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The Food Network's Ratings Decline

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After a blockbuster 2009 (ratings up 19%), the Food Network's ratings were down 10.3 percent among viewers ages 25 to 54 in the fourth quarter of 2010.

While the New York Post acknowledges competition from things like TLC (with shows like Cake Boss) and Bravo's Top Chef, the tabloid sloppily fails to mention the Travel Channel (No Reservations, Bizarre Foods, and Man v Food) and the 2010 launch of the Cooking Channel, both of which are owned by the Food Network's parent company Scripps. One would imagine that those channels cannibalized some of FN's viewers?

Anyway, in 2010, the Food Network pushed more reality programming into primetime, with the aim to get more young male viewers, and it has maybe not been so successful. Just the other day, chef Chris Cosentino (Incanto, SF) announced on Twitter that his (and Aaron Sanchez's) show Chefs vs City — a food-based Amazing Race ripoff — was canceled after two seasons.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that some of the programs are painfully derivative — see last night's premiere of Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine, a shameless knockoff of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Incidentally, the new season of Ramsay's show premieres this Friday night.

· Chefs losing heat [NYP]
· All Food Network Coverage on Eater [-E-]