Revamped “Food Network Star” Begins Taping 8th Season
Food Network is giving its most successful series a total makeover. This season Food Network Star will greatly resemble other reality cooking shows like Worst Cooks in America and Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-off with established cheflebrities taking on mentoring rolls over three teams of wannabe TV chefs none of whom are named Stuart Reb Donald. I know. What’s the point of even having the show, right?
From a Food Network Press Release:
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis Joined by Alton Brown as Series Regular
NEW YORK – January 23, 2012 –Food Network Star returns to New York City as production begins on the eighth season of the long-running hit series, scheduled to premiere on May 13th, 2012. The revised format brings returning favorites Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis from behind the judges table to square off with new regular Alton Brown in a three-way team competition to find the next Food Network Star. Bobby, Giada and Alton, all television producers in addition to being culinary superstars, lead the charge to find and develop the new talent with each hand-selecting a team of five finalists, who they will produce and mentor through the ‘Star’ experience to find one winner who possesses personality and culinary chops. In another fresh twist to the series, the viewing audience will vote before the finale to determine who will receive the ultimate prize: their own Food Network show, to be produced by their ‘Star’ team leader.
In the new format, each episode will begin with a team “Star Challenge” and the two losing teams must then send a member to the bottom two. During the “Producer’s Challenge,” the bottom two contestants each shoot a segment with their ‘Star’ producer to be presented to the selection committee in the “pitch room.” Returning judges Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson decide who stays and who goes, along with a roster of guest judges scheduled to join.
Last year’s season of Star set new precedents in seediness with contestants who never really stood a chance of winning but were clearly chosen just to create drama. It made the show uncomfortable to watch and by far the worst season in the history of the series. Perhaps that is what has lead to the total overhaul in format.
At the same time, there were bright spots in last year’s cast like the graceful and charming Jyll Everman, the bubbly Orchid Paulmeier and Whitney Chen who proved equally deft in the kitchen and on camera. Eventual winner Jeff Mauro’s show debuted to great ratings and then disappeared but don’t fret, season two of The Sandwich King is currently in production.
Currently only three of the previous winning FNS shows are still on the air. Here’s a quick review of the first seven FNS winners:
- Party Time with the Hearty Boys got six episodes then was canceled. Was brought back for 13 episodes and then canceled again.
- Guy’s Big Bite is still in production after 120 plus episodes.
- The Gourmet Next Door got six episodes then was canceled. Reportedly Food Network offered host Amy Finley 13 more episodes but she declined and moved to another country.
- Big Daddy’s House despite atrocious ratings lasted five seasons before being canned this past fall.
- Ten Dollar Dinners has to date produced more than 30 episodes over four seasons. New episodes continue to air on Sundays while older episodes joined the M-F daytime line-up last September. The move to the daily line-up is a strong sign that Food Network plans to many more episodes of Ten Dollar Dinners.
- Aarti’s Party produced 28 episodes over three seasons. The ratings were pretty good but Food Network has moved it to the Cooking Channel in re-runs only. Aarti has a new show in the works with season five winner Melissa D’Arabian.
- The Sandwich King premiered to great reviews and a second season is currently in production.