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 Bites, Nigella 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 …