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Mar 7, 2009 02:38 PM

The Food Network

I used to really enjoy watching the food network but it seems to me that in the last few years they have basically turned into the unofficial spokesperson for the "feeding trough" chain restaurants. C'mon, how many times do I have to listen to Guy Fieri hawk TGIFriday's, and the commercials sheeeesh. The hosts with the most to offer have been side lined in order to broadcast to the lowest common denominator. Personally I've switched to watching the foodie shows on Bravo and the Travel Channel or the BBC when I can.


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    1. re: ClaireWalter

      Second the suggestion of PBS, especially if you have the Create digital channel available

      1. re: coney with everything

        I didn't forget PBS- while I started the post my little girls had a major melt down....... craziness in the house, I love PBS because they do expose one to local chefs as well as the well known ones.

        1. re: Lenox637

          Can't remember where I read it, but it seems that public television identified the need for more food related shows and has devoted close to 40% of it's programming budget to developing more of the type of format FN abandoned.

        2. re: coney with everything

          Thank you for reminding me how much I miss Create and that I have to check with my cable company (Comcast) as to when/where it will be back. TERRIFIC programming!

          I spent years watching all the cooking shows on PBS before I moved out and finally got cable like the rest of the planet. Used to love Jacques Torres/Dessert Circus. Remember that one? Anyway, great idea to return to PBS for food programming where FN is coming up short.

          EDIT: P.S. Fine Living had some good shows, too, but I haven't tuned in in a while. I enjoyed Andrea Immer.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            Mt next door neighbour is a tech support for Comcast. I will be seeing her on Sat. and will see if she can dig up any info for you. Will let you know when I know.

            1. re: billieboy

              Terrific--thanks so kindly, billieboy! I love the cooking and travel--esp. Rick Steves' Europe. I am beyond overdue for a vacation and that was my vicarious one all summer. :) Went to Italy, Switzerland, took in all the scenery and food with no jet lag and didn't have to pack!

              Another goodie--Perfect Day. I only caught a couple of episodes. Passadumkeg and Cay Johan would totally dig this, too:

      2. I agree with your posting completely. I'm not much of a TV watcher, however a few years ago the food network used to comprise a large bulk of my time watching TV. Yes, the Bravo, PBS, and BBC shows are great - as well as the many shows on HULU (After Hours, Three Sheets, etc.).

        I guess the management at the Food Network made a decision that they were going to market their product and shows to more mainstream audiences and families. Thus, certain chefs like Batali and even Emeril were seen as too "high-end" and not catering to their demographic. Ever wonder why their kitchen products are sold at Kohls? That is the audience they are going after. Not that I have anything against Kohls...

        1 Reply
        1. re: vinhotinto75

          Also, watch the advertisements on the Food Network. That will also tell you something about who their demographic is, who they're marketing their shows to.

          Quick-serve pasta meals. Ranch dressing, from a bottle, slathered all over fresh vegetables. That "Kraft Lady" who tells you how to make a "nutritious & economical" meal for 4 by combining a jar of salsa, a cube of cheese, a can of soup & a couple of chopped chicken breasts in a casserole dish.

          That, too, is the audience they are going after.

        2. You have to remember the overall viewing audience. Not just you and foodies alike. Who is watching what do sponsors who pay for all those show want. They like the average audience who has sky rocketed with the likes of Rachel, Paula, Guy and everyone else you dislike. I personally enjoy them. The other shows of Bravo and Travel bore me. Just me, what I record or get time to watch. I appreciate their tips and their knowledge but honestly they bore me. At least Guy can be entrtaining, maybe not the best cook ... BUT LOOK AT WHAT IS IMPORTANT He has got millions to be interested in cooking. Same with Rachel and Paula. I may not use their recipes and don't. I get ideas but I don't think I have ever used one of their recipes, but millions have.

          To me ... that is what is important. I may not like them, but ... with their shows and the publicity, they have turned a fast food nation into at least some of those people who want to try or learn how to cook. That is why you need to remember. What entertains MOST, not just you or other foodies. We are a minority compared to the big picture. They aren't here to entertain just us but many more and aparently there are many out there that enjoy the fun frivality and quirkyness of all those stars... Personally I'm one. They entertain. Bravo as much as I apprecuate the stars and their knowsledge I do learn, but ... bores the H*ll out of me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kchurchill5

            I agree about the comment that the FN introduces "fast food nation" to what else is out there, but..... TGIFriday's? Chain restaurants? IMO all they are doing is getting people out of the drive-thru and into vinyl banquets with their marketing strategy, not to mention that they take a product, like Guy Fieri, and beat it down our throats until "we" are thoroughly sick of it. Look at Rachel Ray for instance. They took a good show and host, saw the interest and overused her. Now she looks overly tired and I must say her show now looks more like a pain in the ass for her than the joy she exhibited in her earlier shows. There is enough talent and subject matter out there where we don't have to watch Fieri 10 times a day. Thankfully there IS an abundance of food shows out there. Personally I watch food shows primarily for knowledge and secondly for entertainment. Thankfully we all have likes and dislikes and for the most part the wicked square box brings into our homes what we desire.

          2. Except for the recent Chef Jeff Project, which I found unexpectedly gut wrenching, most of the current Food Network programming leaves my guts retching.

            1. I loved watching FoodTV when it first aired where most of the production values were low, but the shows had real chefs cooking and explaining the dishes. I would estimate about 60% of my TV time was FoodTV.

              Now that it's FoodNetwork, they've lost me. Also, TNFNS series clearly shows what the execs are looking for - A personality with a winning smile that can look in the camera to sell you the dish. It's all marketing, high production value and hitting the target demographic. It just seems like food has become the prop to sell the "brand".

              Currently, the only show I watch is Good Eats and that show seems to be all reruns.

              4 Replies
              1. re: dave_c

                Even Alton Brown has become a bit of a patronizing fat cat, I used to like him because he seemed kind of quirky, I now find him incredibly obnoxious.

                1. re: Lenox637

                  I get the feeling Alton (who I still like) and Bobby Flay (who I've never cared for) are doing what they can (i.e. tap dancing) to keep their jobs. They will probably be the next "old talent" to go. A decade ago I watched FoodTV all the time, but now the only thing I'm interested in on the network are new episodes of Good Eats, which are few and far between.

                  It's sad really. There used to be such good shows on FoodTV; now it's pretty much all crap. Thank God for PBS and that the likes of Jacques Pepin and Lidia Bastianich are still around doin' their thing.

                  1. re: Lenox637

                    I couldn't agree more. I used to find him quirky as well, now that quirkiness seems more like self-importance. If I want to put wasabi on my sushi nigiri, that's my business. All too often he speaks to the audience like they are a petulant child.