×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Meredith Has New Recipe for Southern Living: Turning a Magazine Into a TV Show

Fans of Southern Living magazine have since 1966 accessed its many recipes and home ideas through print pages, and, more recently, a website. Next year, they’ll be able to do so with their televisions.

Meredith Corp., which acquired the magazine as part of its $2.8 billion purchase of the former Time Inc. in 2017, is gearing up to turn the print property into a TV show that will air in all 12 markets the company reaches. The idea, says Patrick McCreery, president of Meredith’s local-media operations, is to replace syndicated TV programming with a show over which the company has much more say. The stations will air a few Southern Living holiday specials in 2019 before launching a half-hour program in 2020, he said.

“I have absolutely zero doubt this will work,” McCreery said in an interview. Besides, he added, “I’ve long held the belief that us being in control of our own time is better for our bottom line.”

In decades past, even the best-known magazines found making a go of it on TV difficult. Maybe Rolling Stone could score a one-time special about top albums, or Spy  could arrange for a quick single-night broadcast. But taking print to TV can be hard to do. Witness the failures of cable channels devoted to Esquire at NBCUniversal or Sports Illustrated at the former Time Warner (The new advent of streaming-video venues has changed the recent dynamic, with shows from The New York Times and Axios now available).  Periodicals based on TV properties, however, have proven quite durable, as anyone who reads Hearst’s Food Network magazine might tell you.

Yet in 2019, extending print brands into new venues stands as one of the main ways to augment the business. This is a time, after all, when advertisers are largely pulling dollars away from print and investing them instead in digital, social and video. Authentic Brands Group purchased Sports Illustrated from Meredith in May for $110 million, with the hope of opening everything from sports clinics to games of chance using the storied periodical’s name. The news operation was eventually placed under the aegis of TheMaven, a company that has been buying news brands and reworking them for digital consumption.

Meredith has developed a short history out of making magazine series out of magazine assets. The company launched “Better,” a syndicated daytime show based on its Better Homes & Gardens title. The show lasted eight years. Meredith took a streaming-video program produced by staffers at People magazine and made “People Now” a weekend option for its TV stations.

The new “Southern Living” TV program will launch in April of 2020 and be hosted by Ivy Odom (above, pictured), the host of the namesake magazine’s “Hey Y’all” video series. The new series will feature 17 original episodes as well as four special holiday episodes in 2020. Some of the new show’s content will come from videos Odom has hosted for the magazine’s site, and some other parts will be new segments.

Executives believe the show could be received well not only at southeastern Meredith stations like WGCL in Atlanta and WALA in Mobile, AL, but also at KMOV in St. Louis and KVVU near Las Vegas. Approximately 25% of the magazine’s readership lives outside the southeastern United States. Southern Living’s rate base – the circulation it guarantees advertisers – stands at about 2.8 million.

“I think there is a growing interest in southern foods, southern music, and southern culture,” says Sid Evans, editor in chief of Southern Living. “The southern content we are creating is really resonating far beyond the South.”

More TV

  • Imelda Staunton'Downton Abbey' photocall, Rome Film

    'The Crown' Has Not Cast Imelda Staunton for Seasons 5 and 6, Netflix Says

    Netflix is shooting down reports that Imelda Staunton is joining “The Crown.” “We are currently filming season 4 of ‘The Crown’ but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. Staunton, known to many as the despicable Dolores Umbridge in [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Baby Yoda Merchandise to Debut Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season

    Purchase Baby Yoda toys, you will. Fans of the breakout character from the Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian” have been surprised that there was no merchandise pegged to the character available upon the launch of the show, given that the Christmas shopping season is rapidly approaching. But according to an individual with knowledge of the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

  • Oprah Winfrey during a tribute to

    TV News Roundup: OWN Orders Celebrity Relationship Series '#LoveGoals'

    In today’s TV news roundup, OWN orders a new unscripted relationship series and Disney Channel orders new seasons of “The Owl House” and “Sydney to the Max.”  DATES ABC will live broadcast the “2020 NCAA Gymnastics Championship Final” on April 18. The semi finals will air the day before at 1 and 6 p.m. ET. [...]

  • Sissy book cover

    Showtime to Develop Series Based on Jacob Tobia Memoir 'Sissy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showtime is developing a half-hour dramedy based on Jacob Tobia’s memoir, Variety has learned exclusively. Tobia is a non-binary LGBTQ rights activist, actor, producer, and author. Their memoir, “Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story,” was published earlier this year by Putnam Books at Penguin Random House. The series, currently titled “Sissy,” would follow Tobi Gibran, a non-binary college [...]

  • Invisible Stories from HBO Asia

    Singapore Festival: HBO Asia Tells ‘Invisible Stories’

    HBO Asia has expanded its burgeoning production slate with six-episode half-hour series “Invisible Stories.” The first two episodes of the show, “Lian” and “Chuan,” play at the Singapore International Film Festival on Nov. 28. The series is by writer and director Ler Jiyuan, who previously directed part of HBO Asia Original series “Grisse.” “Like 80% [...]

  • Jane Galloway Heitz

    'Glee' Actress Jane Galloway Heitz Dies at 78

    Jane Galloway Heitz, known for playing the character of Lillian Adler on “Glee,” has died, according to an obituary posted in the Chicago Tribune. She was 78. The actress only appeared in person twice on the Fox show, once in the pilot and on another occasion in 2015, as her character’s image appeared in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content