Cooking Channel Launch To Simmer In Stages

Cooking Channel plans to dish out its programming slate in courses.

Slated to be converted from positions occupied by Fine Living Network and bow May 31 in more than 50 million homes, Cooking Channel launch with an array of new and acquired shows, serve up a batch of fresh offerings from Food Network brand names in the summer and then take more shows out of the oven this fall. At that point, it will mount a national marketing push, according to general manager Michael Smith.

Smith, in an interview following parent Scripps Networks Interactive's upfront presentation to advertisers in New York on April 20, said Cooking Channel will give viewers a taste of its new shows on launch day, presenting a marathon of episodes from such series as Drink Up, where Darryl Robinson, aka "Dr. Mixologist" of the Hudson Hotel in New York conjures potent potables; Foodcrafters, in which Food Network's Aida Mollenkamp uncovers handmade food secrets from around the nation; Foodography, featuring CBS Sunday Morning's Mo Rocca looking into the past, present, future and trendy, iconic and classics of the culinary world; and Food Jammers, showcasing high-impact, low-fi culinary contraptions, designed and in the Jammer's warehouse studio.

Cooking Channel's daytime, emulating its sister service's use of the daypart, will be home to programming more instructional in theme, with such shows as Spice Goddess and Indian Food Made Easy. The menu will also feature what Smith dubbed "Food Network Classics," episodes of the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child, and installments of library fare from Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian.

During the summer, Cooking Channel will heat up new shows from Food Network stars: Emeril's Fresh Food Fast, which Smith described as Lagasse "unplugged"; and Cook Like an Iron Chef, where Michael Symon will be joined by challengers and iron chefs who disclose their mysterious ways of tackling secret ingredients. Caribbean Food Made Easy should be on the boil in August, with Levi Roots traveling around the U.K. and the islands revealing how delicious Caribbean food can be created at home.

Senior vice president of advertising sales Karen Grinthal said Cooking Channel is part of conversations aimed at capitalzing on strong demand for Food Network fare and yielding charter advertisers for the new service.

Grinthal, who mentioned that Cooking Channel will have channel adjacencies to Food on DirecTV and Dish Network dials, will also look to push viewers back and forth between the services. To that end, Cooking Channel will present an after-show, featuring interviews with contests and other related segments, following episodes of this season's The Next Food Network Star. Target and Delta Faucets have secured advertising schedules accordingly. The sixth campaign of Food Network's most popular series debuts June 6.

"We're looking to find creative ways to drive awareness and promotion for Cooking Channel," she said.

Come fall, Cooking Channel will bow Rachael's Week In a Day, in which Ray will prepare meals to take care of eating needs for seven days; and Brunch @ Bobby's, in which Flay waxed hungrily during the network's sizzle wheel about the myriad combinations the hybrid meal can summon.

At that stage, viewers will see a more fully baked network, which Smith said is producing 16 shows for 2010, divided evenly among daytime and primetime, as Cooking Channel prepares a multimedia marketing campaign to herald its arrival.