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.

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.

Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.