NBC’s Celebrity Cooking Showdown starts tonight, bumping The Apprentice 5 off the schedule

Nine celebrities pair off with three celebrity chefs this week on NBC’s Celebrity Cooking Showdown, which debuts tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Perhaps the biggest news here is that NBC is bumping its previously untouchable Apprentice to air this competition in the post-Deal or No Deal timeslot. This explains last week’s double episode; Donald Trump apparently returns next week.

NBC’s new mini-reality series borrows parts of Iron Chef’s format. Each night, three pairs of chefs and celebs will prepare a meal in real-time, and then present it for tasting to a panel of judges. Viewers will help vote for one winner each night, and those celebrities will advance to Thursday’s competition. The show is produced by Reville and Sean “Diddy” Combs. It’s also sponsored heavily by Country Crock.

Among the celebrities who will appear this week are There and Back‘s Ashley Parker Angel and Growing Pains’ Alan Thicke. Tonight, according to NBC, “Wolfgang Puck teams up with popular model, producer, and actress, Cindy Margolis”; “Cat Cora and professional football player, Tony Gonzalez team up”; and “Govind Armstrong pairs up with the award winning actress, Alison Sweeney of NBC’s Days of our Lives.” And tomorrow night, we’ll learn about comma usage and the definition of “celebrity.”

Celebrity Cooking Showdown [NBC]