Colbert battles to boost plunging Food Network ratings with recall

Last week, Stephen Colbert announced a recall of his fictional cookbook, "I Eat America (And So Can You!)" due to a production error beyond his control (right).

Apparently drawing on outbreaks of salmonella and campylobacter involving raw, frozen, breaded chicken thingies, Colbert said his recipe for Chicken Col-Don Bleu may actually need to be cooked.

He might as well be on the Food Network, what with it’s terrible food safety, is finally reaching the outer limits of food porn – ratings are going down.

Food Network and sister network HGTVScripps Networks’ two biggest money-makers — are seeing troubling signs that their core female fans are starting to look elsewhere for entertaining fare. After years of growth, both networks experienced their first major ratings falloff at the end of last year.

In the fourth quarter, Food Network, which helped launch the careers of celebrity chefs Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray, posted a 10.3 percent drop among viewers ages 25 to 54, considered a key category for advertisers.

Most troubling, primetime ratings for women — the primary audience for both channels — were down in December. Food Network ratings among women ages 18 to 49, and 25 to 54, fell 9 percent last month.

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

I suggest a reality food safety show where the barfing and crapping and sometimes life-long gifts of foodborne illness are displayed in their glory. Would probably work on youtube.

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