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Housing and Urban Planning
HGTV builds into a top cable network on foundation of no-frills shows
HGTV builds into a top cable network on foundation of no-frills shows

As hard as it may be to imagine, there was a time not so long ago when few Americans had ever heard the expression "man cave." In 1994, PBS' trusty "This Old House" was the best known of a handful of home-improvement programs on the airwaves. The idea of HGTV, a 24-hour lifestyle network devoted to gardening, decorating, crafting and do-it-yourself renovations that launched that year, seemed ridiculously narrow, prompting the New York Times to wonder, "Is America ready for all-home TV?" Now as HGTV closes in on its 20th anniversary, the question seems almost quaint: Once derided as "compost TV," it has become a top-10 cable network in prime...

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