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Food Network Upfront: A “Robust Menu” of New, Returning, Special Shows

Published on March 30, 2012

The Food Network has announced a full slate of 35 returning shows, 22 new series and specials. The network staggers its premieres through the year, so the programming slate takes off immediately.

One of its more exciting offerings is the documentary “Hunger Hits Home,” airing April 14th at 8 P.M. ET/PT. Jeff Bridges narrates this first-hand look at child hunger in the U.S.
Food Network is 70% owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, 30% by The Tribune Company. Scripps does not detail its TV demographics, but describes its demos as follows:

  • 69% Female
  • 63% Adults 25-54
  • 38% College Grad/Post Grad
  • 39% 2+ children in home
  • 71% own residence
  • Median Age: 46
  • Median Household Income: $72,601
  • 55% prepared 5+ dinners at home in the past 7 days
  • 71% of users agree that they get valuable information from
  • 72% are Grocery Decision Makers
  • 54% have entertained at home in the past 30 days
  • 48% of users agree gets them to try new things
  • 44% of users agree that is a way to learn about new products


Meat Men

Series Premiere: Monday, April 9th at 11 P.M. ET/PT

Famous New York butcher and meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda brings Food Network viewers inside the fascinating and compelling world of Meat Men. Running Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, a third-generation wholesale meat purveyor business, Pat, along with his cousin Mark Pastore, and his dad Pat Sr., supply more than 500 customers, including some of the most prestigious restaurants and bistros in New York City. Expanding from a small corner shop in New York City to a 35,000 square-feet facility in New Jersey, this growth comes with great pressure to maintain the high-quality product for which Pat has become known, and to manage the many hurdles that occur. Whether it’s last-minute requests, creating custom blends and menus for new clients, or navigating the personalities of a work staff, “Meat Men” takes viewers on a high-‘steaks’ ride with a side of humor, served medium rare.

Cupcake Champions

Series Premiere: Sunday, May 13th at 8 P.M. ET/PT

“Cupcake Champions” pits 16 of “Cupcake Wars’” best and most memorable winners against each other in a tournament to name the ultimate cupcake champ. The series features star-studded, themed events including Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, Glee, Madagascar 3, Pixar’s Brave and a special Food Network Star-themed finale. These bakers are the best of the best, but only one can fend off the challenges and survive the war to win $50,000.

Invention Hunters

Series Premiere: Monday, May 14th at 9 P.M.ET/PT

Steve Greenberg and Patrick Raymond are two “invention scouts”, scouring America in search of the next great kitchen invention. In each episode, they come across three home inventors who each believe they have a million-dollar kitchen gadget. Steve and Patrick put the inventions to the test ensuring they work as promised and determine whether there is a market for the idea. They will then choose one invention to bring to buyers in the retail manufacturing world to convince them to buy it and make the inventor’s dreams a reality.

Mystery Diners

Series Premiere: Friday, May 25th at 10 P.M. ET/PT

What happens in the food world when a bad employee starts to take down an otherwise thriving establishment or when restaurant owners suspect someone of not doing their job appropriately? They call in the Mystery Diners. These undercover operatives go into restaurants, bars and food service establishments with hidden cameras to find out what’s really going on when the boss isn’t around.

The New Anne Burrell Project (working title)

Series Premiere: June 2012

When top restaurants are in need of an executive chef – the critical employee who can make or break a restaurant – they turn to Anne Burrell. Each week Anne puts four candidates through the toughest job interview of their lives – testing everything from their culinary mettle to business acumen. It all ends with the biggest test of all: running the restaurant. After a grueling “interview” process, only the chef who serves up the most profitable and delicious dinner service lands the dream job as the restaurant’s new Executive Chef.

Bobby Flay’s Opening Night (working title)

Series Premiere: July 2012

Bobby Flay, critically-acclaimed chef/owner of 14 restaurants, offers his expertise to first-time restaurateurs. Bobby arrives just in time, stepping in to save restaurants from opening without all the crucial elements in place, hoping to prevent an opening night-nightmare. Without Bobby’s sage advice, the restaurants would have little chance to succeed, but with less than a week to opening the doors to customers, Bobby works with the restaurateurs to see their business start off on the right foot.

