Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Tia Mowry, Haylie Duff.
No, the category isn't forgotten TV stars. These three actresses are part of the new wave of celebrity food shows on the Cooking Channel.
Food Network and Cooking Channel are both owned by Scripps Networks. The company had a nice split: sillier shows such as Donut Showdown and anything Guy Fieri touches would be on the Food Network; more serious cooking shows, such as "French Food at Home" and anything Nigella Lawson touches would be on the Cooking Channel.
The celebrities are now part of the marketing push on the Cooking Channel: the fast-paced promo that is now running on the channel has more celebrities than food.
The real casualty of these increased celebrity moves is the loss of actual cooking shows, such as "French Food at Home" with Laura Calder.
The show used to have a prominent place on the Cooking Channel weekdays at 12:30 pm Eastern. The move to early Tuesday mornings at 7:30 am ET was a sign, but the early Tuesday slot meant still being on the schedule. Now the show is off the schedule.
The Food Network is rarely on the TV in my apartment; the Cooking Channel is often in the background. There is still plenty of entertainment in the cooking shows, but the food is the star.
"Dinner at Tiffani's" took over the early morning timeslot on Tuesdays. Not the original airings, but 2 of about a dozen or so airings per week. Since the show hasn't been on very long, if you missed a specific episode, you can leave your TV on and that episode will come back.
Thiessen does cook on the show and she goes through the basics of the recipes. Measurements? Maybe of the actresses but not measurements of the ingredients in the dishes.
Food is an interruption as to actors Thiessen has worked with, their spouses, and other related people. If you like Jason Priestley, and I do, you get to see more of him than the food. After about 20 minutes, you wish food was as important to the show as the guests.
Duff does cook on the show, but caters mostly to a hipster audience that ironically watches her and says, "Didn't she used to be Hilary's sister?"
Mowry's show recently debuted on the Cooking Channel. Mowry says she wants us to get to know her through her food. First, I have to separate her from her sister, Tamera. The two of them starred on "Sister, Sister."
In my subsequent research, Mowry is now a vegan as of the first of the year. That is a more interesting angle than her being a celebrity. The vegan angle gets no mentions in the promos.
"Extra Virgin" has a celebrity in Debi Mazar and her husband Gabriele Corcos. Bits of the show are kinda silly and self-serving, but when Corcos discusses Italian cooking, you wish the show was more about him and less about everyone else. If you fast forward through some of the more self-indulgent portions, you still get good cooking tips.
When the Cooking Channel aired "French Food at Home," they stuck with a few episodes and didn't rotate others into the mix. If/when the show is back on the air, we hope for more episodes that didn't get airings in recent runs.
We miss her cool, soothing voice. We miss her charm at her own expense but very light-hearted. We miss the butter, the indulgence, the way she poked fun at the diet industry.
We would love to have her back on the air, even Tuesdays at 7:30 am ET. The Cooking Channel still has a page devoted to her show, so hopefully the hiatus is temporary.
Laura Calder is entertaining and informative and all about fun and cooking: just what you want for a cable TV outlet called the Cooking Channel.
photo credit: French Food at Home