JHRTS, Planet Green Talk "Fabulous" Brands


The JHRTS’ “A Conversation With Planet Green,” which took place on Tuesday night in New York, brought to light the struggle involved in creating a well-defined, lasting brand. Featuring Laura Michalchyshyn, Planet Green president and GM, and Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell of the network’s The Fabulous Beekman Boys, the discussion underscored how a fledgling brand has a hard time finding its feet.

Discovery’s Planet Green is undergoing a rebranding effort, with the relaunch slated for early January 2012. While Michalchyshyn remained mum on the specifics, she hinted that the network’s feet are now heading toward “adventure, travel and destinations,” with an emphasis on the “destinations” aspect. When asked how the current programming will fit into the new Planet Green, Michalchyshyn would only say that television goes through evolutions, citing Planet Green’s early days.

“Planet Green was a very different channel in its launch,” Michalchyshyn said.

Reality series The Fabulous Beekman Boys, which follows Dr. Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell as they pursue a life in the farmland of upstate New York, has brought definition to the network; the show “put [Planet Green] on the map.”

Discovery’s portfolio, including the more well-known TLC, forces the smaller nets to “be everywhere” and work harder at defining their respective brands. Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Ridge leverage social media to promote their own brand, Beekman 1802, as well as their reality show’s home. That results in a cross-promotion - naturally, Planet Green promotes the show, and it also promotes Beekman 1802.

Meeting Dr. Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell was a “rare and fabulous moment” for Michalchyshyn. After an earlier failed attempt to launch a show, the pair were skeptical about trying again. But Michalchyshyn said their first meeting felt like an “instinctual moment for a programmer.”

“I thought, ‘You know, this will be great TV,’” she said.