Diane Haithman is a contributor to Deadline Hollywood
Could this year’s Emmy Reality and Reality-Competition categories turn into a food fight?
Perhaps more important: Should there be a law preventing a chef from wrapping zucchini around a toasted marshmallow, creating the S’More from hell (observed in a recent installment of Chopped)?
The stage — or should we say table — has been set. In 2010, Bravo’s Top Chef knocked The Amazing Race off its 7-year pedestal by taking home the Emmy for best Reality-Competition program (Race came back for another two wins before being unseated by The Voice in 2013). “I believe it was the first prominent, prime time food show to win the category,” says Primetime Emmy Award chair Bob Boden. Read More »
Reality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.
Dan Cutforth was already a reality TV veteran with some time spent developing Survivor when he started Magical Elves with Jane Lipsitz in 2001. Since then the Brit-born producer has charged forward with Bands On The Run for VH1, Project Greenlight, the Peabody winning Project Runway and of course Top Chef. The Bravo cooking competition show took the Reality Competition Program Emmy in 2010, breaking The Amazing Race’s 7-year winning streak. A wide reaching franchise now and undoubtedly one of the reasons the UK’s Tinopolis Group acquired Elves earlier this year, Top Chef certainly rates as a contender this Emmys. In that vein, Cutforth reveals his state of mind this Emmy season, how the genre has evolved and how he and Lipsitz keep Top Chef cooking.
DEADLINE: So Dan, what do you think the current state of Reality TV is?
DAN CUTFORTH: I think it’s interesting how hard it is to break through with a great, new show now, and I think this is something that’s been true probably for the last, maybe, three to five years. I think when you look at the current state of reality TV, at least on the mainstream level, the shows that tend to be more successful have been around for a while. It’s difficult today to show the audience something they haven’t seen before, and I think that’s what tends to be the … Read More »
Bravo Media has picked up a 12th season of Emmy and James Beard Award-winning Top Chef. Casting for the culinary competition series begins February 18 in Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. The Season 11 finale airs on February 5. Top Chef is produced by Magical Elves, with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz executive producing.
Bravo Media has greenlit a new culinary competition series Top Chef Extreme (working title) pitting former Top Chef franchise competitors from past seasons against one another. Top Chef Extreme will premiere in summer 2014. In each episode of the newest extension of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning franchise, two of the most talked-about personalities from Top Chef and Top Chef Masters’ past seasons will face off head-to-head in three rounds of extreme culinary challenges. Top Chef Extreme is produced by Magical Elves for Bravo, with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as executive producers. Bravo is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal.
Following the success of La Voz Kids, the Spanish-language version of NBC’s The Voice, Telemundo Media is hoping for another hit with Top Chef: Estrellas (Top Chef Stars), a Spanish-language version of Bravo‘s culinary competition series Top Chef set to air next season. Hosted by novela star Aylin Mujica (Corazón Valiente, Aurora), the new original version will feature eight Hispanic celebrities competing for the Top Chef title and $100,000 to be given out to charities of their choice. The celebrities will be featured cooking their favorite dishes under the guidance and coaching of professional chefs. They’ll participate in weekly competitions and use different “tools” in their preparations to impress the celebrity chefs and survive the competition. Latina chef and TV host Lorena Garcia will host alongside Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu. Telemundo is hoping to build on the huge success of La Voz Kids. On June 2, La Voz Kids was watched by 2.42 million viewers with an audience of 1.225 million in the adults 18-49 demographic — up 43% in total viewership and 40% in the key demo from its May 5 debut. Unlike its NBC parent, La Voz Kids focuses on children between 7-14 as they compete for a recording contract and a cash prize for their education. Telemundo and Bravo are both owned by NBCUniversal.
Bravo has renewed its flagship series, the Emmy-winning Top Chef, for an 11th season. Casting begins next week. Top Chef is produced by Magical Elves, with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz executive producing.
Bravo has renewed its Emmy-winning culinary competition series Top Chef for a 10th season. The network is launching open casting calls starting February 21. Veteran Top Chef is hosted by Padma Lakshmi and produced by Magical Elves. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz executive produce.
EXCLUSIVE: Talk about awkward mealtimes. Award winning chef, restaurateur, TV personality, and cookbook author Tom Colicchio has exited CAA for WME’s East Coast Television and Lifestyle & Branding Group head Jon Rosen. The Top Chef host and producer has owned and operated the pricey restaurant Craft Los Angeles which has served as the agency’s virtual commissary in the CAA building since 2007. It was CAA who encouraged Tom to open in the Century City location in the first place. And there is hidden access to the restaurant: CAA agents have a special route to come from their offices to Craft without going outside. I’ve confirmed that CAA had one of its patented ‘save meetings’ and thought they’d kept Colicchio in the fold. But after no follow-up, Tom left - hoping to build an empire along the lines of Rachel Ray’s. Colicchio, who just finished judging Bravo’s 9th season of Top Chef, last year co-hosted a charity fundraiser with CAA’s Bryan Lourd at Craft (see photo). Oh well…
The founder of private equity firm Forstmann Little died today of complications from brain cancer. He was 71. Forstmann was best known as a critic of junk bonds who lost the 1989 bidding war with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for Nabisco chronicled in the book Barbarians At The Gate: The Fall Of RJR Nabisco. But Forstmann also was active in media. He bought Ziff-Davis Publishing in 1994 and turned it around. He also bought IMG, a management firm that handles athletes including Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Other media investments included Citadel Broadcasting and Topps. In 1995 the National Academy of Popular Music gave him its Patron of the Arts Award. Media execs flocked to Forstmann’s annual conferences in Aspen, which attracted world leaders including Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The billionaire also was well known for his personal life which included relationships with Princess Diana and Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi. The end of his life was marred by a power struggle with longtime friend Michael Ovitz over IMG.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program race.
American Idol (Fox)
FremantleMedia North America w/ 19 TV Ltd
Why It Was Nominated: They can’t very well not nominate the show. It’s now been cited nine times in succession — and is still searching for its first win. American Idol has altered the primetime landscape as television’s top-rated show for the past decade. And this year’s edition with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler — and without Simon Cowell — defied predictions of doom to enjoy a comeback of sorts. It landed 10 noms this time, its most ever.
Why It Has To Win: “We have our best chance ever this year,” believes executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. “If we don’t win it this time, we probably never will.” Quite possible indeed. Idol enjoyed a banner season replete with heavy new injections of publicity thanks to the new judges, who acquitted themselves better than expected. The competition from The Amazing Race and last year’s victor Top Chef isn’t so stiff that it’s likely to keep Idol from finally taking the big prize after eight years of trying in vain.
Why It Can’t Possibly Win: The prevailing wisdom this time is that unfortunately Idol has made the same mistake again — that is, submitting the season finale for consideration. The problem is that there’s no “competition” element in there in a category that has competition in the title. Oops. It’s got Beyonce and Lady Gaga, but then, what doesn’t? This is the same formula that’s failed eight straight times with voters, and perhaps it’s destined to remain forever thus. Read More »