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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 04/17/2006

Does Celebrity-Made Food Taste Better?

By Liz Kelly

Another Monday, another post about my Monday evening TV aspirations.

Last week, you might recall I had high hopes for TLC's new reality show "Honey, We're Killing the Kids." The series' right-minded goal to re-educate Americans about the perils of convenience food sounded promising. I'm all for positive reinforcement when it comes to eating well and TLC's had some reality wins in the past with shows like "Little People, Big World" and "Miami Ink."

The reality didn't live up to the hype. I wasn't able to get through an entire episode. Show host and nutritionist Dr. Lisa Hark came off as wooden and preachy, the computer morphs of the kids were repeated far too many times and the game show-ish set where the parents were confronted was just too reminiscent of "The Swan" or even "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

What's worse, the diet changes struck me at too drastic, too quick. Having a family go from pizza delivery to tofu in one night is just cruel. Why not start with healthier, homemade versions of their favorites -- like pizza with veggies or burgers on whole wheat buns with a side of spinach?

Well, we tried.

Seafood or C-list? Tom Arnold (AP Photo/Rene Macura)

Tonight I start afresh with high hopes for NBC's newest foray into celeb-reality: "Celebrity Cooking Showdown."

The show pits three chef/celebrity teams against each other in an "Iron Chef"-like competition to create a gourmet meal in 50 minutes. Each night, Monday through Wednesday, nine different celebrities will cycle through the kitchen. Thursday the top three will face off in the final test. Then on Friday the chefs compete in what seems to be some kind of bonus we-are-the-real-chefs round.

The upside: Seeing Alan Thicke, Patti LaBelle and Tom Arnold attempt to cook. The downside: The show is on five nights in a row, so the heavy time investment may compete with pre-existing loyalties to other shows.

By Liz Kelly  | April 17, 2006; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  TV  
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I don't wish to be churlish, and I realize that you were trained by Gene, but... your own personal TV-watching aspirations aren't really on-point in a blog focused on "Celebrities." I mean, this one is more a propos than last Monday's, because of the topic of the show you've selected itself, BUT - that's why you got no comments on your tv plans last week. They have nothing to do withthe topic of your blog.

Posted by: Anon | April 17, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Meal or No Meal...Tell the truth - the networks haven't had an original idea for entertainment in so long that they forgot all the rejected ideas of the past and now embrace them like a red-stater embraces intelligent design...Sad, very sad...

Posted by: David | April 17, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Anon! "CELEBRITY Cooking Showdown"?

Seems like enough of a tie-in to the blog's theme to me.

Posted by: John | April 17, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

you should know that patti labelle is considered an accomplished cook. i'm not making this up.

Posted by: awads | April 17, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Calm down, John - that's exactly why I specifically said "this one is more a propos than last Monday's, because of the topic of the show you've selected itself..."

However, this blog is focused on Celebrities themselves via posting and discussion of 'news' items - and not "what Liz plans to watch on TV this week." A little focus goes a long way, or else this new experiment will be just "What's on Liz's mind today" on slow news days, which isn't what the Post's blog experiment is all about: one topic, one person. For TV highlights, we already have Shales' columns and Moraes' column - and her blog, already.

Posted by: Anon | April 17, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I am more interested in hearing what Liz is thinking about than learning about Brad Pitt's new haircut.

Posted by: I Want to Hear from Liz | April 17, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Downside? Outrageous rip-off of Iron Chef...and nowhere near as good.

Upside? Cat Cora...enough said.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2006 6:41 AM | Report abuse

What in the heck happened with this dopey show? In L.A. we saw it for three nights. Then it disappeared, only to resurface on Saturday night with the last two episodes shown back to back. The first of these gave phone numbers to call in order to vote. The second noted that voting was over and proceeded to announce the winner. (Had there ever been any doubt as to who that would be?)

Oh-- and was it a little strange that two of the participants weren't even present?
Surely everyone knew that the beauty queen had another gig before they scheduled the filming. Chef Cora might have been in hiding over the fajita fiasco that resulted in her protege nearly slicing off a finger to produce a rather mundane menu.

To top it all off, when we tried the number given to vote, we reached a recorded promo for a porn site!

Posted by: Anita | April 23, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The creativity in Hollywood has gone the way of the Bush administration. When too many people, who think the same way are given the same choices, the same results occur. Like the Bushies, one begins to wonder exactly how many times do execs leave the ivory towers to see how and what the average Joes and Jills want? Sadly, the days of persons of natural talent being discovered or original ideas being allowed to flourish has been replaced by slick marketing campaigns and slogans and niche market ideas.

Today's biggest Hollywood problem is its execs guessing what makes people tick to whom they have never met. Simple storylines in plots like the Beverly Hillbillies, Sanford & Son, Mayberry RFD, the Virginian and others worked because the people were allowed to be people. One only has to look at the mess served up today, and even those who like on Saved By the Bell, who are suppose to be unrich--well, look rich. Heck, in fact, with today's shows being a more reflection of Hollywood itself, it is no wonder the Bushies can't understand the needs of the people. If the people in fantasyland can't get things right who can? Shows like M*A*S*H, Cheers and All in the Family worked because the characters were being everyday folks who had flaws and quirks and feelings. The audience could in other words relate to them, their situations, their joys and their pains. Emrill's cooking show is one of the few that seems to be in this vein. He seems like a guy who you wouldn't mind talking to over a brie. However, the mindset of those who seem to drop their gems of inspiration are dry and without substance--J. Garvin for example may be a wonderful cook, but, his homeboy routine is tiring and played-out, similar to that clown Stuart Scott on ESPN who seems to think he invented street slang.

But alas, there is always gardening and watering the lawn--the two things which has cured ills in my family for years.

Posted by: Vince | April 24, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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