Guy Fieri Made Less Than $1,000 an Episode for His First ‘Food Network’ Show

Guy Fieri just became the highest-paid chef on cable TV. The Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives host has signed a three-year, $80 million deal with the Food Network, where he has been the face of 14 different shows. (In addition to Triple-D, they include Guy’s Grocery Games, Minute to Win It, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate.)  In short, he’s come a long way since his early days with the network, when he won the second season of The Next Food Network Star. 

Guy Fieri earned less than $1,000 per episode for ‘Guy’s Big Bite’ 

Smiling Guy Fieri during a virtual appearance on the Tonight Show
Guy Fieri during a virtual appearance on The Tonight Show | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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In 2006, Fieri beat out seven other contestants to be crowned the winner of The Next Food Network Star Season 2. His first solo show for the channel was Guy’s Big Bite. But while the flavors featured on the show might have been big, the host’s salary wasn’t. Fieri earned less than $1,000 per episode for the first six episodes of Guy’s Big Bite, according to Forbes. (The show aired until 2016.) 

The ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ host’s $80 million Food Network deal

Fifteen years after his Food Network debut, Fieri is the undisputed king of the channel that focuses on all things culinary. He’s now Food Network parent Discovery’s highest-paid star, ahead of other big names such as The Pioneer Woman’s Ree Drummond and Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, according to Forbes. 

The magazine estimates he earns $26 million per year just from his television work. The $80 million deal he recently signed is $50 million higher than his previous agreement with the network. 

Despite — or perhaps because of — his popularity, Fieri has come in for criticism, including from the likes of the late chef Anthony Bourdain. A New York Times restaurant critic infamously slammed one of his restaurants in a 2012 review. But the haters don’t seem to bother him. 

“You can easily be misinterpreted when you have platinum blond hair and tattoos,” he told the Hollywood Reporter in a 2021 interview. “But I’m not for everybody. I don’t know if anybody is.”

Guy Fieri’s net worth is $40 million

Guy Fieri, wearing sunglasses, poses with bottles of his Santo Tequila
Guy Fieri poses with bottles of Santo Tequila | Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

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Fieri has a net worth of $40 million, according to an estimate from Celebrity Net Worth. However, given his new, lucrative Food Network deal, that might be an underestimate.  

It’s not just his TV shows that have made Fieri rich. His name appears on more than 80 restaurants around the world. He also has a delivery-only restaurant business, called Flavortown Kitchen, which he started in 2020, as well as a chain of chicken restaurants called Chicken Guy. And, along with Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar, he co-owns the liquor brand Santo Tequila.  

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