Six weeks after the finale of "America's Next Great Restaurant," NBC's mid-season "reality" competition to open a new "fast-casual" eatery, two of the three national outlets of the winning "Soul Daddy" have shut their doors.
Of the three restaurants, which, according to the show, had celeb chefs Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone and Chipotle Grill founder Steve Ellis among the financial backers, only the "Soul Daddy" at the Mall of America in the Twin Cities remains open.
NBC has already decided not to pick up the show for a second season.
The winner, 32-year-old Jamawn Woods, was an enthusiastic Detroit cook who sought to bring his dream of soul food for the masses to life in the show. He ended up winning the competition, with the prize being restaurants in Los Angeles and New York City, along with the Mall of America location.
Word of the closings of the two big city outlets came this week from the food blog, Eater.com, with a p.r. statement explaining the shutdown:
"The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities. After a careful review of the business model and the performance of the restaurants, we have decided that our best opportunity for Soul Daddy’s success is to focus our efforts on establishing a solid footing in one location, building the brand, and developing the operations from there. ... While it has certainly been a difficult decision, we believe this is the best approach as we work towards ongoing success for Soul Daddy."
OK, so the pockets of the investors, which included Miami restaurateur Lorena Garcia, apparently weren't that deep - especially with no season two to look forward to.
I enjoyed the show, which showed the building blocks of creating a national brand. However the poor ratings in the pre-"Celebrity Apprentice" Sunday night slot, didn't help build that brand. And the team of judges/investors seemed to water down Woods' soul food concept, which started as a fried chicken and waffles joint and turned into a healthy soul food joint.
Sort of a case of too many big-name cooks ruining things.
On TV: If you'd like to catch up with AMC's "The Killing," there's a marathon of the first six episodes starting at 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, with the next six at 3 p.m. Sunday. The season finale airs at 10 p.m. Sunday. And, yes, there will be a second season.
- PBS reports that Austin, a 12-year-old Milwaukee boy is the subject of a segment on this week's "Need To Know," which looks at an alternative therapy for Tourette's Syndrome. It airs at 7:30 tonight on Channel 10.
- Channel 4 and sister station WTMJ-AM (620) report that the $52,659 raised for the Honor Flight Campaign to take World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. is the biggest amount the stations have made in a radio/TV phone bank event. The campaign has been led by WTMJ talker Charlie Sykes.
- CBS has ordered a 20th installment of "The Amazing Race" to air next spring. No, it's not a surprise.
Nick Young taps his heart out: Franklin tap dancer Nick Young earned the judges' praise on this week's installment of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," where he did a ballroom number along with fellow finalist Iveta Lukosiute. Not surprisingly, the pair will dance again next week. In fact, Young should be around for a while.
Here's the video of their performance:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.