HGTV & ME

There’s been a lot of hoopla on the web lately about HGTV in general and my show in particular. I’ve even read that “Gardening by the Yard” has been cancelled. Well, it’s time I set the record straight.

My show has not been cancelled. It’s just that it’s no longer in production. What that means is that through 2009 you’ll see 26 new episodes that I shot last year, but after that the show will go into reruns, probably for several years. HGTV has a considerable inventory of “Gardening by the Yard,” and the powers that be felt they didn’t need any more shows.

Frankly, their decision not to renew my show came as no surprise. And to be honest, I was getting burned out by the grueling schedule and travel. That’s one of the reasons I decided to finally launch this website, and hire a literary agent to help me get a book published. Does that mean my television career is over? Not necessarily. I’d love to do another show, but on my terms. And sadly, there aren’t many (any?) networks that are interested in traditional gardening shows these days.

I know it’s hard to reconcile how on the one hand interest in gardening is stronger than ever, and that gardeners spend billions of dollars every year on garden-related products, while on the other hand there’s an apparent lack of interest in garden-related programming by networks. On the surface, you’d think they’d be clamoring to acquire new garden shows.

But the simple truth is that gardening shows, for whatever reason, don’t produce significant ratings, my show included. Basically, not enough people watch them. And without significant ratings, networks can’t sell ads, which is their primary source of revenue. Moreover, while there are thousands of companies that sell garden products, most of them, including most of them I support, can’t afford to advertise on television.

In fairness to the folks at HGTV, they’ve been very good to me. Especially in the early years, they gave me nearly complete creative freedom, and they paid me well. (They also picked up the tab for some amazing meals and excellent wines, but that’s another story.) I have very fond memories of many of the people who helped launch the network, and I’ve developed some wonderful friendships with past and current employees.

Finally, to all of you – my faithful and sometimes fanatical fans -- let me say thank you. I’m humbled beyond words by your interest, excitement, and devotion to my cause, which is to get as many people as possible to discover and enjoy all that gardening has to offer.
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