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Saturday, 31 of October of 2020

The Next Food Network Star – “Rachel Ray Directs”

You’re a star. It’s just obvious.”

Three words for you: demographics, demographics, demographics. But more on those three words in a moment.

If the entire competition essentially boils down to who has the best pilot, and it seems to have done that, I must wonder why the show just didn’t do a tournament style pilot structure, showing pilot after pilot to focus groups, with the last pilot standing being the winner. I know that past performance weighed into the decision, but I’m willing to bet that the response of the focus group gave weighed in even more.

Demographics clearly won the day for Aarti. Did you see that focus group? I realize that the network’s core audience is women, and it makes sense to have a focus group composed primarily of women, but doesn’t this kind of skew the results a little bit? I get that Herb is attractive (and someone to get a beer and go work out with…), but comforting girlfriend (especially given the concept of Aarti’s show) wins out over hot guy most days (poor goofy Tom, the funny guy never wins).

Other demographics helped Aarti probably carry the episode as well. The problem Herb probably ran into was, despite his personal history and culinary experience, his food can be easily replicated by other folks on the network (how often does Rachel Ray (squealing kept to a minimum in the episode, thank goodness) makes Latin-inspired 30 minute meals?), which leaves him as a bit of a redundancy. Tom, meanwhile, suffered from making Bob of two minds. At first Bob says Tom is totally unique, like no one on Food Network. And then Bob says Tom reminds him a lot of Guy Fieri. Um. Yeah. Plus, Tom, while a great on-camera personality, didn’t fill a niche like Aarti or Herb would have. I suspect he’ll get a travelling show though.

So that leaves Aarti winning as Food Network decides it wants to get into the accessible Indian food business. As well they should be.  No one on Food Network does Indian, or even Indian inspired food (at least on a recurring basis), and doing an Indian pizza (it sounded delicious) for her pilot was a smart idea, and perfectly in keeping with her idea of an Aarti Party.

The only real challenge remaining is whether or not Aarti Party will survive. Remember that the series doesn’t have the best track record at picking stars, so it’s a very tough question about whether not Aarti will manage to make a career out of this, or go back to her video blog, doing the exact same thing. As someone who finds Aarti very likable and who is interested in her CPOV, I’m hopeful she, and her show, do well. If not, well, I can always just go back to watching Food Network for cooking and cake competitions and Giada.

…Where was Giada, anyway?

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