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Food Network Analysis - October 2011


Food network has a ton of recognizable titles that it effectively rotates them through their schedule from month to month.  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 /September 2011 vs. September 2010  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

OCTOBER 2011:  Food Network continued its winning streak this month with more than 20% growth on demos vs. last year. Last month was the net’s best September ever, but October topped it, growing about 10% on both men and women demos.

Competition series are turning things around for Food Network, as familiar franchises such as IRON CHEF, FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE and CUPCAKE WARS pulled in 88%, 38% and 21% increases on women 25-54. The competition theme is appealing to both men and women, and the network continues to see a rise in its male audiences as the amount of competition-based programming grows.

Nearly all of the growth vs. last month can be attributed to Sunday night’s line-up of FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE, HALLOWEEN WARS and IRON CHEF AMERICA / NEXT IRON CHEF. But year over year comparisons show healthy growth across many nights of the week.

Mondays remain largely devoted to food-devotee programs with DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES, UNWRAPPED, THE BEST THING I EVER ATE and similar fare. Unfortunately, it seems to be a genre whose time has come.

On Tuesdays CHOPPED is the star, and along with CUPCAKE WARS it helped bring the night in as the second-best rated with the youngest audience of the week. Wednesday’s RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE soared to new heights this summer with new host Robert Irvine in place. Now in repeats, ratings are slipping compared to the summer and HALLOWEEN WARS and NEXT IRON CHEF 3 encores were brought in to help out the night. Ratings are still stellar compared to last year.

Thursdays were home to CHOPPED and new competition series SWEET GENIUS. The new program was able to build audience from lead-in CHOPPED, and gained 20% on average over last month, and helped boost the night to 78% growth over last year.

Despite the fact that it is classified as a fading genre and that it airs on the lowest-viewed night of the week, DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES continues to perform well in its Friday night block from 8 to 10PM. Some things you just don’t question, especially the appeal of Guy Fiere, the quintessential Food Network Star.