Bobby Flay could have made the best financial decision of his life by leaving Food Network.
Celebrity chef and anchor of the channel since its inception 27 years ago, but he is said to be considering jumping over stagnant salary negotiations that could lead him to leave for another streaming or network at the end.
Flay could still stay at Food Network where Forbes says he makes seven figures. He could also move to a streaming platform where creators’ incomes have risen in recent years. The power dynamics between hosts and TV networks has changed due to streamers such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, and Hulu and HBOMax. Now hosts can move to another platform and get double or triple their salary. WME, Flay’s agency, declined to comment citing its policy of not commenting upon active negotiations. However, recent deals suggest that Flay could land a contract worth up to $100 million.
Forbes reported in May that Guy Fieri, the Food Network’s star, had landed a $80 million contract for three years. This is a far higher salary than the average host on the network.
Fieri was one of the first to resume shooting during the pandemic. He is also one of the most popular hosts on the network in terms of the amount of advertising dollars they bring in. Fieri is followed by 1.8 million people on Instagram while Flay has 1.6 million. Fieri has 3.4 million followers on Instagram, Flay has 2.6 millions.
Fieri now earns a salary of around $26 million per year. This is comparable to what top food personalities make from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Emeril Lagasse, an off-air celebrity chef, is believed to have made $8 million in the early 2000s. Top talent at HGTV and the flagship Salaries at Food Network parent Discovery Channel are typically capped at seven figures today.
Fieri, a tattooed and goateed star of Discovery Network, is now more well-known than Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman. She also earns more than Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines, HGTV’s top celebrities. Fieri declined to comment.
According to Forbes estimates, Gordon Ramsay is the world’s highest-earning restaurateur. He earns around $20 million annually from Fox shows like Masterchef. These programs account for more that 75 hours of programming and more then $150 million in ad sales each year for Fox. Ramsay made $70 million in total, with more than two-thirds of that coming from his 35 restaurants around the world and other deals. It made Ramsay the 19th highest-earning celebrity in America in 2020. Flay was ranked number 19 on the Forbes List of Top Celebrities Earners in 1999 with an estimated $2 million.