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‘That sucks!’ Fans sounds off when Food Network parts ways with long-time chef Bobby Flay

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Superstar chef Bobby Flay is saying goodbye to his home of 27 years at the Food Network. Flay and the network have been in contract negotiations for some time now, but they appear to have reached an impasse as they are too far apart on financial terms, prompting Food Network to halt the negotiations.

Flay has hosted 16 shows and specials over his time with Food Network. His tenure at the network, which began in 1994 during the network’s infancy, has made the restaurateur and businessman a household name. Some of the network’s offerings featuring the chef have been “Beat Bobby Flay” and “Brunch at Bobby’s” as well as the original “Grillin’ and Chillin” series.

He has also been a regular competitor and favorite on game shows from “Chopped” and “Iron Chef America” to “Worst Cooks in America,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and “The Next Food Network Star.”

He has also hosted a series with his 25-year old daughter Sophie called “The Flay List,” where the two explore the culinary diversity of New York City in search of the best of the best.

In addition to his prolific work on television, he also owns a number of restaurants around the country and is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks. He first garnered acclaim for his New York City flagship restaurant, Mesa Grill, and was summarily invited to be a part of the budding Food Network.

Twitter reactions to the news varied widely, from disappointment to disbelief, to anger:

In 2015, he became the first TV chef ever to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Fox Business reported in May that chef Guy Fieri, also of Food Network fame, inked an $80M deal with the cable network which made him the highest-paid TV host on a cable network. Flay’s latest 3-year contract with the Discovery-owned network expires at the end of 2021.

A story from Forbes puts forth the opinion that leaving Food Network could be a financial boon for Flay. He could move to a streaming network, a number of which have been, and likely will continue to, overtake traditional cable networks.

“Competition among streamers like Netflix, Hulu, HBOMax, Amazon and newer entrants Discovery+ and Peacock have reshaped the power dynamics between TV networks and their hosts. Hosts can now jump to a different platform and double or triple their salaries,” wrote the outlet.

Fieri had the advantage of being one of the first hosts to get back to shooting during the pandemic. Fieri has 1.8 million followers on Instagram, while Flay counts 1.6 million. On Twitter, Fieri commands 3.4 million, while Flay has 2.6 million, according to Forbes.

Frank Webster

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