Nothing takes your mind far away from the stresses and worries of the day quite like the warming glow of the television. While there’s certainly no shortage of engaging, educational programming available, sometimes we want to be entertained without having to do much in the way of thinking. Culinary programming falls under both umbrellas, with varying degrees of success.
Food shows have taken on a number of forms over the decades; from a single cook talking the audience through a recipe all the way to reality-based "extreme" cooking competitions. And while reality TV will apparently take on absolutely any subject, sub-genre, or eccentricity, not all reality shows have staying power. Not every show creates the street-wise, hip feel of No Reservations or captures compelling cooking drama quite like Hell’s Kitchen. But plenty of networks have no problem throwing a bunch of shows against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Anyone involved with television programming will tell you that there’s really no way to know if a show will be popular or not before it airs. The closest thing there is to a recipe for success is waiting for another network to develop a popular concept, slightly tweak the template, put marketing money behind it, and hope it’s a genre capable of sustaining multiple shows. On the other side of the coin, while it’s not always a direct reflection of quality, there is an exact science for monitoring the popularity of television programming: the Nielsen rating system. There’s no better way to judge the success of a show than to see how the ratings hold up.
We’ve combed through the data and assembled a list of the top 10 biggest food-related TV show flops. Not all of these shows were necessarily terrible, they just didn’t quite have the chops to make it past season one (or episode seven, in the case of Emeril, NBC’s sitcom about the chef — remember that?) Read on and see if any of these shows ring a bell, but we have a feeling that these shows went in one ear and out the other.