As part of our Fall Preview series, The Style Network VP, programming and acquisitions, Katie Buchanan, tells realscreen what we have to look forward to in the fourth quarter, what producers should know when approaching the channel, and what sets the net apart from other female-skewing channels.
Currently, the balance between original programs and acquisitions for the Comcast-owned Style Network is 80% original, 20% acquisitions. But as the channel rounds the corner of this year there are plans to take a different spin on its acquisitions strategy. Part of that change involves adding more movies and, specifically, made for TV movies, to the schedule, as people who tune in for a familiar film may stay for the network’s programming slate.
Style Network’s acquisition plans also include looking for more one- and two-hour documentaries to run on Saturday and Sunday nights. One of the projects already lined up is a BBC doc, brought to Style by Passion Distribution. Too Fat for 15 follows a 15-year-old girl from Britain who weighs over 400 pounds as she goes to a weight loss facility in order to save her life. ‘By going after those kind of documentaries, we want to continue to tell stories that women can relate to and [that] can inspire,’ says Buchanan. She also believes this kind of doc fits in well with Style’s weight-loss series Ruby and will premiere the night of the finale of the show’s second season.
Even with the addition of films to the channel, Buchanan says the focus is still on series, and there are a number she’s excited about for the fall. The network is picking up Super Nanny which will air seven days a week at 7pm starting Labor Day weekend. ‘We’re truly planning on becoming the second home for the show,’ says Buchanan. Also new to the channel this fall will be original program Dallas Divas and Daughters which follows a group of moms and daughters from Texas as they live big and spend big. The channel will have a new program to announce in the not too distant future, and it’s also looking for opportunities to work with Baby Phat CEO Kimora Lee Simmons (Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane) on a new show.
Buchanan says that in order to work with the channel, one of the most important things for producers to understand is what Style considers to be its unique take on female lifestyle programming. ‘Although there’s duplication between us and TLC, WEtv, Oxygen and Bravo just by virtue of the fact that we all skew very female, we [believe we] stand out from those networks in terms of being a place where women can go to get real advice, be entertained and find a way to be inspired,’ says Buchanan. ‘Telling a good story is always a good thing, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and have someone tell you that you look pretty. It makes people feel good, and that’s something that is a cornerstone of our brand.’