Paula Deen Bought Food Network Footage for Digital Venture
The chef's past work has a new home
Paula Deen's self-titled company has bought the rights to her shows and other video she starred in from her 13-year run at Food Network, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Paula Deen Ventures plans to start showing the footage (440 episodes and unaired footage) along with new material on her new subscription-based digital network, which launches Wednesday, according to reports.
Deen's company purchased all of her shows since her first series, Paula's Home Cooking, in 2002. The Paula Deen Network plans to air the first seasons of Paula's Home Cooking, Paula's Best Dishes and Paula's Party at launch, with two vintage episodes added to the network every week.
The Paula Deen Network will contain daily broadcast-quality programming from Deen, where she will share new recipes and cooking tools for her signature Southern dishes and healthy meals. The network will feature both short- and long-form content, with themed shows such as "Leftover Mondays" and "Taco Tuesdays," as well as holiday-themed content. Deen's family members also will make appearances. Deen and her guests will cook in front of a studio audience, The Journal reported. Subscriptions cost between $8-10 a month.
Deen's network marks her return to producing the type of programming she offered with her Food Network show. After Deen revealed in a deposition that she previously used the N-word, Food Network declined to renew her contract when it expired in June 2013. Despite her repeated apologies, Deen's admission created a media firestorm and led to the crumbling of her business empire, with many companies cutting ties with the chef.
Deen has since largely stayed out of the spotlight, but in February it was reported that she received a $75 million-$100 million investment from private-equity firm Najafi Cos. to help her make a comeback. The CEO of Paula Deen Ventures, Steven Nanula, said that while Deen had offers to return to broadcast television, she chose to create a digital network to better interact with her fans and have creative control.
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The deal to purchase Deen's Food Network footage also included the 13th season of her show, which the network never televised after it cut ties with the celebrity chef.
Deen also plans to broadcast a self-produced documentary about her life since 2012, when she announced she had developed Type-2 diabetes.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Deen's purchase of her vintage Food Network content and plans for a documentary.
"We feel like America needs to know the true story and everything that happened," the celebrity chef told The Journal. "I'm bound by the courts, so I can only say so much. But there's nothing to stop others from talking about it."
Deen is set to appear on the Today show on Tuesday, her first interview on the NBC morning show since her tearful June 2013 appearance in the midst of her N-word scandal. The chef will discuss what she's learned since then, what's changed and what's next for her.
Food Network spokeswoman Irika Slavin told The Hollywood Reporter, "Although we won't comment on the financial particulars, I can share that Paula asked if we'd be willing to sell the library. We reached an agreement, and everyone here wishes her the best as she embarks on her new venture."
12:58 p.m. This story has been updated with confirmation that Deen purchased her Food Network programs and more details about which shows would be available when on the Paula Deen Network.