During their more than 15 years creating and uploading videos to YouTube, Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal — better known as simply Rhett & Link — have amassed tens of millions of subscribers and billions of views.
The duo, who grew up as best friends in Buies Creek, North Carolina, launched their YouTube career while still living in the Triangle, before relocating to Los Angeles, where they live and work now.
That work includes the pair’s signature and wildly popular “Good Mythical Morning” show, which has been airing daily on their channel for more than 10 years and tends to garner at least 1 million views each day. The show is a comedic morning show, often featuring the duo tasting, ranking or guessing various popular foods, playing games or completing challenges.
The pair has also written two best-selling books and appeared on multiple late-night TV shows, and they host a weekly podcast, among other endeavors.
Now, the self-proclaimed “internetainers” — that’s internet entertainers — are taking their taste buds from YouTube to your TV, as they host and star in Food Network’s “Inside Eats with Rhett & Link,” premiering Sunday, April 24.
Ahead of the show’s premiere, The News & Observer caught up with the duo to learn more about what viewers can expect from the series.
Here’s what to know about “Inside Eats,” including how to watch, plus more information about Rhett & Link’s ties to North Carolina.
Who are Rhett & Link?
As the duo’s story goes — and as they chronicled in song in 2009 — Rhett & Link met on the first day of first grade at Buies Creek Elementary School, in Harnett County, in 1984. They both got in trouble for writing inappropriate words on their desks, and as their punishment, their teacher had them stay in from recess and color pictures of mythical creatures, such as unicorns.
It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship, which they later cemented at age 15 by standing in a cow pasture and signing a blood oath to “live a fantastic life making movies, and do it together,” as previously reported by The N&O.
By most measures, the duo has accomplished that — they released a documentary film in 2008 about their search for that famed first grade teacher — and much more over the past 15-plus years.
If you’re just now learning about Rhett & Link, or if you want a refresher about them, here’s more information about the internetainers and how they made making videos on YouTube their full-time job.
▪ They attended N.C. State University. After graduating from Harnett Central High School, the duo headed to Raleigh to attend N.C. State, where they both majored in engineering. At N.C. State, they were involved with Cru, a Christian organization. Through their involvement with the organization, they honed their comedy and video-making skills, laying the foundation for their eventual shift to full-time content creation.
The duo began creating videos — first for iTunes, then YouTube — in North Carolina, working from studios in Lillington and Fuquay-Varina before relocating to Los Angeles.
▪ They host “Good Mythical Morning” five days a week. Rhett & Link’s signature enterprise is a daily, comedic morning show called “Good Mythical Morning.” The show airs Monday-Friday on the YouTube channel of the same name. In the more than 10 years that the show has aired, Rhett & Link have hosted more than 2,100 episodes. The episodes generally feature the duo completing various challenges or games, often involving taste-testing food and sometimes featuring celebrity guests.
▪ Their success has gone beyond YouTube. While the duo continues to host “Good Mythical Morning” each weekday, they’ve also branched out to other endeavors, both on and off YouTube. They released their first book, “Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality: A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity and Tomfoolery” in 2017. That autobiography-meets-advice book was followed by a thriller novel, “The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek,” which was released in 2019 and is based on their childhood in Buies Creek. The duo also hosts a weekly podcast, “Ear Biscuits,” which is released in video and audio forms.
▪ They’re some of YouTube’s highest-paid creators. Forbes this year ranked Rhett & Link as the fourth-highest-paid YouTube stars, estimating that the duo raked in $30 million across their channels in 2021. That ranking put them slightly behind another YouTube star with North Carolina connections: MrBeast, who was ranked No. 1 and lives in Greenville.
▪ “Inside Eats” won’t be their first TV hosting gig. While the duo has primarily found success on the internet, they also have prior experience hosting TV shows. They hosted “Online Nation” on The CW in 2007, though it was canceled after just four episodes. In 2011, they hosted “Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings” on IFC, a show that chronicled the duo traveling across the U.S. to make commercials for small businesses. The duo has also appeared on several late-night TV shows, including “Conan” and “The Tonight Show.”
What to expect from ‘Inside Eats with Rhett & Link’
Have you ever wondered what your order at Chipotle “says” about you as a person? Or, maybe you’ve looked at the notoriously long menu at the Cheesecake Factory and wondered how the cooks manage to prepare each dish at a moment’s notice?
Even if you’ve never had those thoughts, Rhett & Link have — and they’re setting out to answer those questions and many more in the first season of “Inside Eats with Rhett & Link.”
The show follows the lifelong best friends and YouTube stars as they go behind the scenes at some of America’s favorite food brands, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Cheesecake Factory and Beyond Meat. At each location, they meet “the people who create everything we love to eat” while “tasting their way to the truth while infusing their unique and delicious investigations,” Food Network says.
“With everything that we do, it’s always driven by just the curiosity and excitement, especially when it comes to food and snacks and restaurants that we love and that we’ve been to hundreds of times,” Link told The N&O in an interview. “So, our goal is really to to unearth the behind-the-scenes tidbits that maybe you don’t know.”
While Rhett & Link have primarily found success on YouTube throughout their career, Rhett told The N&O that their partnership with Food Network, a television company, was “a very natural fit” because of how much content the duo already makes involving food.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a different experience than the duo is used to. On “Good Mythical Morning” and the pair’s other online endeavors, they have a “tremendous amount of creative freedom,” Rhett said.
“Whatever comes to our mind, and our teams’ minds, that we get excited about, we can do, and we basically don’t have to ask anybody’s permission,” Rhett said. “Our fans will let us know if it was a bad idea or not, and we’ll learn from that.”
Working with Food Network, though, was more of a “collaborative process,” in which Rhett & Link balanced their online personas and comedy with the informative content the “very committed fan base” of Food Network has come to expect from the network.
The end product is something Rhett & Link think will appeal to a wide variety of viewers, whether they’re longtime fans of the duo, Food Network or the brands featured on the show — or all three.
“I think we’ve created a show that is a lot of fun. There’s a lot of comedy, but it’s also very fascinating,” Rhett said. “You will learn a lot about these restaurants that you’ve been to hundreds of times, and it’ll expand your experience.”
And while the brands featured this season all have ties to California, where Rhett & Link now live and where the show was filmed, they’re not ruling out visits to North Carolina-related brands in any future episodes or seasons that the network might order.
If they do visit their home state, they’ll have no shortage of food brands to choose from.
They’ve been known to talk about their love for Charlotte-based Bojangles on “Good Mythical Morning” and elsewhere, possibly making it a potential stop. Plus, the state is also home to beloved doughnut brand Krispy Kreme, fast food chain Hardee’s and soft drink brand Pepsi, among other brands.
For this season, though, the North Carolina connection for viewers will be through the duo themselves.
“We’re two hometown boys from Buies Creek, out here in L.A., tasting food on television,” Link said. “It doesn’t get much better.”
How to watch ‘Inside Eats with Rhett & Link’
“Inside Eats” premieres Sunday, April 24, at 10:30 p.m. on Food Network.
▪ You can find Food Network on channels 60 and 162 on Spectrum, channel 231 on DirecTV, channel 391 on Google Fiber TV and channel 110 on DISH.
“Inside Eats” will also be available to stream on Discovery+, with new episodes available on the platform weekly.
▪ Rhett & Link said on the April 18 episode of “Good Mythical Morning” that the episodes of “Inside Eats” on Discovery+ will be longer than those shown on Food Network, offering bonus footage not seen on TV.
▪ Learn more about Discovery+ at discoveryplus.com.
This story was originally published April 20, 2022 1:11 PM.