There may be plenty of discreet charm to be found in Washington, D.C., but discretion does not a ratings juggernaut make. That’s a lesson that Bravo executives are probably mulling over in the wake of Wednesday’s Top Chef premiere, which The Washington Post reports pulled in an underwhelming 1.8 million viewers. Last season’s premiere racked up 2.6 million.
True, our nation’s capital doesn’t hold the same tacky thrall as Las Vegas, and special guest stars like Leon Panetta don’t have quite the je ne sais quoi of, say, Natalie Portman. But throughout the hour-long premiere, it was hard to shake the feeling that it’s all become a little rote, a little tired, and perhaps more than a little predictable. Hey, it’s another egomaniac intent on winning everything! Somebody’s burning something! Peeling potatoes is hard! Padma has the emotional range of a Formica tabletop!
With any luck, things will perk up a bit, the contestants will either get into fistfights or start sleeping with each other, and Leon Panetta will bring sexy back. Because lord knows it’s not about the food.