January 07, 2013 1:52pm PT by Michael O'Connell
E! Orders Ryan Lochte Reality Series, Culinary Foray 'Playing With Fire'
It was inevitable. Ryan Lochte, one of the most talked-about athletes from last year's London Olympics, has secured a reality show.
What Would Ryan Lochte Do? will premiere on E! in April, the network announced Monday during the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
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“Ryan Lochte captured everyone's attention at the Summer Olympics with his athletic prowess and his utterly unique and unaffected approach to life," said E! Entertainment president Suzanne Kolb. "He is an incredibly endearing personality who is sexy, entertaining and fun. Watching this show, I believe people will fall into three categories: They want to be him, sleep with him or mother him.”
The six-episode freshman season comes from Intuitive Entertainment (Millionaire Matchmaker), with Mechelle Collins and Kevin Dill serving as EPs alongside Wright Entertainment and Sports' Erika Wright. It will follow Lochte around Gainesville, Fla., where he trains, goes out and continues to add to his collection of more than 150 pairs of sneakers.
E! also announced its first culinary series Monday with the addition. The unscripted of Playing with Fire, which aims to look inside New York's booming foodie scene, follows hostess and author Anna Boiardi, "tastemakers" Daniel and Derek Koch, pastry chef Julie Elkind and chef and author Candice Kumai.
“We’re excited to provide E! viewers with this unique new perspective on New York’s world-famous food culture and the charismatic, driven individuals who thrive in it,” Kolb said. “Playing With Fire embodies a world in which a combination of talent, ambition, a lot of charm and a little gamesmanship are needed to reach the ultimate goal: long-term success in a high-stakes industry."
The series, which started production in the fall, also will include guest appearances from Jennifer Esposito and Todd English. It hails from Atlas Media Corp. and EP Bruce David Klein. The six-episode run is slated to begin airing this April.
The pickups come three days after Lisa Berger resigned as president of programming at E!