What is the Travel Channel?

The Travel Channel is a prominent cable television network that is distributed to 95 million homes in the United States. There is also a competing channel known as the Travel Channel UK, which broadcasts programming in 19 languages and reaches viewers in Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. The U.S.-based Travel Channel and the unaffiliated Travel Channel UK are broadcast to millions of viewers around the world. These channels broadcast travel-related programming developed by third-party production companies. Many viewers tune in to gather travel advice, plan their next vacation or see places they may never get to visit. Over the years, the Travel Channel has incorporated an increasing number of food-related programs, reality-TV shows and ghost hunting expeditions.

Trans World Airlines (TWA) established the Travel Channel in 1987 after purchasing the trademark rights from a premium cable distributor. Today, the Travel Channel is jointly owned by Cox Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive. Scripps also owns HGTV and a number of lifestyle-oriented cable channels. Since the Travel Channel was sold by Discovery, the network’s programming has focused on an increasing number of food-related shows. Popular programming broadcast by the network today includes No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Bert the Conqueror, Man vs. Food with Adam Richman, Ghost Adventures and Dhani Tackles the Globe.

Other favorites from the channel’s pre-Scripps days include Extreme, Great Hotels, Passport to Europe, Most Haunted, Lonely Planet Six Degrees, Great Weekends with travel guru Samantha Brown and the British travel series Globe Trekker. Programming featured on the Travel Channel is developed by third-party production companies who choose presenters, produce scripts and create content targeted to specific demographics. Rebroadcast shows from the Food Network, such as $40 a Day and Rachel Ray’s Tasty Travels, focus on budget-oriented thrills while other original programs concentrate on luxurious destinations, high-priced hotels and places that many viewers will only see on television. The Travel Channel attracts viewers from many demographics due in part to its exotic features and escapism programming.