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Food Network Analysis


Food Network has a ton of recognizable titles that it effectively rotates through the schedule.  Food Network doesn’t strip across the week, but will often match similarly-spirited programs through-out the night, creating a sort of affinity stack. On Sundays, high production value studio based cooking competitions reign.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison: December 2011 vs. December 2010  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

DECEMBER 2011:  On average, Food Network’s 2011 ratings were flat vs. 2010 for adult demos, growing men by 5% while losing 3% of women. Even with the uptick in men, the female factor remains strong, with an audience that is 60% female. December performed just above the annual average, losing 10% of adult 25-54 primetime ratings from last month, but gaining 13% from last year.

IRON CHEF was the star of the month as NEXT IRON CHEF, IRON CHEF 4 and IRON CHEF AMERICA dominated the ratings. The franchise helped draw viewers to the network and spurred Sunday nights to 59% growth on adults 25-54 vs. last year. The night’s programming resonated with men, as their ratings pulled 71% ahead of last year.  Sunday night is where Food Network’s highest profile culinary competition programming airs, and the net has been able to run a successful string of programming throughout the year. Next up is RACHEL VS. GUY CELEBRITY COOK-OFF, which premiered on January 1 with a 1.5 rating among adults 25-54, according to a Food Net press release.

Sunday night, at its perch on kitchen stadium, now towers well above the rest of the week. This December the Sunday night ratings were a full 25% higher than the next highest rated night (Tuesday).

DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES begins and ends the weekdays, dominating both Monday and Friday nights. With new episodes sprinkled in, the program has held vs. last month, and was off slightly vs. last year. A handful of one-hour programs aired this month, pulling in better numbers than the thirty-seven (yes, 37) telecasts of the half hour version. DD&D is the only Food Network program to receive so many primetime plays.

Although CHOPPED is a close second with 20 primetime hours. CHOPPED dominates Tuesday and Thursday nights. CHOPPED is the best-rated show behind IRON CHEF and its spin-offs, and has grown its adult 25-54 audience by 14% from last year.

RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE made a comeback this year, bringing Wednesday nights to new heights. However, the program in repeats this month dropped 30% of its adult audience from last month. Even so, Wednesdays were performing just 3% lower on adult 25-54 ratings vs. last year, while men 25-54 ratings grew by 9%. And new episodes return in January.

Thursdays saw nice growth on women vs. last year; +35% among women 25-54 and +11% for men 25-54. The growth stems from the strength of this year’s CHOPPED vs. last year’s IRON CHEF encores.  It was definitely not on the strength of new program, CHEF HUNTER, which runs in the tough 10PM Thursday night slot. (The poorly rated SWEET GENIUS had the slot before CHEF HUNTER).

For the second month in a row, Saturdays featured a different block of programming each week (CHOPPED, CUPCAKE WARS, the one-hour version of DINERS, DRIVE INS & DIVES and RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE this month). DINERS was the best performer of the bunch, but the night was not a ratings draw. It was the second lowest rated night of the week, losing 3% of adult 25-54 ratings vs. last year and 29% from last month’s fare.