All good things must at some point come to an end, and such is the case for FUEL TV’s program “The Daily Habit”. The show premiered on FUEL TV on October 3, 2005 and filmed more than 1,350 original episodes over the past 6 years – a notable feat for any network show – making it the longest running show on FUEL TV. The show’s ratings have been lower than desired for the past year and despite some format changes a few months ago, continued to stay down causing the network to make the decision to lay it to rest. The show will finish taping on November 22, 2011 and will air “best-of” episodes through the end of December.
But when one door closes, opportunity arises for several other doors to open allowing for progression and growth into future endeavors. FUEL TV certainly has a great deal up its sleeve to make sure that there is no void left behind by the absence of “The Daily Habit”, only new exciting content that is sure to captivate viewers and broaden the network’s appeal to a larger audience.
We touched base with FUEL TV Executive VIce President George Greenberg to get an idea of where the network is headed:
Now that “The Daily Habit” is coming off the air, are there plans to replace it with anything specific?
Anytime you make a change in television you hopefully replace a show that isn’t performing well with one that is going to perform better, and that’s really the name of the game. Every day you try to improve your ratings, and every day you’re trying to improve time periods. “The Daily Habit” just wasn’t holding it’s lead-in or providing much of a great lead-in for the show afterwards, so we believe when we have a show change in January that it will have a positive influence on the time period.
What is the plan for the focus of the network’s content moving into the future?
As far as our commitment to action sports goes, we just premiered a show called “Action Sports Plus” on October 4 which is a review and preview each week in action sports, season 8 of “The Standard Snowboard Show” returns to the network November 10, season 2 of “Ellismania” featuring pro skater Jason Ellis premieres November 30, season 4 of “Built To Shred” comes on air December 1, “The Adventures of Danny & The Dingo” returns in its fifth season on December 6, season 4 of “Thrillbillies” premieres January 23, a new motocross series called “Rip To The Tip” premieres also in January and season 5 of “FUEL TV presents Camp Woodward” airs in February. We also recently premiered new seasons of “The Moto: Inside The Outdoors” (airs on Monday nights) and “Strangers In Danger” featuring BMX pros Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla and Zack “Catfish” Yankush (airs Tuesday nights).
We also added 10 new snowboard events that we didn’t have last year. And we have a surf reality show in development as well. That show in particular will take place in the Huntington Beach area, and will take a look at surfers aspiring to be pros, current pros and surfers who were pro and really take a look inside their world in a reality setting – we’re very much looking forward to that and, like any show in development, it has to get it’s sea legs but once it does we have high hopes for it.
We’re going to shift our demographic which is now 12-34 we’re going to focus more on 18-34 we feel it’s a better target and a better fit for where we’re going. Obviously the UFC is coming to FUEL TV so it’s going to be a blend of action sports and UFC, and for us its going to be that balance. Obviously things are going to be time appropriate most of the day time will be action sports, we’ll have a lot of night time product in action sports, we think it’s a great place to actually launch new shows on the back of a UFC show – meaning if you have a very high lead in that’s a great thing because now you can launch another show on the back of that. When we launch a show like the surf reality show we’ll have a wonderful lead-in and appeal to a bit of a broader demographic. We know that the surfing audience is a bit older than the average skate or snowboard audience, (it’s a 35+ surf audience) but the surf reality show we’re going to develop is very cross generational, one that my son could watch or I could watch with my father and we feel that’s going to hit the real sweet spot for us as far as the program goes, and the fuel behind that (literally) will be having a great lead-in which very well could be a UFC show. And at the end of the day no other network airs action sports, and FUEL TV will remain the main TV network that dedicates most of its time slots to action sports.
How will bringing on UFC content to the network change or broaden the viewership?
Obviously the demographic will be larger, but then again how do you define larger? Our audience will probably increase by almost 10 times. On certain events, the numbers this network will see on UFC coverage will be staggering. We believe, as marketers and showman, if you can put a really inviting product in a time period promotionally where a lot of people are watching then hopefully you can know who’s watching and we’d love to hook them and move those who are watching the UFC telecase over to a surf reality. If you look at how many athletes cross train in mixed martial arts it’s a big percentage, athletes cross over between sports all the time so for us cross over athletes and cross over demographics are what we’re looking for.
What else can viewers expect from future content on FUEL TV?
Moving forward we’re also going to look to a lot of our endemic partners to telecast live surf coverage. We’ve spoken to a number of endemics about how to take their webcasts and incorporate them into FUEL TV telecasts and live programming. We’re really excited about this because we’ve seen from the US Open Of Surfing really good cause and effect – that you can put on a live surfing event, produced by other people, that can carry an audience for 3 hours which is a major to do in the world sports. But we saw in our world that you can do this, and it held people’s interest and ratings, and we were very happy to see that.
So another avenue that we’re going to look into is the world of live surfing. Surfing reaches a lot of people world wide rather than just focusing on a US audience and we can provide them the programming platform to do that.