Televisionation: Screen Culture: Jenna Keane, Chief Creative Officer at RTR Media
October 12, 2021
Jenna Keane is chief creative officer and partner at RTR Media, where she spearheads the creative vision and thoughtful execution of all content from development to delivery for the company. Jenna is one of the creators and executive producers of HGTV’s top rated mega-hits Home Town, Home Town Takeover and Help! I Wrecked My House, along with freshman hit Ben’s Workshop for Discovery+. Renowned as an industry leader and tastemaker in the home space, Jenna also oversees the company’s ever-growing production slate and is leveraging its best-in-class approach to lifestyle to elevate content in other genres.
Jenna has over 25 years’ experience developing and producing 100’s of hours of television with specialty in lifestyle and reality, as well as a three-time Canadian Screen Award-winner for Best Lifestyle Series. She was formerly a network executive at HGTV Canada and Food Network Canada, working on such series as Holmes on Homes and Bryan Baeumler’s Disaster DIY.
Jenna graduated from York University with a BFA Honors: Film and Video Production.
In this episode, Jenna shares her range of experience in the television industry–from working on the world’s first Internet TV station, U8TV, to the meaningful experience of spotlighting the spirit of home towns across America through HGTV’s Home Town Takeover. She explains that she has oriented her career around making content that promotes “joy.”
Through the lens of RTR’s hit unscripted shows in the home category, Jenna notes today’s “savvy” audiences, the high bar for unscripted talent to meet, and the competition posed by free lifestyle content on social platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram: She explains it as a challenge for “improvement of the craft of producers,” with an imperative to deliver “premium content…ours has to be that much more beautiful, the story has to [have] that much more detail and intrigue, and you have the see the craft evident in the product.”
Jenna and Lisa also cover:
- The need for lifestyle, particularly home category, talent to not only have exceptional skills, but also to present a “unique point of view” mixed with the ability to teach and be helpful to viewers
- The blueprint established with Home Town stars Ben and Erin Napier for revitalizing towns like their own Laurel, MS, and making the show’s visual style consistent with their vision of the town
- The opportunity to increase representation of communities, lifestyles, and perspectives through unscripted content
About Lisa Crawford
Lisa Crawford is a cultural commentator and expert on the evolving relationship between fans and television creators. Lisa’s passion for understanding culture, audiences, and content stems from her varied experiences as a communications and marketing executive, writer, and media scholar.
Lisa has conducted original research on showrunner celebrity, consulting well-known showrunners and audiences across the United States and Canada to understand how the role has shifted in popular culture. ITVT published this work as the online column Run of Show, and Lisa has also served as a moderator at previous TV of Tomorrow Shows.
Lisa is the principal of an independent communications consultancy, Lisa Crawford Consulting. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Southern California.