Saturday, March 14, 2009

Attention HGTV: Where's the "G"???

I feel the need to rant!

Word out on the Blogosphere is: HGTV is pretty-effectively eliminating ALL Garden Programming from their line-up...
AND they have chosen *not* to renew Paul James' contract. Ohhhhh.... What a MISTAKE!!! Paul James, the Gardener Guy (and Star of "Gardening By The Yard"), is My Horticultural Hero! And to cancel his show is a PERSONAL AFFRONT to *ME,* DAMMIT!

(Paul, for those of you who may be unfamiliar, is an organic gardener who hails from Tulsa, OK. His show, Gardening By The Yard, is mostly filmed in his backyard. His is not a perfectly manicured garden, free from weeds and pests - and that's what I love about his show! He demonstrates a very realistic approach to gardening. And he's quite funny, downright goofy, and extremely entertaining and educational, to boot!)

It used to be that "Gardening By The Yard" was on every weekend morning at, like, 9:00am Pacific (or thereabouts). Yeah, most Gardeners are outside "Gardening" by then, but since I am a late-riser (on weekends, anyway), this worked out well for me. I could enjoy my morning coffee with my Good Buddy, Paul.

Yeah, at least 70% of the shows were re-runs, but it didn't matter! I was hooked to the point where even Rog knew better than to try to talk to me while I was watching! It was still "inspirational" for me to watch my GBTY! I'd watch Paul and his cheesy antics, and get all "motivated" to "Get Outside" and "Get it Done!"

Well, in the last year or so, they'd cut him back to just Sunday morning... I *even* felt compelled to hit the "Contact Us" link on HGTV's site to complain about their decision to shuffle their weekend line-up and eliminate Paul James in a "watchable" time-slot (and I got the "Thank you for your comments, we value viewer feedback..." line of bullsh*t response. :::sigh:::).


Then they relegated him to 7:00am EASTERN (4:00am, Pacific - thankyouverymuch!). Of course, HGTV, in it's Infinite Wisdom, never gives any NOTICE of it's intentions to screw around with MY weekend programming! Ohhhh, noooo! I'd settle into the recliner with my cuppa coffee and remote, fire-up the TV and discover that they'd just up-and-moved my show - and I'd have to go online to figure out what the hell they did with it!

"Fargin' Iceholes!!!"

Currently, they *are* showing some "New" (2008) episodes @ 4:30am on Sundays and 4:00am, Tuesdays. Yes, we have the DVR set to record them and, yes, Rog *still* knows not to talk to me while I'm catching up on my PJ episodes!!!

Put simply: Paul James ROCKS!!!

So anyway, like I said, Word Out on the Blogosphere is that nearly ALL Gardening Shows have been eliminated and - Worse still: Paul's contract has NOT been renewed by HGTV because (and allow me to quote from another blogger...) "He said HGTV had not renewed his contract as they felt he was too old and gardeners were too old and they're really wanting to cater to an under-35 demographic. "

Excuuuuuuuuuse me?!! Gardeners are too old?!!!

Hellll-oooooo??? I can't even begin to tell you when I *started* gardening, but I'm quite certain it was before I turned 35!!! Hell, I remember - back when I was in my early-20's - I'd at least START a garden on my apartment patio and my roommate, at the time, would roll his eyes and make snide remarks about my "Annual Attempts at Horticultural Genocide!" (Okay, so the patio didn't get much sunlight - and I was a little lax about watering! But still!!!)

And, even when I lived on my boat (when I was in my early 30's), I had a flower garden on the bow of Solitaire ANNNND I had a couple of potted tomatoes (resulting fruit was "edible" but the skin was probably about 1/8" thick!). Nevertheless, I was definitely gardening back then, as well!

I started to "come into my own" when I moved into Roger's place - with a HUGE "Blank Canvas" of a yard. Blessed with nutrient-rich (yet heavy-clay) soil and an ideal growing climate, I started to experience my first REAL Gardening Success! And HGTV's Garden Programming - Paul James in particular - taught me TONS about mulching, and soil-amendments, and composting, and all-around GOOD Gardening Practices - which resulted in even *greater* Gardening Success!

Yes, I was in my - gasp! - late 30's by then, but STILL!

Here's the deal, Oh HGTV (*Not* that you're listening or anything!!!): Yeah, I am now in the "40-Something Demographic." But the LATEST TREND right now (Again, gleaned from the Blogosphere, but apparently there are "Industry Analysts" who are citing this particular factoid) is for Home-Grown Fruits and Veggies, right?! To say nothing of all the "Green" trends right now!

