John Maynard of WaPo watched cooking shows for a week, two on Food Network and one each on Travel Channel, TLC, and PBS. He determined that while he may have been entertained, he learned very little he could actually use.
As any regular viewer of the Food Network can attest, the one ingredient essential to any cooking show is its entertainment value. It's not just about the lengthy ingredient list or the availability of specific foods (can we find blood oranges in the Midwest? we can be hard-pressed to, and blood oranges aren't that exotic) or the quality of the dish. The show - and specifically the hosts - must have some form on entertainment value. After all, will viewers tune in to a cooking show where the host is dry and uninteresting?
Speaking of entertaining hosts, it appears that Paula Deen's influence on Food Network is growing. She started a few years back with Paula's Home Cooking. She added a few specials such as Paula Deen's Wedding, which documented the planning of the wedding of Paul and her husband Michael, and Paula Goes Hollywood, which wasn't as much about food as it was her role in the film Elizabethtown. Earlier this summer, Road Tasted premiered, which is hosted by Paula's sons Jaime and Bobby (who occasionally visits Paula's show). Now, Paula is adding a new series - Paul's Parties, or something to that effect (it's not yet listed on FN's website - beginning at the end of September.