March 12, 2013 10:19am PT by Michael O'Connell
NBC Orders Culinary Competition 'Food Fighters' From Electus
NBC is making another play for culinary TV. The network said Tuesday that it has picked up Food Fighters, a reality competition from Electus.
The series pits amateur cooks against six professional chefs, with Travel Channel personality Adam Richman (Man v. Food, Amazing Eats) hosting and overseeing the kitchen sparring.
"Food Fighters combines compelling competition and game show fun with a delicious twist -- giving everyday home cooks a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete with world-class chefs," said NBC alternative and late-night programming president Paul Telegdy. "Every true home cook has at least one 'signature dish,' -- the peach cobbler, the lasagna, that appetizer that friends beg you to bring to parties. This is a show that puts those recipes to the ultimate test and rewards the passion Americans bring to their home kitchens every day."
Amateurs and pros will face off individually, each offering their take on the home cook's signature dish. A blind taste test judged by a panel of culinary judges will determine the winner of each challenge. The series also will help ease the amateur's handicap with three "lifelines" offered to them while they cook.
Food Fighters comes to NBC from Tim Puntillo, whose production company Mannahatta was acquired by Electus in 2012.
“We are very proud to partner with NBC on the first show that Electus has taken to market with Tim Puntillo," said Electus chairman and founder Ben Silverman. "We look forward to bringing audiences and food enthusiasts a unique series that breathes new life into the culinary competition genre. Food Fighters is an incredible new format with broad franchise appeal."
Up until now, broadcast network food programming largely has belonged to Fox with its Gordon Ramsay empire (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, MasterChef, Hotel Hell). In fact, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter late last summer, Telegdy acknowledged how "great" Ramsay was, noting: "It's very hard to go after the competitive cooking space because you've got someone who's arguably a complete category killer in the space."
NBC's most recent culinary effort was in 2011 with America's Next Great Restaurant, which aired for one season. ABC recently made a play with Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson on The Taste, though the series' ratings have waned in recent weeks.