Well it’s been an interesting few days with my post entitled; The Future of Gardening; Dead or Alive? It prompted some interesting replies and I found that this is a topic that’s pretty hot all over the blogosphere. In particular, what’s up with all the networks that used to carry great gardening shows?
The comments led me to write an article yesterday for my syndicated column with Scripps Howard News Service. It was entitled; Keep the “G” in HGTV Please. Essentially it was an observation on what the networks think about gardening TV. As I started to write this column, it occurred to me that my employer for this weekly revenue stream is the same company that owns HGTV and DIY Network, which just happens to be where I got my start in television. Consequently, I found myself second-guessing if I was headed down a perilous road with this topic.
As I thought through want I wanted to communicate, I realized I had no disparaging remarks against the networks. In fact, it was quite an unemotional analysis of why we are seeing less and less gardening shows on the for-profit networks these days. My seven years now as host of gardening shows on DIY and PBS has allowed me a unique perspective as both a serious gardener and one involved in the television side of the business. Although my role in TV hardly gets me into the inner circle, I have learned a lot about how they make their money.
Just to be sure I wasn’t off base with my assessment as reported, I contacted my friend and former producer of my show on DIY. She also happens to hold claim as the Producer of several other successful shows on HGTV and DIY. She read my article and indeed confirmed my analysis as “right on target”. (You can read it too, here).
She went on to offer the following comment; “Gardening shows do not bring in the ratings. But, landscaping shows do. While not a lot of people "garden", they do landscape. Meaning while they might not be out there planting vegetable gardens they are renovating their yards. If they do garden it is to incorporate an herb garden or blueberry bushes into the landscape. And landscaping shows do bring in the ratings, especially if they have drama”.
Ironically, she went on to say that my article was very timely for her personally. Today is her very last day of production of a landscape makeover show on HGTV that has been in production for 10 years! In her words, “this was a great run for a landscaping show, or any show. So it proves there is an audience out there for landscaping. We got cancelled mainly because they have a huge inventory now and it is an expensive show to produce”. Fortunately, it was a landscaping show. I wonder what the run would have been if this show had started out in the ‘gardening’ category?
So here’s my question to you; Now that you have a bit more insight into how the networks think when deciding what shows to air, how do we get good gardening programming back on TV, and where it’s not treated like the red-headed stepchild? Any ideas? I’m all ears.
Here’s the link to the complete article as submitted to the news wire. Click here to read now.