Scripps Company and, subsequently, the chief executive officer of Scripps Networks Interactive) envisioned the concept of HGTV in 1992. The organization brought in former CBS television executive Ed Spray, who implemented a system of producing (nearly all) programming through independent production houses around the United States.
Scripps corporate board, he purchased Cinetel, a small video production company in Knoxville, as the base and production hub of the new network. Cinetel became Scripps Productions, but producing more than 30 programs simultaneously proved daunting.
The network debuted with a skeletal staff, but with gradual acceptance by other cable operators, it now reaches 94 million households in the United States and has either partner networks, or network interests, in Canada, Japan, and elsewhere. Scripps Company spun off the channel and the other Scripps cable channels and web-based properties into a separate company, Scripps Networks Interactive; E. Scripps broadcast television and newspaper properties remain as part of the original company.
It is now referred to simply as "HGTV"; the full name of the channel is de-emphasized. In December 2011, the channel began broadcasting all of its programming in 16:9 aspect ratio (or letterbox) format on its primary standard definition channel.
Burton Jablin, as Vice President of Programming, set the tone and oversaw the production of the early series.
In some cases, homes visited were not even on the market.
In May 2014, HGTV decided not to air the Benham Brothers' show Flip It Forward from the network, over a controversy regarding their beliefs concerning homosexuality and their pro-life beliefs.
Originally, the HD channel did not simulcast the standard definition feed of HGTV.
Instead, the HD channel featured programming separate from the standard channel.