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Keeping the Food Network cooking

Women's Impact Report 2012

Under Johnson and Fogelson, the Food Network has turned in some of its highest ratings ever with an average nightly audience of 1.3 million despite increasing fragmentation and tough competition. The Cooking Channel spinoff has also been a hit, while the Food Network magazine is drawing readers even as the publishing industry lags. The flagship network, home to Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, continues to launch star chefs and Fogelson herself has eight years and counting as a judge on “Next Food Network Star.” The Food Network has two big jobs and is doing both with panache: It’s a power brand and an entertainment destination, with auds that can but don’t need to overlap. Over the past year, it published a digital cookbook and launched a series of well-received apps, and now boasts the top two paid culinary apps on iTunes. “We are a real brand. Everybody says they are a brand, but we really are,” says Johnson.

BROOKE JOHNSON
President, Food Network
Brand building: “Since food and cooking have evolved into such an important form of connection and expression, Food Network and Cooking Channel have fans who view us as more than just a traditional programming destination. We are a resource and service, part of their everyday. Our on-air talent is like extended family. Our audience is very vocal with feedback about their family. I like that many of the faces on our networks have day jobs and businesses beyond our programming.”
Smartphone on vacation? “Yes. Always. My personal way of staying current is to stay informed. To turn off 100% would beget an email forest backlog in need of way too much pruning to ever enjoy a vacation without worry.”
Work week: “With some device always on or near, it feels like we never stop. But a good estimate would be 50-60 hours a week.”
Life-work balance: “Make time for that which is important to you. Find a work environment that is supportive of family and know that it really can all work together well.”
Charitable passion: Share Our Strength, which fights childhood hunger, and Food Bank NYC.”

SUSIE FOGELSON
Senior VP, Food Network
Inside scoop: “The role that marketing plays in our business. It’s about connecting your brand to an audience. Somewhat unique perhaps for brands like Food Network and Cooking Channel, our marketing is not a singular tune-in/ratings play. It’s about varying touch-points and deeper consumer engagement; that creates depth in our connection to fans through any marketing story we set out to tell.”
Smartphone habits: “I make a concerted effort to only check once per day (on vacation).”
Life-work balance: “Balance isn’t a box you check. You just hope at the end of a week that you’ve done justice to it all.”
Charitable passions: Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry. Every child has a right to a wholesome breakfast. As a mother with two young girls, the idea that they would ever be hungry or that any child would be unsure where his or her next meal may be coming from makes it very clear for me that kids everywhere need us.”

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