Why The Food Network Is Reportedly Ditching Bobby Flay

Chef Bobby Flay has been a staple on the Food Network for nearly three decades, but that's seemingly about to change. Variety revealed on October 7 that Flay is set to part ways with the Food Network after working with them for 27 years, and fans are curious what's behind this rather shocking development.

Flay's current contract with Food Network was reached in December 2018, detailed Variety. The three-year deal kept Flay working exclusively with Food Network for his television ventures, which included "Beat Bobby Flay" as well as a new show he planned to do with his daughter Sophie Flay titled "The Flay List." When the deal was reached, Food Network president Courtney White noted, "Bobby Flay is a culinary superstar in every regard, and we are thrilled to be able to continue this extraordinary and productive partnership." 

Flay first joined the Food Network team in 1994 and over the years headlined a handful of shows including "Grillin' & Chillin'," "Food Network Star," "Worst Cooks in America," "Iron Chef America" and others — in addition to "Beat Bobby Flay" and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay." The exclusive contract also covered projects connected to Flay's Rock Shrimp Productions, which included his own shows as well as others such as Chef Marcela Valladolid's "Mexican Made Easy" and Jeff Mauro's "Sandwich King" (per IMDb). What developed since this prior exclusive contract went into place that prompted this surprising split?

Bobby Flay's and the network apparently can't reach an agreement

According to Variety, Bobby Flay's negotiations for a new contract with Food Network have been in process for some time. Neither side is commenting on specifics, but insiders for Variety indicate Food Network stepped away from negotiations. Flay's representation indicated they do not comment on negotiations as they remain active. That might suggest WME believes a deal is still possible and they feel the network is playing hardball. Insiders for the network, however, have signaled the departure is a done deal, and financial expectations may be the issue. The buzz is Flay's salary expectations and the Food Network's offer are quite far apart.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the streaming service Discovery+, which includes Food Network, provides proven personalities such as Flay "more leverage" than they had in previous negotiations. If indeed Flay leaves the network, he will likely stay plenty busy. As People detailed, he launched his "Always Hungry" podcast on iHeartRadio with his daughter and he's got his first Italian restaurant, Amalfi, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas (per People). 

In addition, Biography noted he's launched a handful of other restaurants over the years, has written numerous cookbooks, and has developed his own line of cookware, sauces, spices, and the like as well. Is this really the end of Flay's time with Food Network, and is it really over money? Fans apparently need to brace themselves for that very reality.