Emeril, No Longer Live

I can’t believe it, but the Food Network has cancelled it’s flagship show, Emeril Live.

From Changing Courses at the Food Network, NYT 12/17/07:

You can find chef Emeril Lagasse’s name and face all over a dozen cookbooks, 10 restaurants, lines of pots and pans, knives, Wedgwood dishes, spices, salad dressings and pasta sauces, and even a deep fryer.

But as of last week, it will no longer be found on new episodes of his signature “Emeril Live” show on the Food Network. The program taped its last installments and laid off a half-dozen staff members, bringing an end to an impressive 11-year, every-weeknight run.

Viewers will not see a difference for at least a year as the new episodes that have already been taped are shown. But industry executives are scratching their heads over why the network canceled “Emeril Live” — which they speculate became too
expensive for its softening ratings — without having a new deal in place, given the role that his program played in the network’s success.

Food Network executives assert that Mr. Lagasse, who declined to comment, remains a valued member of the family. “All good things come to an end, and it was time to do something new,” said Brooke Johnson, the network’s president. “Right now, we’re figuring out what that something new is,” she said, noting that Mr. Lagasse’s “Essence of Emeril” on the network remains in production.

The article goes on to discuss the Food Network’s new strategy, namely getting a piece of the pie (ha-ha) when its stars write cookbooks, promote cookware, etc., etc. Check out this quote from Mario Batali:

“They have decided they are mass market and they are going after the Wal-Mart crowd […] a smart business decision. So they don’t need someone who uses polysyllabic words from other languages.”

If he’s right, this means more Sandra Lee type programming and less Batali quality. More Cool-whip frosted angel food cake, anyone?

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