Friday, June 18, 2010

Lost it's Mojo?

Has Top Chef lost it's Mojo? The ratings numbers for their premiere for season 7 seem to point in that direction. Lisa de Moraes, the Washington Post's most excellent reporter on all things TV, spilled the ratings bad news this morning. Only a million eight tuned in for Top Chef DC's first episode, the lowest rated premiere since Top Chef started. What's worse is that it looks like a trend. Top Chef Vegas premiered at 2.6 million, down from Top Chef New York's 2.7 million. For a show that lives and dies on it's ad revenue, that's a trend worse than another pile of foam on your plate. The question is what will the producers finally do to inject some much needed seasoning into this pale pile of dreck.

17 comments:

Buzz Kill said...

I actually liked the first episode and the quickfire and elimination challenges. Granted the first show is always tough because of the 17 cheftestants and I get dizzy from all of their 5 second interviews. They seem to be a more seasoned (read older) group and I think we'll see some good cooking. But all-in-all a descent show.

As far as mojo and ratings. I think adding Eric Ripert over Toby Young could only take the ratings up. Bravo didn't seem to do much advertising for the first show. I know it snuck up on me.

And finally, the choice of Washington. With an election coming up in November and DC not really being a foodie town, I think a lot of people are put off by it. And the stuff happening in the gulf (although unforseen) can't be helping either. People are tired of Washington and then they preview Pelosi and God knows who else. They could have gone to Boston, Atlanta, Dallas or St. Louis.

So far, I think the mojo is still there (yeah baby) but the lower ratings are not surprising. I'm looking forward to more of your write ups. Amuse Biatch seems to be out of the picture, so you're all we have. Bwahahaha

froggy said...

Seattle!
Eldest Son found one of the top chef masters waiting at his bar the other day. The guy with the hat? He had come in for take out. Told him that was a good reflection on their food! Said he was a nice fellow and put up with all their fan guy activity, son and the manager.

Too bad they couldn't have pulled in the First Lady like the Food Network did.

Big Shamu said...

I think Buzz is damning me with faint praise...

As for the city they shoot in, it doesn't matter. Did it matter for Chicago or NY? Not really, not anymore than shooting TC Masters in LA. It's just background material. A catered steam tray event is the same if shot in a museum in Chicago or a museum in DC. Top Chef's problems are much larger than the what city they shoot in.

histrogeek said...

In order to really spice up the ratings, one of the contestants should stab Tom during his walk-through. Anything to shut his ass up.

Big Shamu said...

While I know your tongue is firmly planted in your cheek, Histro, we don't condone violent comments, even in jest.

moi said...

The show is based on a formula, formulas get old. After a while, television producers should just know when to let things die.

But maybe Buzz is on to something about the locale of the show, at least in terms of encouraging more interaction between the chefs and the city they're actually working in. Something more creative than just having the White House chef show up to guide a challenge or filming Pelosi flapping her yap. Ain't no way that women sustains herself on anything but human blood.

I also beg to differ about D.C. not being a food town; at least if we're going to include Georgetown in that. Had some of my most memorable restaurant meals there . . .

Big Shamu said...

I meant to touch on that too Moi, Washington has always been a foodie town way before it was cool. You just don't have that many people from all over the world and looking for good things to eat not to develop into a fantastic food town. Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Eastern Market and I'm not even touching on the surrounding suburbs like Alexandria, Bethesda and Arlington. That's just the inner ring. Don't forget that Jean-Louis Palladin had his great restaurant at the Watergate and hired some young chefs (at the time) you may of heard of...Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud, and Christian Delouvrier. If Alice Waters was the Mother of the Fresh, Local and Best Ingredients, Jean-Louis certainly could be nominated as the East Coast Father of the same movement.

DebbyT said...

I actually forgot that the show had been moved to 9PM, turned on my TV at 9:55 and ran screaming before I caught the winner! Stayed up an extra 2 hours to catch the 11PM rerun.
Maybe it was dorks like me who lowered the ratings...

Big Shamu said...

Nope DebbyT, you're the viewer they crave. Appointment TV or in Top Chef world, Reservation TV. I just think a lot less people are making the reservation.

intuitive eggplant said...

One way to boost ratings: Ruth Reichl (who's kind of available now that Gourmet closed) on same episode as Tony Bourdain. And the reveal of whoever's behind the Ruth Bourdain mash-up. The food and cheftestants would probably be quickly forgotten, but it would be ratings gold.

Big Shamu said...

I still think Ruth would be better on Masters but either one would make me happy.

Buzz Kill said...

What I meant to say was that Washington is not as well known for food as say Seattle or Boston. When I think of Washington, I think of politics, I think of crime - I think of political crime. But that's probably just me. I'm still going to watch if I can remember the time change.

Boxer said...

I think Buzz might be right about people being tired of DC and politics. Do I want/care to see Pelosi? No. Moi is also correct about a formula show getting to Season 7 and beginning to show its age. Project Runway felt the same way this past season. I watched the Next Artist show last night and you could plug in Food, clothes or art and it's all the same.

Big Shamu said...

Top Chef started showing it's age long before this season.

Boxer said...

It's easier for me. I didn't start watching until Season 5.

lou said...

Long-time lurker here.

The political "stars" were definitely not a draw for me, whether Pelosi or Scarborough. So maybe that played a role.

But Bourdain is back, yay!

And Buzz, DC is most definitely a foodie town. 60 minutes even had a profile of one of our biggies, Jose Andres, a couple of weeks ago.

There's also Michel Richard, Eric Ziebold, Johnny Monis, and a host of others. The ethnic food isn't as concentrated as a Chicago, New York or Boston, but there are great enclaves of ethnic eating scattered throughout the Beltway. Within DC, it's Ethiopian or soul food. I was very disappointed that Bourdain didn't discover Miz Charlotte's Crabcakes in a scary, gritty, urban section of DC.

So they better have a competition involving half-smokes, crab cakes (or soul food) or injera bread is all I gotta say.

Big Shamu said...

Amen to the half-smokes and crab cakes Lou. DC is where I had my first Ethiopian food and it was delicious.

Don't be such a stranger Lou.