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Obsessed by the "best"


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#1 cdh

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 12:09 PM

What kind of pressure did you find yourself under to produce shows that identify the "best" x or y... It has struck me that TVFN has really been pushing its identification of "best" and now "ultimate" things. Was this the product of some focus group that said they wanted to see shows about the "best" food... or was it somebody's personal project, or what? Seems kind of inane, given the subjective nature of food and its enjoyment.

Back in your day there was more informative programming, i.e. Good Eats, Taste, that Curtis guy's greengrocer show, etc... rather than the extreme and "ultimate" and "best" orientation of today's programming. Was this change in the works while you were still there, or did this propensity manifest itself after your departure?
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

----- De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

#2 mstillman

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 08:06 PM

What kind of pressure did you find yourself under to produce shows that identify the "best" x or y... It has struck me that TVFN has really been pushing its identification of "best" and now "ultimate" things.  Was this the product of some focus group that said they wanted to see shows about the "best" food... or was it somebody's personal project, or what?  Seems kind of inane, given the subjective nature of food and its enjoyment. 

Back in your day there was more informative programming, i.e. Good Eats, Taste, that Curtis guy's greengrocer show, etc... rather than the extreme and "ultimate" and "best" orientation of today's programming.  Was this change in the works while you were still there, or did this propensity manifest itself after your departure?

Once again with feeling...
I was fired October 11, 2000. My personal recollections in this Q&A reflect my time at the network only up until that point. I have no knowledge of any strategy, business practice or programming information from the point of my dismissal forward. My reflections are my own and can in no way be considered fact. If anything that I write has any correlation to any current practice at Food Network it is coincidental and cannot be considered a sign that I have any knowledge of current goings on at Food Network...because I dont.

There was no "pressure" to make things called "best" and "ultimate"

but actually i think it is an extended trend in television...lists, rankings etc... probably started by the seminal "Best 100 Videos" on VH1. Since then...about 4 years ago you find list shows all over the cable dial. MTV, VH1, E! ESPN (SportsCentury), CMT, Comedy Central(Most Influential Black Comedians, and others), Discovery, A&E, History Channel...

People like lists because they can disagree with them. While "best" and "ultimate" are subjective the idea of "ultimate" , I think, fits in with food pretty well. Is it overused on Food Network? Maybe... but like I said, I think there is a larger trend.

I was present for the shift from just cooking or "dump and stir" as they were affectionately called, towards entertainment programming about food.

I don't think that is a bad thing at all, that is what I was involved with. Good information is one thing, getting it across in compelling ways is something else. There are other ways to find out about an artichoke than Curtis Aikens holding one up and telling you about it. Curtis is a nice man, but there are more compelling ways. In my opinion, this was not just my opinion. Going to entertaining information was not only a smart move but a neccessary one. That aside, it is tough to make every show excellent.

#3 Chef/Writer Spencer

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 09:58 AM

I think the fact that they even called hands on cooking shows "dump and stir" is indicative of the whole idiotic mentality of the suits in the boardroom. I'd rather watch a dump and stir and than a bump and grind or dumpy and annoying. I'd love to watch a top ten fine dining restaurant show. How come they've rarely, if never done exposes, or countdowns where C. Trotter shows up, or Thomas Keller. The chefs really making the scene are doing so in the print media exclusively. Not that I'd like to see Keller makin' torchon with granny panty Jill Cordes but true high end cooking is tremendously underepresented. Do we need more shows that tell us how to dress a fucking salad, how to cook a steak--come on, if I have to watch Ming Tsai push on the soft part of his thumb one more time...

#4 Schielke

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 10:33 AM

Hey, with the number of overcooked steaks and overdressed salads out there, I think they are fighting for a just cause. :biggrin:
Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster



I have two words for America... Meat Crust.
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