Scripps, whose channels include HGTV, Travel Channel and a majority stake in Food Network, is looking for a buyer at a time when it and other smaller media companies are under pressure to grow to give them negotiating power with cable and satellite companies.
Viacom also has held talks to acquire Scripps, the sources said.
Discovery, Scripps and Viacom declined to comment.
Scripps has long been considered a takeover target since the Scripps family trust that controlled the company ended five years ago.
This is at least the third time that Discovery, whose shareholders include cable magnate John Malone, has held talks to buy Scripps, according to the sources.
A deal between Discovery and Scripps would create a $19 billion
cable network that specializes in non-scripted shows. Discovery
Communications is up 9.8 percent at $28.61 and Scripps Networks is up 13.4 percent at $76.02 in after market trading.