Food Network on the Hunt for Next Iron Chef


Food Network is launching a reality-show search to find its next Iron Chef.

The show, tentatively named The Next Iron Chef of America, is casting  now for professional chefs who will compete to join the show's stable of celebrity cooks. It will be hosted by Iron Chef host Alton Brown and
is scheduled for a fall premiere.

It's one of 13 new series the Scripps-owned cable network plans for next year. Also on the slate is a third season of Food's reality competition The Next Food Network Star. With that show facing its own competition from Bravo's Top Chef, it will expand its format this season to have contestants compete on location, not just in the studio. It premieres in June.

Another competition show--America's Best Recipe--premieres in first quarter 2008 and will invite everyday cooks to compete for their recipe to be crowned the best in its category.

Food has seen ratings success -- 2006 was its most viewed year ever-- by scheduling cooking-based reality series at night and keeping instructional fare during the day and on weekends, and it will continue that strategy going forward.

Some new series will target younger viewers. This fall's Food Dudes, for example, follows a pair of scruffy young chefs from Hollywood as they struggle with their catering business. April's Diners, Drive-Ins and
features rock star-styled Next Food Network Star season-two winner Guy Fieri going across the country to look at greasy spoons. New Hispanic cooking chef Ingrid Hoffman joins the network this fall with Simply Delicioso (working title).

The Scripps-owned network announced its new shows at an upfront presentation in New York Wednesday night.