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Food Network Analysis - March 2011


* Bold denotes programming change


Food network has a ton of recognizable titles and rotates them through their schedule from month to month effectively.  They use quite a lot of half hours. This network, more than most nonfiction channels these days, has a predictable Sunday night. On Sundays, high production value studio based cooking competitions reign. Food Network doesn't strip and Sunday night is the only reliable true stack. Other nights seldom run more than two episodes of a title, but will often match those two with a couple of similarly-spirited programs, creating a sort of affinity stack. At this shop, should anything less than three hours be called a short stack?


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2011 vs. March 2010  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Food Network has begun the turnaround from it's recent slump.  By revamping the line-up and adding some key new programs, Food is starting to show some year-on-year growth.

Sunday was surprisingly the biggest gainer for Food Network with the aging IRON CHEF AMERICA improving its recent ratings performance.  CHOPPED has led the day for Food Network, anchoring the 9pm slot on Sundays.

Thursday nights showed a significant decline from last year.  IRON CHEF AMERICA gave a slow lead-in for the night at 8pm.  ICE BRIGADE had a respectable premiere but showed declines from its lead-in the next three weeks.

Fridays had a slight decline in both Households and Women 25-54.  Triple D (DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES) held up pretty well but was hampered by the repeat of CHOPPED at 8pm.


This network, one of the most clever in the cable universe for many years, needs you. The snazzy, studio-based Super-Bowl-like cooking competitions are still solid, but DINERS, DRIVE INS & DIVES, a field-produced roadshow dominates at the moment. A competitor, TLC, has dipped its toe into these potentially lucrative waters with a new series about BBQ competitions, thus blending two proven concepts. Here, as much as at any network, personality rules. Guy Fieri (a competition winner himself) is what makes DINERS, DRIVE INS & DIVES work. Imagining that show without him is like thinking DIRTY JOBS on Discovery would work without Mike Rowe. So... look for a new twist for these folks, whether in the field or back in the studio. They're surely looking for both. But don't even think about it if you don't have some good, promotable on-camera talent in mind.