By Itay Hod
Ranking No. 8 among cable networks with 22 million viewers in primetime, TheWrap takes a look at what’s driving the success of the lifestyle and home improvement channel
When HGTV broke ground in December 1994, few in the industry thought it would amount to more than a quaint idea with niche appeal. Fast-forward two decades, and the tiny lifestyle and gardening channel has morphed into a global cultural phenomenon with shows from Ellen DeGeneres and “Dancing With the Stars” pros Mark Ballas and Derek Hough, who debut Tuesday in “Mark and Derek’s Excellent Flip.”
The buzzy marquee names along with the cable network’s homegrown crop of hot hosts and simple yet highly addictive formats are boosting ratings through the roof. For the week ending Apr. 26, HGTV was the eighth highest-rated cable network in primetime viewership. And earlier this month, HGTV announced its strongest ratings quarter ever, attracting 22 million viewers in primetime each week.
“We’re a top-10 network, we’re No. 1 among women, and we can say that just about every night of the week,” HGTV president Kathleen Finch told TheWrap. “We do that by super-serving the audience with content that they love.”
During upfront presentations earlier this month, the network announced it’s adding 10 new shows to its 2015 slate and new episodes of 20 other titles, accounting for 800 hours of original programming.
While other home improvement behemoths such as ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and TLC’s “Trading Spaces” saw their ratings slowly fizzle over the years (until they were too costly to justify the expense), the opposite can be said of HGTV.
Five of the network’s hit series — “Rehab Addict,” “Fixer Upper,” “House Hunters Renovation,” “Property Brothers” and “Caribbean Life” — are on pace to deliver their highest-rated seasons ever, according to the network.