New Reality Skeins On Food's 2Q Menu


Food Network will serve up several new reality-based series for second-quarter 2003, including a twist on classic game shows The Dating Game
and Family Feud, as well as an up-close look at the lives of several culinary students.

Food will debut next spring Date Plate, which will pit two single contestants against each other in a cook-off to woo a member of the opposite sex, Food vice president of programming Kathleen Finch said. The half-hour show will keep the identities of each contestant a secret, with only the individual dishes serving as the point of difference.

Also on tap for second-quarter 2003 is Food Fight, which combines groups from different walks of life in a cook-off to win prizes. "We may have a team of soccer moms against a bunch of construction workers, or a group of Hell's Angels who own a restaurant competing against some ladies who publish a church cookbook," Finch said. "They have nothing in common except their love of food."

In addition, Food, buoyed by last year's initial stab, will unveil a much more in-depth look at the lives of nine new culinary students looking to graduate from the Art Institute of California in the second-season of Cooking School Stories.

Finch said the new series are an outgrowth of several of the network's popular competition series like Iron Chef, U.S. Barbecue Championship
and the Pillsbury Bake-Off.
She added that, through the new shows, the network is now giving viewers an opportunity to exhibit what they've learned while watching the channel.

"Food Network is all about the viewer, and this is a wonderful way to showcase what we've empowered the viewers with," Finch said. "We're turning the tables now and creating shows about them."

The three skeins also continue the network's evolution from "how-to" instructional shows to more entertainment-based programming. Gone from primetime are stand-up cooking shows like Iron Chef, and in its place are reality and documentary-based shows as Follow That Food, about the origins of many foods and Passion For Dessert With Jacques Torres, which takes viewers around the world in search of after dinner treats.

"Our traditional, how-to cooking shows are for the most part on during the daytime, while are primetime shows are news magazine, documentary and reality-based shows," Finch said. "It's now focused on entertainment shows with food."