DIY Canada arrives today amid a tumultuous time for both its audience and its parent Canwest.
The ‘hard-core home improvement’ channel bows today, Monday, October 19, offering viewers ways to ‘cut costs and increase the value of their homes,’ in light of the current economic slump, says Canwest’s lifestyle SVP Karen Gelbart.
Canwest, of course, is also tight on cash these days, though its lucrative specialty channels are exempt from last week’s filing for creditor protection.
DIY arrives in Canada 10 years after it was established in the U.S. under Scripps Networks, which also owns the lifestyle channels HGTV and Food Network. Canuck versions of these are also under the Canwest umbrella. The Category 2 channel was first approved by the CRTC in 2000.
‘HGTV has diversified its programming over the years to include more property and design shows,’ Gelbart says, adding that its primetime line-up, for example, airs more story-focused reality shows like Family Renovation. DIY will be very information driven.
Unlike the HGTVs, there are no plans for cross-border copros at DIY, says Gelbart. Nor is the channel looking for pitches from producers right away. Its 15% Canadian content will be filled with programming from HGTV.
‘It has built up a sizable inventory over the years so there are some programs that are perfect for sharing with DIY,’ Gelbart points out.
HGTV has, itself, recently turned away from the house-flipping and bidding wars of better times to instead focus on more modest home improvements.
Canwest’s Emily Morgan, VP of content for Food Network Canada and HGTV Canada (pictured), will also program DIY. Morgan added HGTV to her plate just last month, following the departure of Anna Gecan.
The channel will launch with familiar HGTV-commissioned shows such as the homegrown Real Renos – now in its seventh season – and Junk Brothers. Other shows on DIY’s schedule include Sweat Equity, about increasing the value of your home in just two weekends, and the reno series Kitchen Impossible.
As is the case with most lifestyle TV, DIY Canada’s target audience is mostly females aged 25-54, though Gelbart notes the channel is particularly male-friendly because of all the project-driven shows, in addition to male-focused fare such as Cool Tools and Man Cave.