Lifeskool Italian thing for Schirripa


Steven Schirripa has found his next post-"Sopranos" project. The actor and author of "The Goomba Diet" is hosting a new cooking-themed series on Rainbow Media's free on-demand network Lifeskool.

"Steve Schirripa's Hungry," which marks Schirripa's return to television after his "Sopranos" character was whacked in one of the show's final episodes this year, will feature Schirripa giving viewers a crash course in Italian-American lifestyle, starting with the food. The New York native will take viewers on a tour of his favorite restaurants, chefs, pastry shops, cheese stores and butcher shops in the city.

Each episode also will consist of a cooking lesson, along with Schirripa interviewing friends, celebrities and chefs about Italian-American culture and lifestyle and conducting man-on-the-street interviews. The nine-episode series is set to debut in December on Lifeskool, which features programs designed to inspire and inform viewers.

Schirripa also is executive producing with Joe Medeiros, head writer on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

Lifeskool GM Daniel Ronayne said the network approached Schirripa about doing a show after his books, which also include "A Goomba's Guide to Life," sparked interest among executives. He said Schirripa has been a "true collaborator" in developing the series.

"It's going to be a terrific show for us," Ronayne said. "It fits in perfect with our brand. It's all about helping people learn about things they're passionate about, and cooking is one of the areas we have a lot of success with."

Schirripa said that when Lifeskool approached him in the spring, he "didn't want to do any 'Goomba' stuff" but came up with an idea that took into account his appreciation of food, adding that on-demand viewing is perfect for a cooking show.

"It's going to be a mixture of comedy, history (of foods) and of course the cooking part and the stuff about lifestyle," Schirripa said. "I'm a regular guy, and this is regular food for the masses. Whether you're here in New York or in St. Louis or Ohio, you're going to relate to it."

In addition to playing Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri on HBO's "Sopranos," Schirripa hosts Spike TV's "Casino Cinema" and is a regular correspondent on "The Tonight Show." He also recently signed a development deal with Nickelodeon for an original TV movie based on his book "Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family" (HR 5/4). He is repped by APA and attorney Roger Haber.