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Brooke Bailey Johnson (MSJ74)

  • Brooke Bailey Johnson

  • Brooke Bailey Johnson, Cooking Channel

  • Brooke Bailey Johnson with Giada

Brooke Bailey Johnson’s strategic vision for television has built programs and networks into household names.

In her roles at Food Network, Cooking Channel, A&E and The History Channel, Johnson drove change to grow viewership. She is now President of Food Network and Cooking Channel which encompasses all food programming for TV and digital.

She first joined Food Network as Senior Vice President and General Manager in May 2003, and was promoted to President of Food Network in April 2004. She added oversight of Cooking Channel and Food Category Digi­tal in May 2010.

During her tenure, Johnson was key in creating the hugely successful “Iron Chef America” and launching Food Network Magazine. She reworked the network’s primetime lineup to focus on stars such as Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray to make it more competitive against other networks. She launched Food Network outside North America for the first time.

Earlier in her career, Johnson was Executive Vice President and General Manager of Programming at A&E. It was there she proposed the original concept for History Channel and crafted the programming launch strategy. Her early commitment to network-owned, original programming resulted in a 1500-hour library, which was the basis for the successful launch of The History Channel, The Biography Channel and 16 overseas channels. Under her direction, A&E tripled its ratings and increased network revenue by 55 percent in the 90s.

Before that, she served as the program director for WABC-TV in New York City, where she launched first locally, and then into national syndication, “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.”

Johnson’s undergraduate degree in English literature is from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Medill the follow­ing year.

In a recent Crain Lecture at Medill, she credited her time in the master’s program for challenging her to overcome her natural shyness and to write clearly and quickly. The writing skills she developed at Medill have given her a competitive advantage throughout her career, she said.

Johnson is active in philanthropic and cable industry boards. She uses her position at Food Network to raise funds for anti-hunger campaigns. She currently serves on Share Our Strength’s Lead­ership Council, a national organization working to eradicate childhood hunger; she is also active locally with FoodBank4NYC, and City Harvest. In 2013, she was honored by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. She also serves on the board of trustees of the WICT Foundation, part of Women in Cable & Telecom­munications; the board of the National Association of Television Program Executives; and is a founding trustee of Cable Positive, the cable industry AIDS fund­raising and awareness organization.