News Briefs: Food Network Sticks a Fork in Paula Deen for Her Use of Racial Slurs

By Jen Trolio

Jun 22, 2013


... Food Network has thrown Paula Deen down its garbage disposal. The butter-peddling celebrity chef has been in hot water all week after admitting to using racial slurs and discussing her desire to have black waitstaff dress up as slaves during a court deposition. The situation boiled over this morning after Deen abruptly canceled an appearance on The Today Show, where she was scheduled to address the scandal; soon afterward, she cooked up a videotaped statement to beg forgiveness "for the wrong that I've done," then decided it didn't taste right, took it down, and prepared a different clip, which I've embedded above. But that didn't stop the Food Network from sending Deen back to the kitchen and announcing that it will not renew her contract when it expires at the end of this month. [Variety]

... Hell on Wheels has shut down production due to heavy rains and flooding in Calgary, Canada, where the series is currently filming. The city's entire downtown area has been evacuated, and the cast and crew—who were in the middle of shooting Episode 306—are en route back to the U.S. a few days ahead of a previously scheduled hiatus. AMC has pushed the Season 3 premiere date back by one week, from Saturday, August 3 to Saturday, August 10. [Deadline / AMC via press release]

... Showtime is developing a comedy from Arrested Development's David Cross about a travel writer who "struggles to keep his families happy and satisfied." Yes, that's families plural... because apparently this guy is also trying to keep them from finding out about each other's existence. So... Lonestar, the sitcom? [Deadline]

... Comedy Central has ordered The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, a TV-fied version of L.A.'s live stand-up comedy series The Meltdown starring Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani. This one's special to, cause it's co-executive-produced by our own Emily V. Gordon. Congrats Emily! [Comedy Central via press release]

... Cinemax is developing a Hunted spinoff with writer Frank Spotnitz (The X-FilesStrike Back); Sam Hunter would star Melissa George in a reprise of her role as a spy on the run from her former employer. The project would launch as a four-hour miniseries and allow Cinemax to keep Hunted alive in some form without any help from the BBC, which co-produced the original incarnation of the show but didn't want to move forward with a second season. Admittedly, I never watched Hunted; was it good? Will you check out this spinoff? [Deadline]

... Syfy has announced its next Creature Feature, and the very idea of it stands to terrify Sharktopus himself: Sharknado will premiere Thursday, July 11 and star Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills, 90210), Cassie Scerbo (Make It or Break It), John Heard (Home Alone, Prison Break), and Tara Reid (The Big LebowskiAmerican Pie, tabloid/paparazzi photos) as a group of owners and regulars of a beachside bar who team up "to investigate the ecological nightmare that has sharks swimming through the streets of Los Angeles and falling from the skies." Can't wait! [Syfy via press release] 

... Also on the Syfy Original Movie docket is Blast Vegas, starring Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz as a dude who travels to Sin City with his frat brothers for spring break, and then they get themselves into trouble when one of them steals an ancient Egyptian relic from a casino and releases a nasty curse on the Strip. Look for it on Thursday, July 18. [Syfy via press release]

... Remember that pilot from a couple years ago, Locke & Key, that was based on the graphic novels of the same name? Ultimately it never really went anywhere as a show, but now it's going to be a movie instead. [THR]

... Discovery is launching Warlocks Rising, a reality show about The Warlocks, a "one percent motorcycle club" in Florida. According to the network, the term came out of a statement by the American Motorcycle Association claiming that 99 percent of all motorcycle clubs don't do anything illegal, implying that one percent are not. Some folks have likened the show to "a real-life Sons of Anarchy"; the series premiere is scheduled for Friday, July 5 at 9pm. [Discovery via press release]

... I am originally from Cleveland and I so I really don't have anything nice to say about the Miami Heat's win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But you know who does have something nice to say? ABC! The game netted a 17.7 overnight rating in total viewers, the second highest for a pro basketball game in 11 years. [Variety]


... ABC has announced which shows its bringing to Comic-Con, which oh geez starts in less than a month now so I guess I should perhaps buy a plane ticket soon. Anyway, the network will host panels for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Friday, July 19), Once Upon a Time (Saturday, July 20), and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (also Saturday, July 20). How many of you guys are going to Comic-Con, by the way? (Muderboy, JT_Kirk... who else?) Anyone wanna try and meet up with me and Tim for a drink? [ABC via press release]

... Starz has also announced a bit o' Comic-Con news: The network will be screening its new Michael Bay pirate drama Black Sails on Thursday, July 18. [Starz via press release]

