Food Network:  Is It Too Much “Guy”?

I love the Food Network.  The Food Network often gives me a spin on dishes that I’ve never thought of before.  But, for the past few years, even before COVID, I have wondered if the network is focusing too much on one of its stars and hurting others.  Have they changed too much as part of Discovery Plus.  Let me lay out my thoughts and you help me decide.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – Guy Fieri.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Guy.  But is there too much Guy on the network.  Many of you may not know that he actually has hosted a primetime game show on NBC.  The show, Minute to Win It, had two contestants do crazy stunts like spinning around a baseball bat much like his Guy’s Game Night (more on that in a minute).  I loved him as that host and was surprised when he won Food Network:  The Next Food Network Star

It seems that Guy’s become the “face” for the Food Network.  He’s on at least two (or is it three nights) a week (depending on the season).  While I love Guy’s Grocery Games (and applaud what Guy did find a way to do new programming during the pandemic), I have to wonder if his success has gone to his head.  While his first success as a star for Food Network was Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. it never resounded with me because of being the same thing over and over.  I wish he had taken other Food Network stars with him.  I get bored when he doesn’t switch it up any.  His Tournament of Champions looks like nothing but his friends going for approval.  I have to wonder if it is rigged sometimes.  As for the new Guy’s Game Night, I see it as nothing but a food version of the Ellen de Generis game show (or Minute to Win It)

With Guy’s rise to fame, now he has an heir apparent in Hunter.  Hunter is beside his dad in all new episodes as his sidekick.  Hunter may be into food, but his personality is not as flamboyant as his father’s.  Will Hunter’s career be in jeopardy  in comparison to his dad?

On another note, I have to wonder if Guy is the reason why such favorites as Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell  and others are reluctant to renew their contracts.  While both Anne and Bobby have renewed, I hate that the negotiations were long and drawn out.  Both Beat Bobby Flay and Worst Cooks in America are two of my favorite shows.  Also, many of the up and coming chefs are being pushed to the fringes.  There needs a place for established chefs to have a voice.

Now on to Discovery+ take over.  When Discovery+ was created, I thought that it would be a good residual place for old favorites while giving us new programming  Then I discovered I was wrong.  Discovery Plus promotes their shows to the detriment of for cable networks (like Food Network and Discovery).  Yes, it gives them future programming but it also is a detriment to those of us who already have more than enough streaming services.  I won’t list all the shows that they changed and put only on streaming, but let’s just say that the Discovery has pervaded all other networks under their brand.

Take as a case in point:  Halloween Wars.  I use to love this show because of the zany. Light-hearted host, the special judge from horror movies and/or television, and the zany comments made by the contestants.  Zac Bagans is not my favorite ghost hunter.  Yes, he has a show that Discovery loves called Ghost Adventures but I am of the Ghost Hunters fandom and can’t watch it.  Zac is now the “host” of Halloween Wars.  His appearance via those television screens are boring, annoying and dumb.  To make matters worse, he just doesn’t want to do anything but call in the theme for the show based on one of his ”adventures”.  The contestants are too serious and while the judges are okay (not great), I miss the celebrity and make-up artists.  Who wants to see a serious cook (Aarti Sequira) and former football player and chef (Eddie Jackson) host and judge a Halloween competition?  Aarti is good as a judge on Guy’s Grocery Games but looks uncomfortable walking around looking at the contestants creations.    Eddie just doesn’t have the levity or personality of the former host, Jonathan Bennett.  I miss the comrade and joking of the teams and panel as the work is done.  Last, but not least, why do the themes have no imagination and seem to be based only on Zac’s investigations.

Sure, there are other shows that seem to stay the same.  The old standards like Chopped is still around but it has lost some of its luster.  Beat Bobby Flay is still good but I wish they’d find Anne Burrell and Worst Cooks in America a permanent time slot.  Both have lost their magic since the flashier Guy shows have taken over.  The one thing I am thankful for so far this year is Outrageous Pumpkins.  Some of my favorite pumpkin carvers are there (instead of Halloween Wars) and the host is fun.  But still it is not as what it used to be.  I wonder if this happened due to COVID?  Are we facing a lost of humor and good will on Food Network due to a pandemic which has slowed.  If so, we need to revisit this trend.  I’ve seen it happen once before and it all but destroyed television as I knew it.

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