Scripps Networks Appoints Samples To Head HGTV

Wed, September 12, 2007 by Tim Stautberg

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (For Release, September 12, 2007) - Jim Samples, an experienced television executive who expanded Cartoon Network's audience from being predominantly kids to the No. 1 network with young adults, has been named as the next president of HGTV.

Samples, 44, will succeed Judy Girard, who earlier this year announced plans to retire after more than 10 years with Scripps Networks. He will join HGTV, on October 1, working with Girard before she steps down later this year.

HGTV is the largest of the Scripps Networks brands, with more than 95 million household subscribers and 5 million monthly visitors to its Web site, HGTV.com.  Scripps Networks, the leading developer of lifestyle programming for television, the Internet and other mobile outlets, also owns Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living and Great American Country.

The announcement comes at a time when HGTV is enjoying record ratings. The popular lifestyle network scored its best prime time ratings ever for August for women 18-plus, thanks in part to the second season of its hit reality show HGTV Design Star, as well as strong performances by recent new series Color Correction, Find Your Style and My House is Worth What, and standing favorites House Hunters and Designed to Sell.

"This is by no means a makeover. It's the best of both worlds as we bring in a proven industry executive to build on the long-running success of one of America's most admired television networks," said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks. "Like Judy, Jim knows how to create compelling, original programming that viewers love while also broadening the appeal of the brand to attract new audiences."

Samples has been in the television industry for nearly 15 years, rising through the ranks of Turner Broadcasting to the position of executive vice president and general manager of Cartoon Network Worldwide. While overseeing the strategic vision and management of all aspects of Cartoon Network and Boomerang from 2001 to early 2007, Samples is credited with the creation of and rollout plans for Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's late night adult animation franchise, which rose to number one in ratings among Adults 18-34 during its time period.

Samples' background also includes extensive experience with emerging interactive media as well as programming and marketing for international audiences. He served as general manager of Cartoon Network Online for two years, during which time traffic to the site increased by more than 230 percent. Prior to that, Samples led an international programming and marketing team that boosted Cartoon Network to the top spot among all cable networks in the South American region.

"Few people have the breadth and depth of experience that Jim brings - experience that is very relevant to our growth strategy for HGTV," Lansing said. "First and foremost, he is a great content strategist. Beyond that, Jim knows the emerging media space. He understands how to create content that appeals to the interests of diverse audiences, and he has developed some very smart partnerships to create successful brand extensions."

Samples said he is excited about joining a proven team at HGTV, a group that has worked together to produce strong growth at the network every year for more than a decade. HGTV has become a solid top 15 performer in key demographics and typically ranks among the top networks for viewership among women 25-54.

"HGTV has expanded the definition of ‘home' in the last few years to broaden its appeal and reach new audiences while still retaining its very loyal core viewers," Samples said. "Few things are more important than your home, whatever and wherever that may be. Home is central to everyone's life, and HGTV is creating content that is both relevant and entertaining to today's consumer."

Samples also said he expects to work closely with Scripps Networks' burgeoning Interactive Group as well as the company's New Business Development team to create new growth opportunities and brand extensions for HGTV. He will report directly to Burton Jablin, executive vice president of Scripps Networks overseeing content and brand strategy for all the networks.

A native of Atlanta, Samples has a bachelor's degree from Presbyterian College and a master's degree in international business studies from the University of South Carolina.

About Scripps Networks

Scripps Networks is the leading developer of lifestyle-oriented content for television and the Internet, where on-air programming is complemented with online video, social media areas and e-commerce components on companion websites and broadband vertical channels.

In addition, 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 also acquired popular recipe Web site Recipezaar.com and Incando Corp. in order to deepen its user-generated content capabilities.  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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Contact: Cindy McConkey, senior vice president of corporate communications,

at 865-368-3976 or cmcconkey@scrippsnetworks.com

or Susan Robertson, manager of corporate communications

at 865-560-4316 or srobertson@scrippsnetworks.com

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