Food Network Analysis



Food Network has a robust inventory of recognizable titles that it effectively rotates through the schedule.  The network doesn’t strip across the week, but has created stacks for most nights. Mondays and Fridays are driven by Guy Fieri’s DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES, Tuesday is competition programs for women -- CHOPPED and/or CUPCAKE WARS, Wednesday is balanced male/female reality RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE, Thursdays feature CHOPPED again, and on Sundays high production value studio based cooking competitions reign. Saturdays are filled with a different program each week.


Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison: May 2012 vs.May 2011  (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

MAY 2012: Compared to last month Food Network did not grow core audience on any night of the week. Bottom line demo ratings were off by 10% or more across the board vs. April. But May is not a strong month for Food, and the net actually improved demo ratings by about 25% vs. last year.

Looking across the week, core women 25-54 audience size barely moves from night to night, with the notable exception of Sundays. Monday through Saturday audience does not vary by more than 10%, but Sunday towers above the rest of the week. Sunday night ratings are 56% to 80% higher than any other night. In fact, Sunday is the only night to top the network average!

Food saves its best programming for Sunday nights. That is when the high-profile, big-stakes competition programming comes out to play. The network rotates the programming through-out the year, putting on a different spin and a better prize as need be. This month, CUPCAKE CHAMPIONS and FOOD NETWORK STAR joined IRON CHEF AMERICA. Viewers liked the line-up, as evidenced by the 65% jump in women 25-54 ratings vs. last year.

If Sunday night is the Rising Star of Food Network, DINERS, DRIVE INS AND DIVES is the Cash Cow (remember your marketing 101 grids?). The program dominates Mondays and Fridays, and aired an impressive 51 times this month, which works out to an average of more than 12 runs a week. The program is holding, with ratings that are even with men 25-54 and down just 2% with women 25-54 vs. last year. Even better, it can be used to launch new programs…MYSTERY DINERS was rolled out on the back of DD&D on the last Friday of the month, with promising numbers.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to female skewing CHOPPED and CUPCAKE WARS competition programming. SWEET GENIUS and CUPCAKE CHAMPIONS joined the line-up as well this month Food’s recipe for formulaic competition programming produces the best female ratings and the lowest male ratings out of all the Monday through Saturday programming.

Wednesday’s RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE generates the best adult numbers outside of Sunday nights. It was the only program to show consistent improvement vs. April. Compared to last year, performance is virtually the same. But Wednesday night’s ratings have doubled compared to last year, as RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE replaced lower-rated programming (THROWDOWN, LAST CAKE STANDING, DINNER IMPOSSIBLE).