This year highlights a marked focus in the direction of the school-sponsored television network. BYUtv is working to gain a larger share of family programming viewers.
“We’re really, really looking to develop programs that are purposeful, that are engaging, that are uplifting, but that the whole family can enjoy together,” said Andra Duke, the director of content at BYUtv.
As a part of that effort, the station is offering more variety in its content. That includes two new game shows, “Dinner Takes All” and “Battle of the Ages.”
Duke said those shows are geared specifically toward family audiences.
“The Fixers” and “Making Good” highlight the good that service can do while having fun at the same time. “Making Good” is hosted by Kirby Heyborne, who is well-known among Latter-day Saint audiences for his roles in “The Best Two Years” and “The R.M.”
“The Fixers” follows four contractors as they travel around the world to create engineering solutions to problems facing local communities. They work to bring people together to build projects, including: a well for clean water, a new animal shelter, and a food production facility in Haiti.
“We needed people that not only had the heart that they needed to bring to serve these communities, but had the skill set to do these very aggressive builds in a week’s time,” Duke said.
The group travels to various locations around the world for a week at a time where communities need the help of expert craftsmen and engineers.
Duke said BYUtv is trying to work against the perceptions created across media platforms that portray parents as disinterested in their children. One new show that looks to do just that is “The Parent Trip,” which follows parents and children as they travel and adventure together.
Other shows in returning seasons include “Dwight in Shining Armor,” “Random Acts,” “Relative Race,” and the well-known “Studio C” in its 10th season. Tori Pence and Dalton Johnson return alongside new cast members to create sketches in Saturday Night Live style but in a setting the entire family can watch. Studio C’s season 10 premieres tonight at 6 p.m. MT on BYUtv.
BYUtv also offers a host of sports programming. “BYU Sports Nation” is a talk show that covers everything BYU sports and is the flagship sports program. The channel also plays “Coordinators’ Corner,” pregame and postgame shows, and broadcasts of soccer, volleyball, basketball, and football games.
“We are doing as much in that arena as ever,” Duke said. “I feel like there’s a lot of energy around [sports programming].”
In kids’ shows, BYUtv shows a series of “Stars,” which follows youth who excel in sports and other activities. Also, airing are “Made Up,” a series of outdoor exploration shows, and “Undercover High.”
“We’re out constantly looking for those programs that we think will resonate with our audience,” Duke said.
Despite the vast array of viewing options, Duke said creating the right shows is not an easy task. BYUtv promises to only play shows that can be viewed by the entire family. Duke said they also seek to find niche programming that will work for their specific audience.
“This content is a gift to the world,” Duke said. “We are a non-commercial station. We’re trying to [answer] who needs this gift the most?” She said they are always working to find programming that is purposeful, enjoyable, and can be viewed by the entire family.
For a full list of viewing times and streaming options, visit byutv.org.