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Shel_B

How Guy Fieri Ruined the Food Network

78 posts in this topic

I'm just the messenger ....

 

Click here for the story ...


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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The food network lost me when they cut all the really good programs and converted to the hip and "forward looking" idiots that are more interested in their own celebrity than in producing a show that actually teaches folks that are eager to learn how to cook.

 

I remember when John Ash, David Rosengarten, Curtis Aikens, Sara Moulton, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Miliken, Wolfgang Puck were the backbone of the channel, backed up by various chefs on Baker's Dozen, Calling All Cooks and Chef du Jour.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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The food network lost me when they cut all the really good programs and converted to the hip and "forward looking" idiots that are more interested in their own celebrity than in producing a show that actually teaches folks that are eager to learn how to cook.

 

I remember when John Ash, David Rosengarten, Curtis Aikens, Sara Moulton, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Miliken, Wolfgang Puck were the backbone of the channel, backed up by various chefs on Baker's Dozen, Calling All Cooks and Chef du Jour.

It's just following the usual downward spiral of cable TV. Look at what happened with A & E and Bravo.
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"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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I noticed they gave Guy a show right after they fired Emeril.  I figured they wanted a flamboyant personality to replace him.  Tie that together with programmers who think the model for daytime food TV is Let's Make a Deal and they have no one to blame but themselves. 

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What a rant. Guy Fieri has A LOT of help! Blaming everything on him is pretty silly. The writer's suggested replacements of "the pacifying voices of Ina, Martha, Nigella, even Mario Batali" also lean towards "food personalities," because that's what everyone is now. (Don't even get me started on the use of first names, and only for the women.) It has nothing to do with whether or not they can cook. Is he suggesting that Bobby Flay can't cook? I think he's wrong. The point is that cooking doesn't sell, at least not in terms of what "sales" implies today. Previously, selling was in a different stratosphere than it is today, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with Guy Fieri.

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Not the fault of the programmers.

 

Not the fault of Guy,

 

It's all about supply and demand. The population demands, the producers and the performers supply.

 

The problem is the culture we are in. They demand that kind of programming.

 

 

dcarch

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Not the fault of the programmers.

 

Not the fault of Guy,

 

It's all about supply and demand. The population demands, the producers and the performers supply.

 

The problem is the culture we are in. They demand that kind of programming.

 

 

dcarch

This should make sense, but everything and everyone I know tells me it doesn't make sense.

 

Virtually all of my friends are in the hospitality industry, and virtually all of them have "gave up" on food network TV, they don't watch it. And the hospitality industry is a large one....

 

Even my relatives, for instance my b.i.l. who's a bus driver, knows there's "something off" about FN tv in general and "doesn't watch a much as I used to" 

 

So, who is demanding this stuff?  Advertisers who need a vehicle to flog their stuff on TV?

 

Never understood the media, or even tried to.  I'm still fighting with them (the media, in particular the magazines) for refusing to acknowledge that weighing out ingredients as opposed to volume measurements is a for more intelligent method, more accurate, faster, far better repeatable results, and of course, the fact the we've been doing it for well over 3,000 years.  They refuse to acknowledge...................

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I don't hate Fieri. In fact DD&D is almost the only thing that's watchable on FN.  Sure he's an over-the-top clown, but not unlikable. And the show isn't some contrived competition between line cooks with tattoos.

 

For some reason Bobby Flay survives when the rest of his generation is gone.  Not complaining; I can watch him too.

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I'm with dcarch. This is mostly a cultural issue.

 

The television industry is mostly concerned with giving people what they want, not giving them what is good. And what the people want is stupid, low-quality television with lots of flashy production. What happened to the Food Network isn't unique. Think about what happened to The Learning Channel, Bravo, A&E, or the Discovery Channel. Or the History Channel. Or MTV. Or the news media.

 

People don't want high quality television from which they can learn and improve their lives. What they want is shows about people with dwarfism, hoarding disorders, or 19 kids. They want "Long Island Medium" and they want to keep up with Kardashians. They want shows about pawn shops with idiotic titles involving puns about pornography. They want Honey Boo Boo and shows about people who are hundreds of pounds overweight. They want Ancient Aliens and shows about swamp people. They want "Naked and Afraid" and "Intervention" and "16 and Pregnant." They want a 128oz Big Gulp with a gas station burrito and a side of Donkey Sauce.

 

Guy Fieri is a symptom, not a cause. The cause is the American public and the networks who give them what they want.

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Mmmm.. Did you ever consider that people want what the media tells them to want?

