Scripps Networks shows off its curation chops with the launch of its new multiplatform channel, Genius Kitchen. This venture is a collection of personality-driven cooking shows, with a touch of viewer interaction thrown in for good measure.

Wrapped around a weekly pop-culture take on food news, hosted by the bubbly duo of Akilah Hughes and Mike Lockyer, Genius Kitchen is comprised of more than 150 hours of content including original shows such as “Carnivorous,” an array of content from independent producers such as “Pop Culture Baking Class” and some international programming from notables such as “The Delicious Miss Dahl from Sophie Dahl.” Ms. Dahl, who shares her childhood food memories, is the granddaughter of author Roald Dahl. The interactive twist, for those watching on iPad or Fire TV, is the ability to click to have the recipe viewed on the screen sent to your email.

The multiplatform distribution aims to take advantage of the many viewing venues a consumer takes when ingesting food content. The lean-back experience on a Fire TV focuses on entertainment while offering the practical ability to harvest an appealing recipe for later exploration. With a robust search engine, the lean-forward play on YouTube or on a mobile device is ideal to find a recipe a home cook wants to make today or for an upcoming weekend party. For those who want to ensure they are eating what’s au courant, there is a clever “what’s trending” feature at the bottom of the recipe page.

“With Genius Kitchen, we set out to develop content that was inherently social and work with the talent that could truly connect with young audiences,” said Rich Lacy, Senior Vice President of Digital Brand Creative at Scripps Networks, said in a company press release. “This unique, seamless experience explores not only great food but also the people and fun surrounding it.”

With a host of other food properties in the Scripps Interactive stable, the aim here is directed toward a specific part of the millennial culture—those who care more about food experiences than slaving over a hot stove (or even microwave). On an episode of “Chuck’s Day Off,” for example, the theme centers around Canadian chef Chuck Hughes arranging a blind date for two friends in the restaurant business. The recipes are fun, but food takes a back seat to the drama of two strangers breaking bread as their meet-cute experience.

Genius Cooking is a very niche experience which will have strong appeal to a select—and possibly large—demographic that is willing to make their food-as-entertainment budget a priority.  The obvious current business model is ad-supported (no many how many times I see that ad, I have no plans to visit New Mexico), but by gathering email addresses and recipe likes, selling everything from meal kits to adventure travel is fair game.

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Allen Weiner is an Austin-based freelance writer focusing on applications of new technology in the areas of food, media and education. In his 17-year career as a vice president and analyst with Gartner, Inc., the world’s largest IT research and advisory firm, Allen was a frequent speaker at company and industry events as well as one of the most-quoted analysts in the area of new media. With an extensive background in publishing and publishing technology, Allen is noted as the founder of The Gate (, the nation’s first daily newspaper on the web. Born in Philadelphia, Allen is a graduate of Muhlenberg College and Temple University.

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