Chopped: Grill Masters

Series Premiere: Sunday, July 22nd at 10 P.M. ET/PT

Fire it up! Food Network blows the roof off "Chopped," traveling to the glorious Arizona desert for a breathtaking event. Sixteen grilling professionals face off in an old Western town in this captivating five-part tournament. The stage is set for the ultimate culinary feud, with astonishing mystery ingredients and tremendously talented competitors.  Only four chefs can make it to the final fiery showdown, and when the dust clears, the greatest grilling pro of all will walk away with a $50,000 grand prize.

$24 in 24 Hours (working title)

Series Premiere: August 2012

Jeff Mauro (“Sandwich King”) takes an exciting journey through cities across America to show viewers how to experience great food at a great price spending only $24 in 24 hours.

Undercover Critics

Series Premiere: September 2012

In new series, Undercover Critics, Alex Guarnaschelli (“Chopped”), Troy Johnson (“Crave”) and Simon Majumdar (“Next Iron Chef”) go undercover as restaurant critics armed with hidden cameras to unfold the good, the bad and the ugly of established restaurants. Then, they give the owners new life and a second chance to improve on their violations before the review is actually published. After visiting the restaurant, the Undercover Critics give an anonymous tip to the owner letting them know they visited, but won’t write a review just yet. Instead, they give the owners a laundry list of things to fix, and the owners do whatever it takes to turn a bad review into a great one before it hits the press.

Sugar Dome

Series Premiere: October 2012

Welcome to the Sugar Dome, home to the most amazing food displays on earth. Each week, three teams comprised of three artists from different disciplines, battle it out to create never-seen-before, jaw-dropping masterpieces of food art. Renowned cake designers, chocolatiers, engineers, food carvers, window designers, candy makers and special effects experts will enter the Sugar Dome to determine who can create the most mind-blowing displays.

Blind Dinner Party

Series Premiere: October 2012

What happens when seven strangers – who come from completely different backgrounds, beliefs and views on everything – come together to break bread in the most dysfunctional family dinner imaginable? Comedian Margaret Cho headlines this bizarre social experiment to see if people from extremely disparate worlds can come together and find common ground through food.


Trisha’s Southern Kitchen

Series Premiere: Saturday April 14th at 10:30am ET/PT

Music superstar and best-selling cookbook author Trisha Yearwood brings her family-inspired recipes and food traditions to Food Network this spring, with the premiere of the new daytime series Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. From preparing dishes from her childhood to planning a baby shower and family reunion barbecue, each themed show invites viewers into Trisha’s kitchen for her favorite meals, nostalgic stories and visits from family and friends. The six-episode series offers Trisha’s unique how-to tips and techniques for down-home dishes.

Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen

Series Premiere: Saturday, June 16th at 10:30am ET/PT

For Jamie Deen, it’s all about food and family. As a husband, father, and cook, Jamie puts his personal and professional skills to the test to create great family dinners.  Jamie always welcomes a helping hand, whether his son Jack joins to make dessert or Grandma Ginny (aka Paula Deen) comes over to help put the finishing touches on the meal. In the Deen family, there’s nothing more fun that being Home for Dinner.

Sunny Travels (working title)

Series Premiere: July 2012

Sunny Anderson travels the country to discover the best home-cooked recipes she can find. From heirloom recipes for apple pie to undefeated family barbecue recipes, Sunny uncovers the secrets and the stories behind every dish.

The New Sandra Lee Project (working title)

Series Premiere: Fall 2012

Best known for her Semi-Homemade & Money Saving Meals, Sandra Lee will offer fans a new take on her cooking and entertaining tips.


Chopped All-Stars

Season Two Premiere: Sunday, April 8th at 9 P.M. ET/PT

Food Network’s top-rated hit “Chopped All-Stars” returns for a second season filled with fan-favorite chefs, unexpected ingredients, and fierce competition for a $50,000 prize for charity. In each of the five themed episodes, hosted by Ted Allen, four specially selected chefs are challenged to create three masterful courses from ingredients in the mystery basket, ranging from beef tendon and crawfish, to black beans with queso fresco and chicken feet. “Chopped All-Stars” kicks off with Iron Chefs battling in the Chopped kitchen, followed by competitions between Food Network/Cooking Channel show hosts, Food Network Star finalists and “Chopped” judges. A rotating roster of top-notch judges will decide who gets “chopped” each week, leading up to a final showdown between the four episode winners, where the $50,000 grand prize to the winner’s charity of choice will be awarded.

