Scripps to Launch The Cooking Channel, Scrap Fine Living
Scripps Networks Interactive, the parent company of the Food Network, HGTV, DIY, and Fine Living, plans to rebrand Fine Living into what they're calling "The Cooking Channel" in the third quarter of 2010. Easier than launching a new channel as Fine Living is already in 55 million homes, the Food Network can dedicate itself completely to ratings-friendly reality programming and cooking competitions, and redirect all the cooking instructional shows to the Cooking Channel.
Unfortunately, the Cooking Channel won't be entirely dedicated to cooking shows: The press release tells us instead "the network also will explore food origins, culture and history as part of the programming mix." "The primetime lineup of the Cooking Channel will feature original new shows hosted by fresh, new talent as well as some of the most familiar faces in the food genre. Daytime programming on the new network will balance new cooking shows with food-oriented content from the extensive Scripps Networks library." Read: We're going to dump old Fine Living shows and repeats of Food Network programs during the day.
It's eerily reminiscent of MTV's 1996 launch of MTV2, a channel intended to be completely dedicated to music videos, because the original MTV had given into reality crack, endlessly airing Real World marathons. MTV2 slowly followed the same path that the original MTV had taken — away from music videos — airing sketch comedy shows, Beavis and Buttthead episodes, random documentaries, and repeats of the parent MTV's reality shows.
At least they're honest about their commitment to abandon the Food Network's roots of instructional cooking shows: With the new Cooking Channel, "Food Network can continue its march toward growing the next generation of ‘foodies’ with energetic, entertainment-oriented content that’s attracting record numbers of younger media consumers to the category," said John Lansing, an executive at Scripps.