Padma slams Top Chef product integration (“shit”), Phil Keoghan regrets family Amazing Race; Gordon Ramsay wants aftercare

Randy Jackson, Gordon Ramsay, Tom Bergeron, Phil Keoghan, Heidi Klum, and Padma Lakshmi had a completely fascinating hour-long discussion about reality TV with The Hollywood Reporter. The full video is below, but highlights include Top Chef‘s host calling its product placement “shit” and The Amazing Race‘s host dissing the family season. Highlights from their conversation:

  • Phil Keoghan said of The Amazing Race 8: “I wish we hadn’t done the family version of Amazing Race, but I’m proud that we tried it. It didn’t work, and it came back to the whole thing of having to eliminate kids.” Don’t forget about the part where the show basically ignored everything that had been great up until that point, primarily the challenges of international travel.
  • Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi slammed Top Chef‘s product placement, and totally won me over: “I have to make that shit sound natural, and it’s hard,” she said about her lines that have to incorporate brand names. She points out that the serie is “a very expensive show” but to keep it in business, Padma “gets kind of most, I don’t want to say saddled or slammed with the crappy part of it.” She said more, too.
  • Padma also commented about the disgraceful hazing of Marcel Vigneron, saying, “I don’t know if I wish it hadn’t aired, but I certainly wish it hadn’t happened. … it got very ugly, and we did stop it. The person who actually did the holding down regretted it terribly and paid the price because we did air it.”
  • Fox’s reality superstar Gordon Ramsay thinks there should be more aftercare for reality TV cast members, perhaps similar to what a show like Hoarders provided to its cast: “I think there should be more aftercare. We leave them with a prescription, but I personally would like to see a stronger follow-through.”
  • Ramsay also referenced the now-famous Amy’s Baking Company episode of Kitchen Nightmares, saying the decision to cancel the episode came “on the back of three months of research, and it’s a proper program, and I’ve put my hand up and admitted, ‘You are too far gone, stop faking it.'”
  • Phil Keoghan may have not liked eliminating kids on The Amazing Race, but Ramsay said that on the upcoming Junior Masterchef, parents were the real problem:”Their parents are up on the balcony, and they are literally pointing, ‘I told you inside that layer cake is where you put the f–ing raspberries.'”
  • Randy Jackson, of course, consistently provides the least insight, but laughably said that American Idol‘s product placement was “the most seamless integration. Nobody cares if it’s a Coke cup or a Ford car because it’s the singing and it’s synonymous with the show now. So it has actually worked out quite well, but in the beginning, we got made fun of a lot with the Coke cups.” Um, Randy? People mocking it means it wasn’t seamless!
  • Tom Bergeron admitted: “I’m a bit of a ratings whore, frankly.”
  • Phil Keoghan lamented that the truly great reality shows–and yes, despite my giving it shit for its decline, I’d absolutely include The Amazing Race in that category–get lumped in with the crap. “It does frustrate me sometimes that people will immediately think of the train-wreck shows that are big, big, big, and then they’re gone the next season,” he said.
  • Heidi Klum is really annoyed by whiners: “I’m like, ‘Really? You stood in a line to be part of this, now you’re here, and you’re tired? Really? Go home and be tired. You’re here.'”
  • Phil Keoghan trusts the safety of The Amazing Race‘s challenges but says, “The thing I worry about is when they’re just doing something ordinary like ending up in a taxicab in India. There is a potential for something to go wrong because it’s not something that we can control.”
  • Padma was not amused when a pilot realized she was on board a flight: “The pilot on the American Airlines flight coming here was like, ‘I have to tell you, please pack your knives and go.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve never heard that one before.'”
  • Each person was asked what reality show they like to watch, and their answers were fascinating: Padma Lakshmi, Hoarders; Gordon Ramsay, Deadliest Catch; Randy Jackson, Duck Dynasty; Heidi Klum, Wipeout; Tom Bergeron, C-SPAN.
  • 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.