Wednesday, January 25, 2006

60 Minute Heart-to-Hearts with Rachael Ray

It may not exactly be hot-off-the-press news, but Rachael Ray has been granted a daytime talk show.

Rachael Ray is the guru cook on Food Network's 30 Minute Meals, a program enjoyed by me and apparently many many others. I have watched the show since its inception way back in the Spring of 2002 (I've been a loyal Food Network viewer since they were a shoddy pay-just-a-little-bit-extra cable channel in the mid-1990's, back when they had switchboard-edited video shows, including the enjoyable and no-frills-titled The Dessert Show with Debbie "Mrs." Fields). I remember thinking, "Who is this crazy woman and her haphazard cooking? I want to watch Cooking Live!" Since that time, Rachael Ray has ascended to infallible Food Network royalty.... and rightly so. You can't deny her energy (just try Googling "rachael ray" with "bubbly"), and the woman certainly can cook. She's fun to watch and doesn't steer you wrong at the dinner table.

Suddenly everybody loves Rachael Ray. You can barely enter a Borders without seeing her brightly colored cookbooks pouring off the shelves. Now, she gets a talk show, backed by Oprah no less (in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, they referred to Rachael Ray as an F.O.O., meaning "friend of Oprah".... gross). I'll be the first to argue that the world has too many talk shows (and no, we still don't need The Tony Danza Show). It seems only Oprah and perhaps Regis Philbin have managed to crack the talk show circuit to unending success.... not even Rosie O'Donnell could escape being irritating. I'm not convinced that everything Rachael Ray touches will turn to gold.... give this woman a break. Doesn't she want to enjoy time off?

I'm curious what a Rachael Ray talk show will offer the world. Retreads of past talk shows would be embarrassing. She shouldn't be cooking; that would be shameless. I don't imagine her offering oodles of cash to those who track down child sex abusers, nor do I see the Rachael Ray bookclub trying to make itself sound original (sorry The Today Show, your attempt after Oprah looked just exactly like an attempt after Oprah). Rachael Ray is too happy onscreen (and on-cookbook) to tackle anything serious, so it looks like we're headed straight for vacuous celebrity brown-nosing.

So the question: isn't this Rachael Ray overload? Sure, she's great, I certainly love her, but I don't want to see her everywhere. The Food Network initiated going Rachael-Ray-bananas.... what started as cute-girl-cook 30 Minute Meals ballooned into $40 a Day (which was actually quite enjoyable), and then Inside Dish with Rachael Ray (stab #1 at celebrity brown-nosing) and now Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels (which looks like a high-gloss update of $40). The Food Network has unloaded quite a lot of money to ship this chick around the world to eat and then tell us about it (how does one get that job, exactly?). So now she's fostered into the wilds of syndicated daytime television (still reeking with small claims white trash Wapner-aftertaste), likely with the Food Network production stamp all over everything. Sometimes the patented Rachael Ray "bubbly" energy can be a bit much to take in, and it's not too farfetched to imagine the occasional episode of 30 Minute Meals as cocaine-fueled, so what is this woman going to do with a daily talk show? Aside from her thousands of other ventures? Rachael Ray is cute and likeable.... and I don't want to see her crash and burn.

oh, also: once upon a time, in the infancy of 30 Minute Meals and of the hushed secret of her hotness, Rachael Ray (pre-international stardom) posed for a softcore photo spread for the folks at FHM. After scouring the internet for the shot of her clad in a lacy bra and licking chocolate sauce off a wooden spoon, it appears that all traces of the full picture have been conspicuously removed (the first sign of her high-powered entourage?). I was able to snag the rest though, including the soapsud moneyshot on her face after trying to wash a colander while sitting on the counter.

UPDATE (02/07/2006): Because I want to please all two of you that might scroll down this far, some extra prodding around online found the aforementioned chocolate sauce picture. If the others were simply harmless, this one shows the true sinister humor of the FHM editors and why exactly they were hired for that job. If Rachael Ray is trying to target a wholesome family-values-obsessed right-wing core of the country for talk show success, maybe it makes sense why this picture was not so easy to find.


Writeprocrastinator said...

Last weekend the Missus pointed out that Rachel has a magazine akin to Martha Stewart's living and I imagine that her talk show would follow Martha's to a larger degree.

Worse comes to worse during the sweeps, she could randomly pour "a little ee-vee-oh-oh" on her guests.

is that so wrong? said...

You're right! I forgot to mention that. I've seen the magazine only once, and was curious how much involvement Rachael Ray actually had with it. Does she even know that she's being packaged?

As for the show, I imagine that the potential for EVOO wrestling is not fully out of the picture just yet.

Writeprocrastinator said...

I imagine that she picked out the recipes and maybe a couple of layouts, but not a whole lot else. It would be next to impossible for her to have any real editorial input if she's flogging the cookbooks around the country, taping various shows under the Food Network umbrella and getting her talk show off the ground.

Wrestling? Man, deal-maker for me and a definite deal-breaker for the Missus. You have a great potential as a future Fox or Spike TV exec ; )

shecanfilmit said...

I can't believe she posed for those pictures. She has now shame.

shecanfilmit said...

Uh, NO shame.

Mike said...

That one with the turkey looks fake. I bet I can still find the excited email you sent me initially with those pics.

I only hope that one day I will be considered a FoO.

- Mike

Anonymous said...

now that's the Rachael Ray that really cooks... hot pics

Anonymous said...

Guess its been a while since you posted the pics of Rachel Ray, but I couldn't resist commenting. I was looking for a recipe book on google and I happened upon your 'is that wrong' post. Wow! I had no idea that Rachel posed for that magazine...Anyway, I hope it doesn't tarnish her career. For what its worth...I'm a family man who believes in wholesome family values and I think its ok that she made the pictures. She's beautiful and she cashed in on it. So what! Ok, so I wouldn't want my children looking at these, but they weren't meant for kids. In my opinion, an adult can have family values and still want to be sexy and appealing to other adults. I doubt she's planning on doing any nude or bathing suit cooking shows...And its not like she's selling cookbooks with these types of pictures on them. Anyway, her shows and recipes have really helped change the way my family does dinner. We always eat together and we're excited about cooking...even when we're not doing her recipes.