What Happened To The “G” In HGTV?


A few posts ago, I made a brief comment that the G in HGTV is noticeably lacking.  Personally, I long for the old days when the G, with shows like “A Gardener’s Diary” and “Gardening By The Yard,” far surpassed the number of H shows.

That comment, though, resulted in my fellow garden bloggers agreeing that there is a serious sink hole in the HGTV programming schedule.  One commenter, Erin from Urban Organic Farming In Sidney, wrote, “I’d love if you could write a blog about it, get the readers and writers to write to them and ask that that be rectified.”  So, Erin, I accept the challenge.

My first step was to visit the HGTV website.  Clearly, the opening page is the home page – because it’s all home, all the time.  Surely there must be a G somewhere.  Shouldn’t there?

The truth is that the G has been reduced to a single on-line tab that says “Outdoors.”  The editor is Marie Hofer, and I’m worried about her – especially if her office is proportionately equal to the amount of space HGTV has given to G.  It’s probably too small to fit a desk.

So what’s a gardener to do?  Plant seeds, of course.  I thought I would contact HGTV with my gardening show ideas – until I read the FAQ section.  HGTV appreciates my interest, “but for legal reasons, we only accept show/series and specials proposals from television production companies with national or major market productions credentials.”  What the G?  Did HGTV just pluck my bud before it even had a chance to bloom? 

I can no longer be placated with shows like “Yard Crashers,” which, let’s be honest, is no different than any other garden/home makeover show: A goofy, overly adolescent host, plenty of banter, and the big reveal.  Very rarely is there any real content that treats the viewer as a person with brains. 

Now the gardening gloves are off, and I am here to tell HGTV that gardeners are a “major market.”  We are creative.  We have ideas.  If you need proof, just take a look at some of the “Garden Blogs I Like” listed on the right.  Lee May‘s effort to create a moss garden is fantastic.  Mario, of Hortus 5, battling clay soil is monumental.  And I cannot say enough about the information and serenity found in Jean’s Garden, or the inspiration found in Patrick’s Garden.  And that’s just scratching the surface.  Each of the bloggers whom I like– and so many more — can teach HGTV a few things about G.

If only a programming executive would take the time to look through the thousands and thousands of gardening blogs and see the amazing gardens taking root around the world, not to mention the number of people who are turning to a greener way of life for either environmental or financial reasons.  That executive would also notice that gardeners are hungry for knowledge so that they can continue to hone their skills and make their green thumbs even greener.

So far, I have sent an email to HGTV’s corporate office asking to whose attention I can address this issue.  Also, I have sent a letter to Scripps Networks Interactive, which is HGTV’s parent company.  It touts itself as the “leader in lifestyle media.”   I have not yet received a response from either organization – but as a gardener, I know it takes patience for a seed to sprout.  I know that these things, like a giant Sequoia, take time.  And now that the weather has turned colder, and the garden is lying dormant, time is what I have plenty of.

 

31 thoughts on “What Happened To The “G” In HGTV?

  1. My thoughts exactly! Far too many idiotic “Reality” TV shows, not enough REALITY!
    Gardening is real, its timeless and its a massive market – Quite apart from blogs, If they just counted the number of people streaming into Garden Centres and Nurseries every weekend the world over, TV stations would realise they have a hungry-for-gardening-knowledge audience! Ready & Waiting!

  2. I think the problem is money. That’s what it always boils down to, isn’t it? Get the advertisers on board, and they may change their mind. Now, maybe you could come up with a list of advertisers we could bombard with our demand of “More G!”. (You were looking for something else to do, right? :)) I have written HGTV many times about this, and know lots of other folks have too, but they seem to be like bulbs in winter – no movement! Just looking for a way to warm them up!

    • Bulbs. Excellent word to describe them — maybe with some bone meal, we can get them to bloom. Excellent idea with the advertisers — and maybe some of the production companies, as well. We will not be silenced. I feel a bit like Norma Rae.

  3. Sad isn’t it when you cannot find a gardening show. We have been lamenting the loss of the “G” for a few years now. We staged a boycott of the channel and its advertiser and wrote emails telling them to get more gardening shows to no avail. I told them they needed to take the Garden out of the title since there were no gardening shows anymore. Keep up the pressure Kevin maybe you can get to them! We are all behind you and agree with you.

  4. You raise some really good points here about the general turn of the population towards a greener lifestyle. It makes good sense to me that these people would enjoy a show that teaches them about that lifestyle. My big gripe is that in winter when I have the time and want to sit and watch garden shows or read garden magazines they’re impossible to find. Seems they are considered to be seasonal but when it’s the season I’m out in the garden and have no time for reading or telly

  5. Right on Kev! I’m getting my G elsewhere (that sounds dirty [pun intended]). I’ve been watching the Create channel (133 on Optimum) and 21-something on my TV without the Optimum box. P. Allen Smith is there, and in between the cooking, woodworking, and paste-some-frills-on-a-lampshade shows, you will find some fine gardening shows. Wednesday nights at 10ish is usually a good time.

