The Cooking Channel will air the first season of "The Grill Iron," an Internet series from Tastemade in which local chefs prepare meals for tailgate parties at football games, the companies said Thursday. Tastemade, which operates dozens of food-oriented channels, repackaged webisodes of the program into seven half-hour episodes for the Cooking Channel, gaining its first foothold in conventional TV.
Scripps Networks, based in Knoxville, Tenn., is one of several cable TV programmers looking to the web to attract younger viewers and reduce program costs. Time Warner's HBO has signed production deals with online video pioneer Vice Media and writer Issa Rae, the creator of a popular web series. TruTV, also part of Time Warner, is airing the first season of a comedy series hosted by Benny and Rafi Fine, who operate several popular YouTube channels.
"We're not chasing the old model because we're fully exploiting mobile and digital," Larry Fitzgibbon, a co-founder of closely held Tastemade, said in an interview. "But there's still a lot of money being made in TV. Our audience will be interested to see this show whether it's on TV or elsewhere."
The first episode airs on Sept. 5 and will feature segments titled "Michigan Coney Dogs" and "Ohio State Po' Boys," according to the companies.
Tastemade, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is a logical partner for Scripps, which led a $25 million investment in the company in June 2014. It's also one of the biggest players in online food videos, and supplies programming to Snapchat, Apple and Facebook, as well as Google's YouTube.
While most of Tastemade's viewers on Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook watch on mobile devices, the company learned from its Apple TV channel that people like to watch longer-form videos on TV. Licensing a show to Scripps brings in extra money for a show that already aired, according to Mr. Fitzgibbon, who said the company is open to licensing shows to other conventional networks.
-- Bloomberg News