Exclusive: HGTV, DIY merge development teams

U.S. nets HGTV and DIY are continuing to merge their exec teams with the launch of a joint development department, and are adding Christy and Dean Melton (pictured) to their combined programming unit.
January 18, 2013

U.S. nets HGTV and DIY are continuing to merge their executive teams with the launch of a joint development department, and have boosted their unified programming unit with the addition of Christy and Dean Melton (pictured) as directors of programming.

The HGTV and DIY programming department, which merged in March, will see the addition of a HGTV and DIY Network Development Team, which will fall under the direction of Steven Lerner, VP of programming, and Courtney White, VP of program development and production.

“We want to own everything that’s in the home category,” Lerner told realscreen. “Right now DIY is doing fantastic, HGTV is doing great [and] since we’re both doing home-type programming, it makes more sense to be taking the pitches together.”

The new HGTV and DIY Network Development Team is responsible for facilitating original programming ideas, identifying on-air talent and developing multi-platform programs for the two nets, both of which are owned by Scripps Networks Interactive.

The merging of development teams is a boon for producers, according to Lerner. “I think it’d be great for a producer. Rather than pitch to two different people the same idea, for two different networks, you’re pitching to one executive and we can tell whether it’ll be for HGTV or DIY.”

Both Lerner and White will be at the Realscreen Summit, with Lerner hosting a “30 Minutes With” session as well as taking part in one of the event’s Speed Pitching sessions, and White taking part in one of the Summit’s Luncheon Roundtables.

In addition to the newly announced development team, the unified programming team has added two directors of programming.

Husband-and-wife team Dean and Christy Melton will be responsible for original commissioned productions and acquisitions for both brands, and start in the Knoxville, Tennessee offices later this month.

Dean will report to Lerner, and in mid-February, Christy will report to general manager Kathleen Finch. Both previously worked at Sacramento-based prodco Big Table Media, where Christy served as executive producer of DIY Network’s Yard Crashers, YardCore and Ultimate Crash specials, while Dean was a supervising producer for Yard Crashers and a field producer for Turf War.

“They really understood the brand of HGTV and DIY, they both worked on our Crashers franchise, which is an incredible franchise for both of our networks, and they were very interested to come on board,” said Lerner of the Meltons.

The duo will, along with the unified development and programming team, will be on the lookout for anything in the home category space. Lerner adds that they’re looking for formats for HGTV.

“We definitely want it to be from the point of view of the home owner and we like shows that are very relatable,” he advised. “Overall for HGTV, we’re looking for primetime and we’re re-imagining the female-skewing, traditional design kind of shows, [with] more broadly appealing renovate, decorate and real estate shows.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.