Multichannel News has an article about Travel Channel's recent history, including its sale from Discovery Communications to Cox Communications and dropping the World Poker Tour because it didn't fit with their brand. An excerpt:
The World Poker Tour was Travel Channel’s ratings ace in the hole when Pat Younge took over the network’s reins in 2005, back when it was part of Discovery Communications.
The ratings gain happened without support from arguably the most popular show in the network’s history, the World Poker Tour.
The series — which followed several poker players as they participated in the WPT’s tournaments around the world — debuted in 2003 on the channel and became an immediate success, averaging 808,000 viewers an episode. The show peaked in 2004, averaging more than 1.1 million, nearly three times the 390,000 viewers Travel Channel averaged in primetime that year.
“We needed it like a junkie needs crack,” said Younge, who joined Travel as the network’s president and general manager after serving as a programming executive at the British Broadcasting Co.
But while the show was successful, Younge said it didn’t fit what he felt was the image of the brand, as defined by a triangle that connects a lust for life to immersive exploration to credible authorship of travel content.
“That was the downside of the World Poker Tour … it did bring us a rating number, but it so damaged the brand in the eyes of the traveling community that it impacted our ability to monetize it somewhere else,” he said. “We are a travel play.”
As a result, Travel Channel last May did not renew the World Poker Tour for a sixth season. GSN has since picked it up.
Which was fine with Cox. “That was one of the first big discussions we had to have with Pat and we got it immediately,” said Esser. “His point was 'We’re not the poker network — we’re the travel network.’ ”