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Paula Deen to Launch an Online 'Network'

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Disgraced former cooking show host Paula Deen, whose contract with Food Network wasn't renewed after she admitted to using a series of racial slurs, is launching her own "network." Called the Paula Deen Network, it's actually more of an app that features a bunch of videos than a real "network" and was probably created because no other TV network would hire her.

According to a press release (below), it will be purely digital and promises the world "anytime, anywhere access" to all things Deen. In the promo video Deen throws a jab at her former employer Food Network noting, "You can throw out your TV now, because this is where you can find me. And trust me, it's a heck of a lot lighter to tote around than that TV." The release also throws more digs at Food Network with Deen's producer Gordon Elliot quoted as saying she "was always bigger than a 30 minute television show."

The network will feature both "short-form and long-form content" including a series of shows that follow day-specific themes like "Leftover Mondays" and "Taco Tuesdays." There will also be "lifestyle segments" that will include things like decorating tips for the holidays. The Paula Deen Network will require users sign up for a paid subscription and it will launch this September. Go, watch the promo video and see the press release:

Video: Paula Deen Network

Paula Deen Ventures Announces the "Paula Deen Network"

Paula Deen Ventures today announces plans for the creation of the Paula Deen Network, an interactive digital experience that will allow viewers to engage and access Paula and her Southern home cooking, anytime, anywhere—on computer, smartphone or tablet. Expected to launch in September 2014, fans can sign up now to receive updates at PaulaDeen.com.

"Guess who's going digital, y'all! I'm so excited about my new online Network and can't wait to show everyone what we've been working on. We're going to have so much fun being together and cooking up some wonderful new and classic dishes. Y'all can get my recipes, tips and cooking anytime you want – this is for you. I can't wait to crank up the oven and get cooking for the people I love: my family, my friends and my fans!" said Deen.

The Paula Deen Network is a paid subscription-based online offering. Early registration will begin in July, allowing Paula's most passionate fans to ensure they are fully subscribed when the Paula Deen Network launches. Individuals who pre-register at PaulaDeen.com will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to Savannah to join the live studio audience. A 14-day free trial period will be available to all users at the time of launch in September.

According to Paula Deen Ventures CEO Steven Nanula, "While Paula had several offers to return to broadcast television, she ultimately decided to launch the Paula Deen Network because it gives her a greater level of direct access to her millions of fans when it is convenient for them. In addition, Paula will enjoy full creative control of the shows, recipes and content, and be able to give her fans exactly what they love most about her. With 4.2 million fans on Facebook and 1.24 million followers on Twitter, it was clear to us that an interactive digital network was the way to go."

The Paula Deen Network will be the only place to experience new broadcast-quality programming on demand, anytime and anywhere from Paula Deen, the Queen of Southern Cuisine. In addition to access via computer, smartphone, or tablet, Smart TV compatibility will be introduced at a future date. On the Paula Deen Network, Paula will provide her signature Southern dishes and simple, healthy meals in a fun, unscripted format on a daily basis with all-new recipes, episodes and cooking tools.

A preview of the Paula Deen Network will be shared at the first Paula Deen Live! shows in Pigeon Forge, TN on Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22. Tickets for the Paula Deen Live! shows, sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms chicken, are available at Ticketmaster.
According to Paula Deen Ventures investor, Najafi Companies CEO Jahm Najafi, "Paula has always been an innovator - from breaking ground with the creation of her company to being one of the pioneers of cooking shows on television. The Paula Deen Network is one more example of Paula doing things her own way and taking control of her brand to connect directly with her ardent fans."

Production for the Paula Deen Network began in mid-May at Paula's new studio in Savannah, which has been designed to closely resemble the set of her first television series, "Paula's Home Cooking." The set was built specifically to host a live studio audience and will feature a range of guests, family and friends, including appearances by Paula's sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, and her husband, Michael Groover.

The production format offers a new level of cooking excitement as Paula takes her audience, step-by-step, through each and every recipe with features beyond video to assist every home cook. Paula has again teamed up with her longtime producer, Gordon Elliott, who is executive producer of her live tour, "Paula Deen Live!", and creator of The Chew on ABC.

"She was always bigger than a 30-minute television show and now she has the perfect medium to share her cooking, her personality and her life with fans anytime they want to watch. Whether it's a quick delicious dinner or a family feast with games and guests, she can do it all - when and how her fans want it," said Elliott.

Programs for the Paula Deen Network will feature both short-form and long-form content. Fans will be able to cook step-by-step with Paula as she showcases tips, recipes, ingredients, and products. In addition to the dishes Paula is known for, she will also show viewers how to make simple, healthy and budget-friendly meals for the entire family. Shows will follow themes for every day, such as "Leftover Mondays" and "Taco Tuesdays" as well as holiday-themed content. A sample of some of the specific shows includes "20-Minute Meals," "Paula Cooking Light" and "One Dish, Three Ways." Paula will also showcase lifestyle segments highlighting the best of Southern living, such as decorating tips for the holidays and discovering hidden treasures with local merchants.

The Paula Deen Network will fully integrate into subscribers' lives. Key features go beyond video to include tools like a Meal Planner, allowing viewers to plan meals for an entire week, month or holiday using Paula's recipes, and easy-access "how-to" content and recommendations from Paula.

· All Paula Deen Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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