Top Chef’s agreement with Texas released, reveals what Texans paid $600,000 for

The Top Chef Texas “brand integration agreement” between Mission Productions, AKA Magical Elves, and the state of Texas has been released, and the production company apparently won’t sue the state of Texas, which said it had to release the document to the media.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that producers “did an about-face and released it” because “Mission Productions feels more comfortable that the agreement will not spoil any of the show’s surprises.” Bravo publicist Tory Brody told the paper, “They didn’t want anything to come out that might possible [sic] ruin anything for the viewers.” All of this started after it was revealed that producers asked cities to pay to be featured.

The 11-page brand integration agreement outlines what Texas gets for its $600,000, and it’s both revealing and entertaining. The agreement includes locations and people the show will include, and details how Texas can advertise its participation in the series. Most interesting to me was the fact that the agremeent explicitly required Bravo to name the season Top Chef Texas: “The word ‘Texas’ will be added by the Network to the Series title in promotional materials.”

The agreement also says that the producers will “make good faith efforts to ensure that Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and the Series contestants will not appear on camera participating in underage drinking, illegal gambling or illegal drug use.”

Producers can also not “portray the state of Texas … in a manner that would constitute actionable defamation” and “shall not include any explicit negative statements specifically about the state of Texas,” although it is okay if contestants make defamatory comments about how awful the cement-covered state of Texas is and how all of its residents are greedy, incestuous hillbillies.

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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.