BC Beat

Food Network Trains for Turkey Day

11/16/2012 09:05:39 PM

For Food Network, Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday — it’s their Super Bowl. And the network has been in training for it all season long to ramp up its second Thanksgiving Live simulcast, this year with more integrated content for first-time and seasoned chefs looking for help cooking their holiday meals.

Food Network’s website, foodnetwork.com, experiences a 150% spike in traffic during the month of November. To capitalize on that influx of visitors, Food Network has made Thanksgiving Live “bigger and better and even more integrated with our fans through the digital experience,” says Bob Madden, senior VP and general manager of digital for Food Network.

Thanksgiving Live airs on Food Network on Sunday, Nov. 18, from 12-2 p.m. ET, and will feature celebrity chefs including Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, Sunny Anderson, Aaron Sanchez, Ree Drummond and Alex Guarnaschelli. The network will have a pregame of sorts with an online show streaming at 11:30 a.m. in which Sandwich King’s Jeff Mauro will go behind the scenes as they prepare for the broadcast.

This year, the show will continue online with even more content, including alternate camera angles of the broadcast. During commercial breaks, viewers can visit the Food Network website to watch Mauro interview the chefs and provide answers to additional questions. After Thanksgiving Live ends at 2 p.m., a post-show on the Web will feature the chefs relaxing, enjoying their meal and — you guessed it — answering even more viewer questions.

Last year, the special generated tens of thousands of questions submitted via social media platforms Twitter and Facebook. This year, Madden says they expect to exceed that number.

“It was such an unprecedented two-way communication between not only Food Network, but our chefs and our fans during this incredible time of year,” Madden says.

Thanksgiving Live will rebroadcast on Nov. 19 and Nov. 21; all of the answered questions will be available on the different social media platforms as well as foodnetwork.com

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