Welcome to my world!

I've developed a passion for cooking since childhood, but in the past six years, that passion has grown into a geeky obsession. I love cooking, baking, and most importantly, sharing the love of food with family and friends. I invite you along on my journey of food discovery and passion.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Cooking Channel: Has Food Network Gone the Way of MTV

For those of you that are old enough to remember August 1, 1981 (and for the record I am), television was ushered into a new era with MTV. The foreshadowing of the transition from radio to television for music was appropriately set with the first video - "Video Killed the Radio Star." In that vein, as an avid Food Network viewer for over (gasp!) 10 years, I've watched the evolution from dinky New York-based cable outlet with bad lighting and low budget productions to glitzy, elaborate sets, bigger name stars, and reality tv galore.

I know that everything must evolve and change and I am fine with that. Now, the beloved Food Network is changing Fine Living Network to the Cooking Channel. For those that know and love the cooking show aspect of Food Network (and lament the absolute worst show on the network, "Private Chefs of Beverly Hills"), this appears to be a return to cooking-centric programs with a more international flavor.

I think the American food palate has truly expanded to embrace the flavors of so many other nationalities (kudos Ruth Reichl for discovering and raving about Korean Barbecue decades ago!)and thus the timing of this expansion is appropriate. While Anthony Bourdain laments the reality of Food Network (aka Scripps) now owning his show on the Travel Channel, he too has contributed to expanding the American view of cuisine in other countries and I sincerely hope he gets to stay. Granted, I think we get more of "Bad Tony" as a result of his surly attitude to Food Network execs, but it should be entertaining.

Anyhoo, back to the original topic - the "MTV-ization" of Food Network. Have you ever tallied up the number of programming hours now devoted to reality TV? Not that all of those shows are bad - "Iron Chef" is absolutely awesome, and I love "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" nearly as much if only for the reason that he gets his butt kicked by regular people so often and he can laugh about it. But when you look at it, they've now added all of those "Challenge" shows, Triple-D (love that show too),"The Next Food Network Star," "The Next Iron Chef," and the aforementioned "Private Chefs of Beverly Hills." That show was SO bad that I thought there was no way they'd ever air even one more episode. Guess my taste isn't reflective of the rest of America.

While that attracts a whole new audience, it means that those of us that look to Food Network to serve in their original capacity as a purveyor of food knowledge can be grossly disappointed. Sorry for the soapbox rant, but while I love some of the shows, their quest to expand the audience has diluted their focus more. Having the new Cooking Channel may provide a return to their roots (IT WOULD BE NICE IN HIGH-DEF THOUGH!). Here's to hoping!

1 comment:

  1. Where the Food Channel went to hell in a handbasket was when they decided to cheap it out and start doing "reality" shows instead of proper shows. The competition/reality shows are dirt cheap to do and you get away without having to pay a large number of people.
    I also agree with you about Bobby Flay. I only watch it to see his smug mug get wiped clean by locals. I loved the one show where he won and even his own staff was saying the judges were wrong. Very funny. I lost any respect whatsoever I had for him after he did the standing on the cutting board thing not only once but twice during the early days of Iron Chef. That is not only disrespectful and unhygienic, it's being a downright asshole.