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Veria Offers Its Take on Healthy Living

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
Veria TV?

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.

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.