Paula Deen is going digital. The Southern food personality, celebrity chef and long-time television cooking show host announced today that she's launching the Paula Deen Network in September. The digital subscription-based network will be accessible by computer, smartphone or tablet, and will feature "exclusive video" featuring Deen and various guests as they cook in front of an audience. The show will be set in a production studio near Deen's home in Savannah, Ga.
Lest you've forgotten, Deen's career was derailed and her Food Network show cancelled after she admitted using racial slurs. Maybe her own network will provide the Georgia native with a comeback, or at least a venue to return her particular brand of Southern cooking to her fans. Deen has left on a 20-city summer tour across the south. Of course she has.
"Y'all can get my recipes, tips and cooking anytime you want - this is for you. I can't wait to crank up the oven and get cooking for the people I love: my family, my friends and my fans!" the Associated Press quotes Deen saying. Which may remind many of us what we've been missing.
The Paula Deen Network is owned by Paula Deen Ventures, a company formed to help orchestrate Deen's comeback; it's backed by a $100 million private-equity investment from Najafi Companies, a private investment firm based in Phoenix.
Production for the new show began in May in Savannah, where a set is being built to resemble her first show, "Paula's Home Cooking." Programming will include short and long content, new recipes and cooking tools, and shows like "20-Minute Meals," ''Paula Cooking Light" and "One Dish, Three Ways." Deen has also promised to include budget-friendly and healthful meals. (Dean announced in 2012 that she had Type-2 diabetes. She is also a paid spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, which produces insulin.)
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As Deen told The Wall Street Journal, "After much research and talking to our fans, this is what they wanted. They wanted to be able to watch me anytime, anywhere, any place."
Just remember that permanent Paula is only for those who subscribe to it. The rest of us can carry on as before.