Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Jun 4, 2011 10:28 AM

I don't get it......

I watched a rerun of TNFNS with both Tom and Aartie as finalists. Aartie won yet Tom also has his own show. How did that happen? Did they like him THAT much?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That seems to happen a lot. Runner up Jeffrey Saad now has a show. Also the runner up a season or two earlier - the funny guy - he got a show, too. I'm guessing they want to retain the viewership.

    1. I suspect that the food network knows that cooking shows are less likely to be successful than vaguely food related variety shows and picked Aartie as the 'winner' and Tom as the 'runner up' with that in mind. So yeah, they were probably thinking of a show with him even as he lost, and quite possibly more invested in his success than in Aartie's.

      15 Replies
      1. re: cowboyardee

        They need to fill air time with relatively cheap hosts and variations on worn out concepts--Saad going around the country eating cheesesteaks! bbq!pizza!. Fisica eats grossly! It almost doesn't matter--these shows are gone a in year or 2, and new rookies move in to take their place.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            According to IMDb, Outrageous Foods is produced by Page Productions, better known for

            . FN is the distributor, but not the producer.

            NFNS is from Eye Two Productions. They don't seem to be involved in any other FN programs. One of the producers for NFNS was producer in 2006 for Top Chef. Another has Swamp People in his credits.

            I think it's a mistake to think of FN as a monolithic, highly coordinated organization. Behind the scenes there are all these production companies, as well as highly mobile professionals. The 'stars' are only the face we see, not the ones who do most of the work.

            1. re: paulj

              What you're saying, Paul, is that Tom could have been hired by one of the other production companies, not the NFNS one.

              1. re: mucho gordo


                Aarti Party is a FN production, as is Guy's Big Bite (yet his DDD is not).

                It's more widely known that Good Eats is not a FN producton. Gordon Elliot's Follow Productions has Paula and the Nealys. Marc Summers does things like xxx Impossible.

                1. re: paulj

                  FN is trying to take DDD from Page productions since it is so popular. They have pulled Fieri from working with them. Initially FN had tossed Fieri at Page Productions so that they can do something with him. Now that it is successful, they want it back in-house.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Oh Gordon I thought well of you at one point but Paula And the Nealys really has me questioning your judgement.

                2. re: paulj

                  That's a good point, but I think it would be just as much of a mistake to think of Food Network producers as entirely autonomous, unrelated individuals who exert no influence on each other and barely interact. There's nothing stopping one producer or production company from expressing interest in a 'personality' from another's show and even influencing its outcome. And regardless of the interaction between producers, they ar estill subject to review, revision, and editorial input from network execs. Ask Anthony Bourdain. Given how quickly after TNFNS Tom had a show planned, I think it was likely he was already in talks during production or post-production.

                  I mean, I'm not one of those conspiracy theorists (for example, I actually think Top Chef is pretty straight as a competition). But TNFNS? Whoever wins does so because it makes for the best TV. Doesn't necessarily mean they're the most bankable personality on their own show.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    6th season of NFNS aired from June to Aug 2010. Aarti's show aired right after that. Tom's new gig was announced in August as well, with Outrageous airing in November.

                    So there is time for the Outrageous people to have seen Tom in action either during the regular airing of NFNS or during some previews. It does not follow that they influenced the outcome of the NFNS competition.

                    1. re: paulj

                      "It does not follow that they influenced the outcome of the NFNS competition."


                      I never said it did. Just that it is plausible.

                      Realistically, announcing Tom's new gig in August means that they were in talks before that. Do you really think they noticed his potential, engaged in talks, pitched the show, signed him, worked out the kinks, and announced it all in a matter of a few weeks? Do you imagine them sitting at home in front of their TV, no more enlightened as to who wins and who is runner-up than the rest of us viewers?

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        When was season 6 filmed? According to Tom
                        he auditioned in July 2009. I imagine that all the taping and editing was done before the episode was show in June 2010.

                        It is plausible that the Outrageous people noticed Tom when the series started to air in June, and started their quires then. But as industry insiders they could have had access to preview events.

                3. re: cowboyardee

                  Is that Aartie show still on the air?

                  1. re: chicgail

                    Yes, she is now filming the third season. Love how they do that in less than a year since she was announced the winner.

                    1. re: jlhinwa

                      The FN doesn't seem to advertise her show very aggressively though. Or not nearly as much as Tom's. Could be wrong - I don't watch all that much FN. But that's the way it seems to me.

