Questions, Questions, Questions …

by in View All Posts, September 30th, 2008

Reading through your first batch of questions, I caught a couple of common themes, which I thought I’d tackle here:

WHY DON’T YOU SHOW COOKING SHOWS AT NIGHT?   I know there’s a large group who would love to watch our cooking shows at night.   But there’s a much larger group (quite a sizeable majority, actually) that prefers our evening programming to be more story driven and entertaining than straight instructional:  competitions, travel, docusoaps, food science, chef challenges.   That’s why we pack the weekends (til 2pm) and weekdays (til 7pm) with all our best cooking shows. Will we please everyone all the time? No, but try to remember the last time you got a few million of your friends to unanimously agree on something.

WILL YOU BRING BACK ROBERT IRVINE TO DINNER IMPOSSIBLE?  We’ve gotten tons of e-mail on both sides of this argument.  In any case, there’s no doubt that Robert is a talented chef, a compelling tv personality, and has earned a large fan base.  As we said at the time, we’ve worked hard to earn the trust of our viewers, and we had to address what appeared to be intentionally misleading statements Robert made about his culinary credentials.  We did say we would reconsider Robert’s involvement with the network down the line.  At this time, we’ve simply not made a decision about the future.

WE LOVE INA AND NIGELLA.  WHY AREN’T THERE NEW EPISODES OF EITHER ON NOW?  You’ve got good taste. I love them both, too.  We bought all of Nigella’s recent series:  Nigella BitesNigella Feasts and Nigella Express as well as a lot of her holiday specials.  Unfortunately, British networks tend to make far fewer episodes of series than we do.  So we’ve already put everything on the air we could get our hands on, and, along with you, we eagerly await Nigella’s next series …. 

Meanwhile, Ina has been busy taping an entire new season which we’re just about to launch on Sat 10/18 at 1:30pm/12:30c.  She’s calling this season Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, and I’ve watched quite a few of the new episodes. I think it’s her best season so far. 

At a lunch we had last spring, Ina was brimming over with new ideas to amp up her ever-popular series: it’s chock full of new ways to include more tips and takeaways on shopping, cooking techniques and “turning up the volume” of simple ingredients to make you a cooking superstar. 

ISN’T ASK AIDA THE SHOW ADAM PITCHED ONTHE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR?  Boy, would my life be easier if the development and production process happened that quickly.  On average it takes 8-12 months from initial show conception to premiere on our air.  We had this interactive cooking show in development for more than six months before we even met Adam.

IS GUY FIERI THE ONLY STAR TO HAVE COME FROM THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR? Au contraire, each of the 4 winners have found success.  Aaron McCargo’s show Big Daddy’s House is one of the most highly rated cooking series to have launched in recent years.  It was instantly renewed and new episodes will premiere in January.  Likewise, Amy Finley’s show The Gourmet Next Door was one of the highest rated cooking shows of last year.  It was solely Amy’s decision to not return.  I don’t usually beg our stars, but in this case I did.  Repeatedly. Humiliatingly.   But having moved on to a new life in France with her family, she simply did not want to tape any more episodes.   The first winners – Dan and Steve - were on the air for two seasons.  Given that the majority of most new tv shows never make it to season two, I’d say we’ve done did pretty well.

That’s it from where I sit.  I’ll be back shortly with more …


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Comments (30)

  1. Michael says:

    Nice responses Bob.

    I was wondering when you’d respond, and how informative it’d be.

    I love the idea of you giving the fans the opportunity to have an ongoing dialogue with someone on the “inside”.

    Are you going to continue to address some of the questions raised in your first post?

    I for one would still love to know more about the decisions you guys make regarding shows.

  2. Shelley says:

    Glad to see you finally launched your blog, Bob. It was fun reading your take on NFNS before this, and I look forward to getting more inside scoop.

    Here’s my question for ya: How do you measure a “highly rated” cooking series? Is it just number of viewers, a la Nielsen? I often wonder about that, because the newest FN shows I’m interested in seem to be programmed at time slots I imagine draw the smallest audiences (Anne Burrell and Alexandra Guarnaschelli on Sunday mornings, for instance).

