Here's Why You Won't See Bobby Flay On The Food Network Anymore

As the old adage goes, all good things must come to an end, and that appears to be the case with the relationship between celebrity chef Bobby Flay and the Food Network, the TV outfit that made him a star. While both have worked together for the last 27 years, Variety reports that contract negotiations between the parties have stalled, and that Food Network eventually made the decision to walk away from talks. While the Food Network itself has refused to comment, and Flay's representatives have said they don't want to address what they called "active negotiations," a source at Food Network told Variety that both sides appeared to be very far apart in regard to financial terms.

Flay and the Food Network's current deal dates back to 2018, when they had agreed to continue filming new episodes of his current series "Beat Bobby Flay," as well as launch a new show entitled "The Flay List." The deal also gave Flay the ability to develop and produce his own programs, which would then air under his signature Rock Shrimp productions, according to a 2018 Variety article.

Bobby Flay has been a Food Network fixture since 1994

When the current deal between Bobby Flay and Food Network expires at the end of the year, it will mark the end of an era. Flay's Food Network resume is longer than his arm — even when he's holding a chef's knife (via IMDb). He first appeared on the network in its first year of operation in 1994, according to Variety. Food Network's website says Flay first got his own show in 1996: "Grillin' and Chillin'." Other early shows were "Hot off the Grill" and "Boy Meets Grill." But Flay is probably best known for a handful of other Food Network shows. 

Flay was a big part of the "Iron Chef" universe, including a notorious 2000 episode in which Flay insulted opponent chef Masaharu Morimoto by jumping on his own cutting board at the end of the competition, per a 2013 Variety article. Regardless of Morimoto's feelings, that was when Food Network knew it had something in the young Flay. The network's president at the time told him, "Something magical happened in that moment."

Another show Flay is well known for, "Beat Bobby Flay," has aired more than 300 episodes, per IMDb. That would include a new one Flay plugged just this week on Instagram. Flay also was a fixture on "Food Network Stars" for 12 years, and he did a memorable turn with Giada De Laurentiis earlier this year on "Bobby and Giada in Italy."

Social media reacts to the news about Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay was a popular topic on Twitter after news of his rift with Food Network broke. Opinions on the news were mixed, with perhaps a little more anti-Bobby sentiment out there than sympathy. "Never liked Bobby Flay," @whipjacked tweeted. "Any show he was in made me mad." Another person on Twitter, perhaps aware of the fact that Flay usually wins on his show "Beat Bobby Flay" (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet), saw justice in Food Network's decision to break ties with the chef. "We've done it," @westviewcas tweeted. "We've finally beat Bobby Flay."

On the other hand, some Twitter users saw Flay as a Food Network G.O.A.T. "Sorry to hear that Bobby Flay is moving on," @nightowl36 tweeted. "He is the only person on the network that I watch anymore. Hasta la vista!" @YaBoyPD on Twitter was definitely thinking "greatest of all time" when they tweeted, "I guess if Jordan can leave the Bulls, Bobby Flay can leave the Food Network."

Where will Bobby Flay land next?

When Food Network and Bobby Flay came to terms on their existing contract three years ago, it was seen as good news for the network. Streaming services at the time were trying to lure celebrities into exclusive deals (via Variety). This is only speculation, but during this year's round of negotiations Flay may have been holding out for Guy Fieri money. A Food Network regular since 2006 on shows such as "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and "Guy's Grocery Games," Fieri signed a new $80 million contract earlier this year that made him the highest-paid chef on cable TV, per Forbes. Flay might have tried to point out to Food Network execs that in 2015 he was the first chef ever to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (via People). Fieri's star didn't come until 2019, per Food & Wine.

Now that Flay is a free agent, his fans are probably wondering what he'll do next. Scope New paints a rosy picture for Flay. Those streaming services that might have pushed Food Network to lock Flay down in 2018 – Hulu, Amazon, and the rest — are still busy in 2021, signing talent to lucrative deals. Based on Scope New's estimate, Flay could even surpass Fieri and get something like $100 million from Netflix or another streamer.