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What happened to the programming on Food Network Canada?

It seems to me that the program lineup at Food Network Canada has taken a severe turn for the worse since maybe the winter of 2011/12. Or am I just imagining it? Many quality shows appear not to have been picked up by new network owner Shaw.

Instead the roster has both shrunk and what remains been given over to low-budget fare. Gone are shows like Ricardo, Everyday Exotic, Chuck's Day Off, La Dolce Vita, French Food At Home, Good Eats, Five Ingredient Fix, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, etc. The more offbeat ones are all gone too, including Chef vs. City, Bitchin' Kitchen, Supersizers Go and so on.

Now the channel might as well be renamed the Diners, Drive Ins and Dives network because it is *continuously* on and it sure as hell doesn't deserve to be (it's fun for awhile, but it has worn out it's welcome after the 50th serving of "heart attack on a plate"). The rest is now mainly devoted to the cooking equivalent of reality shows--those requiring the least amount of production budget--like Dinner Party Wars, Restaurant Makeover/Takeover, that excreble show where the ice cream guy asks people trivia questions and the possibly even worse You Gotta Eat Here. The only remaining shows from what I consider the channel's "golden years" are the likes of Chopped, Michael Smith's shows (his new one is fine) and Iron Chef.

So I head over to Food Network US and Cooking Channel and see just how badly we now have it. Many of the shows I've mentioned migrated to those channels (or never left). But the selection and variety there is so much better that FNC looks like an embarrassment beside them. It would bother me less if we in Canada at least had a comparable volume of shows (relative to population) but I feel certain that the absolute number of shows, not just the quality, on FNC has been cut as well.

I should note that I work for a competing broadcaster (but in another division) and, based on my experience and knowledge, can say that it appears the advertising dollars have fallen off *severely* and may therefore be preventing Shaw from buying more and quality shows, but I don't know that for certain. However, if it's not that then it can only be that Shaw execs have made the conscious decision to do what they've done absent those pressures. But that would be ridiculous, right?

I'd hunt around for answers on the FNC boards, but they've been shut down. LOL! Sign of the times?

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  1. Yeah, I pretty much have to agree, although I like Chuck Hughes' Mexico show (Chuck's Week Off I think?). Food Factory is particularly egregious - who wants to see a show about industrial food processes???

    1. I'm with you, DreamingHill. What you can make in an edited hour with 4 mystery ingredients (raw cacao beans, beef tripe, rose hips and a down comforter) is such BS. I hate 'reality' shows in general, let alone the steady diet of competitive cooking shows on this channel. As I mentioned recently in another post, I prefer to switch to the Latin Network for real Italian cooking by Lydia Bastianich or Rick Bayless Mexican specialities. Food Network Canada is garbage most of the time. To tell you the truth, I'd prefer to watch 24 hours of Julia Child reruns. They're always trying to perfect real cooking. Sorry, not for me.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Yongeman

        It's enough to make you nostalgic for Rachel Ray.

        1. re: Yongeman

          I actually like the mystery ingredients shows - it's like an exaggerated version of the dinner scramble. But I dislike the "extreme food" shows where it's basically a bunch of guys trying to find more foods to fry or ways to add more bacon into a dish.

        2. Like all those expansion channels we pay a premium for on our cable bills, this one's just phoning it in. Is there a new season of Top Chef any time soon?

          1. Agree completely.

            I also miss how FNC used to import great shows from the UK and Australia. Loved Food Safari, the show with Kylie Kwong, In Search of Perfection, and even the original Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares.

            Recipes to Riches is probably the worst example of the current programming. It's barely even a thinly veiled infomercial.

            2 Replies
            1. re: num nums

              Oh, how could I have forgotten the UK's Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (the American one was not nearly as watchable, IMO) and the awesome F Word? And what was the name of that show from Australia with the three or four guys? That was actually canned long ago but I enjoyed that one, too.

              1. re: DreamingHill

                The US Iron Chef isn't too bad, but I still vastly prefered the original Japanese Iron Chef. You felt more of a connection with the CHefs, and routed for them.

                Hell, even FN original show "Ready, Set, Cook" (I believe it was called), was better than some of the shows that are on now. Anybody remember that cooking game show?

            2. Saturday and part of Sunday mornings are good quality instructional cooking shows: Bake with Anna Olson, In the Kitchen with Michael Smith, Spice Goddess, Giada, etc. Then 10 am hits and it's "3 Days with Bobby Flay" or whatever it's called and Restaurant Takeover. :(

              3 Replies
              1. re: cellophane_star

                How is Restaurant Takeover any different that Restaurant Makeover?!

                1. re: Midknight

                  Whatever it's called... I don't watch either.