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Ready for the Next Food Network Star?

I know, this is the board for Top Chef and the one that isn't greatly enamoured of the Food Network in general. That said, what do you think of the prospects of this year's Next Food Network Star program? I'm asking this now as the first show premiere's tomorrow, Sunday, night.

For me, well, recently on my blog I put up a two-minute preview video and a list of the bios. And then i wrote about how, despite what's happened in the past seasons, this year's really looks like it might finally kick into high gear. I base this on what I've seen so far including bios that are the most heavy of any of the previous years with a combination of cooking experience and/or some kind of media experience.

Let's put it this way. We all love our cooks to be chefs and our chefs to be the best. That said, look at couple of the visiting judges on Top Chef this year. Koren Grieveson was boring as hell. Rick Tramonto was referred to on this board the other day as either "Mr. Excitement" or a bit of an ass -- either way you can you would never ever want to work for the guy, you can tell just by looking.

So just being a star chef doesn't mean riveting television. I would want neither of them doing a food show that's for sure. And they're just the tip of the iceberg. So it takes kitchen skills and a certain personality too to be on television successfully which NFNS targets on..

So are you going to give this season of NFNS a chance? And how do you think it will do?

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  1. Considering the track record of the past winners it should be titled, "the Next Food Network Flop".

    16 Replies
    1. re: Antilope

      well, i'm not his biggest fan (in fact he makes me cringe) but with his ads running EVERYWHERE for fridays and all and my parents who don't watch food network recognizing him, i don't think you can call guy fieri a flop. a fab tv chef maybe not but he certainly has become a recognizable personality and that's all they're after, isn't it?

      1. re: AMFM

        There have been 3 "Food Network Stars". Guy is the exception in being a success. The other two winners are never heard from. That's a failure rate of 66% so far.

        1. re: Antilope

          In show biz 30% is a pretty good return.

          1. re: jlafler

            batting .333 is great in baseball too.

            1. re: AMFM

              Good for Food Network. But as a viewer, watching 2 out of the 3 years of the "Next Food Network Star" has been a waste of time.

              1. re: Antilope

                oh agreed! :) watched tonight though. nothing much else on in that time slot so... but certainly wouldn't make a point to.

          2. re: Antilope

            Guy the "golden boy" should ask for a new clause in his contract. He's the only reason people may tune into this show. ME? I watched the first episode...won't be watching anymore.

            1. re: Antilope

              Guy's a success? Jesus, they gotta get someone standing by with a comb to get the disgusting crumbs and grease out of his beard.

              If he's a chef, I'm a week-old baby with exceptional typing skills.

              1. re: Pete Oldtown

                What a cute baby! Wait is that a five o' clock shadow?

                1. re: Pete Oldtown

                  He never said he is a chef, but he has a lot of cooking experience. I find him quite entertaining and enjoy watching his shows, especially Diners, Drive ins, and Dives.

            2. re: Antilope

              I never saw the Gourmet Next Door (and never heard anything good about it), but foodnetwork.com has some "where are they now" info on previous competitors. Amy says FN offered her more shows, but she didn't want to pursue the life of a TV personality -- focus on the family, and distance herself from the less than generous criticisms online.

              1. re: momjamin

                wtf? Why compete if you don't want the prize?

                1. re: coney with everything

                  It could just be that in the process of producing the show and dealing with the viewer response, she soured on the whole thing. Or it could be a polite fiction.

                  1. re: coney with everything

                    Wasn't there an article or something on CH, way back when she won, that her husband didn't approve of her doing the show or even being in the competition.

                  2. re: momjamin

                    Maybe it wasn't all that was promised.

                    1. re: momjamin

                      She also kept trying to quit throughout the competition and had several break downs.

                  3. I think NFNS gets it backwards. To your point Harry, yes, some personality does make the show entertaining, but in the case of the NFNS, they are letting the tail wag the dog. Its ALL ABOUT personality. This is not to say that some of the people they have on can't cook circles around me, but they are supposed to be better than the average schmuck, lots better than the average schmuck.

                    One other thing about this show is that I expect the contestants to do outrageous things, much like the TC contestants do, but the judges are extremely, overly melodramatic. That is not what I care to see. The show should not be about them, it should be about the contestants.

                    Latly, whoever that white haired guy is, the VP of talent for the Food Network, really bugs the crap out of me, even more than katie Lee Joel did. And they keep showing him saying :"this is going to change your lives." dramatic pause, " forever!" Uh, take a chill pill schmuck.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      Three schmucks from Phaedrus. 'Nuf said. ;-)

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        Yes, the VP of talent for the Food Network (don't know his name) is the reason I hesitate to watch the show. He, himself, is not a TV talent and should take a back role on screen. I find him really annoying as well.

                        I am glad to hear that they offered Amy (the last winner) some other shows. All this time I held it against the Food Network thinking that they didn't support her as the winner.

                        I will admit that I'm really curious, and since there's nothing on TV now that the network season has ended, perhaps I'll give in to my curiosity and watch it.

                        Meryl
                        http://mylittleworldoffood.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: puppymomma

                          somehow i don't buy the fn/amy story about why no new shows. i think it was: "your show stinks. we can't save it. bye-bye!"

                          1. re: puppymomma

                            Well, I watched the first episode and completely regretted it. I am erasing the second. Maybe I'll just read a book or something.

                            The contestants were less than mediocre and I can't believe the poor cooking that was "covered up" with a bubbly personality and passed off as acceptable. How dare they!

                            Meryl
                            http://mylittleworldoffood.blogspot.com/

                        2. I'm doing my best to pretend I have no opinion here and am the bastion of middle-of-the-roadness (yes I said that) ... .but you guys keep making me laugh.