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Mmmm.. Did you ever consider that people want what the media tells them to want?

 

Vance Packard, The Hidden Persuaders - I read this book in the early sixties, perhaps before many here were even born, and it opened my eyes to the possibilities of how people (consumers) are manipulated.  Highly recommended ...


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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I gave up on FN a long time ago; at one point you could learn something but these days it is all about the personality.

 

There are alternatives, however.

 

I recently discovered this great series of 24 35-min lectures by Bill Briwa of Culinary Institute of America (The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking).  His "personality" would never make it to a pilot on today's FN, but he is engaging/sincere/competent enough to make the series really worthwhile.  I was more than happy to shell out $69. I've saved all the videos on my computer, and then watch them on my TV through Apple TV.

 

I suppose if you demand free ad-sponsored cooking TV, you end up with the entertainment-focused drivel on FN.  Perhaps the path forward is paid content like this, or from other sources like Rouxbe, ChefSteps, etc.

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Mmmm.. Did you ever consider that people want what the media tells them to want?

 

Mmm... Did you ever consider that people are agents capable of choosing their own values and exercising independent judgment?


Edited by btbyrd (log)
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heehee.  people can indeed choose.

 

pollsters do a job.  and pollsters can be influenced.  and researchers can be influenced.

whoever is paying the bill better get the results they want.....

 

Nixon popularized the phrase "silent majority" - the "upset" in the UK elections is a particular good example of that.

 

when you poll Food Network watchers about their favorite programs, you get a result.

what has not been polled are the people who eat food but were not polled because they stopped watching Food Network.

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This should make sense, but everything and everyone I know tells me it doesn't make sense.

 

Virtually all of my friends are in the hospitality industry, and virtually all of them have "gave up" on food network TV, they don't watch it. And the hospitality industry is a large one....-------------------------------------

 

Don't underestimate the pervasive digital tracking system's power. Billions of $$$$ are spent each year to track consumer preferences. Your likes and dislikes may not represent the profile of the general public. Your "everyone" is not everyone else's "everyone".

 

 

Mmmm.. Did you ever consider that people want what the media tells them to want?

 

I agree with you. "As Seen On TV" can sucker in lot's of people to buy anything. "If you call now, we will send you a free one. You pay only S&H".

 

dcarch

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I don't hate Fieri. In fact DD&D is almost the only thing that's watchable on FN.  Sure he's an over-the-top clown, but not unlikable. And the show isn't some contrived competition between line cooks with tattoos.

 

For some reason Bobby Flay survives when the rest of his generation is gone.  Not complaining; I can watch him too.

I don't find Fieri at all watchable, let alone likable.  

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So, who is demanding this stuff? Advertisers who need a vehicle to flog their stuff on TV?

Advertisers are only interested in lots of eyeballs, occasionally slightly fewer eyeballs if they're the "right" eyeballs. Quality only matters when you're selling image.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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"Perhaps this is why there has been a mass exodus of genuinely talented chefs, such Jacques Pépin, Sara Moulton, Ming Tsai, Lidia Bastianich and others, to more esteemed networks like PBS."

 

Um, was Jacques ever on FN?  He's been on PBS since at least the 80's, and weren't Ming Tsai and Lidia Bastianich on PBS before the Food Network even happened?  I'm no fan of Guy Fieri, but you can't blame him for a mass exodus of chefs who were on another network to begin with.

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Alas, quality is only occasionally a profitable business model.

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Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Mmm... Did you ever consider that people are agents capable of choosing their own values and exercising independent judgment?

I would like nothing better than to believe this. However, it doesn't seem to be the case. FN is just one small example, as is TV in general. People seem to want what they're given, and the standards keep reaching new depths. Hundreds of channels, very little content. Thousands of channels, even less content. People can't seem to get enough. And books. Have you looked at a "Bestsellers" list lately? Thrillers and romance novels, most of which are repeats of the ones that came before it, the authors have research teams and the books are mostly formulaic. I don't understand how it got this way, but I can't deny that this is the way it is. Critical thinking seems to have bitten the dust quite a while ago.

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Not a new thing. Mencken referred to the booboisie.

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If you want actual insight, this much better article by Bill Burford in The New Yorker from 2006 is an amazing, analytical look into the evolution of the Food Network.


Edited by Shalmanese (log)

PS: I am a guy.

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If you want actual insight, this much better article by Bill Burford in The New Yorker from 2006 is an amazing, analytical look into the evolution of the Food Network.

Excellent article. Given that it was written 9 years ago and the programming is even worse now than it was then, he should write an updated column.

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