Judith Orlowski, VP of scheduling and acquisitions, HGTV, US
The top tip Orlowski passes on to eager distributors is to know HGTV’s buying history. It may sound like a no-brainer, but her best relationships are with those distributors with pitches that are on brand with the network. ‘Believe me, I’ve checked you out before I set up the meeting, so you should do your homework too.’ Knowing HGTV’s background can also cut short the ‘channel lecture’ at the start of meetings and help her get right to the product on offer.
One of the big catches for hgtv during the negotiation phase is its cross-platform strategy. The network insists on all rights, which she says can lead to some distributors believing she’s difficult to close a deal with. Early in the process, she’s also had to explain to distributors that her excitement over a particular product doesn’t guarantee a slot in the sked. She’s not the only one who makes decisions on which programs get scheduled. ‘What I love personally may not be what’s on brand for HGTV.’
As for pitches, she offers: ‘We are always open to a new spin on the old game and expanding our view of the home, which is not just a physical structure but has all the emotion and personality brought into its style and feel.’