By Sahil Patel
At its first ever Newfront presentation, Scripps Networks Interactive will showcase an array of web series produced for its lifestyle video platform ulive, as well as websites for SNI television channels like HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Travel Channel.
“Everyone knows Scripps Networks is the leader in lifestyle content on TV, and now we’re making a big investment to be the leader in digital as well,” said Beth Lawrence, executive vice president of digital ad sales for Scripps Networks Interactive, in a statement.
Shows on ulive include the previously announced “Secrets of a Super Aunt,” hosted by interior designer and HGTV personality Sabrina Soto, “The Lo Down” (working title), and the Tara Stiles-hosted “Yoga Rebel,” which will return for a second season this year.
In “Secrets of a Super Aunt,” Soto shares tips on fun kid-friendly activities. “The Lo Down,” hosted by Lo Bosworth, focuses on style tips, while in “Yoga Rebel,” Stiles “explores what it truly means to make your own rules and live a healthy, balanced life.”
Overall, SNI said it plans to offer more than 50 new and returning series on ulive this year. Per the company’s strategy, shows on ulive feature SNI’s television talent as well as “digital influencers” in the lifestyle category.
SNI is also producing a slate of web shows that serve as companions to its hit TV fare. For instance, “Star Salvation” will run parallel to season 10 of “Food Network Star,” giving eliminated finalists the opportunity to get back on the TV show. (It’s similar to what Bravo does with the Emmy-winning “Top Chef” and “Last Chance Kitchen.”) “Star Salvation” will be available on FoodNetwork.com.
Other web companions include “Chopped After Hours,” in which “Chopped” judges are challenged to cook with crazy ingredient combinations.
“Bobby Flay Fit,” a web series hosted by the famous chef in which he shares tips on exercise, healthy living, and eating, is moving to television. In a Food Network first, the TV show will launch a four-episode TV version of the show in early 2015.
For the Cooking Channel, SNI has two web shows: “Two Tops,” about the places where food and pop culture intersect, featuring celebs like chef Justin Warner and supermodel Chrissy Teigen; and “Fodder,” a food sketch-comedy series that features the likes of “SNL”’s Sasheer Zamata. “Fodder” has ran for multiple seasons on CookingChannel.com and the network’s YouTube channel.
HGTV.com will offer “Toddler vs. Toddler,” a humorous take on HGTV’s “Brother vs. Brother” where the TV show’s Scott brothers mentor separate teams of toddlers “in the ultimate renovation rivalry.”
On DIYNetwork.com, one-hit wonder Vanilla Ice will host “Ice Goes Digital,” while Run DMC’s Rev Run and his wife Justine Simmons will star in “Rev & Justine.”
Aside from these original series, HGTV.com and DIYNetwork.com offer “thousands” of how-to and project videos.
And finally, SNI’s Travel Channel is expanding its commitment for original online programming. The network will produce nine new original series in the coming year, and has renewed four existing web-shows including “A Day in the Life” and “Host’s Hometown.” Much like ulive, shows on TravelChannel.com will feature network hosts as well as new “in-the-know” guides, who spotlight cool places to visit and what to do when you get there.