HGTV President, Judy Girard, to retire at end of year

Mon, July 16, 2007 by Cindy McConkey

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (July 16, 2007) - Veteran television executive Judy Girard will retire as president of the largest of Scripps Networks' popular lifestyle networks, HGTV, by the end of this year. HGTV announced Girard's retirement plans today, saying a search for her replacement is underway.

"I have had an amazing time in television, and feel extremely fortunate to have spent the last 10 years at Scripps Networks running two of the best lifestyle networks in cable," said Girard, who led Food Network to prominence and most recently guided HGTV through a rebranding process and contemporized programming with new hit series such as Design Star and Color Splash. "Now I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband and enjoying some of the lifestyle pursuits our networks have helped popularize."

HGTV is the original brand created by Scripps Networks in 1994, and today has more than 90 million household subscribers and 5 million monthly visitors to its Web site, HGTV.com. Scripps Networks, the leading developer of lifestyle programming for television and the Internet, also owns Food Network, DIY Network, FINE LIVING and Great American Country.

Girard, who has more than 25 years of television experience, joined Scripps in 1998. First as general manager and then as president of Food Network, she helped redefine the television food genre, approaching the category with a growing variety of lifestyle and entertainment programs. Along the way, the network built a lasting talent base anchored by the likes of Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Alton Brown and Giada De Laurentiis, which drove viewership gains in total day and prime of 150 and 123 percent, respectively, during Girard's tenure. Distribution of the network also grew significantly, adding more than 40 million subscribers, under her leadership.

Girard, 61, was asked to head HGTV in 2005 and quickly went to work broadening the audience of the network, attracting new, younger viewers to the existing base of loyal  HGTV fans.

"With HGTV fully distributed, the challenge for Judy and the brand team has been to further strengthen the relationship between the brand and the viewer," said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks. "She has done that, capitalizing on the strong engagement HGTV enjoys with consumers while also expanding the definition of the brand to include real estate, living green and really all things that relate to home - no matter how you define it. As a result, HGTV has had solid, year-to-year ratings growth month after month."

HGTV consistently ranks among the top 15 cable networks for average audience delivery during prime time, according to Nielsen ratings, and performs particularly well with upscale audiences, including a No. 1 ranking among upscale women (ages 25-54 with $125,000 income) and a No. 3 ranking among adult homeowners age 25-54. Under Girard's direction last year, HGTV launched the most-watched series in the history of the network, HGTV Design Star, which recorded a 2.5 household rating in the season finale. The popular series will premiere its second season this July.

Before joining Scripps, Girard served as senior vice president of programming for Americast, a joint venture between Disney, BellSouth, SBC Communications, Ameritech and GTE Corp. At Ameritech, she worked with Disney and the other joint venture partners to build a programming entity. Prior to Americast, Girard was senior vice president, programming and production, for Lifetime network, launching "Intimate Portrait" and developing a monthly movie franchise, Lifetime Original Movie, which included the highly successful, "Almost Golden; The Jessica Savitch Story."

Girard has a bachelor's degree in radio, television and film from Ithaca College.

Multichannel News honored Girard in 2000 as one of cable TV's "Wonder Women," and in 2004 Cable World named her among cable's "50 Most Influential Women." Girard also is a member of the AARP Foundation Women's Leadership Circle and The Committee of 200 (C200), an international non-profit organization comprised of women executives.

Lansing said Scripps expects to have Girard's successor in place prior to the end of this year. He added that Girard will remain involved with Scripps Networks, serving in an advisory capacity on content development.

About HGTV

HGTV, America's leader in home and lifestyle programming, is distributed to more than 92.5 million U.S. households and is one of cable's top-rated networks.  HGTV's website, http://www.hgtv.com/, is the nation's leading online home-and-garden destination that attracts an average of 5.5 million unique visitors per month.  HGTV owns 33 percent of HGTV Canada and provides much of the Canadian network's daily programming.  The network's branded programming also can be seen in 127 territories across all seven continents and selected programming is available to service men and women on board Navy ships and through American Forces Radio & Television Service (AFRTS) which services more than 1,000 outlets. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York, HGTV is wholly owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP), which also operates Food Network (http://www.foodnetwork.com/), DIY Network  (http://www.diynetwork.com/), FINE LIVING TV Network (http://www.fineliving.com/), and Great American Country (http://www.gactv.com/).

About Scripps Networks

In addition to the five lifestyle networks and their websites, Scripps Networks has launched HGTV and Food Network in high definition, and is aggressively developing its emerging media platforms for broadband and video on demand. Scripps Networks' brands collectively are available in more than 170 countries and territories on all seven continents. They also are distributed to more than 1,000 outlets on U.S. military bases and U.S. embassies around the world via the American Forces Radio and Television Service.

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco, Scripps Networks is owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP), a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks and interactive media. Scripps operates daily and community newspapers in 17 markets, 10 broadcast TV stations, Scripps Howard News Service, United Media, Shopzilla.com and USwitch.

 

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