Paula Deen's gone digital, y'all.
Deen has just announced the Paula Deen Network, a completely digital "channel" that will allow fans to access Deen on their computers, iPads, and smart phones.
The network, scheduled to launch in September 2014, will feature Deen and her family cooking and kibbutzing - all on demand.
See also: Paula Deen Announces 2014 Tour
Deen, who recently opened a Paula Deen store in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is clearly excited about this new venture, saying, "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 began taping shows for the online network two weeks ago in her new studio in Savannah, and plans to continue filming content through the summer, with stops for some tour dates and a brief respite for her Paula Deen cruise that sails out of Fort Lauderdale on July 19. Although a full list of show titles is not yet available, fans will be offered full-length shows and shorter digital-friendly titles like 20-Minute Meals; Paula Cooking Light; and One Dish, Three Ways.
Another aspect of digital is the ability for fans to take Paula directly into their kitchens and cook step-by-step with the "Lady" as she provides recipes and tips. Shows will follow themes like "leftover Mondays" and "taco Tuesdays", as well as holiday-themed content.
The Paula Deen Network is a paid content offering, with early registration opening in July 2014. Subscribers who pre-register via PaulaDeen.com will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Savannah to join her live studio audience for a taping of one of her shows. A 14-day free trial period will be available to all users at the time of launch in September.
According to Paula Deen Ventures CEO Steven Nanula, Deen has several offers to return to broadcast television, but "ultimately decided to launch the Paula Deen Network because it gives her a greater level of direct access to her millions of fans." In June 2013, Food Network issued a statement saying it would not renew the television celebrity's contract when it expired, essentially dropping the relationship that spanned over a decade. The widely believed reason: In a video deposition, Deen admitted to using the N-word and making racist and anti-semitic jokes.
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Deen, coincidentally, remains on Food Network's website, where her recipes are still featured prominently.
Deen will preview her new network at her Paula Deen Live! shows in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on June 21 and 22. Deen has also announced three Florida tour dates, with stops TUCPA in Jacksonville on September 18; The Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando on November 11; and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on November 13. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.