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`Cooking' leftovers get reheated

NBC pulls low-rated `Celebrity Cooking Showdown,' puts it online, then reconsiders.

April 22, 2006|Lisa de Moraes | Washington Post

NBC's five-night experiment in prime-time speed cooking, "Celebrity Cooking Showdown," has shriveled like an over-toasted marshmallow.

Curdled like badly blended hollandaise.

Collapsed like an underdone souffle.

In the competition, celebs including Patti LaBelle, Tom Arnold, Big Kenny, Cindy Margolis and Ashley Parker Angel cooked up a storm in front of a studio audience with help from celeb chefs such as Wolfgang Puck.

On Thursday night, viewers were going to select a winner from among three finalists and the results were to have been announced Friday night.

But early Thursday afternoon, the network made the decision to pull that night's episode as well as Friday night's and move them over to NBC.com.

This after ruminating for a bit on Wednesday night's numbers. Those numbers, although better than Tuesday night's -- when "CCS" turned to liquid jello against the might of "American Idol" -- were still as stinky as last week's tuna tartare.

Specifically, "CCS" opened with more than 8 million viewers Monday, plunged to around 3 million Tuesday and crawled back up to about 5 million Wednesday.

With the online production, viewers would vote for their favorites online and the winner would be announced online.

But at some point NBC changed course again and announced that Thursday night's online presentation of Episode 4 would be repeated at 8 tonight on NBC -- in what may be the first time a broadcast network has repurposed a webcast. But tonight, viewers can't vote, because voting closes Friday and the finale will have been taped already. At 9 tonight, NBC will broadcast the finale, in which the winner is announced.

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