Paula Deen is gearing up for a serious comeback


Paula Deen (AP Photo/Carlo Allegri, File)

Paula Deen’s downfall was a sight to behold last year, as the Southern celebrity food personality’s career imploded when word leaked that she admitted to using racial slurs. She lost her highly lucrative deal with the Food Network, as well as multiple endorsement deals.

In the wake of the disaster — and her not-well-regarded apology videos — Deen has mainly stayed out of the public eye, except for events catered to her most devoted fans. But it’s been a year, and with new management and publicity team, and a new influx of cash, everything is in place: Deen is gearing up for a serious comeback.

About a month ago, Deen announced that she was launching the Paula Deen Network, a subscription-based digital network available only on computers and mobile devices. (The gears were set in motion earlier this year when a rich investor in Phoenix helped form her new-era company, Paula Deen Ventures, with a reported $75 million – $100 million investment.) And on Tuesday, Deen confirmed that the network will launch on Sept. 24, and her network’s Web site is officially open to pre-subscribers.

“You can turn off your TV, y’all, because the only place to watch my new shows and interact directly with me is right here on your computer, smartphone or tablet on the Paula Deen Network,” Deen cheerfully announced in a video on Twitter.

Things to come on the network: Shows featuring Southern cooking and budget-friendly, healthy meals, along with a behind-the-scenes look at Deen’s daily life. She promised special bonuses to people who signed up Tuesday (for $7.99/month for an annual subscription), including a VIP invite to the network launch party along with access to live cooking classes.

Deen recently allowed cameras on the set of her new network, which will be filmed in her Savannah, Ga., home.

“It’s just hard to believe that just a year ago where we were and where we are today,” Deen said in a video via “Entertainment Tonight.”

Several celebrities have gone the online-only route, though few have weathered a controversy quite like Deen’s. While everything seems to be coming together for her re-entry into the public eye, the only thing left to see is if the actual viewers will follow suit.

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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