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Foodie Tune-In Reminder: "Top Chef: Las Vegas" Premiere, "Top Chef Masters" Finale, New Episode of "F Word"

Tonight is more or less a perfect storm of food-oriented television programming for foodies. Just a quick reminder to tune in to tonight's season kick-off of Bravo's brand-defining culinary competition series Top Chef: Las Vegas , which joins the schedule at an earlier-than-usual time of 9 pm ET/PT before relocating to its normal timeslot at 10 pm ET/PT next week. (In the meantime, you can read my advance review of the first episode here .) Plus, the super-sized season premiere of Top Chef leads right into the final showdown on Top Chef Masters at 10:15 pm as finalists Hubert Keller, Michael Chiarello, and Rock Bayless square off in the kitchen to see just which one of them will walk away with title of Top Chef Master. Just which of these master chefs will emerge the ultimate champion? Find out tonight. And if that weren't enough culinary cravings for you, BBC America's own fascinating foodie magazine program F Word is brand new tonight as well, with an episode at

The Insatiable Viewer: Not All Food Shows Are Created Equal

Now is a very good time to be a television-loving foodie, with several networks other than stalwarts Food Network or PBS devoting air time to culinary-themed programming. In fact, it's safe to say that cuisine as a whole has entered the general zeitgeist in a way that it couldn't really have done before the public's embrace of reality programming. But there's a rather large caveat: not all food programming is equal. While television offers a bountiful cornucopia of culinary series, there's still a large difference in the quality of these programs, not to mention a staggering range of subjects being covered. There are docusoaps that focus on cake-makers, competition series pitting chefs against each other, old fashioned cook-offs, food-focused travel series, and product spotlights. While I'd never be able to offer up a comprehensive discussion of all of these series (they are too numerous to even contemplate as a whole), I thought I'd take a look at a few

Fine Dining, Kitchen Fires, and Foul Mouths: "Gordon Ramsay's F Word" Returns

I'm a huge admirer of Gordon Ramsay's F Word , the kitchen-based series from the foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay, who has become has much a reality TV staple here in the States as he is in the UK. I'm even more pleased that BBC America, which will launch the fourth season of F Word tonight, is returning this provocative and compelling series to primetime, where it ought to be after stripping the third season weekdays in daytime. Unlike, say, Hell's Kitchen, which is really more about showmanship and contestant humiliation than, say, culinary matters, the emphasis here is firmly on food. After all, that's the f-word of the title. I had the chance to watch the first three episodes of Season Four of F Word and was once again completely sucked into Ramsay's kitchen world. The fourth season of F Word finds the chef/author on a mission to transform people's beliefs that healthy food is boring food on its head and he once again creates a variety of dishes that any

Channel Surfing: "Melrose" Mayhem, Acevedo NOT Fired from "Fringe," "Smallville" and "Supernatural" Could Continue Past Next Season, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. (Following a week that included the 2009 network upfronts, I think we are all looking forward to a three-day weekend.) SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello has the dish on the actual set-up of the new Melrose Place series, kicking off this fall on the CW, and it will either make you squeal with delight or make you want to scream, well, bloody murder. "Sources confirm to me exclusively that the dead body found floating face down in Melrose 's trademark pool in the opening minutes belongs to none other than Laura Leighton's bitchtastic ex-stripper," writes Ausiello of Melrose's seemingly resurrected Sydney. "I'm told her death will set in motion a season-long murder mystery that finds nearly all of the show's principal characters -- particularly Syd's ex, Michael (Thomas Calabro) -- a possible suspect." Leighton, meanwhile, will continue to appear on the series via flashbac

Set Your TiVos: Season Three of "Gordon Ramsay's F Word" Starts Today

Those of us addicted to BBC America's culinary competition/chat/how-to/trend, well, everything series Gordon Ramsay's F Word would do well to set their TiVos BEFORE leaving for work today. The third season of the culinary program, which airs on Channel 4 in the UK, launches this afternoon in a 3 pm ET/PT timeslot, rather than in the early Sunday evening slot the series previously occupied. While the scheduling reflects part of an overall daytime programming strategy for the channel, it leaves those of us who loved to wrap up our weekends with Ramsay out in the cold. But do yourself a favor and set your TiVo to record this fantastic and engaging program. I'm absolutely chuffed to have F Word back on BBC America, regardless of the timeslot. I had the opportunity earlier this week to watch the first few episodes of the third season and have to say that Ramsay is in fine form. In the first episode alone, Ramsay tasks a group of former Eton students to cook in the F Word k

