'Chef' returns to kitchen for Season 3

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Bravo has ordered a third season of its culinary competition series "Top Chef."

In other cable news, Court TV is developing a new show from Nash Entertainment titled "Most Dangerous," which will be part of the network's R.E.D. (Real. Exciting. Dramatic.) lineup.

Bravo said Tuesday that it will kick off its nationwide casting call for Season 3 this month with cook-offs in Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and San Francisco. The third season is set to debut later this year.

The second season of Bravo's "Top Chef," which features host Padma Lakshmi and judge Tom Colicchio, is averaging 1.2 million total viewers season-to-date (eight episodes), up 56% from the first season. Season 2 continues at 10 tonight with a special 70-minute edition featuring guest appearances by Ted Allen (Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"), Debi Mazar (HBO's "Entourage") and chef Robert Ivan.

"The second season of 'Top Chef' has outperformed even our highest expectations both in ratings and the quality of this nonfictional competitive drama," Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick said.

Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves, the Emmy-nominated producers of Bravo's "Project Runway," will return as executive producers for the third season of "Top Chef," along with executive producer Shauna Minoprio.

Meanwhile, Court TV's "Most Dangerous" follows on the heels of the network's launch of "Most Shocking," a co-production with Nash that spotlights the most outrageous crimes ever caught on video. "Most Dangerous" will tell the stories of officers who have survived extremely dangerous situations through actual footage of the events.

"Most Shocking" also airs during the R.E.D. lineup, which focuses on "action-packed" reality series and airs from 8-9 weeknights. Court TV said the block, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary, helped give the channel its best year ever in primetime, with total viewers for the time period up 16% over the same period in 2005 and the adults 18-49 delivery up 31% over the same period in 2005.

Other series in the rotating R.E.D. lineup include "Beach Patrol: San Diego," "Beach Patrol: Miami Beach," "Cops," "S.W.A.T. USA," "Hot Pursuit" and "World's Wildest." "Most Dangerous" joins the block this year.

"R.E.D. has not only given us great growth in all key demos but has proven to be a great platform leading into our more story-driven fare following R.E.D.," said Marc Juris, general manager, programming and marketing, at Court TV.
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