Chef DiSpirito Gets 'Real' In New A&C Fall Series
The network has ordered 13 half-hour episodes and is in the middle of production. An actual time period has not been set. But unlike prime-time positioning for "The Restaurant," "Gets Real" may be ticketed for a Saturday a.m. slot within a lifestyle block, along with two real estate series.
A debut is expected sometime in the fourth quarter. (DiSpirito also has a book under the "Rocco Gets Real" moniker coming out this fall.)
In "Gets Real," a single man planning to make a splash by cooking a dinner before making a proposal or someone prepping a knockout dinner for a soldier's homecoming may find themselves adrift. But never fear, DiSpirito arrives with advice and wisdom--with the series described as "part reality, part how-to."
The series is being produced for A&E by Pilgrim Films, which has been involved with Discovery's "Dirty Jobs" and "SWAT: Tactical Force." Craig Palagian, a former "Survivor" producer, is an executive producer, along with two others from A&E.
DiSpirito has written several cookbooks and opened a Manhattan restaurant, Union Pacific, which eventually closed.
"The Restaurant," which debuted as a six-episode series in the summer of 2003, looked to offer a fly-on-the-wall view of DiSpirito's efforts to create an upscale Manhattan restaurant. The series had a second run the following summer.
"Rocco Gets Real" would seem to offer A&E the opportunity to sell product integration opportunities. Five years ago, "The Restaurant" was viewed as a paradigm of a new breed of shows conceived with advertisers' interests in mind.
Robert Riesenberg, the head of Interpublic's Magna Global Entertainment, was an executive producer--as was Ben Silverman, then at Reveille and now at NBC. Silverman was viewed as a creative executive eager to work with Madison Avenue. American Express, Coors and Mitsubishi signed as sponsors with product integration as part of their deals.
"The kind of organic product integration found in "The Restaurant" represents a bold new era in television," Riesenberg said in a statement in 2003. "Our advertisers are looking for creative strategies to reach their target demographic, and with this series, each are positioned in a fresh, new way that makes sense for their brands and for consumers."
Recently, DiSpirito has made guest appearances on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" and Bravo's "Top Chef."