“In my more than 20 plus years in television, I have had 17 wonderful seasons working in daytime television with Rachael,” the 30 Minute Meals star, 54, says in a statement to PEOPLE Friday. “However, I’ve made the decision that it’s time for me to move on to the next exciting chapter in my broadcast career.”
“My passions have evolved from the talk show format production and syndication model to a platform unencumbered by the traditional rules of distribution,” Ray continued, explaining she will be focusing on her new production company.
“I am truly excited to be able to introduce and develop new and upcoming epicurean talent on all platforms. That is why I am looking forward to putting all my energies into my recently announced production arm, Free Food Studios.
“Thank you to all of our Rachael daytime show partners, crew, and affiliates, and the wonderful years we all worked together,” said the Food Network star.
On air since 2006, Ray’s talk show has featured a combination of cooking demos mixed with celebrity interviews around the set’s kitchen table, musical performances, pop culture news and service-based segments.
“When Rachael debuted her show 17 years ago, she was a game-changer in the daytime space. She made cooking accessible to the masses, taught viewers simple solutions on how to improve their lives and coaxed great stories out of celebrity guests with her relatable down-to-earth demeanor,” Steve LoCascio, president of CBS Media Ventures told Deadline which was the first to report the news on Friday.
Ray filmed her daily talk show in New York City until the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, and the star decided to begin filming from her home in Lake Luzerne, N.Y. — something she was initially afraid to do because her upstate house had become a refuge from the public eye.
“Our home was a light switch where we would turn off from work mode and deal with our lives,” Ray told PEOPLE in September 2021. “I would write, and read; work on my photography or spend time literally homemaking for my family or close friends. My husband, he’s a lawyer by day but is a musician, so would spend all day in his studio. It was our little world to just be us. Then all of a sudden, we had to let everyone in.”
In August 2020, that home — the one Ray had designed from scratch 15 years earlier — burned to the ground, the result of a fire ember that came out of the home’s chimney and landed on the roof.
It took Ray and her husband John Cusimano a full year to rebuild the home, which she revealed on The Rachael Ray Show in September 2021.
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