... For its part, Warner Bros. TV—which has shows on multiple networks—is bringing 16 series to the 'Con in some fashion or another: Almost Human (Preview Night pilot screening and Friday panel), The 100 (Preview Night pilot screening and Friday panel), The Originals (Preview Night pilot screening and Saturday panel), The Tomorrow People (Preview Night pilot screening and Saturday panel), MAD (Thursday panel), The Big Bang Theory (Friday panel), Childrens Hospital (Friday panel), The Following (Friday panel), Nikita (Friday panel),  Arrow (Saturday panel), Person of Interest (Saturday panel), Revolution (Saturday panel), The Vampire Diaries (Saturday panel), Supernatural (Sunday panel), Beware the Batman (Sunday panel), Teen Titans Go! (Sunday panel) [Warner Bros. via press release]


... Sopranos actor James Gandolfini's cause of death has been confirmed by an autopsy: As expected, the 51-year-old's sudden death on Wednesday was due to a heart attack. [Variety

... To pay tribute to Gandolfini's life and career, Bravo will re-air his appearance on Inside the Actors Studio three times in the coming week: Sunday, June 23 at 6pm; Monday, June 24 at 10:30am; and Wednesday, June 26 at 6pm. The episode was originally broadcast in 2004. [Bravo via press release]

... Perhaps unsurprisingly, sales of The Sopranos have skyrocketed on iTunes and Amazon in the days following Gandolfini's death. [Variety]


... Revolution's Charlie has landed a gig that will hopefully offer a reprieve from getting stuck under debris/punched in the face: Tracy Spiridakos will appear in an upcoming episode of Showtime's Episodes as Dawn, a relative of Morning Randolph. [Zap2It]

... Parenthood hasn't seen the last of the always excellent Ray Romano; the actor will reprise his role as Sarah suitor Hank for 12-15 episodes in Season 5. [Deadline]

... Kirstie Alley's upcoming TVLand sitcom is really racking up a roster: Kristin Chenoweth, Kirsten Johnson, and Cloris Leachman will all drop by for guest spots. That's in addition to previously announced cameos by Seinfeld vets Jason Alexander and Michael Richards, who will also appear on the comedy. [TV Guide]

... The Good Wife's Zach Grenier has been upped to series regular for Season 5. [CBS TV Studios' Twitter]

... Psych will feature visits from Loretta Devine and Peggy Lipton in Season 8. Devine will play Melba Birdsong, a former backup singer for 1960s crooner Myles Valour Jr. who Lassie tracks down because he thinks she might be able to help with a cold case. Lipton will take on the role of Scarlett Jones, the former "main squeeze" of a gangster who owned a supper club where cops and criminals rubbed elbows and Myles Valour Jr. performed. [USA via press release]

... Homeland's Zuleikha Robinson—she plays Roya, the journalist and Abu Nazir sympathizer who acted as a liaison between Nazir and Brody in Season 2—has booked a multi-episode arc on USA Network's Covert Affairs as a defense attorney. [TVLine]

... Whoopi Goldberg will executive-produce and star in a Lifetime adaptation of the best-selling book A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan. Whoopi! [THR]

  • Comments (69)
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  • mrjimmyjames Jun 24, 2013

    I seriously doubt Paula Deen will be off television for long. If Dog the Bounty Hunter was eventually able to come back after the horrid stuff he said, then she definetely will.

  • lynna12000 Jun 23, 2013

    What strikes me as funny is that essentially, Ms Deen is being punished for TELLING the truth. As a Southern woman over the age of 60, I would have been very surprised if she hadn't used that word at one time in the past. Instead of perjuring herself, she told the truth.

    In every show I have seen her in, she has never acted or spoken disrespectully to any of the other people on set with her. The same cannot be said for any number of the other personalities on the network. Having a waitstaff fit a theme is not an odd, unknown, or disrespectufl concept.

    I think EVERYONE has used a rude word or term at some time in the past. It's what you do in the present that should count.

    The chef from 'Dinner Impossible' fudged on his resume and was fired. He was brought back not to long afterwards. Odds are, Deen will have a new contract by the end of the year. If only because she produces so much content for the network.

  • fachizzzzle Jun 23, 2013

    Firing Paula Deen had nothing to do with politics. It was a business decision. Paula has a right to do or say what she wants in public or in private, but when what she does or says makes the company look bad, they have a right to sever ties with her.

    I'm black, and don't necessarily believe that she is racist, but if I'm a Food Network exec, I do not want the kind of publicity that this story is bringing. I don't care about whether Paula was right or wrong. I care about $$. It's not about politics. It's not about free speech. It's abot business. If your actions are bad for business, you have to go.

