NBC Adapting Brit Kitchen Sitcom ‘Whites’ With Will Arnett

BBC Two-Whites-Screengrab-H 2018
BBC Two/YouTube

Are American viewers finally ready to expand their love of culinary programming from reality to scripted? NBC, Sony and Will Arnett’s Electric Avenue think there’s a chance — and are exploring a restaurant workplace comedy based on U.K. format Whites.

It's not a title that particularly seems ripe for adaptation, airing over just six episodes in 2010. But it earned better-than-average ratings for network BBC Two and managed to court some critics at the time. Per NBC, the new stab is “set in the high-paced and hilarious kitchen at a beautiful restaurant in upstate New York. Roland White, a disgraced wunderkind of the New York culinary scene, has spent the last three years here in exile, and things are complicated when the owner hires a new pastry chef, Emily, who is as gluten-free, farm to table and gender-neutral-pronoun-using as anyone on the planet.”

In addition to Arnett and original series creator Matt King, executive producers include Marc Forman, Peter Principato, Oliver Lansley and pilot writer Matt Tarses, most recently of ABC’s Alex, Inc.

Culinary programming is a huge arena in the U.S., from Food Network and Bravo’s Top Chef to Fox’s suite of Gordon Ramsay competitions and Netflix’s growing roster of high-brow docs, but a food-centric scripted show has yet to hit it big. Fox tried with Kitchen Confidential in 2005, a spin on the late Anthony Bourdain’s memoir of the same name, while CBS enjoyed some success with 2 Broke Girls (while technically not a food show, it was set in a diner).

Arnett and Tarses are both repped by WME. Arnett is also with Artists First.