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Mary Ellen Iwata

TITLE: Vice President, Programming Development, HGTV

WHY WE'RE WATCHING: On board for the past 18 months as the network's first development head, Iwata must maintain HGTV's ratings momentum: a 13% primetime rise in 2004. While Designed to Sell and Generation Renovations bowed last year, Iwata's touch will be felt more greatly in 2005 with Kitchen Trends 2005 and reDesign, and specials like Motor Mansions and Extreme Homes of Europe.

SCORE ON 2004: “Having worked at the Discovery Networks for 13 years, I had strong relationships with many U.S.- and U.K.-based producers. Many of the new shows we commissioned last year are from companies that are new to HGTV.”

WHAT'S NEXT: “My biggest challenge is to develop series that will strengthen daytime and fringe; increase our core adult demographics; appeal to younger demos in primetime; and try new formats and concepts. I want to try single-themed hours and series that feature ongoing casts of characters.”

DRIVE IN 2005: “We need to remain the leader in the area of home and lifestyle. We have to be aware of the trends, try to stay ahead, and in many cases avoid them altogether. We're innovators, not imitators. We are also commissioning more shows in HD and moving some ongoing series to the format.”

EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: “There is such a climate of openness and support at HGTV and Scripps, one has the feeling that there are always many options and opportunities.”

AT HOME, AT PLAY: “Being the Type A person I am, I find it hard to relax and do nothing. I go to Montana every year to force myself to slow down. I like to run, hike in the mountains, and take off on the open road with no destination in mind. Once I started working at HGTV, I realized I had zero 'curb appeal' so dealing with that is my latest hobby.”