    One other question: Are you going to increase your “on demand” offerings via cable providers like Comcast? I’d love that.

  3. Joan says:

    You changed your format and now I can not copy any of your recipes – they will not print. Everything else prints on my machine but your recipes. This is very frustrating.

  4. Bonita says:

    “I know there’s a large group who would love to watch our cooking shows at night. But there’s a much larger group (quite a sizeable majority, actually) that prefers our evening programming to be more story driven and entertaining than straight instructional.”

    Why can’t you do a mix of non-instructional and instructional shows at night and make everyone happy instead of catering to one group? I’m one of those who would love to see the Sat. and Sun. cooking repeated during the week night-time.

    IMO, there seems to be too many repeats during the week of some of these non-instructional shows on at night such as the competition shows, Unwrapped, Ace of Cakes and Triple D. Instead of airing back to back episodes of these several times a week, just do it once a week and replace them with some of the cooking shows.

    I don’t know where you get your “numbers” from, but everyone I know on several cooking boards (one totally a FN fan board) feels the way I do. Why don’t you have a poll here on the site and see what the fans really say?

  5. IBCHEFT says:

    I too am from the Foodnetworkfans web forum, and if you are seeing a trend here of people who are wanting more instructional TV in the evening, would you not think that maybe that is a trend to for people who are not writing in ? I do not see a trend of people asking for more competition, travel, docusoaps, and such. The science TV and chef challenges are somewhat instructional, but not to the point of actually educational cooking. thank you

  6. Michael says:

    Bob, It is good to see that you are answering questions with this Blog. Now for my questions:
    1. How are you going to get these questions? Blogs allow comments but you really need a link to a form to submit questions directly to you.
    2.. When will we see Mario Batali compete again on ICA?

    3. I like “Throwdown” mainly for the chef that Bobby is going to compete against. Any chance of a show that spotlights chefs around the country without a challenge ? Something with more class than “Road Tasted”. I guess I am looking for a show like “DD&D” that has linen tableclothes and metal forks. I would think the Iron Chef challengers in their own arena. (Mark Talbot, John Besh as examples)

  7. Alec Smart says:

    Uh Hi Bob, Me again.

    Just wondering if you could have a chat with Gordon Elliot regarding the Neelys.

    Whose idea

  8. Alec Smart says:

    What I wanted to say was , whose idea was it for them to be lewd and lascivious while taping the show. What type of viewer wants to see that sort of behaviour ?

    When anything with this couple pops up, I grab the remote immediately. This probably isn’t news to you Bob, but how long do you think we can take it ?

    Gordon Elliot is making his charges into buffoons. McCargo, The Neelys. The man has turned Paula Deen into a person who is ridiculed more than revered. What’s up with that ?

  9. Will says:

    I am going to join the chorus of voices that do not like the direction that Gordon Elliot is taking Paula Deen and the other shows that he produces. I really can’t watch Paula’s Party because I just don’t like how raunchy it is. Season one of Paula’s Homecooking was great and I instantly fell in love with her and her cooking, bought every cookbook she published (except the kids cookbook, just haven’t had the chance). I just don’t think it’s appropriate.

    With the Neeley’s, it’s just uncomfortable. I get their love and commitment to each other, but don’t get that “dirty” talk they do while cooking. It may be subtle, but it’s just making me not enjoy the shows that much.

    It really makes me sad that I can’t watch Paula’s show(s) anymore she was one of my favorite personalities. All I have now is Ina…Please keep her away from Gordon Elliot.

  10. Barry Hines says:

    People, get a life. They have clothes on .. gee! I’m not suggesting that I agree with everything that’s said, but is it really so bad hat you can’t watch. It’s all in fun!!

    Bob, the network is wonderful and hope you are around for many years and thanks for haveing a wealth of variety, styles and recipes. Keep up the good work.

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