Food Serves Up More on Sundays

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Just as many families still gather for
Sunday dinner, Food Network is now serving heaping
helpings of tent-pole programming on television’s
most-watched night.

Food Network is ladling high-profile series and programs
as a means to bring more viewers and advertisers
to its table across the 52 weeks.

“We want to make sure that we always have something
big, something to promote, on Sundays,” Food’s
president, Brooke Johnson,
said, noting that the
network had shied away
from the night during
sweeps and other periods
in the past. “We
started in January with
Worst Cooks in America
and then Chopped All-
. We saw growth in
the first quarter.”

The scheduling leavened
Food’s Nielsens.
Chopped All-Stars accumulated
20.5 million
viewers during various airings, posting a 1.6 mark among
the network’s target audience of adults 25 to 54, according
to Nielsen data. The show helped the network record its best
March ever — a 20% improvement from 2010 to a 0.6 rating
against the aforementioned demo.

The stunt programming continues with Last Cake
and will be followed by Best in Smoke on May
8, where six BBQ masters square off in New York with
bragging rights and $50,000 on the line, and the seventh
season of the network’s top-rated series, The Next Food
, on June 5. A celebrity version of Iron Chef America
is also on tap, as are The
Great Food Truck Race

(no episode descriptions
yet) and Halloween Wars.
The network also figures
to premiere a couple of
Christmas specials leading
up to the holiday to
end 2011.

“Our goal is to make
sure that we have something
exciting for our
viewers ever y Sunday
night over the 12
months,” Johnson said.