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Tuesday, March 18

Change: They REALly Mean it This Time

Have you seen the Cooking For Real promos that have been running?

We're not given much details in them other than the host, Sunny Anderson, is a REAL Air Force Vet (I hope they ran that past the JAG verification system), a REAL DJ, and that she likes REAL good food.

One thing's for sure, this show could be a REAL change for the network.

Some people have e-mailed me saying they don't like the title, saying it implies the rest of the cooking on the network isn't "real." Others are worried this might be another show for "real" women (the ones Sandra Lee thinks she's reaching out to) with shortcuts, packaged products, and the like.

Having not seen the show, I can't really comment on the cooking focus. As far as the show's title, I think it was chosen primarily for its ability to pair-up nicely with plays-on-words. All of the press for the show indicates things are about to get real. Paging Dr. Phil.

I've received a bit more info on the show's focus which may help a bit:

"With an understanding of the need for uncomplicated dishes with affordable, easy to find ingredients, Sunny offers real food, for real life combining her approach to classic comfort foods along with her passion for unique flavors inspired by her many travels."

Well, that doesn't sound like much of a "real" change, but it's what works for the network so I'm not surprised.

The other obvious REAL change is the fact that Cooking For Real will become the newest African American-hosted show on Food Network. Over the years there's been some complaints in regards to the lack of diversity on the network. In response, Colombia-born Ingrid Hoffmann's show Simply Delicioso was launched in 2007 and married African American couple Pat and Gina Neely's Down Home with the Neelys premiered in February to record-breaking numbers.

Clearly, there's room (and a big need) for diversity on the network. A show's success is almost always proven by the host's ability to connect with their audience, though. In the cable TV game, it's about ratings. I'd like to think that the host's race doesn't affect a person's desire to watch or not watch a show. It certainly doesn't for me.

So what do you think? Is Food Network in need of REAL changes?

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At 3/18/2008 4:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Latina, I appreciate FN's effort to make the network a more diverse broadcast. However, I'd much rather see a quality show/host, no matter what race they are. In all honesty, Ingrid Hoffmann annoys me to no end. In one of her recent episodes, she totally hogged the time from her guest celebrity, though you could tell he was trying to talk about his new role/project. He finally just gave up.

At 3/18/2008 7:15 PM , Blogger Marc said...

Real changes should include dumping Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray into a firey pit, and spending more time looking into "indie" cooks who thrive on YouTube. Check out Danispies on YT, she has fantastic, healthy, and QUICK meals. And they're actually healthy...not slathered with olive oil a la Rach.

At 3/18/2008 8:12 PM , Blogger terri said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I am curious about this show & will certainly give it a chance. I admit to not being a great fan of FN's shows of late (sorry, Danny B, that includes yours too.) I agree w/Anonymous ^^^^ I, too, am Latina (Colombian, in fact!) & cannot stand Ingrid's showy, overly emoted, gimmicky delivery --I commend the network's eagerness to diversify & by all means, carry on, but I much prefer to have a host who can deliver recipes in an intelligent, friendly way. Ina remains my fave. I like Giada for the most part, everyone else: take notes! You don't want to know what I thnk abt RR--same as was what her detractors think. But that's got no'in to do w/ your article--looking forward to checking out Sunny's show.

At 3/18/2008 10:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Sunny do that Kitchen Gadgets show that repeats every so often?

At 3/18/2008 11:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Food Network should change things just a little. I think it should be narrowed down to, say, 10 chefs; that is all. Racheal Ray, Giada, Ina Garten, Tyler...they should stay. Sandra Lee...go! Her table scapes drive ME WILD! MAKE IT SIMPLE GIRL! I don't know if Danny, The Nealie's, OR "REAL COOKING" will do the network any good. I think there is just something "personal" missing...

At 3/19/2008 12:03 AM , Anonymous Lauren said...

I think not only does the Food Network need cultural diversity, they need some food diversity! Vegetarians have long been un-represented! The Neely's have their BBQ show,where is the vegetarian show? I'm not asking for a PETA propaganda outlet, just another show to exhibit delicious food on a great network.

At 3/19/2008 10:48 AM , Blogger roopa said...

I agree with Lauren! When the hell are they going to have a vegetarian show? America is obese and they add a show about BBQ? FN needs to GET REAL and have at least one vegetarian show. And while they're at it, they can hire a cute Indian girl from NYC to host it ;)

At 3/19/2008 11:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a vegetarian, but would love some different options besides meat, veg and potatoe. I'm not creative with my side dishes and ways to use local and fresh produce would be a wonderful. Ellie Kreiger needs to be used more on the network. I would imagine some of her cooking is vegetarian friendly. Rachael, Sandra Lee and Paula are cooking very unhealthy foods, and I think the network needs try and be more proactive with healtier cooking.

At 3/19/2008 11:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good By Indrid, Sandra, and Rachael.

At 3/19/2008 4:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd not have a problem with a vegetarian cooking show, but would hate it if it reflected the whole "America is obese and we need to save oursevels from ourselves" vibe that some vegetarians seem to thrive on in their lives. If you don't want to eat meat, dairy, eggs in your diet, fine. But I'm sick of that specific subgenre of vegetarians who think they have some messianic vision to save the rest of humanity now that they've seen the "light" of vegetarian cooking.

That being said, love the Nealys' show alot (the banter between Gina and her husband is great, and their innuendo makes me laugh, while their food makes me salivate) and DB's recipes look really good as well. As for DB himself, he is just pure eyecandy and I could handle him reading for 30 mins from an encyclopedia.

I'll give Sunny's show a look when it comes out, it looks quite promising.

At 3/19/2008 8:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn't there any Asian American FN host? There used to be Ming Tsai but he has since left FN for PBS. If you look at the top-notch restaurants popping up all over New York and San Francisco, a lot of them feature innovative Asian-fusion cuisines.

At 3/20/2008 6:55 AM , Blogger Timotheus said...

Food Network is a for-profit business, not an advocacy organization. If there's sufficient demand out there for a vegetarian show, one will fill the void. But it's not FN's job to inflict unwanted unwanted programming on viewers for their own good -- we have PBS for that.

At 3/21/2008 10:11 AM , Anonymous HarryK said...

Recently she and Daisy Martinez on PBS cooked the same dish (just a day apart). Think it was Ropas Vejas. It was definitely the "same" shredded steak dish. Daisy's looked like dark mud, honestly. Ingrid's looked colorful, moist and so delcisiou it really made me want to try to put a fork through the television glass and take a bite. Nuff said!

At 3/21/2008 6:04 PM , Blogger Marilyn said...

And we all know how carefully Food Network screens their stars' resumes. Gee, somebody hand FN a clue.

At 3/23/2008 7:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I don't feel that FN should force a certain diet or lifestyle down viewer's throats, I think they should make an effort to include all kinds of cuisines, including more vegetarian and healthy fare. They could be alienating potential viewers by not including more of that. And everyone is entitled to have more than one channel to turn to for information about food and recipies. Not just PBS.


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