Courtney White

When restaurants started closing because of COVID, many Americans turned to White’s networks to figure out what to do. Even with pandemic production challenges, she knew it was more important than ever to provide inspiration, entertainment and escape. Her leadership paved the way for self-shot episodes of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” “The Pioneer Woman,” and more with the teams at Food and Cooking innovating on the fly. Food Network even produced new shows during the crisis, such as the Emmy-nominated “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook.” During the pandemic, White recognizes that with so much uncertainty and work to do, there was a risk of monotony for her team. “It made me realize that we really need to… kind of compartmentalize what we’re doing and have beginning and middle and end experiences. Things that we can celebrate and have the benchmarks because it all just kind of seems like one day is so similar to the next and the next,” she says, adding that she’s going into 2021 looking for ways to celebrate those wins “so that it seems like not only are we in a marathon, but there are these short race that have that differentiation and energy.”

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