Food Network: Emeril Out, Batali Close Behind?


The New York Timesarticle about the Food Network today was probably most remarkable for its totally incomprehensible photo illustration, which we would love to show you, but then they would get mad. So, just check it out, and then please let us know what is going on. Is the idea that people are throwing tomatoes at the TV??

Aside from that, the article, which ran in the Business section, details the changing winds over at Food TV, which representatives from the channel describe as “broadening” and “becoming a brand.” This brand stuff means taking big-mouthed nobodies and making them famous, and then owning them completely, rather than capitalizing on the reputation of well-known chefs, as it did originally. And it makes sense. For them.

The best part is Mario Batali’s artfully phrased diss on the Food Network:

“They don’t need me. They have decided they are mass market and they are going after the Wal-Mart crowd,” which he said was “a smart business decision. So they don’t need someone who uses polysyllabic words from other languages.”

His new Spain travel show, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Bittman, will be shown on Public TV (as will Sara Moulton’s new cooking show). Batali says it was not offered to the Food Network. The Food Network says they passed on it. Juicy, juicy.

Batali also mentions some ideas the network has for him—”Molto” is long dead, but he is still an Iron Chef, and there is some talk of the orange-clogged teddy bear hosting a reality show)—but it seems there’s some tension here…