Bobby Flay wanted $100 million to stay on the Food Network, they said no

"Amalfi", the first Italian Restaurant By BOBBY FLAY Hosts Grand Opening

Last week, we learned that celebrity chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay is leaving The Food Network after 27 years. I’ve said this before, but I’m usually watching the Food Network, the Cooking Channel or tennis in my spare time. It’s how I decompress and de-stress. So celebrity chefs are real celebrities to me, and I think it’s a huge story that the Food Network thinks they can just toss Bobby Flay over after he (honestly) helped build the network into what it is today. Last week’s report indicated that the issue was one of money, and Flay’s contract negotiation falling flat. Now People Magazine has more on the money issue:

Bobby Flay’s 27 years with the Food Network came to an end over money, a source close to the celebrity chef’s team tells PEOPLE. On Friday, news broke that Flay, 56, would be parting ways with the network once his current three-year contract expires at the end of this year.

According to the insider, Flay had been in negotiations with the Food Network and was seeking a deal that would be above Guy Fieri’s recent $80 million contract (which reportedly made the Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives host the highest-paid chef on cable TV).

“Bobby wanted a contract in the ballpark of $100 million,” the source says. However, a source close to the Food Network tells PEOPLE comparing the two stars’ contracts is “not apples to apples.”

“Guy has a three-year deal,” they add. “The terms of what Bobby was looking for were gravely different than just cash. The terms were longer, the scope of work was different and thus the dollars were different. It’s not just $80 million to $100 million.”

Ultimately, the network wouldn’t budge in negotiations with Flay. “The two sides were just way too far apart. It became clear the two could not and would not be able to come to terms and so the network decided to move forward without him,” the Flay source says. “Regardless, it was really much more amicable than you’d think. It was strictly business.”

Food Network had no comment when reached by PEOPLE, while a representative for Flay did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

[From People]

I didn’t even know that Guy Fieri is getting $80 million for three years – that’s incredible, although Guy’s Grocery Games has become a major hit for the network, and it’s just a great show. Guy Fieri was considered some kind of low-class villain in so many snooty food-culture circles, but in recent years, Fieri’s work has been significantly reconsidered. He’s basically teaching people – in a fun way – how to cook for themselves fast, on a budget, using what’s available at any grocery store. Flay is more like an old-school chef and restaurateur, and his shows are more centered on him and beating him or throwing down with him.

I mean, the nice thing is that Flay’s exit frees up the channel to hire, platform, and promote diverse voices in the food world – who needs Flay’s Irish-American love of Southwestern cuisine when you could hire true Southwestern and Mexican chefs?

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36 Responses to “Bobby Flay wanted $100 million to stay on the Food Network, they said no”

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  1. Oh honey. Just no lol. Fun fact by the way, if anyone here is a SVU fan- he was on an episode probably 10 years ago and was probably the worst actor they have ever had on the show.

  2. Nancy says:

    As someone who works in TV on a network like Food, $100 million is just way too much for one person like Flay.

    • Ameerah says:

      But 80mil isn’t? That seems like too much for one person too.

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        Guy does a ton of programming for Food Network. The only thing Bobby does right now is Beat Bobby Flay.

      • Ann says:

        Fair point.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Yes, how is 80 million dollars an investment in your programming for ONE person? I would imagine that the fact that Guy was able to negotiate those dollars, Bobby could too. My jaw dropped at that figure!!

      • Liz version 700 says:

        I agree $80 million is insane, but Guy is an entire industry. He started with one show and expanded to 3 other types of shows and then created competition shows between the judges based on the NCAA bracket system. He literally headlines “Everyman in Flannel” shows that pull In a comply different audience and then gets all the fancy judges and food critics to be on fancy shows with him. He is probably creating jobs for 100s of people and income for the network must be good. Bobby Flay recreated the same competition shoes over and over. Flay is good, but yikes he overvalued what he brings to the network.

        I love that he had to be higher than Guy. Hahaha no competition there !

  3. Ameerah says:

    They should have given it to him. He’s their biggest star. But at the same time yes this will leaves more opportunity for more diverse talent. Now if Food will actually USE that opportunity is a whole other story.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Guy Fieri is their biggest star. Has been for awhile. Grocery Games is on all the time. And DDD. Way more Fieri than Flay on the chanel.

    • Isabella says:

      The Food Network has never been diverse. One or two POC have made it through. And none are big stars. I remember Next Food Network Star. Most of the contestants/winners were white. I don’t watch the cooking shows anymore since it’s mostly white people cooking ethnic food.

      • Concern Fae says:

        There was a problem because nice, polite people would win the show. I’d like them on Next Food Network Star, look forward to their show, and it would be dull as dishwater. Wasn’t rooting for Fieri the year he won, but his show was lots of fun.

        Somebody will figure out how to thread the needle of bland yet fascinating that Food Network stars need while still honoring their non-white culture.

