Next Iron Chef going all-stars; Chopped will leave its studio; Margaret Cho hosts dinner parties

Food Network announced a bunch of new and returning shows for the next year, including confirming changes to Food Network Star (the show is adding mentors and tribes) and revealing that season four of Next Iron Chef will be an all-star season, bringing back previous contestants of the same series. That makes sense, because its contestants are pretty high-caliber chefs, and it’s not as easy to find full casts for a new season.

Also, the network is taking Chopped on the road to Arizona for a competition between 16 “grilling professionals” that will happen “in an old Western town,” and giving Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay more shows that don’t yet have official titles. Anne’s debuts in June, and sounds pretty much like a remake of Chef Hunter, as Anne will “[put] four candidates through the toughest job interview of their lives,” with one getting a job with the restaurant at the end. In July, Bobby Flay will take on restaurant makeovers, but the twist is that happens before they’ve opened for business.

Among the other new series are Undercover Critics, on which Alex Guarnaschelli, Troy Johnson, and Simon Majumdar eat at restaurants while filming with hidden cameras, and then let the owners try to fix the problems before they review the restaurant, and Blind Dinner Party, on which Margaret Cho hosts dinner parties with seven people “who come from completely different backgrounds, beliefs and views on everything.”

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.