The NFL’s Super Sunday is still months away, but Food Network’s Super Bowl happens this Sunday with the premiere of its Thanksgiving Live special.
The two-hour interactive special, now in its second year, brings together Food Network personalities Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Ree Drummond who will answer viewer questions and help viewers avoid Thanksgiving cooking disasters. Food Network will incorporate social media elements, including its website and Facebook page, as well as Twitter and Skype, to communicate with consumers anxious to get insider information on how to prepare the perfect turkey and side dishes.
Last year’s Thanksgiving Live drew 1.5 million viewers and garnered a network high 59,000 Facebook page visits during the day of the telecast. November is typically foodnetwork.com’s busiest month – traffic increases some 150% as people look for Thanksgiving meal preparation tips – making the Thanksgiving Live special one of the network’s biggest events of the year, according to Bob Madden, senior vice president and general manager of Online Brands for Food Network.
“This is our Super Bowl,” Madden said. “To be able create a live broadcast on air bringing all the major resources of Food Network and all of the great amazing chefs and talent to answer fans’ questions and answer stories, we very much view it as our Super Sunday.”
Food Network is treating the live special like a major sports event by airing live, behind-the-scenes pre and post-event coverage on foodnetwork.com hosted by Sandwich King star Jeff Mauro. In addition, the site will simulcast the show featuring different camera angles from the studio as well as exclusive commentary from the chefs during TV commercial breaks.
“During the show we’ll ask fans to vote and dictate which direction the chefs are going – for example they’ll cook different sides and the audience will decide which ones they’ll eventually offer,” he said. “The interaction and integration of fans through digital into the linear broadcast will be bigger and better than it’s ever been.”