Discovery round-up: Courtney White takes the helm at Food Network, Discovery inks first AVOD deal

Discovery exec Courtney White (pictured) has been upped to president of Food Network, replacing Allison Page who will continue to lead at home improvement channel HGTV.

White, formerly executive VP and GM of HGTV and Food Network, will relocate from Knoxville, Tennessee to New York to concentrate solely on the company’s food brands.

Page, who divided her time as president of HGTV and Food Network, will continue to lead at HGTV in Knoxville and report to Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer at Discovery.

The exec played a critical role in developing an upcoming partnership with Fixer Upper duo Chip and Joanna Gaines, which will see them create a new lifestyle-focused media network.

Prior to her post with HGTV and Food Network, White served as senior VP of programming for Travel Channel as well as VP of program development and production for DIY Network and Great American Country. She has created and launched a string of hit series including Beachfront Bargain Hunt and Hawaii Life.

“Courtney has been instrumental to the growth of both Food Network and HGTV, turning talented home experts and everyday chefs into treasured, household names,” said Finch, to whom White will report.

“With her strategic eye on Food Network and Allison’s on HGTV, we’ll ensure these iconic brands continue to delight our passionate fans and maximize their unique value to our advertising and affiliate partners.”

Page added: “It’s been gratifying to work alongside Courtney to develop compelling shows with endearing hosts that have made these brands so beloved. Her creative genius and deep understanding of our audience make her an incredible leader in this business, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Discovery inks first AVOD deal with Pluto TV

For the first time, Discovery will place a string of titles on a free, ad-supported video-on-demand platform, Pluto TV.

Under the multi-year, non-exclusive content deal, Discovery will license a selection of shows from Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, ID, Discovery Life, Science Channel and TLC on Pluto.

Titles will include TLC’s Kate Plus 8, Discovery’s Misfit Garage, Animal Planet’s River Monsters and ID’s Dates from Hell.

Pluto TV offers over 130 free channels and has a range of content partners including Warner Bros., MGM and Lionsgate. Discovery is an investor in Pluto via its acquisition of prior investor Scripps Networks Interactive.

“Having our world-class Discovery content as part of Pluto’s offering reinforces Discovery’s commitment to reach all viewers across all screens, platforms and devices,” Gabriel Sauerhoff, senior VP of digital distribution, Discovery, said in a statement. “We are excited to provide audiences another way to access the shows that they love, while also introducing these brands and series to new viewers.”

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