Scripps Networks Interactive has gained a reputation in recent years for lengthy, early upfront events—last year's breakfast ran into late morning—but this time, the company opted for a much bigger venue and a streamlined breakdown. The presentation was light on breaking news—most of the new program announcements crossed the transom before the doors opened at the theater—but the networks together have upwards of 30 new or returning shows, all told.
Held at Manhattan's Foxwoods Theater, where Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark currently plays, the Monday night event featured spiked lemonade and some very serious hors d'ouevres (presumably the stakes are somewhat higher in that department if you run the Food network). The 90-minute presentation filled the orchestra level of the 1,829-seat theater to capacity.
The latest news on the Scripps channels (Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, and HGTV, among others) was announced prior to the event. Travel's Travel America programming initiative will run for a week in May, with special episodes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Park Secrets, Extreme RVs, Hotel Impossible and Bizarre Foods America branded to individual locations around the country. The network also has a solid seven series ready to roll out this summer, which was a major part of the company's pitch to buyers Monday night.
Scripps' pitch continues to focus on the high level of interplay between its ad partners and its creative side—shows on HGTV in particular are sponsored to the hilt, ostensibly without derailing them, and product integrations and promotions are generally preferable to traditional spots, given that consumers remember them more clearly.