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December 20, 2014

Magical Elves

NBC cooks up a new food reality show with a big prize

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 19th 2009 2:30PM
nbc_logo_colorOkay, take the idea of Shark Tank (or Dragon's Den if you're a BBC America fan), mix it with the Top Chef folks, offer a great grand prize and hope for the best. That's the recipe behind NBC's new food competition show, United Plates of America. The network is turning to the Magical Elves from Top Chef -- no, seriously, that's the production company's name -- to succeed in the food field where NBC has flopped in the past. Remember The Chopping Block? Remember Rocco DiSpirito's The Restaurant? NBC has more luck with the dieters on The Biggest Loser.

This go-round is not about a single restaurant. It's about a chain of restaurants. To me, that's a questionable goal. Most successful chains start off with one great restaurant and then take off. This concept is go big or go home. Maybe it's more complicated, but it doesn't sound that way.

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Food Network plotting a Top Chef rip-off

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 7th 2008 9:02AM
FoodnetFood Network is either creating a new reality food competition program that sounds remarkably like a miniature version of Top Chef or this is the biggest coincidence in the world of cable television. Food Network has put out a casting notice that calls for professional chefs who are interested in testing their skills in the kitchen against other chefs by having their food judged on taste, creativity and presentation by experts.

They're looking for four contestants; each week one will be eliminated till a winner remains. The winner will then be -- wait for it -- top food maker. No, that part I made up. They're not saying what the winner will be called or even what the best chef will win. The details aren't spelled out in the casting notice.

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Project Runway gets new producers for Lifetime

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 29th 2008 5:16PM
Tim Gunn and Heidi - ProjectA couple of months ago, I interviewed Lifetime president of entertainment Susanne Daniels for TV Week, asking her about Project Runway jumping from Bravo to her network.

"We know for certain that Heidi (Klum) and Tim (Gunn) are returning. We would love to see the judges back, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia...but we're working on that," she said.

She went on to say that the show will look and feel very much like it did on Bravo; it will be airing in the same time slot, the same day of the week. And she secured Kors and Garcia, so the four important Project Runway principals all will be in place.

Now comes word that in an effort to keep Project Runway as much a hit on Lifetime as it's been on Bravo, Lifetime is bringing in the veteran production team Bunim-Murray to take over as showrunners.

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Project Runway creators staying at NBC

by Brad Trechak, posted May 6th 2008 10:38AM
Dan Cutforth and Jane LipsitzWhile Project Runway may be switching to Lifetime next year, the creators of the show are staying put. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz have given first look to any new projects of theirs to NBC Universal. As a result, the duo had a choice of either going to Lifetime or staying with NBC.

Last year, the Weinstein Company made a deal with Lifetime for $150 million to broadcast five years of the hit reality show. Culforth and Lipsitz, whose production company is called Magical Elves, acknowledged the tough choice they had to make.

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