                          Oh, let's try this ... what could FN do to make this show better? What would you advise?

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: HarryK

                            Harry - I just don't think it's the show - it's the entire network.

                            They *used* to be good to many of us; now they've just dumbed the entire network down to the lowest common denominator. Yes - I'm fully aware that it's all about the dollar - we are, after all, a capitalistic society. Yet there's still a way to make a buck and teach people how to cook vs. put a frighteningly wax-like Marc Summers up there in all his Madame Tussaud's glory and tell us how candy, doughnuts, or whatever is made.

                            It's the "personality" aspect that they focus on vs. people/chefs who can actually cook and have something to show that's *different*. That's what bugs me. It isn't gonna change. The bulldog marketing people have their claws into the network, and once hooked, they will not let go.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Do you think it's time for a competing network to emerge?

                              1. re: HarryK

                                Possibly - but that's what PBS is doing - taking the real chefs and putting them on Saturday afternoon, mostly. For me, that timing just doesn't work (and I don't have TiVO or a DVR set up, so I can't tape and watch later).

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Just to show how long certain phrases live on w/ the march of technology, you mention tivo/dvr but use the phrase "can't tape" :).

                                  1. re: jgg13

                                    LOL! I realized that. But AFTER my 45 minutes was up and I couldn't change the post. I was hoping no one would notice. <vbg>

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Eh, no worries. I still say it too - just one of those things that I find amusing. Of course now that I'm on the spot, I can't think of another example.

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        Saying when an "album release" is going to be vs. a CD release. I still say that one, too. :-)

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          It will always be an album. How else am I going to separate the seeds...

                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                            Exactly. I like that seed "food reference" there, Phaedrus. ;-)

                                    2. re: jgg13

                                      Hey, I still "dial" a phone number. To talk about food, Chowhound Moderators! So don't delete me!

                                      1. re: jlafler

                                        man, are we whipped or what?! lmao

                              2. re: HarryK

                                If they are sincere about finding a real live host, they need to have the following:

                                1) Someone who has a great background in the history and the science of cooking.

                                2) Someone who is more than competent in the kitchen, something beyond a good home cook, but a great home cook or someone who is at least almost a professional. They will react calmly and knowledgeably to any and all disasters that may happen. And not make any beginner faux pas when speaking about cooking.

                                3) Some one who has a clue about hosting, someone who can act natural and multitask with ease.

                                4) Some sense of self awareness and sense of humor.

                                So NFNS really does not put them through any kind of paces which tests any of those qualities. They are too busy making people do what they think a reality show competition should be doing, which is abuse the hell out of them, have haughty judges be really catty to them while making the contestants sleep deprived to make better TV.

                                Its almost like TC, except TC is supposed to be more about the food and not about the hosting abilities. NFNS isn't all that about hosting OR the cooking, they are all about drama and personalities. Which does not serve them well in the kitchen or the TV studio.

                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                  I think you're right about the reality-tv aspect of it, which poisons whatever practical value the whole exercise might have. And the basic fallacy of "reality" shows is to assume that manufactured drama is...dramatic. I've never enjoyed humiliation drama/humor, which is mostly what reality tv seems to consist of.

                                  Watching seasons two and three of the show has taught me a lot about FN, possibly including things they didn't particularly want me to learn. Season 2 taught me a lot about how tv is made -- I found it really interesting. Season 3 left a bad taste in my mouth, especially regarding the business with Jag, who, while undeniably a jerk and a liar, was also rather interesting to watch (imo) and clearly the only technically skilled cook in the group. Next Iron Chef (about which I will say no more, since it would cause the Chowhound moderators to delete this post, and not for being off-topic) put the nail in the coffin.

                                  1. re: jlafler

                                    Wow, I hated the Next Iron Chef. That judge from Bon Appetite magazine was trying to outdo Simon Cowell, just being so cruel to everyone. Like as if he could cook his way out of a paper bag. He seems alright as a judge on Iron Chef but I absolutely despise him now, because of that show.

                                2. re: HarryK

                                  get cooks/chefs of a higher caliber

                                  no one right out of culinary school, no caterers, no cafeteria chefs

                                  I wouldn't want to eat the food from most of these people, so having said that, they probably shouldn't be hosting their own cooking show

                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                    Ah, the "cafeteria chef" seemed to have the best flavors this episode and the "fine dining restauranter" almost got sent home... interesting. Just goes to show ya that you don't have to be a chef in a fancy restaurant to produce good food. I love chowhound but lets just say most of us would get water up our nose when it rains...

                                  2. re: HarryK

                                    "I'm doing my best to pretend I have no opinion."

                                    You came across as an FN PR person/cheerleader.

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      Nope, just a conversation starter, Withnail42

                                      If you were to see my site you'd read where I've ripped FN a new (ahem) orafice on several occasions.

                                      1. re: HarryK

                                        My mistake.

                                        Did have a look at the website. Quite good lots of interesting stuff!

                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                          Appreicate the kind words. Thank you!

                                  3. I'm really curious if they learned anything from the disaster of the last one. The preview are not promising.

                                    1. I just ran across this review, which makes it seem as if they might have learned a bit from last season.

                                      http://allyourtv.com/0809season/nextf...

                                      I was disappointed in last season, but when you look at it, hitting it out of the park one out of three times is a pretty solid batting average. And given the amount of success Guy Fieri has had, the Food Network could easily write off the other two seasons to experience.

                                      I don't shre some people's knee-jerk dislike of anything Food Network. I'm willing to give the new season a chance, and see what happens.