Channel Surfing: Chenoweth Gets "Mad" for David E. Kelley, HBO Orders Two Comedy Series, "Office" Stars Moonlight on Pilot Scripts, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I spent last night watching the first three brilliant episodes of HBO's Big Love , kicking off next month, and was up all night thinking about the series. At least the weekend's finally here, right? Pushing Daisies ' Kristin Chenoweth has been cast as the female lead in David E. Kelley's new NBC legal drama, Legally Mad , from Warner Bros. TV. Chenoweth will play Skippy Pylon, a brilliant lawyer who is often mistaken for being a teenager who goes to work at her father's firm; Skippy is "relentlessly cheerful" but suffers occasional bouts of psychosis. "I could only picture Kristin playing this role," said Kelley. "I've wanted to work with her for a long time and can't wait to reveal her as someone who's completely mad." It's a perfect part for Cheno (I'll be reading the pilot script this weekend) and I'm happy to see her land on her feet after the cancellation

While Still Tasty, Second Course of "Gordon Ramsay's F Word" a Little Harder to Swallow

One of the joys of my Sunday evenings (a dreaded time which means the return to work the following day after a far-too-short weekend) the past few months has been sitting down in front of the telly to tune into BBC America's culinary series Gordon Ramsay's F Word. So I was happy then to discover that the network was launching Season Two of Gordon Ramsay's F Word right on the heels of the Christmas-themed first season , which wrapped up just in time for the holidays. Hosted by Gordon Ramsay, that foul-mouthed, prickly chef who has built his reputation on the precision, perfection, and elegance of his food as much as he has by the demanding, draconian tactics he uses on sister show Hell's Kitchen , The F Word is meant to be a more, er, personable look into Ramsay's life, bringing us a kinder, softer Gordon in his kitchen and home. The F Word is not a reality show per se, not in the traditional sense of the word, anyway. Yes, sometimes people are sent home and

From Across the Pond: The Four Letter Word in "Gordon Ramsay's F Word" Is Food

I don't know about you but I simply can't get enough of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. From his series Hell's Kitchen and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares , he's presented a persona that is at times mercilessly cruel and passionately involved with food. It's food, of course, that the foul-mouthed Ramsay loves to talk about, reflect upon, and, well, cook up and that's the f-word in the title of Ramsay's latest television outing, Gordon Ramsay's F Word . (What did you think it should stand for, eh?) Filmed in the UK last year, Gordon Ramsay's F Word is finally making its US debut this week on BBC America and it's unlike anything that Ramsay has shown us before. It's not quite a cooking show and it's not quite a reality show; instead, it's something more analogous to a variety show, with Ramsay--quite possibly the ultimate entertainer--as the bellowing ringmaster. (P.T. Barnum would have been impressed.) While that might seem an odd ana

BBC America Adds Five Series to Slate, Causing My TiVo to Explode

Digital cabler BBC America has announced five series which it plans to launch this fall, including one from that irascible Mr. Alan Partridge, comedian Steve Coogan ( Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story ). First up is comedy Saxondale , which stars Steve Coogan ( I'm Alan Partridge ) as Tommy Saxondale, a former roadie with anger management issues who runs a pest control business dealing with rodents and people. Ruth Jones ( Nighty Night ) co-stars as Saxondale's Welsh anarchist girlfriend Magz who owns a t-shirt business called "Smash the System" selling politically radical clothing. The series' seven-episode run premieres October 13th at 11 pm ET (8 pm PT). Rumor has it that NBC, which has a deal with Coogan's production company (Baby Cow) is developing an American version of Saxondale . Let's hope that it's along the lines of The Office and not, say, Coupling . Hell's Kitchen 's Gordon Ramsay returns to BBC America with Gordon Ramsay&#