Food Network Rethinks Its Menu

Falling ratings, expensive chefs add to business crunch
By Marcia Greenwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2007 8:18 PM CST

(Newser) – The recent cancellation of Emeril Live is just one sign that the Food Network is in the throes of a transformation, reports the New York Times. Having made chefs into stars, it is now trying to keep the money rolling in while facing increased competition—including instructional cooking on the Web. The network's ratings have dipped, especially on the weekend, forcing refunds to advertisers and perhaps a shift in philosophy.

“They have decided they are mass market and they are going after the Wal-Mart crowd,” said one star chef, Mario Batali. The network also has begun trying to strike new deals with its celebs to keep money from their book deals and other outside ventures. One bright spot: Rachael Ray has renewed her contract and will add prime-time travel specials to her repertoire, the Times notes.