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ABC's "The Chew" has too many cooks crammed into its party kitchen

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ABC's "The Chew" has too many cooks crammed into its party kitchen

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In regards to ABC's brand-new daytime chat show, "The Chew," there are so many food-based jokes that I could do here. I could start by saying the first episode (which premiered yesterday afternoon) was both half-baked and overdone. With the end result being that "The Chew" left kind of a bad taste in your mouth.

But that said, it's important to recognize that this was the very first episode of "The Chew." Or - as Clinton Kelly, the defacto host described yesterday's program - " ... the first day of the biggest food show launch in the history of daytime television." So perhaps it's a bit early to be passing judgment on this program. Especially since - over the next few weeks -- execs at ABC Daytime will undoubtedly be experimenting with "The Chew" 's recipe.

Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly chats with Mario Batali from his
live remote at the Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ. Copyright American
Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

I do have one suggestion to make, though: That Network execs immediately limit this show's hosts' expresso intake just prior to airtime. Given how rapidly all five of "The Chew" 's hosts were talking yesterday (more importantly, how often they were speaking right on top of one another), it was often hard to understand to what these people were saying. Let alone decipher some of the recipes that they were racing through.

Speaking of which ... Why exactly does "The Chew" need 5 hosts? I mean, I get that "The Chew" is supposed to be the food-centric version of ABC Daytime's hugely successful "The View." And since that chat show stars legendary newswoman Barbara Walters and her four feisty co-hosts ... Well, ABC Daytime obviously wanted to replica that formula as closely as possible when it came to "The Chew."

This past Friday, "The View" paid tribute to "All My Children," the long-running ABC soap
that "The Chew" will be replacing by inviting members of the cast to come by and share
their favorite memories of this show. (L to R) Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck,
Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Rebecca Budig, Alicia Minshow and Vincent Irizarry.
Photo by Lou Rocco. Copyright American Broadcasting
Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

The only problem with doing that is ... "The Chew" (in its current incarnation, anyway) doesn't have a Barbara Walters to serve as this show's center. All this new ABC Daytime program has going for it right now is a virtually interchangeable quintet of reality television stars.

Seriously. This is how this group was described in the two - count 'em, two -- introductory sequences that "The Chew" 's first episode had:

Clinton Kelly helps Carla Hall cook up one of her rescued recipes, Fried Apple Pancake
Rings.  Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

And then when you factor in that ABC Daytime was trying to give each of "The Chew" 's hosts the chance to be on the spotlight on this new chat show's premiere episode ... Well, that's four in-studio cooking sequences that they had to do. PLUS a live remote in New Jersey that they had to keep cutting away to. PLUS several of the hosts' parents in the audience to introduce. PLUS a surprise drop-by by Daphne's Dad, Doctor Oz (Yes, that Doctor Oz). PLUS then there were all of these sample dishes that had to be schlepped across the studio for tasting by audience members. It was just an awful lot of material to try & cram into a single hour of live television.

Michael Symon serves samples of his Pork & Beans Supreme to "The Chew" 's studio
audience. Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

Which is why yesterday's premiere of "The Chew" ... Well, it felt extremely hurried. Like one of those cooking segments that they present on "Good Morning America" during the last 15 minutes of the show. You know the ones I'm talking about, right? When that morning news show's producers don't really have enough time to properly present a cooking segment (at least in a way that the viewer can actually understand what's going on). But because this segment had already been scheduled & promoted (more importantly, because this show's support staff have already done the necessary prep work), "Good Morning America" 's producers just ram this cooking segment through anyway -- full steam ahead. With the end result being this kind of frantic piece of television which isn't much fun for the viewer or the hosts.

