Viewer-Generated Content Travels to Travel

Pasadena, Calif. -- Expect announcements in the next four weeks from Travel Channel, which will launch an initiative utilizing more user-generated content.

One user already turned his tape into a gig with the channel, according to Patrick Younge, executive vice president and general manager of the channel. After the network's Television Critics Association Tour presentation here, the executive told Multichannel News Travel hired Shane Reynolds, a 30-year-old public-access-television veteran, who first came to its attention based on an excellent casting tape he submitted for Travel's Five Takes amateur travelogue show.

Younge said Reynolds' humor, cultural reference and music choices were so distinct that the channel asked him to make a 30-minute film for an upcoming show, Not Your Average Travel Guide.His segment on Philadelphia got him the job as one of four rotating hosts of the show.

Now, he has a two-year contract with the network and is on track to host his own show, Younge said.

Another Five Takes veteran, Tiffany Burnett, has been assigned to be an online-only producer for the channel, Younge added.

On the cable channel, Travel will launch a series in March based on best-seller 1000 Places to See Before You Die. A Denver newlywed couple, cast after a nationwide search, was sent on a four-month trip late last year to hit many of the sites identified in the book.