A Seasonal Q&A: Peace Reigns All Year at TV Guide Network
We just had to do it at this time of year. The Cable 360 and CableFAX Daily news teams felt compelled to conduct a Q&A with an executive whose name embodies the spirit of the season. Kristin Peace, TV Guide Network’s VP of Development, Acquisitions and Broadband Development, was promoted about one month ago, from VP of Development.
Peace has spearheaded development of TVG’s original productions, including reality series Making News, which returns in season two to follow a local TV news based in Savannah, GA. A game show fanatic, Peace recently began shooting TVG’s first original game show series, Celebrity Says! In this interview, Peace discusses Savannah, Paula Deen and her TV philosophy. Other parts of this interview ran in CableFAX Daily’s December 28 edition.
Are you still being pitched despite the writers strike?
Our schedule was filled with alternative and unscripted programs prior to the strike and that’s what it’s going to continue to be. We’re not really in the scripted world, so people are still pitching me ideas for alternative programs and absolutely for broadband. As far as what we cover [on our interview shows], that’s a little bit quieter because scripted shows are closing down. But when networks launch unscripted shows, like ABC’s Duel, we cover them.
You’re a Hollywood vet with a distinguished career, including stops at GSN and Paramount and other shops. What have you learned that you’re applying at TVG Channel?
Wow, that’s a good one. I wasn’t prepared for that. The overall lesson that’ been beaten into me is that a good idea is a good idea and you should always fight for your good ideas. And that if you put something good on television, people will find it. Another hard part about my job is that you need to say yes sometimes. It’s always easier to say no. But when you find a show that you really want to make happen you have to fight for it. I’ve also learned that TV is a business, a hard and exciting business, but ultimately it’s a business and you shouldn’t lose sight of that while you’re having fun creating stuff.
Why did you choose Savannah, GA, as the site for season 2 of your Making News reality series, which focuses on local television news talent?
We knew we wanted to do another season and we brainstormed about locations. We really were intrigued with the South. We thought it would be different from what we did [last season] in [Midland,] Texas. So we scouted different locations in the South and found Savannah really had a lot of character. Midland was great, but Savannah will be play a larger role in the series than Midland did. It’s full of characters, lots of pushes and pulls among the people. It’s the old South, but it’s also got a progressive side with a vibrant arts community. It’ll be fun to see what happens at the station as it plays out against this really intriguing market.
One of Savannah’s favorite citizens is a pretty fair cook named Paula Deen. Will she make it on to the series?
Well we just started taping at the end of November, but I would love to get something in about her, but what we’re doing is watching the news stations do what they do, we’re watching them cover stories, their office politics, etc. What I can tell you is that one of the news teams covered a story about Smithfield Ham, there were some union issues, I think. Anyway, some workers picketed Paula Deen’s show because she’s a spokesperson for Smithfield Ham. So we covered the news team at the station covering that story.
You entered the business as a game show enthusiast, and that’s before you joined GSN. What’s your favorite game show?
Oh, I think hands down my favorite is Family Feud. I think it’s the very best format. And then because I love the era MTV’s Remote Control (5 seasons, 1987-90). It was the first time a game show really made you feel cool for watching it. At least it made me feel cool. I don’t what that says about me?
How have you incorporated your love of game shows into TVG’s lineup?
We acquired a game show that I produced while I was at GSN called Hollywood Showdown. That ran in the daytime. Now we’re preparing to do—in fact I’m on the set right now—of a game show called Celebrity Says! It will be our first original game show produced at TV Guide Network and it will launch on February 25 at 10pm. It’s basically we talk to celebrities on the red carpet and we ask our contestants to guess how the celebrities will answer the questions. So it’s sort of how well do you know your celebrities? It’s really fun. Dave Holmes is the host.
What’s the biggest hurdle when you’re in Hollywood seeking pitches for TVG Channel?
The number one problem is that people don’t think of us as place where shows actually happen. They think of us as a place where we tell people what’s on at 8 o’clock with the scroll. So, it’s been a lot of education that we do programs, sell advertising and get ratings. Second, it’s getting the message out to the creative community about who we are, what we want our brand to be, who our audience is, and that we want to spend money, and work with the best in the business.