Cooking Channel: Tree Falls in Television Forest

The Cooking Channel has debuted, created by the folks behind the Food Network, and results have been surprisingly quiet. Replacing the Fine Living Network on the cable dial, it's aimed at younger viewers.

The lineup is intriguing at first glance: Chefography does bio-treatments of favorite cooks like Julia Child and Nigella Lawson; Food(ography) is hosted by wry comedian Mo Rocca and delves into the historical and cultural aspects of foodstuffs like noodles and ice cream. Former CHOW staffer Aida Mollenkamp has a new show, in addition to Ask Aida, which has migrated to the network: Called FoodCrafters, it scouts out artisan food producers across the country.

Other highlights: the return of dismissed Food Network personalities like Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali, and reruns of cooking-show faves like Two Fat Ladies, The Galloping Gourmet, and The French Chef.

Because it was a three-day weekend for US viewers, many probably weren't glued to their televisions, so there was little discussion about the new shows online. What there was suggested that Roger Mooking, host of Everyday Exotic (which started as a Canadian program), is well-positioned to be the love-to-hate-him new food personality. "[He] used to be in an R&B band and he'll never. let us. forget it," wrote Chowhound stet. DiningDiva gave the nod to a show called Drink Up, which spotlighted tequila, but thought Food(ography)'s topic, ice cream, "was a snooze."

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