HGTV, Food Network helped by coronavirus stay-at-homes

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2020 file photo, chief brand officer, Discovery & Factual, Nancy Daniels speaks at the Discovery Network TCA Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. HGTV and the Food Network have seen their viewership jump by more than 20 percent last month over April 2019. Executives at the Discovery-owned networks say it's because they are creating an environment that gives comfort to viewers with the extended time at home. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK — Americans stuck at home staring at fading furniture and wondering what to cook for dinner have been a boon for television networks like HGTV and the Food Network.

The Food Network’s overall ratings in April were up 25 percent over the same month last year, while HGTV was up 22 percent, the Nielsen company said.

Both networks have adjusted programming in reaction to coronavirus shutdowns with more in the works. The Food Network’s Guy Fieri has gotten takeout at some of his favorite dives, and other chefs are exploring how to be creative with what’s in the pantry. HGTV is planning a show where new products are left on the doorway of people and design experts will judge how the family made use of them, said Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brand officer for the Discovery-owned networks.

“People are gravitating to our networks and talent because we provide more than entertainment right now,” Finch said.

Stuck-at-home show hosts are also making use of camera equipment lent by their networks. Comic Amy Schumer is making a program that debuts Monday for the Food Network, “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook,” that is being filmed by her nanny, Finch said.

HGTV hit paydirt this month with shows that featured Brad Pitt, Melissa McCarthy and other celebrities improving the living situations for people they know. The network is planning a show that will feature comics sitting around and commenting on episodes of “Househunters,” Finch said.

Four Discovery-owned networks — TLC, HGTV, Discovery and the Food Network — were among the 10 most popular cable networks in prime time last week, Nielsen said.