This week we found out that the Food Network is having some trouble: Its ratings among viewers ages 25 to 54 fell 10.3 percent at the end of 2010. Moreover, ratings for women ages 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 -- a key demographic, no doubt -- fell 9 percent in the last month. I shudder to think what this means for my beloved food channel!
Now, I'm hardly a television executive, but what I am is among the Food Network's key demographic. Therefore, I'm taking the liberty of suggesting a few fixes for my favorite channel of all time ... see if you agree.
10. Less Fieri: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Guy Fieri is like really good sea salt -- a little goes a long, long way. Sure, we enjoy him in Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. But that doesn't mean we want to see him on every other show.
9. Less gimmicks, more back to the basics. Why would I want to see what the worst cooks can (or rather can't) do (Worst Cooks in America) when I can watch the best cooks (Giada De Laurentiis, Barefoot Contessa, Alex Guarnaschelli, etc.) instead?
8. More travel, but not on a budget. One of my favorite shows on TV is No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain (on the Travel Channel). It's edgy, it's real, it's fascinating ... and he gets to spend more than $40 a day.
7. More programming a la The Cooking Channel. Time and time again I find myself flipping off of the Food Network and onto its sister site, The Cooking Channel. The programming is similar in that it features serious chefs, but on the new channel they actually get to cook.
6. More Jamie Oliver. Can the Food Network please get him back already?
5. Less regurgitation. Shows like The Best Thing I Ever Ate (which feature a lot of the usual Food Network chefs from other shows) are entertaining for sure -- but sometimes they feel like extensions of the same thing over and over again.
4. More Alton Brown. Shows like Good Eats and Unwrapped (with Marc Sommers) dig into the science and history of food. Serve up more of this please!
3. More well-known chefs. There was a time when the Food Network was stacked with high profile chefs such as Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Oliver, Nigella Lawson, etc. Now, it's hit or miss as to whether we've ever heard of them.
2. Less competition-based reality shows. Shows like Iron Chef, The Next Food Network Star, and Chopped are excellent ... but must everything be a competition?
1. More how-to. The bottom line? I want the Food Network to teach me about food (and how to cook it). And, I have little use for programming that strays from this format.
Why do you think the Food Network's ratings are down?
Image via Food Network