March 25, 2006 11:22 AM by Joe Blackmon
NBC’s "Celebrity Cooking Showdown," from Reveille and Sean "Diddy" Combs, has revealed its celebrity participants in the week-long cooking competition series premiering April 17-21 (8-9 p.m. ET) and has announced the series will be hosted by television favorite Alan Thicke ("Growing Pains") and celebrity cook/author Sandra Lee (Food Network’s "Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee").
Celebrity participants facing off in the kitchen include: supermodel Naomi Campbell, Allison Sweeney (NBC’s "Days of our Lives"), Big Kenny (country music’s superstar duo, Big and Rich), comedic actor Tom Arnold ("True Lies"), football star Tony Gonzales (Kansas City Chiefs), rapper/actor Ja Rule ("Assault on Precinct 13"), professional volleyball player/model Gabrielle Reese, musician/reality star Ashley Parker Angel (MTV’s "There and Back") and the reigning Miss USA 2005 Chelsea Cooley.
Event planner Colin Cowie ("Everyday Elegance") and New York magazine restaurant critic Gael Greene have also been named as in-studio judges. Previously announced celebrity chefs include world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, Cat Cora (Food Network’s "Iron Chef America") and Govind Armstrong (executive chef/owner, Table 8, Los Angeles).
"Our superstars represent a great cross section of our multicultural country and share every American’s passion for food and cooking," said executive producer and Reveille CEO Ben Silverman. "That passion combined with a cooking competition will be great television. Turn on your TV’s and start your ovens!"
"We’re going to have a wide spectrum of cooking challenges to match the skills of our stars," added executive producer Combs. "People love seeing celebrities under pressure — and with this show, if you can’t stand the heat, you better get out of our kitchen."
Probably best known for his role as America’s favorite dad Mr. Seaver on "Growing Pains," Emmy-nominated actor Thicke has since become an author, producer, composer, television host, film star, and comic among other roles. Thicke has hosted numerous specials over his career including everything from the "Emmy Awards" to the "Miss Universe" and "Miss USA" pageants to "TV’s Funniest Families."
Sandra Lee is an internationally-acclaimed lifestyle professional, New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade(c) Inc. — a multimedia corporation focusing on quick and easy solutions for everyday living conveyed through television, books, magazines, internet and branded products. Her top selling books spawned a successful Food Network television series "Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee."
Considered the premiere lifestyle expert to the stars, Cowie shot to celebrity status after being one of Oprah’s regular contributors for food, fashion, travel, entertaining and interior design. Cowie’s company, Colin Cowie Lifestyle is a full service event planning, interior design and consulting company in New York and Los Angeles. He has also written several books and hosts the popular cable series "Everyday Elegance."
Greene is a longtime restaurant critic for New York magazine and a national best-selling author. Most recently Greene published her memoir "Insatiable: Tales of a Life of Delicious Excess." Greene has had an influential career in the nation’s dining capital over the last 30 years and people everywhere have discovered her unique and passionate take on food and love.
"Celebrity Cooking Showdown" will match three celebrity chefs (Puck, Cora, Armstrong) to train side-by-side with nine celebrities. After one-on-one coaching and a culinary "boot camp," competition will play out in real time in front of a live studio audience as the stars race against the clock in this adrenaline-filled event to complete their world-class meal.
The chefs will train their assigned stars providing culinary tips and secrets to prepare their meal for the final presentation. As the audience cheers for their favorites, the chefs and celebrities must work together — a simple timing mistake, a forgotten ingredient, or a dropped plate could mean the difference between victory or defeat.
The format of each night’s show will evolve as the week progresses. On Monday-Wednesday (April 17-19), three different celebrities will compete each night. On Thursday, April 20, the three winners from each night will advance to don aprons for the final cook-off. Viewers will then have the chance to vote via phone and online based solely on presentation. Meanwhile, the in-studio judges (Cowie and Greene) will be responsible for matters of taste.
On the week’s final episode on Friday, April 21, the results will be in, the winner declared and the audience will get to see the professional chefs in action. Then the tables will be turned in the "Chef’s Challenge," while choice unseen moments from the week’s competition are revealed.
"Celebrity Cooking Showdown" is executive produced by Reveille CEO Ben Silverman ("The Biggest Loser," "The Office"), David A. Hurwitz ("Fear Factor," "The Man Show") and Sean "Diddy" Combs (MTV’s "Make the Band," "Run’s House," HBO’s "Bad Boys of Comedy"). The series is a Reveille production in association with Combs’ Bad Boy Entertainment.