The Real Reason Cutthroat Kitchen Was Canceled

"Cutthroat Kitchen" had its fans, but Alton Brown, the show's host, probably wasn't one of them. If the Food Network did officially cancel its wacky competition where chefs bid on creative ways to sabotage their competitors' cooking, it was only because Brown quit. After nearly 200 episodes over 15 seasons, from 2013 to 2017, he had had enough.

Brown dropped the news in July 2018 via Twitter. A fan on the platform had asked if new episodes of "Cutthroat Kitchen" were coming. In his trademark way, Brown responded with a Post-it Note stuck to a computer monitor displaying the fan's tweet: "Cutthroat Kitchen got cancelled. Sorry. #ProbablyMyFault." Brown actually explained much earlier why he was done with "Cutthroat Kitchen," in a Facebook Live video that's no longer publicly available. "I've had enough, guys," he told fans in the video, posted in late 2016. "I need to get back to what I do."

What Brown does was best displayed in his previous Food Network series, "Good Eats," the award-winning show that revolutionized cooking shows, adding science, history, and humorous skits during its 13-year run. In "Cutthroat," Brown appeared out of his element, according to a critic at Entertainment Weekly. "It is NOT a show about cooking," the EW critic wrote. Brown wanted to get back to cooking. "I think I've game-show hosted about all I can take, and life is short," he said on Facebook Live (via Fandom).

Alton Brown returned to his roots with a Good Eats sequel

At that time, late 2016, Brown planned to go independent and make his own internet-only show, on his own terms, As he explained on the since-removed Facebook Live video, "I want freedom to do what I want, and say what I want, and work with the food that I want, without being concerned about what a larger corporate entity might or might not want from that." For Brown, that meant cooking with rabbit, liver, or chicken gizzards — some of the items that were forbidden on the Food Network, he said.

Brown's internet series never materialized — although he did create a small online hit with "Quarantine Quitchen" on YouTube, co-hosted by his wife, Elizabeth Ingram (via Salon). The original internet show was to be called, simply, "A Cooking Show," and Brown envisioned hundreds of episodes that would basically amount to a "Good Eats" sequel. But the lure of a network's audience reach may have been too much for Brown to resist. "Good Eats: The Return," the long-anticipated sequel, debuted on the Food Network in August 2019 (via Eater). Brown added new wrinkles to the old show, working with recipes and kitchen equipment that were less available or too expensive even seven years ago. He also brought in a real food scientist, admitting his own science background was limited. While show recipes from the new episodes posted on the Food Network website include forays into a raw ahi tuna poke and steak tartare, rabbit and liver didn't make an appearance.

With Good Eats over for good, Alton Brown is hitting the road

"Good Eats: The Return" got a second season and a new venue, appearing on Discovery+ in February (via The Wrap). The folks at the Discovery family of networks just called the 2021 season "Good Eats" Season 16 and bundled it with all the past seasons on the new streaming service. While Alton Brown had clearly tired of the game-showy "Cutthroat Kitchen," he remained proud of "Good Eats" through 16 seasons. "This is hands down my favorite season of 'Good Eats' episodes we've ever cranked out," Brown said, per The Wrap. "I'm proud to have them, and the entire 'Good Eats' library, finally available in one place."

Season 16 eventually found its way to Food Network, the original home of "Good Eats," per the network's website. As the season was concluding on the network, Brown announced sad news for "Good Eats" fans: The episodes airing that night would mark the end of the show's run. "This is it folks. The big hurrah. ... Without question the most rewarding work of my career," he said on Facebook. "I hope the show has brought something positive into your lives and kitchens."

We're not sure what might be in Alton Brown's television future. But we do know what he will be up to for the next seven months or so. He is gearing up for a massive U.S. (and Toronto, Canada) tour of his cooking, comedy, music, and science live show. According to the "Alton Brown: Live!" website, the tour kicks off in Minneapolis on October 13.