Travel Channel’s Babbit on bringing “Sideshow” to the web

Ross Babbit, Travel Channel's senior VP of programming and development, discusses the network's web-series All American Sideshow (pictured), which looks at the world of a tent-traveling sideshow.
July 22, 2014

Online video fans are being offered the chance get their freak on with the’s All American Sideshow (pictured).

The 10-episode short form digital series offers a behind-the-scenes look at World of Wonders, a tent-traveling sideshow featuring knife-throwers, sword-swallowers and human pincushions.

“These are colorful characters with a unique travel lens, many of whom joined the sideshow specifically so they can travel,” says Ross Babbit, Travel Channel’s senior VP of programming and development. “Unlike shows with a host in a travel situation, these are pure travelers who will be doing this regardless of if there’s a camera on them or not. has taken on the mission of being the place for talent and concept incubation.

“We will always be a home to travel information, but over the last few years have expanded our mission to be the first place for new voices and compelling imagery.”

Travel Channel has ventured into the weird with recent cable offerings such as Mysteries at the Museum and Paranormal Paparazzi, but All American Sideshow signals a willingness to take things few steps further in the digital space.

“It’s not a clean, glamorous portrayal of travelers,” says Babbit. “It’s gritty, textured and real. [The series] is perfect for the digital space in that it uses the filmmaking medium to enhance a collection of short stories.” But, he stresses, “it’s extreme in its cinematic presentation, but mild in its content.”

The show is exec produced by Travel’s director of digital programming Jim Morley, who exec produces all of the net’s original content created for the web. Angela Meredith and Juli Fields are the supervising producers.

All American Sideshow show is part of a notable digital series roll-out by Travel Channel’s parent company Scripps Networks Interactive, which announced at its Digital NewFronts presentation in April that it planned to debut 150 new original online shows this year. Since then, has premiered Top10 Locals, Off-Road Trippin’,The Perfect Shot, Travel: Fact or Fiction and Travel Channel’s Gear Guide, along with Sideshow. Next month, it will debut Fall Foliage in the Finger Lakes.

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About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.