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Jun 24, 2008 12:07 AM

Suddenly, 90% Less Cooking Shows

I'm not sure what the heck happened, but in the last month, basically, 90% of all my cooking shows have disappeared.

First, let me tell you that I live in a major metropolis in the U.S. and that gives me not one, not two but four PBS stations (not counting duplicates, talking about each with their own seperate programming.) During the day, one has always gone to the childrens programming, a second to adult education, the remaining two would, during the afternoons put on two to four hours of cooking each. Suddenly both of those stopped, one went to all children, the other to it's own educational. No more afternoon cooking shows. Yes the ones that did do it on the weekend still do, but even they each do it less.

Plus there's the entire demise of the Home Network where from Friday evening until Sunday late afternoon I could watch Michael Smith or Rob Rainford. But that's gone.

When 10am to 8pm on the Food Network used to be cooking show only, now they often stick episodes of Unwrapped (please just kill me) or Road Tasted or something nine years old and lame with Al Roker on in the middle of the day.

And yes, while it's true that Fine Living has added Wolfgang reruns from 2001 and Molto Mario, it's also seems to no longer show either Ming Tsai show (Ming's Quest and East Meets West) as well as both Michael Chiarello shows (Easy Entertaining and Napa Style).

Where I used to have a choice of which of four or five cooking shows to watch, I now often have a choice between zero or maybe whatever is on FN ... which seems to limit me to an occasional Tyler Florence or Giada show, as many of the others on during the weekday (Deen, Sandra Lee, Robin something) I just pass up.

Anyone else notice a sudden disappearance of cooking shows in general too?

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  1. Thank you for bringing this up! I have felt the same way. I can't figure out why FoodTV got rid of their wonderful cooking shows unless they could not afford the budgets for these shows any longer. Where are the great chefs we used to watch? Instead, we watch their contest winners or watch hosts like Robin who are not my cup of tea.

    It's as if they took a lesson from MTV and decided to cut out the foundation upon which the network was built, replacing it with shows that offer very little sustenance to us. Would love an answer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chau

      Pure speculation on my part, but Fine Living is owned by the same people who own FN and some of the shows could be disappearing because the ownership of the shows have come up contractually. This was why they FN started to show A Chef's Tour again, get their money's worth while they can.

      A second thing might be that their surveys may be showing that more people are watching the cooking shows on Fine Living and FN itself and they want the attention back on FN with the new personalities and shows which aren't all that cooking oriented. After all, FN is financially committed to those people/shows rather than the old shows.

      Like I said pure speculation.

    2. Seems like the Saturday PBS cooking shows have all but dissapeared in my area too.

      1. I have my DVR set to record my cooking shows, and lately...nothing. I was wondering the same thing. But this last weekend I had an episode of Sara's Secrets, Rick Bayless, and America's Test Kitchen. I was shocked, however, I haven't seen another show since.

        1. I just checked my local PBS station (WGBH, the original in Boston) and while last Saturday had only 1 or 2 shows interspersed with a showing of the Osmond's 50th Family Reunion, it looks like next Saturday I've got the full line-up:

          11:00am Victory Garden
          11:30am Everyday Baking From Everyday Food
          12:00pm Everyday Food
          12:30pm Sara's Weeknight Meals
          1:00pm Made in Spain
          1:30pm Lidia's Italy
          2:00pm Food Trip With Todd English
          2:30pm Simply Ming
          3:00pm America's Test Kitchen
          3:30pm America's Test Kitchen
          4:00pm Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie

          So maybe it was just for one week with the changes?

          3 Replies
          1. re: LindaWhit

            kkak97, ah, now see? In my area none of the PBS stations have shown a Rick Bayless show in a good year.

            Linda, again in my area I have all of those -- usually on a Saturday or Sunday -- except they've never once seen the Todd English show and they don't show Gourmet Diary of a Foodie either though they once did. :(

            1. re: HarryK

              The episode was Taquisa For Ten with a taco buffet.

              I looked on Bayless' website and these are part of a new season....which I find funny since the last episode I recorded was at least a month ago.

              1. re: HarryK

                Ahhh, OK - I was thinking you weren't getting anything on the weekends. Re-read your OP and saw you were - just less on a couple of the PBS stations near you.

            2. We have 3 PBS stations in this market. But how many times can I watch the same 5 or 6 episodes of Endless Feast or Diary of a Foodie? They didn't make enough episodes, and they are re-running them to death. Turn them off and listen to NPR instead - Lynne Rossetto Kaspar's The Splendid Table is wonderful. Watching cooking on TV is kind of frustrating, because you can see the food but can't smell or taste it. Somehow, it is better on radio - just like listening to the ball game is better on the radio. There's something about using your imagination that makes it a much richer experience. I have to say that there was one cooking show on PBS this weekend that was so bad I thought it might be a spoof. Some guy in a Scandinavian country (if they said which one, I didn't catch it). Standing outside extolling the use of fresh berries. He showed us how to make a yoghurt drink with berries - throw yoghurt, liquid yoghurt, and berries into a blender. Blend. Pour into glass. Put a couple of berries on top. Then he made a cake with whipped cream and berries. Took a layer, added whipped cream, added berries. Put another layer on top, added whipped cream, added berries. But my absolute favorite was when he made a salad. Put lettuce in the bowl. Pour dressing on top of it (ok, he made the dressing himself - he dumped some olive oil, telling us to be sure to use good quality olive oil, some vinegar, and some garlic into a bowl and stirred it). Then he cooked some venison - dumped a ton of salt on it, fried it in a pan, didn't let it rest, and then sliced it up before serving. Oh yum. Oversalted, cold, fried venison. But it did have some berries on the plate.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Just Visiting

                What city are you watching in? There are 40 or so episodes of Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie? I think you can find them on Gourmet's website and on Itunes.