Don't Call Her Old-Fashioned: Paula Deen's Comeback Is for the Digital Era

The Paula Deen Network, an online-TV platform where subscribers must pay between $7.99 and $9.99 to watch Deen whip up her famed Southern fare, launches on Wednesday.

learn more about Geoff Weiss

By Geoff Weiss • Sep 9, 2014 Originally published Sep 9, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Though the Paula Deen brand is synonymous with high-calorie recipes and an old-school sensibility, the celebrity chef, who hid her diabetes diagnosis from the public and admitted to having once used a racial slur, is taking a decidedly new-school approach as she seeks to rebuild her decimated empire.

Having long been a television staple, Wednesday will see the launch of -- an online-TV network where subscribers must pay between $7.99 and $9.99 a month to watch Deen and guests whip up her famed Southern fare in front of studio audiences.

But new video content created exclusively for the web is just a part of the puzzle. Additionally, Deen and her investor, Najafi Companies, have bought back the rights to all of her shows that ever aired on the Food Network during her 13-year tenure, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Related: Lessons from Paula Deen: How What You Say Can Damage Your Brand

This comprises roughly 440 episodes and includes an entire season of Paula's Home Cooking that the Food Network never aired due to fallout over Deen's racial scandal. A purchase price was not disclosed.

And the Paula Deen Network -- as the new digital platform will be called -- has other projects up its sleeve as well. Next year, the network will produce a documentary about Deen's fall from grace from her own perspective. "I'm bound by the courts, so I can only say so much," she told the Journal. "But there's nothing to stop others from talking about it."

As online video continues to destabilize the television industry, Deen said taking her show online not only marks a strategic business opportunity but also a move towards creative freedom.

Related: How A&E Ducked the Duck Dynasty Controversy

"That's the beauty of what we're doing now. We have total and complete control. If we disagree on something, we can discuss it right then and there. We don't have to put it before a group in a tall building somewhere."

Deen began cooking up a comeback earlier this year, when Najafi tendered a $100 million investment in her new company, Paula Deen Ventures. After announcing the construction of a new family-friendly restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., next to Dollywood, Deen then abruptly shuttered another one of her restaurant properties, Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, without so much as even notifying employees.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Deen's rallying fans on social media -- including a Facebook group called "Bring Back Paula Deen' with over 250,000 members -- will follow her as she braves a brand new digital frontier.

Related: 10 Leaders Who Overcame Scandal -- A Playbook for Anthony Weiner

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This Co-Founder Was Kicked Out of Retailers for Pitching a 'Taboo' Beauty Product. Now, Her Multi-Million-Dollar Company Sells It for More Than $20 an Ounce.
Have You Ever Obsessed Over 'What If'? According to Scientists, You Don't Actually Know What Would Have Fixed Everything.
Most People Don't Know These 2 Things Are Resume Red Flags. A Career Expert Reveals How to Work Around Them.
Business News

Survey: A Majority of Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Sixty-four percent of U.S. consumers live paycheck to paycheck — even those who earn more than $100,000 a year.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.

Business Solutions

5 Procurement Trends To Keep on Your Radar for 2023

Procurement professionals must adapt to inflation and a shortage of skilled labor in the face of an economic recession. Investing in a workforce paired with retraining and development strategies will put your company on top amid economic uncertainty.

Business News

Massive Fire At Top Egg Farm Leaves Estimated 100,000 Hens Dead. What Does This Mean For Egg Prices?

Hillandale Farms in Bozrah, Connecticut went up in flames on Saturday in an incident that is still under investigation.


How Promotional Pricing Devalues Your Brand

Promotional pricing and discount pricing strategies can cost brands millions in lost sales by promoting unprofitable buying behavior. This article will discuss the long-term impact discounts can have on a brand.

Business News

'This Just Can't Be for Real': Fyre Festival Fraudster Billy McFarland is Now Hiring For His New Tech Company -- And He's Already Selling Merch

McFarland was released from house arrest last September and is currently being ordered to pay $26 million in restitution to fraud victims.