Thursday, August 2, 2018

TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: Mortimer Harvey dropped as Discovery Networks International moves the repping of its Scripps-acquired Food Network and Travel Channel to FleishmanHillard.

FleishmanHillard in South Africa has taken over the PR and repping for the Scripps' Food Network (DStv 175), Travel Channel (DStv 179 / Cell C black 255) and Fine Living HD (StarSat 281 / Cell C black 251) with the channels that were abruptly left rudderless since the end of May.

Mortimer Harvey that did the PR for the Food Network since around July 2011, and added the Travel Channel in early-2013, got dropped after 7 years with no word as to who would be taking over.

TV critics and journalists covering television stopped getting programming information at the end of May without as much as a goodbye and with nothing issued in advance for June, July or August (the month we're in now), making it impossible to cover the Food Network or Travel Channel during this time period.

Back in March Discovery Communications completed its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, with the press assuming even before the acquisition was completed, and also asking, whether Scripps PR would be folded into Discovery's public relations efforts.

After silence of over a month and a half and various journalists asking each other and not knowing what's going on and not being communicated with, TVwithThinus made the effort to reach out in mid-July - something you'd think a PR company would do - to try and find out what's going in with the PR of the Food Network and the Travel Channel.

I emailed and spoke on the phone to reps at Mortimer Harvey, MultiChoice and FleishmanHillard (doing the PR for Discovery Networks International's existing Discovery channels portfolio), to try and find out what's is happening and why there's no programming publicity information for these channels anymore.

I was told Mortimer Harvey isn't involved with it anymore and no longer has the contract.

On Thursday morning FleishmannHillard sent an advisory to South Africa's press, officially noting that the firm's team has now taken over from Mortimer Harvey in repping the Food Network and Travel Channel, with these channels now folded into the existing Discovery Networks portfolio's publicity work.

After 7 years a proper goodbye - any kind of goodbye - from Mortimer Harvey (that works in the public relations business) would have been nice.