A+E Networks and Rachael Ray join forces as the network acquires a 50% stake in her production company, Free Food Studios.
The partnership will bring 278 new episodes featuring Rachael Ray and her team’s Free Food Studios programs to A+E Networks over the next two years. Content will air during A+E’s Home.Made.Nation lifestyle block and be distributed globally on other platforms run by the network.
“There is no one more synonymous with culinary programming than Rachael Ray and the team at Free Food Studios,” said Rob Sharenow, president of programming at A+E Networks, according to Variety. “The team’s expertise and prowess in developing and producing high-quality content that viewers crave is second to none, and we look forward to working together to bring Rachael and a new crop of talent to A+E Networks and screens around the world across all platforms.”
The deal will debut new series to the network, including 30 episodes of Rachael Ray’s Meals in Minutes, where she creates delicious comfort food and more sophisticated fares. In Rachael Ray’s Tuscany, Ray puts her unique spin on regional dishes. The show is filmed in her home in Sarteano, Italy. She said she wrote 80 pages of new recipes and notes in three days for this new show.
Future series have not yet been announced, and the deal’s financial terms have not been disclosed. A+E Networks and Free Food Studios were not available for comment.
Home.Made.Nation is a “cross-network, cross-platform” hub for lifestyle programming on A+E Networks. It’s available on A&E, FYI, and the network’s free ad-supported channels, which feature DIY, home improvement, home searching, and decor content. The platforms also focus on food, cooking, travel, and other lifestyle-related topics. The Home.Made.Nation hub also hosts home-renovations series, including Zombie House Flipping and Triple Digit Flip.
Ray and fellow collaborators Brian Flanagan, Anthony Amoia, and Sean Lee will produce all projects under this partnership.
Ray already has two series on A+E Networks. Rachael Ray’s Italian Dream Home is a renovation show on FYI filmed at Ray’s villa in Tuscany. Rachael Ray’s Rebuild streams on Hulu.
Free Food Studios launched last year after the daytime talk show Rachael Ray ended after 17 seasons. The studio owns, produces, and distributes “in the kitchen” content created by Ray and serves as a platform to introduce and develop upcoming talents.
Ray spoke of her decision to create her own studio after the end of her series, saying she wanted to focus more on producing and owning her content instead of restricting her career to hosting duties.
“It’s lovely to have people excited about beauty or fashion, but it’s not how I live my life,” said Ray. “I wanted more autonomy for me and to introduce people I think are fascinating or doing something in a different way.”
Ray’s work has been featured on the Food Network since 2001 with her 30 Minute Meals tips and unique measuring techniques. The show ran through 2012 and, in one year, released 263 episodes on Food Network. She also established her presence on TLC and Discovery. Ray has built a name for herself as one of the hardest-working chefs in entertainment and even ventured into pet food with Rachael’s Rescue and her Nutrish brand pet food. She also founded Yum-o!, a nonprofit organization that encourages kids to develop a healthy relationship with food.
“Food Network has a terrific formula – but they have a formula,” said Ray. “I want a little more freedom to be in charge of the actual content rather than just be hosting something. I don’t want to host anything. I just want to make shows.”