Anyone who enjoys indulging in the Food Network will know that there are dozens (upon dozens) of hosts, judges, chefs, and other personalities who help to make the network’s many cooking shows and competitions enjoyable for fans to watch. And, chef Bobby Flay has been one of the most recognizable names there for nearly three decades. Now, though, it sounds like Flay and Food Network are parting ways, and we allegedly know why: money.
According to Variety, after Bobby Flay has starred on Food Network for a whopping 27 years (they began their partnership during the network’s first year), the popular cable destination for all things culinary has now, reportedly, decided to cut ties with Flay because contract negotiations broke down.
Flay had, most recently, signed an exclusive, three year deal with Food Network, but with that contract expiring at the end of the calendar year, the two parties had been engaged in negotiations for a new deal for quite a while. Unfortunately for Food Network fans who’ve relied on being able to watch Flay there since the mid-1990s, those involved in the contract process at the network are now, supposedly, set on getting out of the Flay business and have ended negotiations. The claim is that they were just too far apart on the potential financial terms of the deal.
You really don’t even have to have been watching Food Network for its full time on the air to know that Bobby Flay is a big deal there. Not only does he regularly make guest appearances on shows like The Kitchen, Worst Cooks in America, Chopped, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate, but he also stars in a number of other series, like The Next Food Network Star, Throwdown! With Bobby Flay, BBQ Brawl, and the well-known competition Beat Bobby Flay, which has racked up an impressive 28 seasons since debuting in 2013.
The Iron Chef has certainly become a major figure in the culinary world since he debuted on Food Network with his show, Grillin’ and Chillin’, in 1994, and is also the owner and executive chef of several restaurants, including Bobby’s Burger Palace, which once had 19 locations across 11 different states. Flay is well-known enough that he’s also branched out from Food Network offerings to parts in decidedly non-culinary shows like Law & Order: SVU, Entourage, Portlandia, and Younger, either as himself or a character created for the episode.
Flay also used to host his own Sirius XM Satellite radio show, has written over a dozen cookbooks, currently has a podcast with his daughter, Sophie, and, in 2015, was the first TV chef to be awarded his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So, it’s pretty clear that Flay has millions of fans who will likely miss seeing him on Food Network on a weekly basis (if not more frequently).
Right now, it’s thought that Bobby Flay’s representatives believe that Food Network calling it quits on negotiating is simply a hardball tactic, but with the end of the year fast approaching, audiences will be able to see soon whether or not that proves to be true.