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What's the void that needs to be filled?


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#1 Lesley C

Lesley C
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Posted 09 June 2003 - 10:16 PM

Hi Matthew, thank you for being so entertaining and informative :smile: (love the disclaimer)


What facet of the cooking show concept do you believe has yet to be explored? Is there room for more great personalities? A new concept? Do the up-and-comers have to look like Nigella (hard to match that) and cook like Jacques Pepin (hard to match that as well), or do you think production values can cover up the lack of cooking skills and bad skin?

What's the void that needs to be filled?

I'm also curious to know what you think makes a great food television star? (notice I didn't say Food Network star, with you being fired and all)

#2 mstillman

mstillman
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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:59 PM

Hi Matthew, thank you for being so entertaining and informative  :smile:  (love the disclaimer)


What facet of the cooking show concept do you believe has yet to be explored? Is there room for more great personalities? A new concept? Do the up-and-comers have to look like Nigella (hard to match that) and cook like Jacques Pepin (hard to match that as well), or do you think production values can cover up the lack of cooking skills and bad skin?

What's the void that needs to be filled?

I'm also curious to know what you think makes a great food television star? (notice I didn't say Food Network star, with you being fired and all)

My name is Matthew Stillman. I was fired from Food Network on October 11, 2000. No, for real! My experiences and recollections refer only to the time I was at Food Network and cannot be construed as accurate or as factual or referring to anytime beyond the time of my gainful employment. In no way do I intend to defame or disparage Food Network or any individual connected to the organization. I have no knowledge of any programming or business strategies employed by the network since my departure with any certainty at all. In this post I do not mean to suggest that Food Network either has or does not have any of the types of programming I'll mention. My opinions are my own and cannot be taken as having any value beyond the ones and zeroes they are composed of.

I also was fired from a job as doorman in the ElDorado, a swanky art deco building on the Upper West Side on CPW, huge building, five doormen at all times. It was a summer gig, it paid twenty two bucks an hour which was awesome for being nineteen. It was boring, I used to count the triangles on the terrazzo tile patterns in my area to pass the time. Anyway, to make it fun I used to run for the door and slide on the slippery floor making a very cool entrance. Tenants loved it but the super hated it. He said I made the other doormen look bad...

I don't remember the date, but man, was I fired! my recollections and opinions of my time there only reflect the time I was gainfully employed there. I in no way mean to disparage or defame The ElDorado or any the staff there. The ElDorado business strategies were something I knew nothing about. Actually I won't even be talking about the ElDorado anymore except to say that that job gave me my worst sexual experience of my life, my first one night stand (wow, was she hot!), and a dear friend.

cooking shows...

The cooking show is tapped. We have seen it all for all intent and purpose. There may be variations in set and personalities and interactivity but the form we see is basically the form. That is not a bad thing, IMO. Cooking shows are not bad, they can be smart and elegant and good TV, you need cooking shows to show people stuff about cooking everything from toast, ice, and grilled cheese to torchons and quenelles and demi-glace. there will be good ones and bad ones and even great ones...

But as for innovation?...It was an innovation to have cooking shows in the first place. Not just because I was involved with them, but I don't think there was a real revolution in cooking shows until Iron Chef and Good Eats....cooking shows were around, ditto food travelogues, restaurant reviews, documentaries etc...but IC and GE exploded conventions and stand alone in their style and purpose and scale of view. They are giants that others will stand on the shoulders of...really.

new concepts? yes. there are lots of unexplored ways to look at food. to look at cooking. shows that have cooking in them may not be cooking shows. just to throw out one... a pure science of food and cooking show is completely unmade. Good Eats is amazing but there is so much more that could entertain viewers, hold their rapt attention, and be compelling for a large commercially viable audience.

i don't think you have to look like nigella or cook like jacques. not in a defamatory way, but there are lots of cooking show hosts who are neither and have their own shows on other networks outside of FN and pbs.

you need to have a real approach, have passion and personality and/or be a really good teacher who brings out the best in the viewer. there is always room for that in any genre.

i think production values can cover small problems but they can't cover anything beyond that. ultimately, for me, if you have good writing and a great host and a good format you would be surprised how bad the production values can be.