The economy is in the tank (in case anyone has been asleep for the last year or so!), and "Organic" is all-the-rage, right? Folks are looking for ways to cut-back on spending, and WHAT BETTER WAY to ensure excellent quality food for your family - at the lowest possible cost (while being extremely kind to Mother Earth, no less!) - than to GROW IT YOURSELF?!!

Annnnnnd... Let's take it a step further (as we're talking about "Target Demographics"): WHO has the greater "discretionary spending budget" right now?
  • The "Under 35" demographic, with kids (and SUV's, and orthodontia, and college savings, and many-years of mortgage pymts still looming on the horizon)?
  • Or the 40-50+ "Empty Nesters/Baby Boomers?" (Who's homes are nearly paid-off?!!).

    While you may be aiming for the Under-35 crowd (and there's nothing wrong with that!), I don't think it serves your best interests to alienate the - cough-cough - "Older" demographic!

    (Why yes, I *do* have my dainties in a wad over this! I *did* say I was ranting, didn't I?!)

...And since I'm sure it's all about the $$ (as opposed to "what people want to watch!") I have little doubt that there *are* Advertisers who would be happy to pay for some air-time to sponsor a GARDEN SHOW that caters to us - ahem! - "Too Old" Gardeners: Home Depot and Lowes have Garden Centers, if I'm not mistaken; Then there's Troy-Bilt (lawnmowers, tillers); DR Power (who makes those ginormous brush-clearers and mini-cultivators); John Deere (lawn tractors); And I believe that Sears sells more than *just* stainless steel kitchen appliances (Ummm... Our rototiller sports a Craftsman logo); Hell, there's even annoying Billy Mays and his Awesome-Auger-Thingie...

Annnnnnd... Who SAYS the "Under-35 Target Demographic" DOESN'T have any interest in gardening? I recall seeing quite a few 30-somethings at the composting workshop, last week! And seriously: What better way to inspire the "Next Generation" of Gardeners than with QUALITY Gardening shows???

By Gardening, I mean "ongoing" Gardening: Planting flowers, fruits and veggies and tending to them on a daily/weekly basis and "reaping the benefits of what you've sown." There is, quite simply, NOTHING better than picking a fresh home-grown tomato off the vine and *hoping* it makes it to the kitchen! (Most of mine get eaten LONG before I even make it to the back-door!)

And by Next Generation: I'm not only referring to the 20-30-somethings, but also their kids - right? Children LOVE to learn about growing stuff! A simple sunflower seed becomes a GIANT flower where you can EAT the seeds after harvest! A tiny seed becomes a pumpkin that can become a Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween, or a Pie on Thanksgiving! Hell, I even remember, way back when I was a mere spud (Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth!), my dad showing me how to plant radish and carrot seeds. I'd rush out to the garden plot every night, pull back a teensy bit of soil, and examine my baby veggies - eagerly awaiting the day when we could pick and eat them!

And given the current ecomonic conditions - and the fact that people ARE looking for ways to cut-back - as opposed to spending thousands on a DIY Home Improvement Project that May (or May NOT) result in a decent Return on Investment!... What BETTER "Target Audience" could you possibly aim for?!!

Arrrrggghhh!!! It just annoys the HELL out of me!

Okay, so maybe PJ is too old (although I beg to differ. No, strike that! I vehemently disagree! - I think he's GREAT!), but surely you can make some room on your programming line-up to include SOME kinda Gardening Shows ("GARDENING" not "Landscaping" okay?!!). Find yourself some annoyingly perky host(ess) with perfect teeth, perfect hair, and DIRTY FINGERNAILS who is willing to show us "How it's Done!" - preferably in a "realistic" fashion!

Hello?!! H"G"TV - Are you LISTENING?!!

BTW - I almost *never* watch HGTV anymore. I used to have it on for several hours/day... Now, hardly ever. And soon, probably NOT AT ALL!

Note: Many posts related to the demise of Good Garden-Related-Programming can be found here.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Oh, boy - I so totally, TOTALLY agree! Even Victory Garden has gone to hell in a hand basket. Urgh! The TV execs just don't get it (or, rather, the general population it's supposed to be geared towards).
Does anyone remember James Crockett? THAT was gardening tv!
Seriously, would it be so hard to at least try to recreate something along those lines? You sure wouldn't need some hundred thousand dollar budget to do a show like that - and imagine the advertisers they'd attract! (and the people who actually buy the stuff)

Oh, yeah, Paul is awesome! Seriously, do they think the younger set is really going to care what the age of the host is that's doing the teaching? Who you gonna trust more - some teeny bopper holding the wrong end of a hoe, or experienced 'old' Paul?!


View my page on Meet the Phlockers