NBC’s United Plates of America’s prize called “biggest ever”: a restaurant chain

NBC has announced a new series that will award what it calls “arguably the biggest prize in reality show history,” which is “a new restaurant chain in four cities across America.” United Plates of America is a competition judged “by a panel of real investors who fund the chain of restaurants with their own money,” according to an NBC press release.

Exactly how the show will work is somewhat ambiguous, but NBC says “the investors will put the chosen few through rigorous challenges to discover whose plan has the greatest potential for success.” It sounds like a combination of Shark Tank and Chopping Block.

While NBC hasn’t had much success with new reality show concepts recently, never mind cooking shows (The Chopping Block was pulled off the air), there is good news: The producers are Magical Elves, who produce Top Chef for NBC’s sibling network Bravo.

NBC Announces New Competition Series ‘United Plates of America’… [NBC press release]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.