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The Decline and Fall of the Food Network


spqr
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Am I the only one who is disappointed with the direction that Food TV has taken?

To a TV cooking show junkie like myself, the trend toward “lifestyle” shows, and undisguised “commerce” shows reveals just how low they’ve sunk. All of a sudden, it seems, it’s not about cooking anymore. It’s about admiring someone else’s fab kitchen, it’s about their fab life, or it’s about where you can go to buy this or that “regional specialty”. (Is it true that the various places that are featured on shows like Food Finds pay to be featured?)

The best shows still playing (IMHO) are Mario (kill the stupid sidekick Roonie), Wolfy, Jay-mee, Flay (even though I hate the format), Alton Brown’s Good Eats (great show!), and Gale Gand’s show. Emeril – well, he claims to “really cook” on his show but he doesn’t. He throws things into a pot or pan or bowl and magically a finished dish appears. His food is mostly vulgar, and his shtick is way tired. Total fraud.

Why aren’t the Two Hot Tamales doing a show? They were great, particularly Susan Feniger, and I miss them. Why did they stop running Julia Child’s shows? All that we have left to watch, in terms of Classic Cooking shows, is Galloping Gourmet, who hasn’t aged well. Where did Ready Set Cook go? That was a really good show, except for the too-perky female hosts and, later, that awful Brit guy. I really hated him.

Why don’t Rocco DiSpirito and Tyler Florence have cooking shows of their own, as opposed to contrived, glad-handling, meet-the-real-people, or shared meet-the-real-cuisine shows? Rocco and Tyler are, hands down, the sexiest two males available and their screen presence is about perfect. Why is Bibba Gaggiano not on Food TV? She’s a great teacher and I love to watch her cook. She would be a perfect foil to Mario, who can be frustratingly pompous and all-knowing about Italian cuisine.

Here’s what I want: I want Food TV to get rid of their shameless commerce shows and their lifestyle shows (Keith Famie???) and go back to the classic format of a talented cook who demonstrates cooking this or that dish. The way it’s going, however, I will be unsubscribed to Food TV in maybe a couple of months.

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I quit watching when they stopped playing music videos.

Oops, err... That was MTV. :wacko:

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Actually I miss David Rosengarten. And why did they not complete airing of all of the Cooks Tour episodes?

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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FoodTV is part of the Scripps enterprise, which operates many US newspapers, a network of over the air TV stations, several magazines, and a series of cable/web enterprises. This last group includes FoodTV, DIY (Do IT Yourself), Fin Living, and Home & Garden TV (HGTV).

FTV and HGTV generate the cash flow for the web/cable side. Revenue was up 19%. cash flow up 24%, helped by the popularity of Martha Stewart.

While FTV programming cost isn't exorbitantly expensive (like Friends $5mn per episode stars), it's not dirt cheap compared to repeats of previously run work or imports, to which it has migrated.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Scripps package its web/cable property with Meredith Corp (Better Homes & Gardens) or Hearst (a minority owner of E! which is controlled by Viacom) and an investor in HGTV.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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thanks to paul and egullet, i now know more than i ever wanted to about media and jewish things.

Tommy didn't you know that (according to our friends "over there" these two things are synonymous? :biggrin:

spqr: you are right, of course in your observation. RP has given you the underlying reason. $$$$$$.

Gourmets and foodies make up a much smaller slice of the audience than the people who love the stuff that's on there now. And if your reason for being is to gain audience to gain ad rates and ad revenue, what else would you do.

You assume some sort of noble purpose behind the Food Network, like spread the word about great cooking? No way, José. Food TV is doing what it is for the same reasons the New York Times is underwriting inane articles about hot dogs.

Shows that are really serious about cooking will attract people who are really serious about cooking. And, unfortunately for you and me, we are too few to matter to the media's owners. Sad but true.

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Re: Food Finds et al -  no one pays to be featured.

I'd pay them not to broadcast Food Finds et al.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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a couple words about british food shows "TWO FAT LADIES" Enough said on that.

But i agree follow taht food was preety interesting when it first came out now im getting a little tired of it. Its still better then door knock dinners or whatever it was. I like some of the new shows i still love iron chef, i hate Bobby gay, i want to BAM Emeril off the face of teh planet. But thats just my take.

I do however second the notion to kill roonie

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I've posted elsewhere an excerpt from Rooney's bio. He was in the Merchant Marines, went to culinary school, is the executive chef of a television production company (I forget which), gives classes in Atlanta. He's a seriously skilled chef. It's just that Alton Brown and Mario think he's hilarious.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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tv1.gif

Nerdy? Cerebral? :rolleyes:

AltonSalt.jpg

Alton is great. He'll do an hour or more of Q&A at book signings, does frequent web chats (hint, hint), and makes subtle information obvious and memorable.

Don't talk trash about Alton. :angry:

:laugh::laugh:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I really like Alton because of the manner in which he addresses a specific ingredient and breaks it down analytically through its chemistry, anthropology, and agricultural history.

I am one of those guys that hates a recipe. I like to know why things work. Once you understand technique and the fundamentals you no longer have to rely on recipes. You can let taste be your guide. This is why I like Alton.

:biggrin:

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Excellent point, Ron.

I don't agree with some of his views (such as making stock in a pressure cooker). But I always find his reasoning respectable.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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While the underlying science might be fine, the stock cannot be. Cloudy stock makes Jacques Pepin cry.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Yeah,

Good Eats (and his recent book) is great in the sense that it is mostly all technique focused. Sure I can watch some jackass put a spin on some old recipe, but I would rather learn the techniques that allow me to be that jackass...but not as highly paid :laugh: !

I wish FTV started doing more technique based shows. It would really be great to see a series that did an indepth look at physical techniques. A knife skills show would be great, how to select your tools and then how to implement them in different methods.

-Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

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

-Mario

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Schielke, exactly. There have been a few "cooking school" shows but they're all about the students instead of what they're learning. A series on knife-work, one on stocks, one on... How about Japanese knife techniques?

Arf. Never. More travelogues. Martin Yan and his cleaver. :sad:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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i hate Bobby gay

David/Chopjwu12,

I hope you meant this as a typo and not as a pejorative. I happen to be queer and I find the comment slightly offensive. In the future, could you please keep in mind that not everyone who frequents this site uses language in the same way that you happen to.

Thank you very much,

SA

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isn't "queer" a epithet in and of itself?

Seriously folks, people have been using lots of very un-pc language here lately to refer to other peoples lifestyles, religions, etc. Lets use the correct terminology please.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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