Under Smith’s purview, Cooking Channel already is showing signs it will surpass its successes of 2015, which was a banner year as the network’s most-watched, highest-rated, and youngest-skewing year to date. So far in 2016, Cooking Channel has already seen its highest-rated first quarter, with adult ratings growing 2 percent over 2015. Appropriately enough, for the past few years Smith has served on the board of Food Bank New York. “I truly admire their dedication and commitment to filling the meal gap that leaves approximately 1.4 million New Yorkers—mainly women, children, seniors, the working poor and people with disabilities—dependent on soup kitchens and food pantries,” he says.
What grade do you give the cable industry on diversity and why?
I’d give the industry a B. On screen the industry offers more shows with more diverse characters than ever, but behind the scenes we still have a ways to go. It’s still too rare find a woman or minority leading one the largest MVPDs or content companies.
What television show/s – cable or broadcast – that best embrace diversity?
I really enjoy shows with diverse characters in non-stereotypical roles – shows like “Power,” “Empire,” “How To Get Away with Murder,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Luther,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Jane the Virgin” and “The Walking Dead.”
Favorite charity organization you work with?
I’ve been on the board of Food Bank New York for the past few years and I truly admire their dedication and commitment to filling the meal gap that leaves approximately 1.4 million New Yorkers—mainly women, children, seniors, the working poor and people with disabilities — dependent on soup kitchens and food pantries.