Cooking Channel hasn’t stopped growing since Smith helped launch it in 2010. But a new distribution deal reached this May added another 3 million households to the network’s footprint. That coupled with hot new shows like “Restaurant Redemption” have Cooking Channel poised for another best year ever in 2014. Good food comes from diverse cultures. Smith says television benefits from diversity too. “Television is all about relatable storytelling and stories are most relatable when people see people who share their backgrounds and lifestyles on screen. As the audience becomes more diverse, content most follow, or become irrelevant.”

What’s the definition of diversity in 2014, and how can the cable industry do better in the area of inclusiveness?

Television is all about relatable storytelling and stories are most relatable when people see people who share their backgrounds and lifestyles on screen.  As the audience becomes more diverse, content most follow, or become irrelevant.

Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?

Most of them don’t know me.  I’m a voracious reader of history, especially biographies, and I’ve learned from countless leaders in all facets of life throughout time.  From people who lived their true passions and by their example, inspired others to do great things.

What qualities do you look for when making a new hire? 

Passion, emotional intelligence, curiosity.

Name one emerging trend in cable we should all have our eyes on.

Extended arc storytelling.  People are consuming TV shows more and more like good books.  Not expecting a quick payoff at the end of each episode.  They want to take a deeper, more immersive dive into more authentic stories.

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