  6. Kev, Remember the Square Foot Gardner and Crockett’s Victory Garden. They laid the groundwork for the “G” back in the 70’s They both published books “Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and “Crockett’s Victory Garden” by James Underwood Crockett and were on public access TV.
    These were shows you really could learn something from and as you know my four squares turned out some juicy tomotoes, cukes, peppers and at times carrots, potatoes and corn just to name a few.
    The four squares are now down to two but the fruit of my labor is just as delicious.
    Get-em Kev, we need more “G”

    • Funny that you mention that. After I clicked post, I began second-guessing my writing — and it occurred to me that some people may not know or have access to HGTV. Maybe we can have a contest to come up with other words for the HGTV acronym. Possibilities could be endless — and quite amusing.

  7. Kevin, I’m right there with you. In fact, I did a little research on my own and read about Paul James’ departure from HGTV on his blog. Basically it came down to HGTV concluding that they had enough episodes of Gardening by the Yard that they believed they could no longer justify paying to produce new shows when they could play reruns for free.

    Also, according to James, the advertising dollars just aren’t there for gardening programs anymore. It’s ironic, because interest in gardening is supposedly at an all-time high in the states and yet advertising revenue hasn’t kept pace. It makes me wonder if much of the push for gardening comes from economic hardship – it’s all about buying seeds and growing your own plants for less than $20 instead of taking out home equity loans and redoing your whole landscape for $20,000.

    On a side note, where HGTV has failed us, I think PBS is picking up the slack with shows like Growing a Greener World and Garden Smart.

    • Well said! I’ve also read Paul James’ blog entries — and it’s rather sad. He was producedg real gardening shows filled with practical advices and inspiration for new and veteran gardeners, and he always did it with humor. His departure was a true loss for HGTV. I also don’t understand why there is lack of shows. I mean, if the First Lady is planting a vegetable garden at the White House, doesn’t that seem like a great opportunity for production companies and networks to create shows that reach this hungry market? Maybe there’s an underlying political issue here. Hmmmmm. And, yes, PBS does fill a void — but in my area, actual PBS station always seem to be in fundraising mode. The PBS channel, Create, does offer some fine gardening shows — I’m just not sure if its available in all markets. Thanks for commenting and researching. We need to put our heads and shovels together.

  8. Hyper Girls Tend Vineyards
    Harvest Green Tomato Vines
    Home Gardeners Think Vegetables
    Hipsters Go To Vegas
    (I thought of a really naughty one that I can’t print here…use your imagination)
    Handsome Gastroenterologist Touts Vegetarianism
    Holy G-d Thank Viagra!

  9. Kevin, I’ve sort of given up on HGTV. In my region, it’s countless hours of House Hunters and tasteless decorating programming. Maybe we should be targeting a different network like OWN? Martha Stewart via Hallmark. Or maybe the we should create a new online channel devoted to green, growing, and gardening. I’m not sure what the answer is, but we should keep brainstorming to cultivate ideas.

    • Mario, all excellent ideas! As my crusade continues, I’ll pass along addresses and names so we can flood them with letters and emails. And, I agree that there are so many gardeners who are full of ideas and creativity that someone in some corporate office must listen. I’ll keep you posted.

  10. Kevin, Thanks for taking the initiative to do some online organizing here. I just went over to the HGTV website, clicked “contact us” and sent a pretty snippy message. I know it’s just a drop in the bucket, but it sure felt good to write it! I love all Mario’s ideas.

    p.s. Thanks for including my blog in your praiseworthy list (blush, blush)

    • Jean, you are so welcome. Your blog is one of my favorites, and I love reading your perspectives on gardening and life. As for being snippy with HGTV, it does feel good to let be able to vent! Enjoy the day.

  11. Perhaps the show’s producers can be gently encouraged to look at the network’s ratings when they included shows on gardening compared to now? I’m increasing frustrated to tune into HGTV and see back to back to back episodes of House Hunters, Propertyy Virgins and other rental/home improvement, home location shows. Quite honesty their current line up has caused me to stop watching, and maybe that’s what it is going to take to get them to realize their mistake. Thanks for the venue and opportunity to vent!

    • Hi April, thanks for commenting — and feel free to vent. I think there are many of us out there who are frustrated with HGTV’s lack of G programs. I also agree that they have filled their schedule with back-to-back-to-back episodes of the same shows. I am determined to remind HGTV that there is a G in their name. Enjoy the day!

  12. I, too, truly miss the “real” garening shows. The ones that not only entertained but taught us as well.
    I found this site because I have been wondering what happened to Paul James.
    I had hoped he would at least eventually turn up on a PBS station, but oh well.

  13. Pingback: Q & A: Down And Dirty With Dante | Nitty Gritty Dirt Man

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