LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Ben Silverman Releases Another Reality Series on NBC
Aired July 18, 2003 - 20:51 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know like what happened, but that's -- the order went in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We waited for the table for half an hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 45 minutes.
UNIDENTIFIELD MALE: yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're telling me there's no more lamb.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys, it's quarter of 11:00. Have an omelet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you being sarcastic with me? Because I'm trying to be friendly with you guys. I'm not -- I'm not in control of the -- I'm not in control of the kitchen. I'll shake my fist in the kitchen.
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SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: This Sunday the newest offering on an already crowded menu of reality fare hits TV airways. The reality show "The Restaurant" premieres on NBC. It follows the life of an Italian-American chef as he opens a brand new restaurant in Manhattan. Ben Silverman is one of the show's executive producers and one of "People" magazine's most eligible bachelors. He joins us now live from Los Angeles. Welcome.
BEN SILVERMAN, TV PRODUCER: Thank you so much for having me, Sophia.
CHOI: So am I reading this right? This is a reality show that has no one voted off of an island, no one winning a million dollars, and no one choosing a spouse? Where in the world is the drama?
SILVERMAN: Oh, as you saw from that brief clip, the drama is intense when you try and operate a small business in the toughest city in the world with the toughest clientele in the world and then you throw in our cameras. And it is a hectic, dramatic pace.
CHOI: Well, "Restaurant" is slated for a six-week run. Rather brief for a restaurant to hit its stride, much less a TV show, don't you think?
SILVERMAN: It is a brief period of time, but we have a ton going on that we've compressed into these six hours. And I think it will just whet the appetite for a new genre of television for the American audience.
CHOI: And your star is Rocco, and he's an Italian-American, and he was a little ashamed of his background, his heritage before, and now he's embracing it. Let's take a look at a clip.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've decided to open a place that is a tribute to our world, our heritage. It's going to be called Rocco's. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trouble is I've never cooked italian food professionally. But that's where my mom comes in.
My head chef will then be my mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Salute!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHOI: What in Rocco did you see that made you say, a-ha, this is a star in the making, I can build a show around him?
SILVERMAN: Well, I think you just got a glimpse of a little bit of the amazing character that Rocco is. He embarked on this restaurant driven by passion and a desire to create something in his image and in the image of his heritage. And it involved his mother and his uncles and his aunts. And he's just an incredibly charming, gregarious, entrepreneurial guy who has all of the charisma that any movie star or television actor has, yet he operates a job that also a lot of people wish they could do or at least think they can do.
Almost everyone in America has cooked something in their lives or at least been to a restaurant. So we thought that Rocco within an accessible concept like the restaurant was going to be a winning formula for TV.
CHOI: Right. So the goal here is not only to make a winning TV show but a very successful restaurant. How is that doable when you've got cameras all over the place?
SILVERMAN: Well, this really is a reality show, unlike a lot of the other contrived environments that you see under that label of reality show. In terms of the fact that Rocco and his partner, Jeffrey Choderow, completely ran and controlled the finances of the restaurant and we just ran and controlled the television show. So it was two separate businesses, if you will, coming together. So every choice that Rocco made, from casting -- or staffing to --
CHOI: Casting? A slip of the tongue there.
SILVERMAN: Exactly. You know, using my lexicon in his world. But they absolutely made all of the choices that you see reflected in the show, and they made those choices driven by their own commercial goals. Clearly, the television cameras in a six-hour commercial, in my mind, are going to really help this restauarnt launch.
CHOI: Well we've heard your sponsors are going to be featured prominently in the show. Are you going to confine yourself to those products only?
SILVERMAN: In terms of confining ourselves to those products within the restaurant or within our advertising group?
CHOI: I guess within the restaurant and the advertising group.
SILVERMAN: No, what it is is a -- products that are competitive to the products that we highlight may be served within the restaurant, but the only ones you'll see are the products that you know, paid for consideration. And the products are totally organic to the concept. Everyone needs to pay for a meal using a credit card. Everyone orders a beer. And rocco needs to get around town. So Mitsubishi, American Express open, and Coor's were perfect partners for this show. And totally organic to the concept.
I think the audience will understand and not be -- will embrace the way the show is brought to you.
CHOI: Ben Silverman, already plugging your sponsors. Thank you so much.
SILVERMAN: Always. Thank you, Sophia so much. I really appreciate it.
CHOI: And take care. Hope you have a success. Good luck.
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