Forget thrilling sci-fi shows, high-budget dramas or gorgeous animation films. The first Web series from Google’s YouTube to transition to network television is a cooking show.
Recipe Rehab is a short cooking show on YouTube’s Everyday Health channel, one of the host of original channels that Google put $100 million into funding one year ago. ABC has announced it will pick up a half-hour version of the competition-style series for its Saturday morning time slot starting October 6th.
So far, the transition from webisodes to television is proving rocky. Early efforts like Quarterlife and Making Fiends bit the dust quickly. The SyFy network finally canceled Sanctuary, which began as a popular sci-fi web series, last spring after four seasons of lackluster ratings. Other shows, like Web Therapy, are floundering along, while some, such as Adult Swim’s newly Emmy-winning Children’s Hospital, are thriving in a niche audience.
Although Everyday Health is in the top third of YouTube’s original channels, Recipe Rehab, in which two top chefs compete against each other to renovate various cherished family recipes with healthier versions, has relatively low viewing numbers: just 32,000 for its 72 episodes. It has other things going for it, however, like a roster of celebrity chefs, including YouTube sensation Laura Vitale, whose own cooking show, Laura in the Kitchen, has nearly 39 million views.
Recipe Rehab’s basic "makeover for food lovers" format should appeal to a wide range of viewers. It also doesn’t hurt to have reality TV guru Mark Coops, executive producer of The Biggest Loser, helming the production. Rehab’s parent channel, Everyday Health, has a recent daytime Emmy nomination under its belt for producing a television show of the same name, a first for a digital production company. ABC has ordered 11 episodes of the series so far, with plans for a full 26-episode season, a mark of faith in Coops and his production company, Trium.
Expect to see the current friendly competition between chefs heat up as Rehab’s weekly serving of three shorter episodes is combined into a full half-hour. In the web version of the show, the first two weekly segments feature each chef previewing their recipes, before they face off in the third episode. Each competition is judged by a family who decides which recipe is the tastiest.
Viewers so far appreciate the format. “Just tried this recipe and it was .. AMAZING!! everybody loved it sooo much,” one YouTube viewer commented on an episode where chef Jill Davie shareed her secret ingredient for the perfect chili spaghetti: brewed coffee.
Davie’s low-fat concoction won that week’s cook-off.
Photo via YouTube