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From the Knoxville - Oak Ridge | Innovation Valley Guide

Trendsetter on the Tube

How Knoxville became the shining star of lifestyle media


If you’ve watched Food Network, Travel Channel or HGTV recently, you’ve tuned into programming that is broadcast out of Knoxville.

These are just three of the lifestyle media brands owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, a global media company headquartered in Knoxville.

For the better part of two decades, Scripps Networks has been teaching television audiences everything from how to make the perfect crêpe to how to stain a hardwood deck. It’s introduced couch potatoes to the wonders of Thailand and India, and it’s turned armchair quarterbacks into handy men and women. It’s also turned cooks like Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray into international sensations.

In 2010, Scripps Networks expanded into its new, eco-friendly, 155,000-sq.-ft., LEED-Gold Certified headquarters facility in Knoxville which rivals the very best in both design and functionality. The company also maintains its original 189,000-sq.-ft. technology center that houses such services as broadcasting, transmission and post-production.

Site selection was of paramount importance to the company from day one, says Crystal Washington, senior vice president of external relations and vendor management for the $7 billion-plus firm. That’s why Scripps Networks purchased Cinetel Productions, a Knoxville-based cable TV studio in 1994.

“Knoxville was selected as the home of HGTV so that the employees producing the shows could actually live the brand,” says Washington. “Knoxville offers smaller-town living with all of the cultural aspects and amenities of a major city.”

Since then, Scripps Networks has added Food Network, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, Great American Country and Travel Channel to the fold. Today, Scripps Networks employs more than 1,000 workers in Knoxville, and its programming reaches just under 100 million US television households, as well as millions more around the world.

Scripps Networks is rapidly expanding its international footprint. “We just purchased TVN in Warsaw, Poland,” says Washington. “TVN is the leading broadcaster in Poland, with 25 percent of the market share. Our brands are also going global, with all of our talent from Giada De Laurentiis to the Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott, becoming increasingly well known outside the United States.”

“Knoxville offers smaller-town living with all of the cultural aspects and amenities of a major city.”
— Crystal Washington, Scripps Networks Interactive

Washington notes that employees come from all over to join the Scripps Networks team in Knoxville. “This is a great place to raise a family,” she adds. “Once you come here, you find the hidden treasures that this area has to offer.” She says Knoxville’s charms are no longer a secret. “This place has been a sleeping giant, but more companies are now coming here,” she says. “Knoxville has emerged as one of the fastest-growing cities in the South. People outside the region know that this is a great place to live, work and play.”

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