YouTube stars The Try Guys break into traditional TV with new Food Network production

  • YouTube creators The Try Guys are working on a new Food Network special to air on TV and Discovery Plus.
  • Food Network is the latest legacy media company to hire social-media stars in a push to reach new audiences.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

YouTube creators The Try Guys are currently in pre-production for a new Food Network special that will air on TV and Discovery Plus. 

The project, which is based on their YouTube series “Without a Recipe,” will feature Try Guys stars Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang. On the show, the group will travel to different restaurants and compete to cook menu items without looking at a recipe. They’re slated to begin filming in a few months, Habersberger said.

Food Network is the latest traditional media company to hire social-media stars in a push to reach new audiences. MTV worked with internet creator Tana Mongeau for a two-season digital series that first aired in 2019. NBC launched a late night talk show with YouTuber Lily Singh the same year. And Nickelodeon hired 9-year-old YouTube star Ryan Kaji for its TV series, “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate.”

Tapping into social-media fandom has become an area of focus for TV brands like Discovery and ViacomCBS, which recently launched a reality series about TikTok stars through its digital and SVOD division, AwesomenessTV.

But the formula hasn’t always worked. For instance, YouTube star Grace Helbig’s 2015 E! talk show lasted just a few months before being shuttered after drawing poor ratings. 

“What goes on TikTok versus Instagram versus YouTube is all different, and now being able to make something for television and streaming, that’s that next challenge for us,” Habersberger told Insider.

The Try Guys got their start making videos for BuzzFeed in 2014. The group split off in 2018 to form their own production company, 2nd Try, LLC, hiring staffers from both traditional and social media backgrounds. The company is planning to move into a new 5,000-square-foot office in Burbank later this year that includes a podcast studio, filming stage, and editing bay. Like other YouTube stars who have amassed large audiences, the group has diversified into podcasting, IGTV and Snapchat Series, and alternative revenue streams like selling their own hot sauce and tea products. And the group aired an 11-episode “Try Guys” series on Amazon Prime Video in 2017.

But YouTube remains its bread-and-butter.

“Our most successful [business] is still the tried-and-true YouTube content,” Habersberger said. “That is what is our main business model, whether that be ad revenue or doing sponsored branded videos.”

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