Dude Fieri becomes the Meals Network’s $100 million man

Dude Fieri could possibly regular much less-high-priced eateries on his Food Community exhibit “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” but his new paycheck is the things of 4-star dining establishments. The Television character — recognized for his distinctively spiky hair, tattoos and enthusiasm for mother-and-pop-produced food stuff — just signed a 3-12 months offer with the cable network value $100 million.

Underneath the agreement, which was very first reported by Assortment, Fieri will carry on to host the exhibit known by fans as “Triple D,” as very well as the competition displays “Guy’s Grocery Games” and “Tournament of Champions.”

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The eye-popping figure means that Fieri will hang on to his title as the highest-paid Foods Community star and, in accordance to Forbes, the best-paid Television chef. (Gordon Ramsay manufactured about $20 million a yr for his Fox exhibits, Forbes noted.) But it also catapults him into a rarefied classification: Rachel Maddow reportedly helps make $30 million a calendar year web hosting her display on MSNBC, and when he still left Fox Information before this yr, Tucker Carlson was reportedly currently being compensated $20 million per year.

Fieri has identified as the Food items Network house considering the fact that the mid-2000s, when he gained the 2006 period of “The Next Foodstuff Community Star,” showcasing a form of bro-bastic personality outlined by booming catchphrases and slick shades worn backward. But his evolution from poor-boy novelty act to the facial area of a legacy network has as significantly to do with his potential to attraction viewers as it does the fast shifting media landscape.

Cable networks are making an attempt to dangle on as viewers ever more minimize their cords in favor of streaming providers, and as young people get news and entertainment from nontraditional resources, this kind of as YouTube and TikTok. Cable viewership’s extensive slide attained a milestone this yr when, for the initially time, cable and broadcast with each other represented much less than 50 % of the means individuals viewed Television. Cable looking at declined to 29.5 p.c in October, in accordance to Nielsen, with streaming buying up the slack.

Preserving a marquee persona these as Fieri is not just a perform for cable viewers, however, says Jon Klein, the former president of CNN who co-started streaming platform Hold, which permits followers to watch sports together with athletes and famous people. “They’re seeking for a foundational talent that can act as a pillar for the Max tent,” he claims, referring to the streamer, whose father or mother business, Warner Bros. Discovery, also owns Food stuff Community.

With the proliferation of streaming options, Klein says, viewers typically really don’t make a distinction of which support they are scrolling. In its place, they may well be on the lookout for their favored actor — or meals personality. “You may well not even know what company his demonstrate is on,” Klein claims. “More than ever, you are searching for expertise. The system is pretty much generic.”

Fieri, for his aspect, has evolved about the years, also, parlaying what once might have appeared like shtick into some thing genuine. The on-digicam mugging on his 1st cooking show, “Guy’s Huge Chunk,” continued in “Diners, Travel-Ins and Dives,” which debuted in 2007 — but this time, the antics celebrated the smaller dining places he visited, a lot of of whom liked the documented “Guy Fieri effect” of a increase in business enterprise immediately after an visual appearance. During the coronavirus pandemic, he championed and elevated funds for community eating places about the country as the business missing billions of pounds in company.

Paul Booth, a professor of media and common lifestyle at DePaul University, claims Fieri enjoys a unusual type of fame as a “common cultural touchstone”: More youthful individuals may well know him as only a meme, though other individuals may well know his charitable do the job, and other folks may have eaten at a person of a his restaurants — a ubiquity that tends to make the substantial contract make perception, even in the planet of streaming and TikTok. “As a great deal as we assume we have reworked into an influencer-shaped media atmosphere, specials like this demonstrate that the aged-university celeb is still a valid software for the media market,” Booth stated.

The Foods Network has observed a winnowing of its longtime tentpole personalities. Before this 12 months, Giada De Laurentiis jumped to Amazon Studios right after 21 yrs at the Meals Network. The host of “Giada at Home” and “Giada Entertains,” as perfectly as specials these as “Bobby and Giada in Italy,” signed a multiyear deal that reportedly will have her starring and executive-manufacturing articles for the streaming company.

And past yr, Alton Brown, whose “Good Eats” was a defining method of the network’s early days, joined Netflix as the host of “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” the reboot of the exhibit he hosted for the Food Community. Netflix picked up the display just after the Food items Network determined not to renew it following 13 seasons.

The Food items Network is still home to stars this kind of as Ina Garten, a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa, and Ree Drummond, or the Pioneer Lady. Bobby Flay, one more of the extensive-standing stars in the Meals Network steady, achieved a three-12 months offer whose rate tag was not designed general public to continue being with the channel in 2021, however talks had reportedly stalled above income.

Meanwhile, many popular foodstuff personalities are bypassing regular media to make their names. Actress Tabitha Brown was driving an Uber in 2017 when her off-the-cuff cooking movies went viral she now has much more than 5 million followers on TikTok. (In 2022, Food Community brought her on to host a plant-dependent levels of competition exhibit, “It’s CompliPlated.”)

Fieri’s fame, even though, is much bigger than his exhibits. A amount of restaurant chains bear his identify, which include ghost kitchens and stadium concessions. Person Fieri Halloween costumes are an true style. And that’s the sort of get to that network execs are spending for. “In addition to becoming a star on Food items Network, Person is a worldwide phenomenon with thousands and thousands of fans all over the world,” Warner Bros. Discovery U.S. Networks chair and CEO Kathleen Finch explained to Variety.

Sunday December 3, 2023