Scripps Networks names Ken Solomon president of Fine Living

Tue, February 06, 2001 by Carol Hicks

Successful Television and New Media Executive to Lead Development of Fourth Major Scripps BrandScripps Networks, one of the nation's fastest-growing and most successful creators of unique brands for television and the Internet, today announced that television and new media industry veteran Ken Solomon will join the company as president of Scripps' fourth major brand, Fine Living. Solomon, 38, will officially join Scripps later this month. A former major studio production and distribution head, Solomon comes to Scripps from iBlast where as president he helped build the nation's largest commercial broadcast distribution network designed to deliver high-speed data directly to consumers. Solomon will be based in Los Angeles, working closely with Scripps Networks operations in Knoxville, New York and other major cities.Scheduled to launch late this year, Fine Living is a television network and interactive Web-based service that provides content devoted to helping people explore their passions and interests in the finer things in life and make the most of precious personal time. Fine Living joins the existing family of strong and successful Scripps Networks brands, including Home & Garden Television (HGTV), Food Network and Do It Yourself (DIY)."I have known and respected Ken Solomon for years, and he is a perfect fit for Fine Living," said Ken Lowe, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), parent company of Scripps Networks. "Ken will draw upon his vast experience in both content development and program distribution as he readies the network for launch later this year. He is an exceptional television and new media executive who has a proven track record of getting things done."Ken Solomon said, "The entire Scripps Networks team has worked the equivalent of modern programming magic by creating and perfecting the concept of category television, and in the process redefining 'lifestyle' content for millions of loyal viewers and Web users. At Fine Living, we will seek to build on the enormous success of other signature Scripps brands like HGTV, Food Network and DIY through a new, unique, compelling and very timely offering."The development of the Fine Living brand is supported by overwhelming consumer demand. There has been a tremendous cultural shift in both wealth accumulation and lifestyle aspirations for a significant segment of the population. People today are finding they have more disposable income than ever before, but much less time to enjoy it. Consequently, they desperately want trusted help and advice in pursuing the best and most rewarding experiences with the precious free time that they do have. Fine Living will be the first dedicated content provider designed to offer this assistance, in a variety of ways and through multiple platforms, including television, the Web, across broadband, on personal digital assistants, cell phones and other devices," said Solomon. "We expect a warm reception for Fine Living among advertisers and cable system and direct broadcast satellite operators," said Susan Packard, president of Scripps Networks New Ventures, which was formed last year to develop new brands, strategic partnerships and other ventures. "Under Ken Solomon's leadership, this new brand will become the premier source of inspiration and information for a wide variety of quality experiences." Prior to coming to Scripps, Solomon was president of iBlast Networks, where he was responsible for building the nation's largest and farthest reaching digital content distribution network, with 246 stations covering 93 percent of U.S. television households. He is the former president of Universal Television, now Studios USA, where he oversaw asset development and distribution activities on a worldwide basis for primetime network, cable, syndication, and made-for- television movies.Previously, as co-head of DreamWorks Television, he helped build the landmark DreamWorks, SKG studio and established its extensive television operation in domestic and international markets. Earlier, Solomon held two senior positions at News Corp., most recently serving as executive vice president of network distribution at Fox Broadcasting. In this capacity, he was responsible for affiliate relations and strategic planning, including the signing of more than two dozen traditional network affiliates to FOX. He also was integrally involved in the launch of the FX cable network as well as the acquisition and integration of both the NFL and NHL sports franchises. He previously held the position of executive vice president and general sales manager for Twentieth Century Fox Domestic Television. Prior to his tenure at Fox, Solomon served as vice president-eastern regional manager for Disney's Buena Vista Domestic Television. While attending UCLA he began at Paramount Television as a studio intern, and upon graduating rose to the level of eastern division sales manager.Scripps Networks has demonstrated success in creating strong and popular lifestyle brands for television and the Internet. Founded in 1994, HGTV is now seen in 68 million homes, and its affiliated Web site attracts an average of 900,000 unique visitors per month. Food Network is now seen in 55 million homes, and its affiliated Web site attracts an average of 2.2 million unique visitors per month. DIY, which launched in September 1999, is now available on DirecTV and EchoStar's Dish Network, and is in the process of rolling out on digital tiers of cable systems around the country. DIY's Web site, www.diynet.com, offers step-by-step instructions for more than 2,000 projects.Internationally, HGTV owns 33 percent of HGTV Canada. HGTV branded programming blocks can be seen on networks in Japan, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines. Food branded programming can be seen in Australia, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand. Food Network owns 29 percent of Food Network Canada. Branded DIY (Do It Yourself) network programming can be seen in Japan and the Philippines.Scripps Networks is owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP), which operates 21 daily newspapers and 10 broadcast television stations. The E.W. Scripps Company also operates Scripps Howard News Service, United Media, the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT, and 31 web sites, including hgtv.com, foodtv.com, diynet.com and comics.com.