Yum-o! Rach Renews, Batali Dishes on Food Network

The kitchens at Food Network are "cooling off" as the company changes course, reports the front of today's New York Times business section.

Ratings are down 15% for the weekend block of how-to cooking shows and the network canceled Emeril's late night bam-a-thon after a eleven year run.

Mario Batali kicks the network that will not be carrying his new show (with Mark Bittman and Gwyneth Paltrow?!, which will run on PBS next fall). Batali steams to the Times: "They don't need me. They have decided they are mass market and they are going after the Wal-Mart crowd." Food Network, in fact, has a line of kitchen basics at Kohls.

Batali said Food Network's strategy is good for business, but "they don't need someone who uses polysyllabic words from other languages."Rachel Ray signed a two-year deal for a new series, Rachael's Vacation, launching in January 2008, as well as 60 new episodes per year of 30 Minute Meals.

No word yet on Sandra Lee.

The footer on the press release we got from Food Network says the cable station "is a unique lifestyle network and Web site that strives to be way more than cooking." What do you think about that?

(Photo: Food Network)

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