HGTV Lands No. 1 Spot in Cable with Women for Three Weeks in a Row
Series Premieres Thursday, March 17th at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network
NEW YORK - February 10, 2016 - The recipe for Food Network's newest series calls for elite cooking skills, agility and adaptability, all simmered with a dash of mystery as a combination of home cooks and trained professionals, whose true identities are concealed, battle it out on new culinary competition Cooks vs. Cons, premiering on Thursday, March 17th at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network. Geoffrey Zakarian hosts the action as the competitors are tested in two rounds of challenges to create enticing entrees that must impress a rotating panel of judges, including Kardea Brown, Josh Elkin, Graham Elliot and Daphne Oz. With a level playing field, the judges will determine the winner based on taste and presentation, and only after the decision has been made will the contestants reveal their true identities.
"Cooks vs. Cons combines elements of surprise, suspense and mystery. Viewers can play along with the judges to figure out who are the professional chefs and who are the home cooks. It's not as easy as one might think," said Didi O'Hearn, Senior Vice President Programming, Food Network & Cooking Channel. "As a proven food authority and masterful competitor himself, Geoffrey Zakarian is the perfect master of ceremonies for this deliciously deceptive competition."
The pressure is on in each of the six hour-long episodes, as the contestants are on the clock and under the watchful eye of the judging panel, observing their progress in the kitchen. In order to win, they must tackle two rounds of challenges where a surprise ingredient, such as fruity cereal, orange soda or sour dill pickles, must be incorporated into preparing mouthwatering classic meals like burgers, tacos, meatballs, and mac 'n cheese. The contestant whose dish does not make the grade will be eliminated after the first round. Then, the three remaining cooks will go head-to-head in another round with a new secret ingredient. If a professional's dish is best they will take home a prize of $10,000, but if an amateur can beat the odds and the competition, they are rewarded with an even bigger prize of $15,000!
Fans can catch highlights from the series at FoodNetwork.com/CooksVsCons, and they can join the conversation on Twitter using #CooksVsCons.
Geoffrey Zakarian is an Iron Chef and a master of modern American cuisine. He has presided over some of the country's top kitchens in the past 25 years. Currently, Geoffrey is chef and partner at The Lambs Club and The National in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut as well as the culinary lifestyle consultant at The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City. In August 2013, he was named culinary director at The Plaza, New York City's most-iconic hotel, and as part of that role oversees The Palm Court, The Oak Room & The Oak Bar, The Rose Club, The Champagne Bar and In-Room Dining. Outside of the kitchen, he is an accomplished cookbook author of the bestsellers Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country andMy Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients. In addition, he is also a co-host of The Kitchen and Top 5 Restaurants, a judge on Chopped, and has appeared on Guilty Pleasures on Food Network. He presently resides in New York City, and serves as Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council.
Cooks vs. Cons is produced by Cakehouse Media.
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FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers' best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and up to 35 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine's rate base has grown 13 times and is now the third largest monthly magazine on the newsstand, with over 12.4 million readers. Headqu
NEW YORK – January 29, 2016 - Three programming execs from within the internal ranks of Food Network and Cooking Channel are taking the lead with new focus, it was announced today by Didi O’Hearn, Senior Vice President Programming and Development, to whom all three will continue to report. The trio of execs are tasked with bolstering the slate of content for both Food Network and Cooking Channel and include Mark Levine leading Production, Jennifer Quainton overseeing Cooking Channel and Daytime Programming and Andrew Schechter steering all Development.
“Jen, Andrew and Mark are a trifecta of creative strength, I am confident that each will excel in continuing to deliver engaging content,” said O’Hearn. “Together they have already banked more than two decades of experience contributing to the growth and ratings success of both Food and Cooking and I couldn’t be more thrilled that each will have a greater opportunity to shine leading our team within their respective areas of focus. Given the competitive landscape, the team’s new structure will best position us as we continue to deliver top-tier programming.”
Andrew Schechter (Vice President Development, Food Network and Cooking Channel) has most recently developed and overseen hits such as Burgers, Brew & ‘Que, Guy’s Grocery Games as well as February’s forthcoming return of All-Star Academy. Before joining Food Network and Cooking Channel in 2011, Schechter spent five years with Discovery Communications where he managed several of Animal Planet’s specials and pilots, including their popular Puppy Bowl. Andrew has also previously worked as a story producer for the third season of Whale Wars and began his career working for Discovery Kids Network. A magna cum laude graduate of Boston University, Andrew lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
Mark Levine (Vice President Production, Food Network and Cooking Channel) has most recently overseen successful series such as Cutthroat Kitchen, Worst Cooks in America and Food Network Star which is currently shooting its 12th season. Prior to Mark joining the programming team, he served as VP Digital Emerging Brands overseeing CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com. He joined Scripps in 2008 from his SyFy Channel post as Director of Digital Strategy and before that he oversaw digital for The View and ABC Daytime in Los Angeles. Levine began his career in digital entertainment with Sony Digital and had previously worked in feature film development for producers based at Columbia Pictures, involved in titles such as The People vs. Larry Flynt, Gattaca and High Crimes as well as projects with CBS, MTV and Lifetime. Mark graduated from Amherst College, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Jennifer Quainton (Vice President Cooking Channel and Daytime Programming, Food Network and Cooking Channel) has been with the networks since 2000 and for the last five years been tasked with overseeing the scheduling and development strategy for Cooking Channel. A few of that network’s most recent successes include Rev Run’s Sunday Suppers, Tia Mowry at Home and the February 3rd return of Dinner at Tiffani’s starring Tiffani Thiessen. In 2009, Quainton added responsibilities managing both networks VOD strategy, negotiating acquisitions, as well as overseeing all financial and legal matters specific to Cooking Channel programming deals. Quainton’s career achievements and leadership in the cable industry earned her designation to Women in Cable Telecommunications’ 2010 Rising Leaders Program. She is a graduate of Denison University.
