Chef-turned-writer Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations" is the star of the Travel Channel
but he may have a new boss soon. The LA Times reports
on the auction for the channel which is currently owned by Cox Communications. The channel, which sees an average of around 485,000 during the prime time hours (closer to 900,000 for Bourdain's show) isn't a huge ratings star but it is a growing network. The channel is popular with the 25 to 54 age demographic and other shows that straddle the eating/traveling end of things like "Man v. Food" and "Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern" are also popular. Other shows focus on travel eyecandy with programming like Bridget's Sexiest Beaches and Super Swank. The channel could sell for around $700 million.
The Travel Channel website also offers places to book trips and offers a series of four-day seminars that discuss the finer points of travel journalism. While the travel industry lately has been suffering overall there is big potential for a renewed interest in travel over the next few years and with that, an increase in watching adventure programming.
Which of the potential media swains is the right fit for the Travel Channel? NBC Universal is looking at it, potentially as a companion for The Weather Channel or even MSNBC. Scripps Network sees it as a natural match for its lifestyle networks including the Food Network, Fine Living and Home & Garden. And then there's News Corp., which already owns the National Geographic Channel. It would probably be a fit for any of these businesses if they have the ready cash and the inclination to snap it up.