Food Network Star

Season Eight Premiere: Sunday, May 13th at 9 P.M. ET/PT

“Food Network Star” returns to New York City with a revised format bringing returning favorites Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis from behind the judges table to square off with new regular Alton Brown in a three-way team competition to find the next Food Network Star. Bobby, Giada and Alton, all television producers in addition to being culinary superstars, lead the charge to find and develop the new talent, each picking a team of five finalists, who they will produce and mentor through the ‘Star’ experience to find one winner who possesses personality and culinary chops. In another fresh twist to the series, the viewing audience will vote before the finale to determine who will receive the ultimate prize: their own Food Network show, to be produced by their ‘Star’ team leader.

Extreme Chef

Season Two Premiere: August 2012

The new season of “Extreme Chef” plucks America’s seven most fearless chefs out of their kitchens and drops them into the most extreme locations on Earth from the scorching deserts of California to exotic jungles on the other side of the world. With extremely limited supplies and ingredients, the chefs will have to flawlessly adapt as they face the most grueling and seemingly impossible culinary challenges ever devised to earn the title of Extreme Chef and a cash prize.

The Great Food Truck Race

Season Three Premiere: Sunday, August 19th at 9 P.M. ET/PT

“The Great Food Truck Race’s” third outing will have more drama, more twists, more strategy, but most of all, more dreams.  Hosted again by Tyler Florence, this season’s not a competition between current food truck operators – it’s between people who desperately want to be. Eight teams of hopefuls will have their dream truck handed to them before they race from city to city trying to prove they have what it takes to own and operate a successful food truck, with the winning team will get to keep their truck and immediately launch their food empire.

Halloween Wars

Season Two Premiere: Sunday, October 7th at 9 P.M. ET/PT

Food Network puts viewers in the Halloween spirit serving up a deliciously scary series, Halloween Wars, for a second season. The four episode competition places five teams – comprised of cake decorators, candy makers and pumpkin carvers– working in unison to create the ultimate Halloween-themed display. One team is eliminated each week, with the winner taking home $50,000.

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption

Season Five Premiere: Sunday, November 4th at 9 P.M. ET/PT

This year on “The Next Iron Chef,” it’s all about redemption. Ten previous “Next Iron Chef” competitors with something to prove, compete to become a member of the most elite and exclusive club the culinary world offers, securing his/her spot in Kitchen Stadium.


The Best Thing I Ever Made

Season Two Premiere: Sunday, April 8th at 11:30am ET/PT

Acclaimed chefs, cookbook authors and Food Network personalities – people who have spent their lives obsessing over food – reveal not only what they love to eat, but what they love to make. From personal family recipes to dishes off their own menus, these food experts share their secrets and show viewers how to cook their favorite dishes.

The Pioneer Woman

Season Three Premiere: Fall 2012

Award-winning blogger and best-selling cookbook author Ree Drummond brings her signature wit and down-home recipes to Food Network for a third season. Shot on location at her Oklahoma ranch, “The Pioneer Woman” serves up a slice of frontier life along with the “accidental country girl’s” step-by-step recipes for creating wholesome, hearty family meals and elegant menus for entertaining.


Hunger Hits Home

Saturday, April 14th at 8 P.M. ET/PT

In the wealthiest nation in the world, one in five children live in the shadow of hunger. In “Hunger Hits Home,” audiences get a first-hand look at the crisis of childhood hunger in America through the eyes of the people on the frontlines of the battle—parents and children, anti-hunger activists, educators and politicians committed to eradicating the problem. “Hunger Hits Home” examines the causes, complications and misconceptions about childhood hunger in the United States and offers a glimpse at some of the innovative solutions being put into practice today. Narrated by Oscar-winning actor and longtime anti-hunger activist Jeff Bridges, “Hunger Hits Home” is a heart-wrenching, yet empowering hour-long look at one of our nation’s little-known emergencies.

Grilling Live!

Live Premiere: June 2nd at 12 P.M.-2 P.M. ET

Bobby Flay and Alton Brown get together with their Food Network friends to talk about all things grilling. In this two-hour, live-interactive show Food Network favorites answer viewers’ toughest grilling and summer entertaining questions.

Thanksgiving Live!

Live Premiere: Saturday, November 18th at 12 P.M.-2 P.M. ET

The experts at Food Network come together to answer viewers toughest questions about holiday meal-making on “Thanksgiving Live!,” a two-hour, live-interactive show. They address the perennial holiday problems from dry turkey to lumpy gravy, as well as demonstrate helpful tips and delicious recipes.