Top Chef gets a 10th season to hopefully find its way out of its formulaic rut; Kitchen Nightmares renewed

Bravo has renewed Top Chef for a 10th season, despite the pretty disappointing season that’s currently airing. The 10th season is currently casting and will tape in May for broadcast later this year. In quasi-related food reality TV news, Fox’s Gordon Ramsay vehicle Kitchen Nightmares has been renewed for a fifth season.

As to Bravo’s show, it’s hard to believe that just a year ago one of its best seasons ever, Top Chef All-Stars, was airing, only to be followed by a dumbed-down Top Chef Masters, absurdly formulaic Top Chef Just Desserts, and a pretty weak Top Chef Texas that did manage to air one of the show’s best episodes ever.

In The Daily Beast yesterday, Jace Lacob detailed why the show “has never felt quite so irrelevant and predictable”, and points out that they’re rarely allowed to just cook.

That’s exactly it, and what made the Charlize Theron episode so awesome: each chef was able to create a one dish by themselves. That’s it. No phony team drama, no making 600 portions for 500 guests while standing in a swimming pool in 110-degree heat. Just showcasting their skills as a chef under intense pressure. Imagine that!

I think a lot of network executives and reality show producers are under the impression that a show must continue to top itself and get ever-crazier to keep viewers’ attention. Things do need to change, but good casting can solve most of that, and incremental changes to the formula can keep things fresh, as Survivor has proven, even with its occasional missteps. Stick to what you do best and viewers will show up and stick around.

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.