The programming executive responsible for bringing hit shows like “Home Town Takeover,” “Celebrity IOU” and “Bargain Block” to HGTV has lost her job in a restructuring shakeup at its newly-formed parent company, Warner Bros Discovery. Jane Latman, who worked for more than two decades at Discovery and has overseen HGTV for the past three and a half years, was laid off on December 9, 2022, after creating significant changes at the network. But diehard HGTV fans may recognize her replacement. Here’s what you need to know:
Jane Latman Worked to Expand HGTV’s Shows & Hosts
Deadline broke the news on Friday that Latman, who had also been in charge of Food Network since March, was let go along with Nancy Daniels, head of Turner networks and several Discovery channels, in a “restructuring” move by the newly-merged Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD).
Latman was hired to head HGTV in early 2019, after climbing the ranks within Discovery for nearly two decades, to expand the home improvement network’s offerings and hosts. In October 2020, she told Variety that after doing in-depth research with viewers, they found fans were craving engaging, relatable, and even funny hosts who were willing to not just share their design secrets, but also share parts of their lives. The wild success of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ “Fixer Upper” was an example of how that kind of formula was already working, so Latman set out to break the old mold.
“We are kind of stretching the HGTV brand,” she told Variety. “We are looking for more storytelling – deeper stories, richer stories – leaning more into emotions around relationships.”
“It’s just about being more real and not ignoring what’s going on in the talent’s life,” she continued. “We recognize the brand is about home, but that doesn’t mean it’s just about home renovation.”
During her tenure as the head of HGTV, Latman oversaw the creation of successful series including the Property Brothers’ “Celebrity IOU,” “Rock the Block,” “No Demo Reno,” “100 Day Dream Home,” “Bargain Block,” “Unsellable Houses,” “Fixer to Fabulous,” “Windy City Rehab” and as well as Food Network’s Bobby’s Triple Threat and Discovery+ originals such as Trixie Motel and Kendra Sells Hollywood.
Latman’s now-former boss, WBD Chairman and Chief Content Officer Kathleen Finch issued a company memo about the executive layoffs on Friday, which also included other executives. But she specifically pointed out Latman’s “extraordinary contributions,” making HGTV and Food Network “two of the biggest and most valuable brands in the industry.”
Ironically, when Latman was named one of Variety’s Titans of Unscripted TV in April 2022, she said the one thing she wished she’d understood when starting her TV career was how to approach setbacks.
“Sometimes setbacks are opportunities in disguise,” she said. “It’s a long game, don’t let setbacks crush you.”
New HGTV President is a Friendly Face to Many Current Hosts
Warner Bros. Discovery has already named a replacement for Latman. It’s her former colleague, Loren Ruch, who has held a variety of positions with Discovery and HGTV since 2005 — most recently as Senior Vice President of Programming & Development for the network.
Diehard HGTV fans may recognize Ruch for the show he began co-hosting in early 2021 for Discovery+, called “HGTV House Party.” Co-hosted with Brian Balthazar, the mini talk show has featured lots of HGTV personalities dishing on everything from their love lives to design tricks.
Over the years, Ruch has become good friends with many HGTV hosts, including “100 Day Dream Home” hosts Mika and Brian Kleinschmidt, “Windy City Rehab” host Alison Victoria, and Taniya Nayak, who’s appeared on numerous HGTV shows including “Battle on the Beach.”
In addition to Ruch’s promotion to oversee HGTV, another longtime Discovery programmer, Betsy Sanner Ayala, was named head of the Food Network.
In her memo to WBD employees, Finch wrote, “We intend to work quickly to put the new structure in place and to sync these groups effectively, so we ask for your continued patience as we make sure we’re doing things in a thoughtful way.”
With all the changes that are being made to HGTV is there anyway you could remove the episode of Celebrity IOU with Zooey Deschanel. No one Likes her! And she’s not a Nice, Respectful person who only cares about herself!