Omnivore - Viewers abandoning Food Network?

Viewers seek "edgier" shows

Uh oh. The New York Post reports that the Food Network and HGTV have lost about 10 percent of their viewers in the last year. The explanation for the Food Network's problems:

Part of the challenge for the food-focused channel is shifting tastes, with viewers going for edgier culinary "reality" competition shows.

They have a tough job," said Gary Lico, president of CableU, a cable TV research group. "People have a different appetite for food programs. We know edgier cooking shows such as 'Kitchen Nightmares' are doing well."

At the same time, non-food channels, including Discovery's TLC and NBC Universal's Bravo, have jumped on the chow wagon. TLC airs "Cake Boss" and has just launched a spin-off, "The Next Great Baker," while Bravo has a slew of food and real-estate shows, including "Top Chef."

Food Network's primetime schedule relies heavily on four shows: "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," "Chopped," "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and "Unwrapped."