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FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers' best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and up to 35 million unique w
NEW YORK —February 10, 2016] HGTV ranked as the #1 cable network for three weeks in a row among W25-54 primetime ratings. During the weeks of January 18, January 25, and February 1, the network beat out all cable networks to take the #1 spot among the key demos of W25-54 and upscale W25-54. Coming off of its best month ever in January, HGTV is currently up 8% in 1Q16 versus last year among W25-54 and up 10% among P25-54 primetime ratings. Programs such as Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, and Property Brothers are driving the network to record ratings.
America’s leading home and lifestyle brand, HGTV features a top-rated cable network that is distributed to more than 96 million U.S. households and HGTV.com, the premier source for home-related inspiration, instruction and entertainment, attracts more than six million people each month. The brand also includes the HGTV HOME™ consumer products line which showcases exclusive collections of paint, flooring, furniture, plants, fabrics and other home-oriented products. For more information on HGTV HOME branded products and to find a retailer, go to www.hgtvhome.com. In partnership with Hearst Magazines, the HGTV Magazine, a home and lifestyle publication, is currently available on newsstands. Viewers can become fans of HGTV and interact with other home improvement enthusiasts through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., HGTV is owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI).
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Joseph G. NeCastro is retiring from Scripps Networks Interactive, after thirteen years with the Scripps group of media companies during which he has served as Chief Financial & Administrative Officer and Chief Development Officer.
NeCastro most recently led the successful acquisition of TVN, the leading multi-platform Polish media company, which was bought by Scripps Networks Interactive last year. He was instrumental in establishing the company’s commercial joint venture in the United Kingdom with BBC Worldwide through the acquisition of the company’s 50 percent stake in UKTV in 2011, and also led Scripps Networks’ investment in businesses such as Tastemade, Food 52 and Refinery 29.
The company’s international division, headed by President of Scripps Networks International Jim Samples, will now report directly to Kenneth W. Lowe, Chairman, President and CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive. Samples will also be appointed to succeed NeCastro as Chairman of the board of TVN.
Mark Hale, Executive Vice President, Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer, will also report to Lowe, while Scripps Networks’ corporate development and early stage investment strategy will continue to be headed by Julie Yoo, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. Yoo will report to Chief Financial Officer Lori Hickok.
NeCastro will advise Scripps Networks Interactive as a consultant to its international division, as the business pursues its growth strategy through acquisitions and the rollout of existing networks on a global basis.
“Joe NeCastro is a world-class corporate finance and development executive who has been one of the key forces behind the company’s rapid growth into new global markets,” said Lowe. “Our business has undergone transformational international growth over recent years, and has taken its place as the world’s leading lifestyle media company. Joe has helped create tremendous value for the company and its shareholders during his time here, and we are well positioned to build on the achievements of the team over the coming years.”
NeCastro joined the Scripps media companies in 2002 as Chief Financial Officer for The E. W. Scripps Company, the former parent for Scripps Networks Interactive. He was named Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for Scripps Networks when it was spun out from The E. W. Scripps Company in 2008 as an independent, publicly traded company. NeCastro was instrumental in designing and overseeing the transaction that resulted in the spin off. He was named Chief Development Officer in February 2015.
Prior to joining Scripps, NeCastro served as Chief Financial Officer for Penton Media, Inc., where he played a leading role in the execution of Penton's spin-off and initial stock offering, as well as more than 20 acquisitions. He previously held senior financial positions at Reader's Digest, and U.S. News & World Report.
NeCastro also serves on the board of trustees of Mercyhurst University.
About Scripps Networks Interactive
Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI) is one of the leading developers of engaging lifestyle content in the home, food and travel categories for television, the Internet and emerging platforms. The company's lifestyle media portfolio comprises popular television and Internet brands HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country, which collectively engage more than 190 million U.S. consumers each month. International operations include TVN, Poland’s premier multi-platform media company; UKTV, an independent commercial joint venture with BBC Worldwide; Asian Food Channel, the first pan-regional TV food network in Asia; and lifestyle channel Fine Living. The company’s global networks and websites reach millions of consumers across North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Scripps Networks Interactive is headquartered
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