Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares will end, Gordon Ramsay announced today, following the conclusion of filming of its final season. That will make a total of 10 years, 12 seasons, and 123 episodes, he said.
While he didn’t give a specific reason, Ramsay wrote, “I’ve decided to stop making the show” and said “It’s been a blast but it’s time to call it a day.” The full letter is on his web site.
Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares debuted 10 years ago this April and not only made Gordon Ramsay into a TV star, which he acknowledges in his note, but it also created a subgenre of reality TV, with bombastic experts going in to fix failing businesses. So many networks have taken a strong reality TV personality and sent them in to fix, “fix,” or just wreck businesses that it’s almost a given now. Tomorrow night will be the debut of yet another: Abby’s Studio Rescue, featuring the obnoxious star of Lifetime’s Dance Moms.
If you’re a fan of any of those kinds of shows–and I have been, from CNBC’s hybrid The Profit to Bravo’s knock-off Tabatha Takes Over–I urge you to watch the UK version, to see what Fox did to the show.
You’ll see something remarkable: A calm but passionate Ramsay spending time with owners and chefs, finding problems and trying to help. When it came to Fox and dropped his name (and his narration), it went from a show that was actually about helping to a show that consisted of badly edited screaming and fight-picking, a trajectory that many of the knock-offs follow, too, if they don’t just start out with screaming.
I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be for Ramsay to film those kinds of episodes, going around and screaming the same things over and over again, being exasperated by totally predictable things. As I’ve said before, appear to me to just be about him pouring metaphoric gasoline all over hot spots the producers have previously found and/or set up. This rarely made for compelling TV, with some exceptions, such as the Amy’s Baking Co. episode, its embarrassing follow-up notwithstanding.
Fox just burned through season six of the show, airing two episodes a night over five weeks in April and May. Fox has so far declined to comment on Ramsay’s announcement, but he says he’ll continue his other shows, and right now he has two on Fox: Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef. Their version of Kitchen Nightmares won’t be missed.