Paula Deen, self-styled queen of Southern cooking who lost her contract with Food Network last year after racially charged comments she made became public, has bought digital-distribution rights to her shows from the network for her Internet video-subscription service set to launch this week.
The Scripps Networks Interactive-owned cabler confirmed the deal with Paula Deen Ventures for about 440 episodes “Paula’s Party,” “Paula’s Home Cooking” and “Paula’s Best Dishes,” including the never-aired 2013-14 season of her last show, along with other footage. The deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Food Network has not used any programming featuring Deen — either on TV or digital platforms — since she parted ways with Scripps in June 2013, apart from short-form clips.
“(W)e reached an agreement and everyone here wishes her the best as she embarks on her new venture,” a Food Network rep said in a statement.
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The Paula Deen Network is backed by $100 million in funding from Phoenix-based investor Jahm Najafi. Slated to launch Sept. 24, the subscription service promises access to her recipes; the series acquired from Food Network; new cooking and lifestyle shows; and segments with Deen with her sons, Jamie and Bobby, and celebrity guests. Paula Deen Ventures is based in Savannah, Ga., with offices in New York.
Initially, the service is available only in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The Internet-video service costs $95.88 for a one-year subscription ($7.99 per month) or $9.99 for monthly access. The service, available with a free 14-day trial, will not carry any advertising.
Deen, 67, had worked with Food Network since 1999. The cable channel declined to renew her contract last year after a videotaped deposition she gave in connection with a discrimination lawsuit filed against her came to light, in which she used the “N” word and reportedly suggested that black staffers at her restaurant dress up as slaves for a wedding her company was catering.
Deen joins other TV personalities who have made the jump to the Internet. Those include Sarah Palin, who teamed on the Sarah Palin Channel with Tapp, the online-video venture formed by Jeff Gaspin, former chairman of NBCUniversal Television, and Jon Klein, former president of CNN U.S.; ex-Fox News host Glenn Beck, who launched conservative online network TheBlaze in 2011; former CNN host Larry King, who now has an online talk show produced with Ora.tv; and Katie Couric, who joined Yahoo as global news anchor.
SEE ALSO: Paula Deen Chopped by the Food Network