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Australian network pulls 'The Restaurant' after only one episode due to Rocco's "nasty" personality

By Reality TV World staff, 11/03/2003 

Rocco might have been so popular during his run on The Restaurant that NBC is still debating whether or not to bring him back for a follow-up sequel, but apparently his personality didn't translate very well down under, as the "nasty" chef's program was pulled from the Australian airwaves after only one episode due to unfavorable viewer reaction.

Given the local popularity of another program starring English chef Jamie Oliver, Network Ten, the Australian broadcaster who had acquired the rights to broadcast NBC's hit summer series in Australia, had high hopes for the show and heavily promoted it during its top-rated Australian Idol show, but those hopes were quickly dashed. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that close to a million Australians tuned in at the beginning of the program's premiere (compared to Idol's 2.2 million), however after discovering that Rocco was a "classically neurotic New Yorker, obsessed with money and power," so many viewers had lost interest in the show that by the end of the broadcast that the episode only averaged 461,000 viewers for its one-hour broadcast.

According to the paper, which also noted that "it wasn't the snob factor that killed The Restaurant, it was the scumbag factor," viewer reaction was so strong that Network Ten issued a notice the very next day that future episodes of the program had been pulled from the broadcast schedule and that the next week's episode would be replaced by an episode of FOX's The Simpsons. "It's very disappointing," Network Ten programer David Mott told The Hollowood Reporter. "We did a huge promotion during Australian Idol' but viewers didn't switch on."

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