Gabriella Messina, head of programming for Veria TV,
recently spoke with Multichannel News programming
editor R. Thomas Umstead about the health and wellness
network’s approach to lifestyles programming.
MCN: You have a vast background within
the cable industry, having worked at Food
Network and HGTV — what attracted you to
Gabriella Messina: For me, it’s another extension
of the lifestyle category. I’ve worked
at a fabulous lifestyle brand while at Scripps
Networks, and I see healthy living and wellness
has the next step in the lifestyle category.
For me it’s a terrific progression, bringing
everything I have accomplished and learned
to Veria and to become part of this network
that’s still in its growth period. Also, I’ve also
had my own personal battle with cancer. So I
am very passionate about the genre because
I do believe that on so many levels people have the ability
to really be healthy, stay healthy and live well with
the right knowledge.
MCN: We’ve seen other startup networks fail to get a
foothold in this healthy living and wellness category. What
is it about Veria that you believe will make it successful?
GM: Our programming is practical, be it in healthy eating
or in healthy fitness or even some of the more alternative
services, like acupuncture or aroma therapy.
Our programming is inspiring — we
offer hope and optimism on choices that
people might not have even thought about
that could lead to a better and healthier
Our programming is entertaining and
engaging, and, at the core, there’s an authenticity.
We have a faceoff show in which
a regular doctor is facing off against an alternative
practitioner, and they’re talking
about the types of things that everyday people
are asking. We also have cooking shows
and travel/lifestyles shows, as well as a
documentary series called the Incurables
[hosted by singer Jewel] that highlights reallife
stories of transformations where people
have overcome severe illnesses.
We really have wonderful variety in so
many areas, and that’s what sets us apart.
MCN: Whom do you consider to be the competition?
GM: There’s really no one doing the type of programming
we’re doing. We’re really the first and only network
dedicated to health and wellness — mind, body and
spirit. You really can’t compare it to Lime, Wisdom or any
of those networks. In the lifestyles genre, we’re watching
Oprah’s new network [OWN], but in the grand landscape
of what we do, I don’t see that as huge competition.
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