Food Network is an American pay television channel that is owned by Television Food Network, G.P., a joint venture and general partnership between Discovery, Inc. (which holds a 69% ownership stake of the network) and Nexstar Media Group (which owns the remaining 31%). Despite this ownership structure, the channel is managed and operated as a division of Discovery Networks U.S. The channel airs both special and regular episodic programs about food and cooking.
In addition to its headquarters in New York City, Food Network has offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Jersey City, Cincinnati, and Knoxville.
As of September 2018, 91 million households receive Food Network (98.6% of households with cable) in the United States
grow the company and decided that basic cable programming at the time was a high growth area. With many basic cable channels at the time, Myhren was looking for something different. With food selected as the channel’s genre, the working title for the channel was The Cooking Channel up until the channel’s launch. Myhren hired Jack Clifford, Joe Langhan and Reese Schonfeld, co-founder of CNN, to help found the channel. Schonfeld, Landghan and Clifford were CEO, vice president of production and president. Both The Cooking Channel and the Food Network trademarks were taken by other entities, with the Food Network being a newsletter. Myrhen originally wanted the network to be operated from Providence, Rhode Island as he argued that a cable network’s costs were much more scalable from a lower-profile location, while Schonfeld preferred it be originated from New York, considered the American nucleus of culinary arts; Schonfeld’s preference eventually won out, though at the peril of the network’s launch budget, which was lower than it would have been from Providence.
Food Network was founded on April 19, 1993, as “TV Food Network”; its legal name remains Television Food Network, G. P. After acquiring the Food Network trademark after several years, it shortened the name to that. The network initially launched on November 22, 1993 with two initial shows featuring David Rosengarten, Donna Hanover, and Robin Leach. On November 23, 1993, Food Network began live broadcasting. Its original partners included the Journal itself, Adelphia, Scripps-Howard, Continental Cablevision, Cablevision, and most importantly, the Tribune Company, which provided the network’s technical output.
Given that the channel could not afford to not run anything that they would produce, the channel started tapping 5 shows with a potential host to see if they worked. This was later turned into Chef Du Jour series.
Former logo, used from 1997 to 2003.
Schonfeld, was appointed as managing director of TV Food Network and maintained a spot on its management board along with two Providence Journal employees. The original lineup for the network included Emeril Lagasse (Essence of Emeril), Debbi Fields, Donna Hanover, David Rosengarten, Curtis Aikens, Dr. Louis Aronne, Jacques Pépin, and Robin Leach. The following year, the network acquired the rights to the Julia Child library from WGBH.
In 1995, Schonfeld resigned as managing director of the network, but remained on its board until 1998, when he sold his interest in the company to Scripps. In 1996, Erica Gruen was hired as the president and CEO of TV Food Network, becoming the second woman in history to be the CEO of a U.S. television network. Gruen led the network into an explosive growth until 1998, by launching the largest and number one site for food, FoodNetwork.com, more than doubling the subscriber base, tripling the viewership and multiplying the network’s yearly revenue. In 1997, it was the second fastest growing cable network. Gruen changed the brand positioning from Schonfeld’s “TV for people who cook” to “TV for everyone who loves to eat,” thereby greatly improving the appeal to viewers and advertisers, and saving the network from bankruptcy. Greg Willis and Cathy Rasenberger were two of the original members of the start-up team who led the affiliate sales and marketing of the company from 1995 to 1998. Greg Willis served as senior vice president of worldwide distribution until he left to join Liberty Media in 1998.
Food Network logo used from 2003 to 2013. In 2013, a new version of this logo was introduced with a different font.
The A. H. Belo Corporation acquired Food Network when it purchased The Providence Journal Company in February 1997. Belo sold its 56% stake in the channel to the E. W. Scripps Company in October 1997, in a trade deal that resulted in Belo acquiring the television-radio station combination of KENS-AM/TV in San Antonio, Texas.
The 1080i high definition simulcast feed of Food Network launched on March 31, 2008.
Food Network was first launched outside of North America in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2009, and in Asia on July 5, 2010 (on StarHub TV channel 433 and in HD on channel 468). Since the UK launch on November 9, 2009 on Sky, the channel has been added to the Freesat, Freeview and Virgin Media platforms.
In January 2015, the Food Network collaborated with Snapchat and launched its own Food Network channel, “Discover Food Network”, where social media users can watch the channel through the app. The channel features recipes, food hacks, and tips to entertain and appeal to the social media savvy millennials of today while watching from the palm of their hands.