The Founding of the Food Network: A 20 Year Retrospective

Sponsored by the Food Studies Program ( at The New School for Public Engagement, this Food Network retrospective features its founders discussing the fragile early months of the network that changed the way America eats.

The Inquisitive Eater (New School Food) |

On September 27, 1993, the Food Network began broadcasting old cookery tapes. It wouldn’t start live broadcasts for another two months, and when it did, there were many viewers. From these modest beginnings, the Food Network has grown into one of America’s most successful cable network channel and in process, it has engendered hundreds of other food and cooking shows on cable and broadcast networks, and its culinary competitions have converted food into a spectator sport. The Food Network’s continued success demonstrated that food had become a central feature in media and American life.


Speakers include Reese Schoenfeld, co-founder of CNN and the first president of The Food Network; Joe Langhan, formerly an executive at Colony Communications and currently president, Media Program Network; Pat O’Gorman, lead producer, TVFN; and Allen Salkin, author of From Scratch: Inside the Food Network. Moderated by Andrew F. Smith, faculty member of the Food Studies Program.


Location: Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang College
Friday, September 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

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Comment (2)

  1. Perhaps the FN originators did not realize that tons of viewers in the early days like myself were so tired of the salacious silly network dribble that we scanned cable channels to find a safe place to land and then told our friends at dinner parties. I KNOW there was a bigger following for FN than the ratings indicated in the early days.  FN now seems a little contrived. I've often think the honing of chefs for "The Next Food Network Star" displays exactly why there is a ratings drop–they coach and charge their hopefuls in a style that is exactly leading to their demise. They are boxed in. Luckily Flay knows how to reinvent himself–but I still love to just listen to someone talk about specific techniques and it's perhaps why "The Chew" is so popular even though they are slowly shooting themselves in the foot with (1) network insistence on guest celebriaties [who cares???], and (2) continual R and X-rated comments. They take themselves for granted. Wrong move for both networks.


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