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Thursday, June 5

TNFNS Premiere Does Well, Doesn't Beat Top Chef

While I'm sure the execs at Food Network and Scripps are jumping for joy over the 1.91 million viewers who tuned in to the season 4 premiere of The Next Food Network Star...

...Food Network was not able to beat the 2.26 million who watched the Top Chef premiere back in March.

Comparisons aside, TNFNS premiere last Sunday now becomes the most-watched series-opener in Food Network's 15 year history. Congrats!

(Interestingly, Mediaweek does not include Sandra Lee in its mentioning of the
"crème de la crème of Food Network’s on-air talent", despite appearing alongside the mentioned Iron Chef Morimoto, Giada Di [sic] Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Alton Brown in the premiere episode. Controversy!?!)

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At 6/05/2008 1:15 PM , Anonymous Caitlin said...

I never miss an episode of either show but we're really talking about apples and oranges. Food Network is primarily looking for television personalities rather than chefs. (And the amount of reverse snobbery that pervades FN on that score can be staggering). Contestants on "Top Chef" are evaluated according to leading restaurant/chef/culinary school standards, although the show is not above its fair share of sensationalist editing and related trauma-drama. And, let's face it, some of those Neilsen rating points can probably be attributed to Padma, who exhibits her own advantages on occasion - did anyone see her dancing in Puerto Rico on last night's episode?

Even Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen," which seems mostly to be a vehicle for Ramsay's creative cursing (which is much more creative on BBC's "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares") assumes chef standards when he grades contestants, although the general standard of those is closer to FN than "Top Chef." (I thought last season's pick on HK was a no brainder - Ramsay chose the only cook who could be relied upon not to set the kitchen on fire.)

That said, FN could do with less dumbing down in general. It never ceases to amaze me how much time and film FN is willing to devote to watching people open packages, even exclusing Sandra Lee, who is in a category all her own. On last Sunday's "Chic and Easy" Mary Nolan makes much out of taking the steak out its package (really? we're not going to grill it with the plastic on?). My favorite, however, is Ina's cocktail party in Paris, in which she serves items she has mostly bought in the market. We have a full ten seconds (with serene background music) of Ina unwrapping the pate, unwrapping the olives, unwrapping the cornichons....

At 6/05/2008 1:51 PM , Blogger Lys said...

I thought they would get high numbers with the amount of promo FN put into it. My question is what are the numbers going to be like next week...

At 6/05/2008 5:39 PM , Anonymous Alec Smart said...

Caitlin said what I wanted to say.

Top Chef is focused on skills sets while TNFNS is looking for a host for one of their factory shows.

Denigrating the profession of chef IMO. Well Done Tuschman.

You are such a knob.

At 6/05/2008 11:48 PM , Blogger John said...

What Caitlin and alec said. FN is dumbed down while the Bravo reality shows - the creative competition ones, that is (TC, PR, Step It Up and Dance, etc) - are all a bit more hard-edged. TNFNS seems to want to create the next Sandra Lee. Yuck! They'd be better served finding the next Duff Goldman and leaving it there!

At 6/06/2008 1:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell's Kitchen had at least one 13 million viewer episode this year. And several 10 million plus episodes.

I guess it's weird to cheer something that almost gets a whopping 2 million as the best you can do in 15 years. Wow, so lame!

At 6/06/2008 2:42 PM , Anonymous Alec Smart said...

In defence of TNFNS contestants and format (and TOP CHEF) contestants on Hell's Kitchen probably couldn't peel potatoes in a top notch kitchen.

What's the matter with you ? You think 13 million tune to watch Hell's Kitchen to see what type of Wellington is on the menu ?

You knucklehead. They tune in to see Gord Toad scream and yell and see if he can make anyone cry.

Hell's Kitchen participants are not chosen for their cooking prowess, they are chosen because they are cariciatures.


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