Top Chef Masters dumps its format, judges and will become like Top Chef

For its third season, Bravo’s Top Chef Masters is dropping its format and modeling itself after its parent. And besides firing host Kelly Choi and replacing her with Curtis Stone, the show is dropping all its judges (Gael Greene, Jay Rayner, and Gail Simmons) except one, James Oseland, and replacing the others with food critic Ruth Reichl.

Bravo’s announcement also included the identities of the 12 contestants, and said that they “will no longer be judged on a scale, but in elimination style challenges just as the tried and true format of the original,” so “money will be at stake, with the winners of every quickfire challenge winning $5,000 and elimination challenges winning $10,000 for their designated charities.”

I’m disappointed that the show is dropping numerical scoring, which made the elimination decisions–if not the judging itself–far more objective than subjective. However, I really like that all the chefs will stick around until they’re eliminated; the previous format meant that some of the best characters would disappear after one episode. I’d guess this format is now possible because the success of the series makes it a worthwhile investment of time for high-profile chefs.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.