July 27, 2008 08:42 PM by Lisa Stauber
The Next Food Network Star will be declared tonight, and even though Food Network leaked the winner, it should still be a good show! Last week the judges could not decide on who to eliminate, and decided to let all three finalists compete in the finale.
Planning the Pilot
Lisa Garza, Adam Gertler, and Aaron McCargo, Jr. head to New York for the final challenge. They’ll be making a pilot of their proposed show, using Rachel Ray’s set. A live audience and the selection committee will be deciding their fate.
The producer Eliot gives them some time to come up with a pitch. Lisa decides to pull out all the stops and arrives with a cartful of props. Her first pitch is Beautiful Basics, using her fine arts background, and a couple of others that Eliot immediately dismisses.
Aaron’s pitch pushes the “wow in your mouth”. He also wants to address leftovers, herbs, and spices. Eliot decides to name Aaron’s show “Big Daddy’s House.”
Adam wants to reach out via the Internet, asking for recipes and making his version. Eliot likes the idea of cyber-imrov-cooking, and Adam likes that it is something they are not already doing at the network.
Shooting the Show
Lisa starts her “Beautiful Basics” show a little slowly, and doesn’t get through everything in the time allotted. She gets hyper focused again, and starts getting too intense. Practice makes perfect, and she delivers a strong finish.
Adam has a computer in his kitchen for his show, “Hungry in Philadelphia”. He interacts with a “viewer” live, on a webcam. He’s going to solve her roasted chicken blues. His recipe has a lot of steps, and his viewer starts giving him the third degree about his ingredients and techniques.
Aaron is the last to film. “He looks like a deer in the headlights,” producer Eliot says backstage. He’s nervous and uses up take after take. The last take shows he’s a star, though, and it all comes together for him. “We got a good show,” Eliot tells him.
Screening the Shows
The pilots are being aired, live, in front of 100 studio audience members as well as Bob Tuschman, Susie Fogelson, and Bobby Flay. The previously eliminated finalists are on hand, as well.
“Beautiful Basics” screens well, and Lisa sprinkles personal stories throughout. “You’re so multifaceted,” Susie says. “There’s so much market with you.”
“Hungry in Philadelphia” makes a beer can chicken look fun and simple, and he does a nice job of chatting with the webcam. “You have an ease in front of the camera,that others would envy,” Bob tells him.
“Big Daddy’s House” is big, bold, and fun. He doesn’t seem nervous or awkward at all, and Aaron’s happy. “This was the Aaron we love,” Bob says. “Congrats!”
“Watching these three pilots, I felt we got the right three people,” Bob says. They like Adam and his humor. Aaron put the judges at ease with his confidence. “He’s got this explosiveness,” Bobby says. Lisa is knowledgeable, and Bobby loves to watch her.
“The question is, to me,” Bob says, “who can start tomorrow working on a show?”
Aaron McCargo, Jr. is the winner, and his new show Big Daddy’s House will be on air next week!
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