Well, that's what the entire hour of the first episode of "The Chew" felt like. Like one long hurried cooking sequence on a morning news show, where the hosts were constantly trying to cram in all of these heavily focus-grouped factoids (EX: In a pretty ham-handed attempt to make "The Chew" seem instantly relevant, tie this supposedly hip, fun new cooking show in with Americans' current concerns about the economy ... As every recipe was completed and plated yesterday, the hosts would then immediately chime in with how much each meal cost per person per serving). Which is why watching this cooking show with its far-too-many hosts and way-too-many segments left this viewer feeling kind of queasy.

Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson, the host of
BBC's popular "Two Fat Ladies" cooking program.
Copyright 2011 BBC. All rights reserved

Don't get me wrong. "The Chew" does have some decent ingredients. And some of the recipes that were showcased yesterday did indeed look very tempting (I'm actually going to try and make Carla Hall's Fried Apple Pancake  Rings for breakfast tomorrow. Wish me luck). But as of right now, "The Chew" really does have way too many cooks crammed into its party kitchen. I mean, five hosts? Seriously? When you look back over the history of truly successful television cooking shows (EX: "The French Chef," "The Galloping Gourmet," "Two Fat Ladies" and "The Rachel Ray Show"), the most popular programs were built around one, maybe two personalities.

Which makes me wonder: Would it maybe be possible for ABC Daytime to get "The Chew" 's producer Gordon Elliott out from behind his off-screen announcer desk and up on stage? Maybe this Emmy Award-winner (who used to host his own syndicated talk show before Elliot eventually wound up at the executive producer of many of Paula Deen's cooking programs) is actually the ingredient that this new ABC Daytime chat show is currently missing. An actual show business veteran who knows how to properly introduce a new segment. Make sure that everyone gets their moment in the sun. More importantly, keep conversation following naturally.

"The Chew" executive producer Gordon Elliott. Photo
by Rick Rowell. Copyright American Broadcasting
Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

Because between Mario Batali's awkward live remote (which - to be fair - had more to do with behind-the-scenes tech issues rather than anything Mario did or didn't do) and Clinton Kelly's hyper-active attempt at hosting to poor Daphne Oz being upstaged by her famous father (At one point, Dr. Oz actually held up a bowl of blueberries and said "Can you see these berries? Can you what color they are? That was the color Daphne was when she was born. She had the (umbilical) cord stuck around her neck and ..." At this point, Daphne interrupted her Dad and said "I'm trying to make friends. That is not the way to make friends") ... "The Chew" didn't get off to all that great a start yesterday.

But like I said, this was the very first episode of ABC Daytime's newest chat show. So here's hoping that - in the weeks ahead - execs at the Alphabet Network make some necessary adjustments to this program's recipe. Which will then make "The Chew" a whole lot easier to swallow.

Doctor Oz drops by help his daughter Daphne prepare her famous superfood breakfast
as Clinton Kelly looks on. Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved

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  • bring back All My Children, this show gave me a migraine headache

  • WAYY too many people crammed into each shot.  Also the name "The Chew" is an awful idea, and lacks creativity. All the hosts really do look like they have been taking double shots of espresso during each commercial break. It's just, in a world with so much stimulus already, a clusterf**** of nervousness (and then 2-minute long commercial breaks) is the last thing humans need! ::sigh:: SIMPLIFY!!!  Can't believe I'm even trying to help ABC out....I hate all of their shows. I guess this show just pisses me off so much. I'm home sick, on the couch, and have only 10 channels. 2 of them are showing the Olympics, then there is a jesus channel, a local channel, and then THE CHEW....I just can't take it anymore! Louie is the only thing worth watching these days. The Chew....faceplam

  • I never had such a hard time trying to find yeterdays fried chichen, found EVERYTHING but  the chicken

  • This review was written back in 2011.... and how ridiculous you must feel now with the Emmy's given to this show as well as the changes over time has brought this show in the right track.  Of course you are going to have a bunch of nervousness coming out of the shute...but once you get the nooks and cranies filled in, it all comes together classy and fun!.  I love this show and have been watching since day one.  They have so gotten it together professionally and the recipes are quick and easy... I especially love Michael Symon..

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