                      1. re: jlhinwa

                        It's easy when they only make six episodes at a time!


                    is an interview with Tom that gives some idea of how he came to be the host for this show. I think of show like TNFNS as a screen test for all the contestants. He was offered the job because people working on the show thought he would do a good job (based on what they saw on NFNS), not as reward for being runner up.

                    1. On a sidenote, I've never watched a single episode of Aartie's show, because I never see it on. What's her food like? (I didn't really follow her season of TNFNS, so I'm not sure.) Do they even show it anymore?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sugarflowers

                        Looking on the FN website, I found that they produced about 6 episodes in 'season 1', another 13 in 'season 2', and now list 5 for 'season 3'. They were last shown ll:30 am Sundays, and next scheduled for 9:30 am Sundays in July. Recipes are on line.

                        1. re: paulj

                          Thank you so much! I'll be on the look-out.

                      2. There can only be one winner in a contest, but the food network runs programming 24/7 (and now they have another station to fill too). There's plenty of room for new food network shows - and who knows which 'host' will REALLY pan out in the long run and who's just a one-trick pony. They need entertaining hosts for all of those non-kitchen-based shows that they keep on making, not necessarily gourmet chefs who can pull off a live demonstration in real-time. I'm sure they have a file of every person who ever applied for the show, and if they think somebody is promising for something else they want to do they'll pull it out.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Kajikit

                          Exactly. I have little doubt that FN is choosing the winner based on who they think deserves to win -- I don't know why they would pick a winner who was not most likely to be a FN star -- but each year has one or two or 3 other compelling (or mildly not objectionable ;-) characters. For ex, Aaron McCargo won season 4, but Adam and Kelsey have hung around (Kelsey actually finished 4th, not 3rd), and Adam is actually the most compelling of the group IMO.

                          1. re: LurkerDan

                            "I don't know why they would pick a winner who was not most likely to be a FN star."
                            The winner is obligated to host a hastily thrown together cooking show, while the runner up has gotten just as much exposure but is free to host a variety style show that seems more likely to be successful on today's FN. I don't know whether the FN intentionally capitalizes on this and picks the winner and second place finisher with this in mind, or if they just let the cards just fall as they may - but it seems to be a minor advantage to finish second place on TNFNS rather than winning it.

                            Guy Fieri is the big success story of that show. But he was early on, before this advantage became obvious (first season?), and even in his case it wasn't until DDD that he really seemed to take off as a big draw for the network..

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              The winner is *guaranteed* a show, one that they developed over the course of the season (in theory), so it has some connection to the viewers. Finishing as a finalist doesn't necessarily mean you get anything; I would strongly disagree that it is a minor advantage to be a runner up. Even if we start with season 4 since you say Guy was early on (and nobody from season 3 went anywhere), I haven't seen Herb or Lisa Garza with a show, Jeffrey Saad I guess got one but I don't see his face on TV, and certainly not as much as Melissa. Adam Gertler is about even with Aaron IMO, and that one you could see coming, Aaron may have won but Adam was clearly going to get some media exposure, he had a lot of charm. Also can't be surprised that Kelsey got some TV time, but again, nowhere close to what Aaron got. About the only one where a runner up has seen more exposure than the winner is Tom and Aarti (And I think that is just because Tom translates better to the evening crowd). And not every finalist has received a TV show or significant exposure.

                              Winning is most definitely the better option.

                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                "Finishing as a finalist doesn't necessarily mean you get anything; I would strongly disagree that it is a minor advantage to be a runner up."


                                If you made it to the final two and have made so little impression that the network is uninterested in giving you a spin-off (as it has for all recent second place finishers), you don't stand a chance to be a successful TV host whether you win or not. Your performance and charisma over the course of the season is what gets you in the door, not final placement in the show.

                                So we're gonna assume you're compelling enough to justify having a show - otherwise your TV career is doomed regardless of whether you win or not. Once you've got a foot in the door, what ensures success in a TV career is a proven record with a show that brings in viewers. And you're more likely to hit upon that with a variety type food show. You have more freedom, more license for creativity, more time. Likewise, what damages your chances (even if you're a compelling personality) is flop, a proven record of not bringing in viewers. The quick launch, low budget cooking shows the winners have been getting have nearly guaranteed that their food TV careers will stall out.

                                So, yeah, I'll stick with my assessment. Unless hosting a low-ratings, under-budgeted niche cooking show for a couple years before slipping back into obscurity is your end goal.

                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  Yes it really likes pro sports" Aarti or whoever comes up from the minors, maybe a as a star down in, say, Peoria, up to the bigs for a few years. For one or two years, and then out.