Food net cooks up original shows

'Dweezil,' 'America,' 'Fire' served in cabler's new offerings

NEW YORK — Twelve new series and 60 specials are on the menu at Food Network.

Cabler plans to increase spending by 58% on original programming. In 2002, it enjoyed double-digit ratings increases in all its target demos, including adults 18-49.

“We’ve found that as long as we’re looking at our programming through food-colored glasses, there’s no limit to what you can do with television people are passionate about,” said net prexy Judy Girard.

New programming takes on a variety of formats and styles from documentary to gameshow. Highlights include “Dweezil & Lisa,” which follows musician couple Dweezil Zappa and Lisa Loeb as they entertain friends.

“They’re perfect, because they represent a large group of people who watch us — 18-34 — who have never had anyone show them how to cook,” said Eileen Opatut, senior VP of programming, productions and operations, about the series’ potential appeal. “Dweezil and Lisa are not the most informed but will try almost anything.”

Series “What America Eats,” presented in conjunction with Parade magazine, will allow viewers to compare their own eating habits with those of their fellow citizens. “Into the Fire” goes behind the scenes at restaurants to show what the kitchen staff must deal with on a regular basis.

Network also boasts several returning personalities with new shows: “Jamie’s Kitchen: The Fifteen” will see Jamie Oliver train inexperienced street kids to manage his restaurant; Al Roker will star in “Roker on the Road” and travel around the country to find people living out their culinary dreams; and “Emeril’s Dream Restaurant: The Opening of Tchoup Chop” will look at the chef’s latest endeavor, an Asian-style restaurant.

Already announced series include gameshow “Trivia Unwrapped” and cooking/dating contest “Date Plate.”

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