In an attempt to win back her crown as America's queen of Southern cooking, Paula Deen is trying another route into America’s kitchens: the Internet.
The Paula Deen Network, a subscription-based online venture, will kick off in September, according to her website.
“Y’all can get my recipes, tips and cooking anytime you want – this is for you. I can’t wait to crank up the oven and get cooking for the people I love: my family, my friends and my fans!” Deen writes.
Deen said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that she got offers to create a new TV show, but she believes the Internet will give her greater access to her fans and more control.
"After much research and talking to our fans, this is what they wanted. They wanted to be able to watch me anytime, anywhere, any place," Deen told the Journal. "IPads are so much lighter to tote around than a TV. In a network program, you only have 22 minutes. The fans are going to see things they have never seen before. They are going to see all of me."
Early registration for the network will be available in July. Pricing hasn’t been announced.
The celebrity chef attracted an audience of one million viewers to her Food Network show, proudly dishing up Southern dishes that were the opposite of fashionable paleo abstinence, swimming with butter, cream, bacon and sugar.
Her success came to an abrupt halt after she admitted to using the N-word, released a bizarre trio of apology videos and bailed on a TODAY interview. Quickly, she lost dozens of product endorsements, and last June, her Food Network show was dropped. She eventually appeared on TODAY and gave a tearful interview to Matt Lauer, trying to explain that she was not a racist.
She told People magazine in February that she found solace in the kitchen in the months after her downfall, baking so many cakes that her husband, Michael Groover protested, “Honey, I don’t know if I’m going to survive this.”
"Michael told me, 'You've learned how badly words can hurt and how powerful they are,'” Deen told People. “I have been hurt by them, and I unintentionally hurt others. But I don't want that to define who I am."
It appears Deen may take a new tack, promoting healthier fare through the network.
“Y’all know I’ve been working hard to live a healthy life; I try to exercise once a day and have redesigned my plate,” Deen states on her website. “I’ve been making even more small changes to manage type 2 diabetes and I’m really seeing big results!”
The website features recipes for lighter fare, such as orange apricot turkey alongside the richer fare – meatloaf and rich desserts – that Deen is known for.
The Wall Street Journal says the planned network’s success will depend largely on whether she can attract younger viewers and to persuade her former fans to pay for the network.