompass home or food or design, but so much more. It’s basically filling in a space that we didn’t see filled.

MCN: Which programming genres will Magnolia offer?
: Any genre where there is good storytelling. We’ll incorporate food and garden, health, design, construction, entrepreneurialism and family. It’s a very wide bucket, but we believe that great storytelling appeals to audiences. Chip and Jo believe that everyone has a story worth sharing, and that we can be a home for those stories.

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.