Crave with Troy Johnson Canceled?
Two months ago I did a review of a new series on the Food Network called Crave which was hosted by senior editor at Modern Luxury’s Riviera magazine Troy Johnson. The host’s Dennis Miller-ian dry, brainy humor was the perfect venue for exploring the perfect versions of the foods all of us crave.
Since the show began I’ve tweeted a number of times with Troy and the other day he had sad news, Food Network has decided not to pick up Crave for a second season. Hopefully you will find this just as disappointing as I do. As I said in my review:
As far as the show itself, Crave has many of the best elements of previous food/travel shows like Unwrapped, The Secret Life Of and yes Triple D. It will also appeal to fans of nerdy (for lack of a better word) shows like Food Detectives and the recently mothballed Good Eats. That is where Johnson’s pension for meticulous research pays off for the viewer. He covers each episode’s theme from both a historical and a scientific perspective. And best of all he does it with an irreverent (dare I say raunchy) sense of humor not scene on the Food Network since Anthony Bourdain.
To be perfectly honest, I kind of saw the handwriting on the wall before Troy told me the bad news. I don’t feel that the Network really gave Crave a chance. Look at it’s time-slot, Mondays at 8:30PM. In case that doesn’t jump out at you that means Crave was up against CBS’ highly popular comedy line-up, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and the ratings juggernaut Monday Night Football.
Further evidence lie in the lack of re-broadcasts. For the unindoctrinated, Food Network usually shows four hours of prime time programing most nights which are usually repeated immediately after the original broadcast and then once or twice more that week.
Take for instance Iron Chef America which airs Sunday nights at 9PM, is rebroadcast again at 1AM Monday morning, Thursday it again airs at 9PM then again 1AM Friday and finally it airs again on Saturday afternoon. That’s five broadcasts in one week of each new episode – two in prime time, two in late night and once Saturday afternoon. Often in runs a second time on Saturday during prime time but not always.
Conversely, Crave received only three airings – once in prime time, once in extreme late night (3AM on Tuesdays) and once on Sunday afternoon again against another NFL game. It was never given a fair shot. In the restaurant world we would call that “setting it up for failure.”
This irks me because it was such a smart show and they wouldn’t air it in a time slot where people might see it and then canceled it after one run while ratings duds like Big Daddy’s House ran for six seasons. Hell, The Barefoot Contessa is still on the air and star Ina Garten is on record as hating children with terminal diseases.
The ideal time slot for Crave was Friday nights at 9:30 PM right behind Heat Seekers. That seemed an obvious pairing but apparently someone at Chelsea Market couldn’t see it. Hopefully the Network will have a change of heart or at the very least send Troy over to the Cooking Channel for a second season. It might help if we all stop by the Food Network site and leave a comment saying, “Please bring Crave back. It didn’t suck at all.”