Exclusive: Travel Channel Goes on the Road With the NFL
New series follows Cleveland Browns as it tackles away games
By Jon Lafayette -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/5/2012 9:30:00 AM
The National Football League will announce a deal with the network to provide unprecedented access to one of its teams as it travels to away games. NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns will premiere Dec. 4 at 10 p.m. and follow the Browns as it prepares to play in New York, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, Denver and Pittsburgh.
NFL Road Tested is being coproduced by NFL Films and RIVR Media.
For Travel Channel, the opportunity to work with the most powerful force in television programming comes as it looks to replace its most prominent personality, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who has joined CNN. The NFL programming is expected to appeal to Travel Channel's male-skewing audience.
After the loss of Bourdain, Travel Channel re-signed Adam Richman, popular host of Man v. Food and Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America. Losing both Bourdain and Richman would have been difficult for both the network and its sponsors to swallow.
Travel Channel's connection to the NFL comes via the Browns' new owner Jimmy Haslam, a prominent businessman from Knoxville, Tenn., where Travel Channel parent Scripps Networks Interactive, is based. Scripps has been working to rebuild the Travel Channel since acquiring it from Cox Communications in 2009.
Versus Olympic competition during the third quarter, Travel Channel's viewership among adults 18-49 was down 7%. But Travel Channel's revenues were up 10% during the quarter.
"This show will offer viewers a great perspective of the inner-workings of an NFL team and what it takes to support a team," Haslam said in a statement. "With Travel Channel working alongside NFL Films and RIVR Media, we expect that this will be first-class production. We are excited about what this will mean to Northeast Ohio, the Browns and our fans."
NFL road trips are unique and the new series will provide an inside look at what it takes to move an entire team from city to city, including feeding, clothing and housing six tons of humanity. It will also look at how NFL stadiums prepare to deal with thousands of fans.
"This series is a first-of-its-kind program providing an exclusive pass to NFL fans during the season," said Andy Singer, general manager of the Travel Channel. "This is an emotionally-charged world. Now, viewers will get a never-before-seen opportunity to see what it's like for players to live on the road, often away from their families. We'll hear from the players themselves, coaches and scores of support staff in multiple cities."
Singer added, "Working with the Emmy award-winning storytellers from NFL Films, NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns will take viewers beyond the gridiron and inside the action that happens between games as the storied franchise attempts to return to football greatness."
"We look forward to working with Travel Channel to bring fans a behind-the-scenes look at the logistical preparations leading into each week's game," said Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films.
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