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What happened to the programming on Food Network Canada?

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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: terrycar

          Ha ha, almost.

        2. 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.

        3. 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.

                  1. re: Midknight

                    Takeover is more hostile?

                2. Its new to me, but I've take to watching th 'Create' network/channel (perhaps its been around and just just never knew of it). The show New Scandanavian Cooking has a rotating group of three different chefs, the show takes place in beautiful outdoor landscapes and the chefs are engaging. There are cooks who garden and travel to Ireland and other locals. I't a nice change of pace.

                  1. I have complained about this before (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844886), so I fully agree. I guess I will have to PVR the rare instances of actual cooking shows so when I turn to the channel and it is another episode of Diners You Gotta Takeover, I can watch a cooking show.I used to not mind DDD, but it is on way too much and I find it reptitive.

                    I like Chuck's Day Off and was excited about Chuck's Week Off, but I don't like it as much as I thought I would.

                    I can't even begin to talk about shows like Cupcake Wars, which is often on, without going on another rant.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: aasg

                      I feel the same way on USA foodnetwork channel.

                      DDD and Chef make me ill

                      1. re: aasg

                        I was hoping for more with Chuck's Week Off as well. Definitely a poor FNCanada schedule.

                        1. re: raidar

                          More repeats or more episodes? USA Cooking Channel is showing Chuck Eats the Street.

                      2. So glad I'm not the only one who feels that the quality of programming has gone down so much at FNC. The reality feel is annoying and I used to enjoy relaxing at night to something that inspired me. Instead they give us the annoying Guy Fieri or even worse, bring back that horrible construction show Restaurant Takeover (or whatever they are calling it) and that stupid construction guy Igor who just yells at everyone. It's so boring and it actually make me change the channel so I don't get stressed out. Too bad they can't cook up some more Canadian Creativity without having to watch it all go down the drain copying the dumbed down American shows.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: KarenQui

                          I quite enjoy my cooking competition shows (with the exception of RtoR, how did this get on??) but also miss the good old cooking shows where you actually get inspired to cook reasonable food. I mean who is going to watch an episode of chopped and think "now I want to make a pineapple, salt cod, farro, jelly bean croquette". One of the best cooking shows out there is not even on FNC, it is on OWN: Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag. If you have never seen it, make sure you check it out, you will be hooked! Great example of fabulous Canadian programming.

                          1. re: cleopatra999

                            My cable listing for CBC (I'm in Seattle area) usually has an hour of cooking shows in the afternoon. Haven't watched them though.

                            In my experience, cooking inspiration from an instructional show is just as hit-or-miss as with other food shows. The last thing I was inspired to make was Roman gnocchi - by a segment on DDD. Prior to that, it was whirlpool eggs from the PBS Mind of a Chef series which I watched online.

                        2. Could it be that this is what the general audience is looking to see? It is possible that Food Network Canada is trying to match what all the other television channels appear to focus on and unfortunately that's the reality show. Ever since "Survivor" came out, there's been a boom of apparently "unedited" reality television so maybe FNC is just responding to that demand a little tardy.
                          Or maybe it's exactly as you said and the real shows and the real celebrities cost way too much money for a broadcaster with a smaller budget. Maybe this is FNC hitting rock bottom and soon we will witness the birth of a better and more improved Food Channel.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: LemonTart86

                            'unscripted' might be a better descriptor of reality tv. Though I do have to remind posters on the competition threads (currently Top Chef and NICA are active) that those shows are heavily edited. Competitors aren't always as mean or confident as the selected clips suggest. Come to think of it, it's easy to forget that instructional shows are edited. We don't see all the steps, and the flubs.

                            1. re: paulj

                              What really bothers me the most about "Reality TV", other than pure disinterest, is taking the time line of events and messing with it. They'll re-arrange things to better fit the story they're trying to tell.

                              DT

                          2. FTV Canada is not better or worse than FTV US.
                            They're no better or worse than TLC, MTV and the like. They're so not about what they used to be and are really just pandering to the people that believe that "Reality television" is actually realistic.

                            DT

                            1. Food Network Canada programming is awful. They should change the name to Diners, Drive Ins and Dives channel.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: BurlingtonON

                                I agree.

                                I hardly ever watch the Food Network anymore. In fact, I'm pretty sure I only watch it to catch Top Chef, which is pretty sad considering how much I love cooking/food.

                                There's just nothing there to interest, much less inspire me. There's nothing to learn at all.

                              2. All of those wonderful expansion channels we support through mandatory cable subsidy fees have lost the plot and fail to fulfill their mandate. I'm just waiting for a show about people buying old restaurant equipment from storage lockers.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: hal2010

                                  Ya. The guy doing it will be a pawn shop owner going through rehab and will flip the the equipment while his bratty kid gets into trouble and his wife is having an affair while at the beach.

                                  DT

                                2. Sounds like the entire CAN lineup moved to the US! Which is now a reel of repeats! When Cooking Channel launched with "new" to us but old to CAN shows, we were happy for new faces, new places and new food inspiration...but in short order those reels became dated. A few new shows, new seasons MORE would be nice!

                                  Sorry Canada!

                                  1. Unfortunately, Canada has given American Food Network watchers the unfunny and annoying Cris Nannarone. Please bring him back to Canada and keep him there...

                                    1. It's NOT just Canada, I was in California, same thing, in Seattle, same thing and now in Chicago and DDD has without break been on since at least 6pm when I turned on the hotel tv until now at midnight playing through them again (no I am doing work and it is in the background not obsessing on FC...is Sunday the ONLY day with any other programs...I'm just getting so very tired of this (no reflection on GF) but really, Food Network are you being driven by advertisers that only pay to be during that show or what????