  • vicbjones Jun 23, 2013

    The reporting on the Paula Dean story, including this brief, has been crappy. It almost sounds like her troubles are stemming from her admitting in a deposition to using the word "nigger." I've barely heard any mention of the circumstances under which she gave the deposition (a racial discrimination suit), and some comments I've heard on the situation almost sound like there are people in favor of prosecution on the basis of "thought crime." Did the Food Network not renew Dean's contract due to this controversy or was the network not likely to renew her show anyway, because what percentage of Dean's audience care about any of this or what the Twitterverse thinks?

  • haldrey Jun 23, 2013

    Ok but nobody is telling what provoked Paula Deen to explode.

  • crazedtvhead91 Jun 23, 2013

    I've heard a lot of stuff about the Paula Deen thing so let me voice my opinion. I for one(being a black person) wasn't that offended or shocked that She used racial slurs. You'd be surprised at the number of people who do, whether in private, among their friends, or in their heads.
    Now I d on't believe that using ignorant language makes you a racist or homophobe or anything, but it does make you ignorant and insensitive to other peoples's feelings. Words hurt, and as an adult, whether or not you like blacks, asians, latinos, muslims, christians, gay people, fat people, short people, people with mental defects, or any combination thereof, you should behave as an adult and just grow up and get over it already.
    Business is business. Food Network fired Paula because they only see one color, and that's green. keeping her could have caused them to lose money if the advertisement agencies pulled their ads or viewers stopped watching their network. They didn't fire her because of some great moral high ground they were taking.

    As for when it comes to people saying racist or sexist things about me, I believe in the "If it doesn't fit don't wear it" rule.

  • blaine101 Jun 24, 2013

    I wouldn't know. My gentle, kind Mama threatened to wash my mouth out with soap if I used a certain term in her household and when I did it again just to be smart man she let me have it. You can bet I never used it again.

  • houbou Jun 22, 2013

    Paula Deen racist? really? this lovely ol' butter lady from da South? Say it ain't so! SAY IT AIN'T SO!!! Oh well, I don't know what's worse about her, all the heart attack laden diabetes prone recipes she's promoted in her shows and books or the fact that she's a racist biatch.

  • JT_Kirk Jun 22, 2013

    In case my earlier comment is too deep into the ranting silliness, I am down for a readers/editors drink meetup at SDCC.

  • Montana_Katana Jun 25, 2013

    I will be expecting a full field report....

  • Muderboy Jun 23, 2013

    Count me in, but I'm only there on Friday, and yeah, I drink...

  • Writerpatrick Jun 22, 2013

    It's interesting that with Paula Deen's contract expiring at the end of the month, Food Network suddenly finds a reason to fire her. It's not like they could have fired her for being too old.

  • JT_Kirk Jun 22, 2013

    There go my plans for the Paula Deen themepark, Butterland.

    The Meltdown is such a pain in the ass sometimes, I love Kumail Nanjiani but holy crap does this show throw my comic shop into disarray every week, I'll forget and go to pick up mail and do some comics shopping (it's held at Meltdown Comics on Sunset blvd in Hollywood, hence the name) only to have the joint filled with people waiting to get into the show, or sitting in the show in the back making a ton of noise. I want my comic shops quiet and empty, just like my libraries and other place where young people avoid going, not busy and noisy, like my DMV offices.

    I always thought "Frank Spotnitz" would have been a great character name on The X-Files.

    Sharknado, this is why we can't have nice things.

    Oh man, Agents of SHIELD is a Friday panel? Unless I get lucky and my cousin works security in hall H again this year, I doubt I'm getting into that panel, Friday is generally my busiest day. I expect you to do a thorough rehashing and illegal taping of the full panel content, Jen. ;-) And yes, I'm going to Comic-Con, would love to meet up with you guys for a drink!

    Michael Bay - boo. Pirates - yay. Starz - oh, sad, I don't have them.

    I thought WB was bringing 17 shows to SDCC, 10 returning and 7 new: The Following, Arrow, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Almost Human, The 100, Children's Hospital, Nikita, The Tomorrow People, The Originals, MAD, Big Bang Theory, The Paranormal and Extraterrestrial Squad (ugh, really, that's the title?), POI, Revolution, Beware the Batman, and Teen Titans Go. Are we not counting P.a.E.S. there because it's an online series, or because it sounds stupid? ;-)

    Aww yeah, David Lee, Esq, is now a regular, that's good news, everyone! He's my favorite bastard-lite character on tv today.

    Nice Psych guest casting, as usual.

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