Food Adds to Its Menu


Food Network will roll out more lifestyle-oriented series that present "different points of view about food," network president Judy Girard said last week.

The Scripps service, which boosted its programming budget by 39 percent this year, will launch seven new series. It had already debuted several shows in January and February.

In total, the network will have 10 new series and 65 new specials this year.

The new additions to Food's menu of series include: Oliver's Twist,
featuring The Naked Chef
star Jamie Oliver; $40 a Day,
a travel show with host Rachael Ray; My Country, My Kitchen,
where top chefs go back to their culinary "homelands"; The Thirsty Traveler,
about famous beverages; and Tasting Napa,
about wine and gourmet eateries in California's Napa Valley.
As part of the changes, Sara's Secrets —
the weekend show with Sara Moulton — will expand to air on weeknights.

Under Girard, Food has continued to move beyond studio-based cooking shows toward programming that addresses the glory of food in and outside of the kitchen.

The channel is producing shows in four genres, Gerard explained: competitions, personality-driven programs, format-driven series and how-to programs. She said $40 a Day
is a perfect example of the format-driven show, while Oliver's Twist
falls into the personality-driven genre.

In $40 a Day,
host Ray has only $40 to find the best food and dining she can in a particular city.

And Food Network's biggest hit is now Unwrapped,
a format-driven show "where food is the star," according to Girard.

The service's first-quarter primetime ratings soared 50 percent, to a 0.6 from a 0.4, according to Nielsen Media Research.