    • Snappyfish says:

      Bobby owns some really nice racehorses & has won several Grade 1 (& 2 & 3) races. He is exceptionally difficult trackside, backside & all around. He has a v v elevated opinion of himself. I can see him wanting such a fee & not understanding why his demand wasn’t met.

  4. fluffy_bunny says:

    When I originally told my husband about last week’s article and Bobby leaving he was like so he wants what Guy got. I don’t like Bobby but we watch a lot of Beat Bobby Flay. We also watch Guy’s Grocery Games every Sunday for hours on end. One of our retirement plans is to get a RV and travel the US. I want to incorporate visiting places Guy visits on DDD into the journey

    • ME says:

      Oh man that’s a dream of mine too. Getting a nice RV and travelling cross country, stopping at all the cool food places I’ve seen on Food Network. I hope it comes true for you !

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        I’m hoping it happens too because my husband’s other idea is to start an animal rescue that would actually be animal hoarding since he doesn’t want to adopt out any of the animals.

  5. Stacy Dresden says:

    His face is looking weird.

  6. Lululu says:

    Bobby Flay is by far my least favorite food personality anyway. He’s always been this full of himself.

  7. Miranda says:

    Kaiser, I LOVE the idea of more diverse and authentic cooking shows. Food is a great way to break down walls and promote multiculturalism without being ham-fisted about it.

    Slightly off-topic, but I’m so obsessive about Food Network/Cooking Channel that I often find myself pretending (in my head) that I have my own show while I’m cooking. Did I just embarrass myself by admitting that?

  8. ME says:

    I miss Andrew Zimmern. He was on the Food Network right? Not sure where he is now, but he was unique and interesting.

    • Aimee says:

      I watch him on the Cooking Channel. Bizarre Foods, Delicious Destinations and the Zimmern List.

      • ME says:

        Just reading through the comments, I just realized the Cooking Channel exists lol ! I don’t have this channel but am wondering why the Food Network did this? Could they not fit all the shows on one Network or is this a money grab?

  9. Becks1 says:

    Does Bobby Flay have cooking shows anymore or is it all throwdown and beat bobby flay types of shows?

    Guy’s Grocery games is a great show and I like that it has a supermarket sweep feel to it, it adds some nostalgia factor it, plus the cooking. And he has diverse chefs on it. I also love Diners Drive ins and Dives.

    I have been watching cooking shows on Discovery Plus bc we dont get Cooking Channel (its like one of the few channels we dont get lol) and whenever I turn on Food, its all “halloween baking showdown” or something. I don’t want to see that, I want to see Rachael Ray and Giada and Ina and then all the “new” chefs they have too.

    All that to say – I love cooking shows and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Bobby Flay one.

    • Isabella says:

      Wasn’t Rachel’s show, 30 Minute Meals, cancelled?

      I have heard she is unpleasant to work with–and this is from someone who worked for her.

      • Becks1 says:

        I dunno, I don’t see any cooking shows on Food anymore is my broader point. I know that’s why they started the cooking channel but i still wish they showed some of the big name chefs on Food on a regular basis.

        ETA and RR had several shows on Food Network, not just the one.

  10. Southern Fried says:

    If you haven’t watched Chef’s Table you should asap. Best food show ever. On Netflix or Prime.

  11. souperkay says:

    Food Network made the right choice. Guy Fieri’s shows don’t focus on him solely and he is constantly lifting up other chefs and hosts below him on his shows. DDD is a pretty, 22 minute advertisement for small restaurants that makes their food look really good. It’s well shot and well produced so the local restauranteurs do not have to have Fieri hosting skills to come across well. Triple G takes all level of cook & chef to a national platform with an easy format to showcase their skills. The judging isn’t mean & he plugs their restaurants. The rotating cast of judges is Guy lifting other hosts which is beneficial for Food Network if they are developing a talent. Guy provides for everyone and himself, when is the last time Bobby has done that?

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      Bobby just seems to be in it to beat the other chef. I really enjoyed seeing the Cake Boss kick his ass. He had to have known that wasn’t going to go in his favor. Buddy’s cake was so overdone there was no doubt who did which cake. The other chef rarely beats Bobby.

    • iconoclast59 says:

      It’s amazing what being on DDD will do for a restaurant. There’s a place by me that, pre-DDD, was just a roadside hole in the wall. After appearing on DDD, they got so much business that they built an addition that doubled their space and they’re packed all the time now.

  12. JustMe says:

    These salaries are ridiculous…us regular people out here trying to make ends meet with a $50000 or less salary …it’s just obscene Eat the rich

  13. jferber says:

    If “douche face” were illustrated in the dictionary, it would be his in the picture above. Mediocre white men always think they deserve 100 million dollars and they generally get it. His douche face is from the years they gave him 99 million.

  14. Jaded says:

    America’s Test Kitchen is the only cooking show I’ll watch. It’s amazing and I’ve learned SO MUCH from their shows.