Food Fattens Up Fare


New York -- Food Network wants to bring more steak and sizzle into primetime.

The Scripps Networks-owned service -- which often pulls bigger ratings numbers from its “In the Kitchen” daytime fare than in the evening -- plans to bow at least a trio of primetime shows as part of its continued effort to bring more entertainment-driven content to the daypart.

Food -- which unveiled its “Way More than Cooking” primetime tag line last fall and is currently in-flight with spots across a number of cable-TV networks -- will roll out two shows in the daypart come June, while a third will debut in September.

Throwdown with Bobby Flay puts the network favorite in competition against specialists who create, among other things, barbeque and pizza to die for. The conceit: The chefs are led to believe that Food is filming a profile about them until Flay arrives and the throwdown ensues.

“Bobby’s a fish out of water going against chefs who are really expert at what they do. Bobby doesn’t like to lose, but it’s fun when he does,” vice president of programming and production Bob Tuschman said during a network press presentation here Monday.

The progeny of another of the network’s stars, Paula Deen, will also be on full display that month with Two for the Road. Jamie and Bobby Deen will engage in a cross-country trek on the lookout for some of the best delectables from specialty stores and family-run businesses around the country.

“Jamie and Bobby are great road companions. They’re funny, charming and uncover some real hidden gems,” Tuschman said.

The Deen boys’ mom -- who, in addition to her popular daytime show, Paula’s Home Cooking, has starred in several Food primetime specials -- will get even more saucy than usual with Paula’s Cooking Party in September. The program will be shot before a studio audience and from select field locations around her hometown of Savannah, Ga.

Elsewhere, the network continues to bolster its weekend roster. It will debut Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger, the nutritionist and author, Saturday at 1 p.m. (EST/PST), before bringing in Nigella Lawson -- the London domestic goddess who made a U.S. cable name for herself at E! Entertainment Television -- for Nigella Feasts in September.

In June, Food Network HD will make its debut on EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network in front of 3 million homes. Food president Brooke Johnson said the network is engaged in conversations with other distributors over carriage.