Paula Deen to Stage Comeback With Planned Subscription Service
Deen plans to run two episodes of "vintage" material on her website per week, available through a subscription plan. Calling the platform the Paula Deen Network, the acquired content includes 12 seasons of "Paula's Home Cooking" (2002-2008), 14 seasons of "Paula's Best Dishes" (2008-2013), and four of "Paula's Party" (2006-2008). Eleven specials will also be featured, including "Paula's Southern Thanksgiving," which we assume involves deep-frying an entire turkey and sticking it between two glazed donuts."Come on in and sit yourself down at the Paula Deen Network -- it's the heart of home cookin,' y'all," Deen said in a press release.
The TV chef's career went into a tailspin last year after a former employee accused her of making derogatory comments about African-Americans, allegations to which Deen lent credence when she admitted, in a deposition, that she'd used the N-word in the past. The scandal found Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns Food Network, letting Deen's contract run out, and corporate partners like Walmart and J.C. Penney taking her branded cookware off the shelves.
The only thing that hasn't forsaken Deen, it seems, is her formidable fanbase, which pushed a slated cookbook of hers (since cancelled by publisher Ballantine) to the top of Amazon's bestseller list in pre-orders.
But are they willing to pay for the right to wade through approximately 14,400 minutes of her back catalogue? That's the gamble Deen is taking with this latest venture, which is backed by a $100 million private equity investment from Phoenix-based Najafi Companies, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Subscriptions will reportedly range from $7.99 to $9.99 a month; new material, including a self-produced documentary about her life since 2012, is planned to be featured alongside the Food Network episodes.
"We hope to have it out the first of the year and tell everybody the true story of what really happened," Deen told the Associated Press. "It was a painful year for me. It was a hurtful year when I found myself being labeled for something I was not."
The Paula Deen Network launches Wednesday.