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HGTV’s Holiday Cheer

11/21/2004 7:00 PM Eastern

On the sixth day of Christmas, HGTV gave to me, The Design on a Dime Team a decorating.”

Michael Dingley offered up these improvised lyrics when asked to lend a Home & Garden Television feel to the “12 Days of Christmas.” While he doesn’t aspire to rewrite the seasonal favorite, HGTV’s senior vice president of programming does envision that the network’s “12 Days of Christmas Specials” holiday-programming stunt will provide better scheduling continuity and bring more viewers to the network.

“We’d like to think, in some ways, [that] we own holiday specials every year. We’ve done a lot of them, but they ran at 7, 9 or 10 p.m.,” he said. “Fortunately, people love to turn to HGTV and see what we’re doing. This year, we want to make it easier for them by running these specials at 8 p.m. It’s also easier for us to promote.”

Beginning on Nov. 26 and extending through Dec. 7, HGTV will present one-hour specials nightly, whether stand-alone shows, or holiday-themed versions of some of its most popular series. The stunt begins with Holiday Gifts 2004, a tour of the New York International Gift Fair, where 3,000 exhibitors present their seasonal wares. It concludes with an HGTV perennial, White House Christmas, in which viewers get to see how decorators dress up the Bush residence.

In between, the host and hosts of Decorating Cents, Divine Design, Design on a Dime and Curb Appeal will oversee new specials. Holiday Windows, a look at the displays in Macy’s in New York, Neiman Marcus in Dallas and Harrods in London; and Hey Remember! Christmas, which features reviews of ornaments, gifts and commercials of seasons past, are among the other specials on tap.

Although Dingley stopped short of making any ratings predictions, he said, “We feel very positive that this will be successful.”

Last year, for instance, HGTV ran a number of holiday specials the night after Thanksgiving and averaged a 1.6 household rating — the highest-rated primetime in the network’s history.

While the stunt ends on Dec. 7, Dingley said holiday-themed fare will be on the air right through Christmas, notably Outta Control Christmas, a look at those families who turn their homes into high-wattage extravaganzas with myriad lights, and life-size figurines.

A section of the HGTV Web site (www.hgtv.com/holidays) will serve as a companion piece, highlighted by its annual “Holiday Ideas” package of videos with directions on how to make ornaments and decorations

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