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Scripps Networks Making Big Bet on Holidays

Related: The Kids Are Alright

Scripps Networks Interactive has big holiday plans this upfront.

The group is developing cross-network programming with stunts so it can sell more fourth-quarter sponsorships that take in what advertising sales president Jon Steinlauf calls “the Triple Crown of food holidays”—Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

First up is a Halloween “Spooktacular” that will involve all six Scripps Networks, according to Kathleen Finch, head of content at Scripps. She says the networks will bring talent to Las Vegas to build giant gingerbread houses. “We’re going to let the people in Las Vegas watch as we build these things and vote on which is their favorite,” she says.

Last year, HGTV aired an All-Star Gingerbread Build with the Property Brothers, Ron Ben-Israel and Duff Goldman. The special ran as a roadblock on Food Network, HGTV, DIY and Cooking Channel.

Gingerbread Build had three integrated sponsors with Sears (Caftsman and Kenmore), Kerry Butter and General Mills’ Pillsbury brand.

Scripps is still doing research to decide whether this year’s special will also be road-blocked or will air staggered across the networks, Finch says.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.